Rural Missouri - January 2011 - (Page 5)

Hart to Heart Few options for future watts here are still some folks around who remember the power shortages electric cooperative members faced several decades ago. If you were a member then, you probably were contacted by your electric cooperative and asked to limit your use of electricity. Because of this shortage, electric cooperatives around the country formed their own power supply cooperatives. These, in turn, built the power plants that gave rural people an affordable and reliable source of power for the first time. Those who remember those “dark” days advise us never to return there. That’s why we are making decisions now to ensure you will always have an adequate supply of electricity. While there are many uncertainties about anything in the future, one thing is sure: use of electricity is not going to slow down. Our experts predict that sometime around 2023, demand for electricity in Missouri will top the available supply. As we look at the options for those “future watts,” we can see our choices will be few. Legislation and proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules to limit carbon emissions make investment in new coal-fired power plants unlikely. That leaves natural gas and nuclear T by Barry Hart energy as the only two options to meet around-the-clock needs for electricity. It would be tempting to stick with natural gas, because these plants are less expensive to build, and fuel prices currently are low. However, if all of the electric utilities in the U.S. started building new natural gas plants, it’s likely demand would outpace supply, with resulting shortages and higher prices. And while natural gas plants release less carbon dioxide than coal plants, they still have a sizable carbon footprint. There are other emerging environmental concerns with natural gas production that could lead to future problems. That’s why Missouri’s electric cooperatives have joined in an unprecedented arrangement among all segments of the state’s electric utility industry — cooperative, municipal and investor-owned — to preserve the nuclear energy option for Missouri. And we may need your help to make this option a reality. New Missouri Sen. Mike Kehoe has introduced a measure that would allow this arrangement to move forward. Kehoe’s bill, S.B. 50, would make it possible for investor-owned utilities to recover their costs in a more timely manner for an early site permit for a nuclear plant next to the existing one in Callaway County. Without this provision, it’s unlikely the investor-owned utilities can invest in the nuclear energy option. And without all the industry players, the cost for building the plant “Preserving the nuclear energy option is vital to ensure you have affordable and reliable power well into the future.” Barry Hart would be out of reach. Most of Missouri’s leaders agree this plant would be a big win for the state. If any opposition emerges, it would be from groups that are only concerned about today and are not interested in the long-term needs of the state’s consumers. Reliable electricity is vital to keeping the businesses we have and attracting new businesses — such as data centers and other well-paying high-tech firms — to the state in the future. Please pay attention as SB 50 moves through the legislature. And when asked, please help us get this important piece of legislation passed on behalf of all Missourians. As this legislation proceeds, your electric coop will have information you can use in contacting your elected officials. In the end, this effort is all about diversification and not putting all of our eggs in one basket. Electric cooperative members, regardless of their business interests, understand this concept. When a large portion of your electric bill pays for generation, we feel it’s wise to be diversified. Preserving the nuclear energy option is vital to ensure you have affordable and reliable power well into the future. Hart is the executive vice president of the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives. Guest Column Clearing the way Y by Kevin Keith ou can ask just about any Missouri Department of Transportation maintenance worker what job they take the most pride in and you’re likely to hear, “plowing snow.” Take Hartville Maintenance Supervisor Wayne Shaver for example. As he plows curvy, two-lane Routes 5 and 38 and other roads in Wright County, he thinks about his driving-age children. “You want that road as safe as possible,” Shaver says. “We’ve got to get the traveling public around.” Keeping state roads clear and safe for travel is something we are definitely passionate about. More than 3,000 MoDOT employees, 1,600 pieces of equipment and a stockpile of salt and beet juice stand ready to fight the coming winter storms. Our crews will focus on getting roads drivable in bad weather by treating the highest-traveled major roads and regionally significant roads first until they are mostly clear. The remaining less-traveled roads will be plowed to allow for safe travel concentrating on hills, curves and intersections. The decreasing amount of funding available for transportation has caused us to take a hard look at our winter operations to find ways to increase efficiency and save money. While we will continue to do a good job of clearing ice and snow, we won’t be throwing material and resources at the effort if it’s not warranted. For example, we won’t keep plowing during a storm unless we can tell it’s having an impact. This year, too, we’ll be putting more emphasis on tackling each winter storm with a specific plan based on the storm type. We’re using a new system to rate storms that will help us use our equipment and materials more efficiently. We’ve also developed new categories to more clearly describe winter road “Keeping state roads clear and safe for travel is something we are definitely passionate about.” Kevin Keith conditions so the public will have a better idea of what to expect. The more efficiently we do our job this winter, the more funds we’ll have for pavement work on our rural roads. In addition to clearing state highways in Mother Nature’s wake, we offer two other services that provide critical information to travelers when the weather turns bad. Our online Traveler Information Map, located at, provides up-to-the minute road conditions. In addition, radar imagery provides a snapshot of weather conditions so travelers can see what’s on the way. And, if you’d prefer to talk to someone in person, around-the-clock customer service is available by calling our toll-free number, 888-ASK-MODOT (888-275-6636). Who knows — we might get lucky this year and have a mild winter. Whatever the case, we are prepared to do what we do best: provide safe, quick and convenient travel for motorists on Missouri highways. Keith is director of MoDOT. JANUARY 2011 5

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Rural Missouri - January 2011

Rural Missouri - January 2011
Doing Wood Right
Mail Bag
Blackwater’s Bucksnort
Out of the Way Eats
Huntin’ With Hawks
Hearth and Home
News Briefs
Billards Meets Bowling
Getting $mart in the New Year
Meet Yorik, One Tricky Dog
Around Missouri

Rural Missouri - January 2011