The “Show Me” State Cooling On Coal!

State Economy

The population of the “Show Me State,” Missouri is approximately 6.19 million people[1]. Missouri is the 18th most populated state in the United States.

In 2022, Missouri’s economy was ranked 22nd in the United States in gross domestic product (GDP)[2]. The state’s economy is dependent on the agriculture, forestry, aerospace, defense, manufacturing, mining, financial services, and publishing industries[3].

Environmental Policies

In 2007, Missouri enacted a Renewable Energy Standard that mandates all investor-owned utilities sell 15% of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2021[4].

Power Generation Capabilities

In February 2023, utilities[5] used coal (60.6%), renewable energy (19.3%),nuclear power (18.5%), and natural gas (1.5%) to generate electricity in Missouri. Wind and hydropower are the dominant types of renewable energy used to generate electricity in Missouri.

In February 2023, the average cost of residential electricity in Missouri was 11.57¢ per kWh, compared to the national average of 15.96¢ per kWh.

Recent renewable energy developments in Missouri include:

  • 300 MW Wind Project – In December 2021, Illinois power company, Invenergy commissioned the Atchison Renewable Energy Center at a site in the northwest region of the state.
  • 236 MW Wind Project – In December 2020, Italian power company Enel commissioned the White Cloud wind project, which is located in the northwest region of the state.
  • 200 MW Solar Project – Arizona renewable energy company, Arevon is continuing work on the Kelso solar project at a site approximately 150 miles southeast of the state capital of Jefferson City. The project is forecast to be commissioned by year-end 2023.
  • 200 MW Solar Project – French utility, EDF is continuing work on the Huck Finn Solar project is located in the eastern region of the state. The project is forecast to be commissioned by year-end 2024.
  • 6 MW Community Solar Project – In December 2021, Missouri utility Ameren commissioned a community solar project at a site approximately 50 miles west of the city of St. Louis.


Coal mining began in Missouri in the 1880s[6]. Coal was initially used to fuel steam engines for the railroad, stoves, and forges.

In 2021, Missouri had only one operating coal mine[7], which produced only 44,000 tons of  bituminous coal. Coal for Missouri’s power plants are brought in by rail primarily from Wyoming.

In 2010, Missouri used coal-fueled power plants to generate 82.9 % of the state’s electricity[8]. In February 2023, 60.6% of the state’s electricity was generated from coal-fueled power plants. Why the decrease?

  1. Pollution – Coal ash, the product of coal burned in a power plant contains arsenic, mercury, and lead; which are toxic. In 2019, coal ash was documented to have leaked into the ground water around 241 coal-fired plants in America[9].
  2. EconomicsThe cost to generate power from coal without subsidies is more than double the cost to generate power from renewables, like solar.
  3. Climate Change Coal generates 40% to 45% more greenhouse gases than natural gas.

Missouri has significant undeveloped renewable energy resources, including wind, solar, and biomass. The economics of low cost, reliable renewable energy has finally spurred state utilities to move from coal-fueled power plants to clean, low cost renewable energy. The “Show Me” state is now cooling on coal!


Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”


Jack Kerfoot is a scientist, energy expert, and author of the book FUELING AMERICA, An Insider’s Journey and articles for The Hill, one of the largest independent political news sites in the United States. He has been interviewed on over 100 radio, podcast, and television stations from New York City to Los Angeles on numerous energy related issues and topics.


[1] Missouri Population 2023, World Population Review

[2] U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis

[3] Biggest Industries in Missouri  – World Atlas

[4] National Conference of State Legislators – State Renewable Portfolio Standards and Goals, August 13, 2021

[5] U.S. Energy Information Agency – Missouri State Profile and Energy Estimates,

[6] Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Missouri Coal

[7] U.S. EIA – Annual Coal Report 2021, Table 1, Coal Production and Number of Mines by State and Mine Type

[8] EIA, Electric Power Sector Consumption Estimates, Missouri 1960-2018

[9] Reuters, “Coal Ash Contaminates Groundwater Near Most U.S. Coal Plants: Study” by Valerie Volcovici, March 3, 2019

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