About the Power Sector Opportunties Fact Sheet Series

This series of fact sheets aims to shed light on these opportunities by illustrating the CO₂ emissions-reduction potential from measures in a variety of states. For example, states could build off of existing initiatives like renewable portfolio standards, energy efficiency standards, and other policies as well as use tools like greater efficiency at coal plants, increased use of combined heat and power, and fuller utilization of unused capacity at natural gas plants. We show how emissions savings from these existing policies and infrastructure stack up against the reductions that could be required under forthcoming standards.


President Obama announced a national climate plan in June 2013, directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set carbon pollution standards for the power sector. Once EPA establishes those standards, states will implement their own plans for achieving those reductions.

In this fact sheet, WRI examines existing tools Missouri can use to reduce power plant emissions and help meet future standards.

Executive Summary

CO2 Reductions from Existing Policies and Infrastructure

Missouri can meet about 70 percent of EPA’s emission rate target for the state between 2020 and 2030 with the following measures:

  • Meeting energy efficiency targets. Missouri’s Energy Efficiency Investment Act calls for the state’s investor-owned utilities to capture all cost-effective energy efficiency opportunities, and establishes a voluntary target of nearly 10 percent cumulative savings of electricity sales by 2020. Meeting this goal can help the state lower its emission rate.

  • Meeting renewable energy targets. Missouri’s Renewable Energy Standard (RES) requires 15 percent of the electricity sold by its investor-owned utilities to come from renewable sources by 2021. Meeting the RES through new in-state generation can help the state lower its emission rate.

  • Using more gas. Missouri’s most efficient natural gas plants—combined cycle (NGCC) units—generated much less electricity than they were capable of producing in 2012. Fully utilizing existing combined cycle natural gas capacity can help the state meet its emission target.

  • Increasing existing coal plant efficiency by 2.5 percent. Existing coal plants could save energy by upgrading their equipment and making other operational improvements.

  • Using more combined heat and power (CHP). Missouri can build more CHP systems—which use waste heat to generate electricity more efficiently than the average power plant—at sites like universities, hospitals, and manufacturing facilities.

CO2 Reduction Opportunities from Expanded Clean Energy Policies

Missouri can close the gap that remains, and even exceed its proposed target, by:

  • Increasing its energy efficiency goal to 2 percent of sales from 2015 onward

  • Requiring all utilities, not just investor-owned utilities, to meet the current RES (15 percent by 2021) and continuing to increase renewable generation to 20 percent of total generation by 2030