Ameren Missouri has announced a plan to dramatically increase the amount of wind and solar generation to provide cost-effective and sustainable energy for its customers.
Ameren Missouri, a subsidiary of Ameren Corp., plans to add at least 700 MW of wind generation by 2020, representing an investment of approximately $1 billion. The potential exists to add even more wind generation in the coming years as a result of improving technology and economics, as well as renewable energy initiatives with large customers.
The company also plans to add 100 MW of solar generation over the next 10 years, with 50 MW expected to come online by 2025.
"This is Ameren Missouri's largest-ever commitment to clean, renewable energy," said Michael Moehn, president of Ameren Missouri. "We are committed to bringing our customers innovative solutions that are both cost-effective and environmentally responsible while maintaining the reliability our customers expect."
The new wind generation is expected to be located in Missouri and neighboring states using American-made turbines. The source, location and cost of the new wind generation is still under negotiation with several developers.
"We expect this tremendous growth in wind generation to provide great value to our customers, who will save money on energy costs," Moehn said. "Because of significant advancement in technology, harnessing wind is less expensive than other forms of new generation."
The planned generation is expected to be operational by 2020.
"We believe it is in our customers' long-term best interest for Ameren Missouri to own this wind generation," said Ajay Arora, vice president of environmental services and generation resource planning at Ameren.
The addition of 100 MW of solar generation over the next 10 years is expected to be developed in multiple phases.
Planning is underway on two projects. Earlier this year, Ameren Missouri announced plans to build a solar generation facility at St. Louis Lambert International Airport. That facility is expected to be complete in 2018. A separate project creates partnerships with business customers to locate an Ameren Missouri-owned solar generation facility on their property.
"These innovative solar programs have great promise," Arora said. "Moving generation assets closer to where the energy is needed most is one of the ways we're making the grid smarter, stronger and more resilient."
Further, the company is establishing a goal of reducing its carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050 from the 2005 level.
"We are the first investor-owned utility in the state, and among the first in the country, to announce a carbon emissions goal of this magnitude," Moehn said.
To meet this goal, Ameren Missouri is targeting a 35 percent carbon emissions reduction by 2030 and a 50 percent reduction by 2040 from the 2005 level. Since 2005, Ameren Missouri has significantly reduced emissions, including a 26 percent reduction in carbon emissions in 2016.
Specifics of Ameren Missouri's plan also include:
- Managing the largest, most comprehensive energy efficiency program in Missouri's history. The plan consists of a comprehensive portfolio of programs for business and residential customers. The energy savings goal for the current three-year plan is 570,000 megawatt-hours, equivalent to the energy used by nearly 45,000 homes, and representing a carbon-emissions reduction equivalent to taking 115,000 cars off the street. These programs give residents and businesses tools to save money and help make costs more predictable.
- Retiring over half of Ameren Missouri's coal-fired generating capacity. This includes retiring the Meramec Energy Center in south St. Louis County by the end of 2022.
- Addressing the need to transition to a smart energy grid that can support more renewable energy, universal and private solar and customers' desire for more timely information. In the next two decades, the energy grid will be the lifeline for cleaner energy connecting hundreds, if not thousands, of small and regional renewable energy generators to the grid in real time while maintaining the energy reliability demanded by customers.
- Ameren Missouri's Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), a 20-year outlook that supports cleaner energy in Missouri, was filed today with the Missouri Public Service Commission, and is consistent with Missouri's Renewable Energy Standard. The IRP, which is filed every three years, examines electric customers' projected long-term energy needs and describes Ameren Missouri's preferred approach to meeting those needs in a cost-effective fashion that maintains system reliability.
"The IRP is developed with the input of a wide variety of stakeholders and is consistent with Ameren's goal of transitioning its energy generation in a responsible fashion to ensure reliability while keeping customer rates affordable," Arora said.
In order to add these resources to its generation portfolio, Ameren Missouri is required to seek certificates of convenience and necessity from the Missouri Public Service Commission for projects located in Missouri and to obtain interconnection agreements so that it can use transmission services of the appropriate Regional Transmission Authority.