City considering options for net metering

The Waynesville Utility Committee is working on adopting policies and rules to govern buying electricity from private home owners because of changes in the law.

The "Net Metering and Easy Connection Act" requires municipal utilities and rural electric cooperatives to buy excess power from private individuals who create excess power through renewable energy.

Homeowners with wind generators, solar power or other "green" energy resources could sell any extra power they produce back to the city.

According to Waynesville officials, there are not currently any city residents using alternative methods for creating electricity, but ordinances need to be in place as the popularity of using alternative energy sources rise and the city needs to be current with the law.

The American Wind Energy Association said Missouri has tripled its wind installation between 2009 and 2010 and ranks 13th in the U.S.

Renewable energy resources accounted for 3 percent of Missouri's net electricity generation in 2011; most of that generation came from conventional hydroelectric power and wind, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Renewable energy sources, such as wind generators, are becoming increasingly more available and can even be found in large chain home improvement stores where sellers say buyers can use "do-it-yourself" installation.

Waynesville's Utility Committee plans to enact ordinances governing the installation of renewable energy sources and officials discussed at their regular monthly meeting preventing any "do-it-yourself" installation for safety purposes.

City administrator Bruce Harrill said the city needed to be sure power sources were properly installed, especially in the case of power requiring to be shut off so that electricity isn't being fed back into the lines.

The committee agreed that it would likely require citizens using alternative power sources to have them installed by a qualified professional.

No final decisions were made, but the committee said it plans to look at the issue and do some research so that it can make recommendations to the city council.