Ameren Missouri has filed with the Missouri Public Service Commission its 20-year plan that supports cleaner energy in the state of Missouri, including major expansions of solar and wind power.
The utility's "Integrated Resource Plan" 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 as it moves to cleaner and more diverse sources of energy generation.
"We are committed to accomplishing this transition to cleaner energy in a way that is cost-effective and environmentally responsible while maintaining the reliability our customers expect," said Michael Moehn, chairman, president and CEO of Ameren Missouri. "The plan we have developed and are executing on also calls for preserving energy efficiency programs that help residents and businesses save money, because the cost of saving a kilowatt-hour of electricity is generally less expensive than the cost of generating it from a new resource."
Many of Missouri's electric generation units are nearing half a century old, and Ameren Missouri's comprehensive plan calls for transitioning its generation fleet to a cleaner and more fuel-diverse portfolio over the next two decades as energy centers reach the end of their useful lives.
Ameren Missouri, a subsidiary of Ameren Corp., would add nearly 500 megawatts (MW) of renewable power generation under the plan, which, together with other planned changes to its generation resources, would allow the utility to achieve a 30 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2035, based on 2005 levels.
The plan includes construction in 2016 of a second solar energy center that would be the largest in the state of Missouri. Earlier this year, Ameren Missouri broke ground on its first utility-scale solar energy center in O'Fallon, Mo., which is scheduled for completion later this year.
Major components of the plan include:
- Significantly expanding renewable generation by adding 400 MW of wind power, 45 MW of solar, 28 MW of hydroelectric and 5 MW of landfill gas.
- Continuing to offer energy efficiency programs to customers through the utility's ActOnEnergy program and adding demand response programs when they are cost-effective.
- Retiring approximately one-third (about 1,800 MW) of Ameren Missouri's current coal-fired generating capacity. This includes converting two units at Meramec Energy Center to natural gas in 2016, and retiring the remaining units at Meramec by the end of 2022 and the Sioux Energy Center by the end of 2033.
- Reducing emissions of Ameren Missouri's existing coal fleet by continuing to make investments in pollution-control equipment.
- Continuing to rely on Ameren Missouri's existing, low-cost and dependable nuclear generation while preserving options for future carbon-free nuclear generation.
- Adding 600 MW of efficient combined-cycle and clean-burning natural gas generation in 2034.
Ameren Missouri's plan calls for relying on a diverse mix of coal, nuclear, natural gas and renewable resources and energy efficiency programs to make sure customers get the dependable power they require while keeping rates reasonably priced. "Ameren Missouri residential rates are more than 20 percent below the national average, 16 percent below the average of Midwest states and the lowest of any investor-owned utility in the state of Missouri — and it's important for us to maintain rates that are reasonably priced," Moehn said.
Ameren Missouri's planned CO2 emissions reductions by 2035 position the company to address the CO2 reductions proposed in June by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA's Clean Power Plan targets a 30 percent reduction in CO2 emissions from the power sector by 2030. Ameren Missouri's Integrated Resource Plan allows the utility to achieve significant reductions in CO2 emissions over a slightly longer time frame but would save its customers an estimated $4 billion.
Ameren Missouri files an Integrated Resource Plan with the Missouri Public Service Commission every three years to help the utility gather input from other parties in the state. The full plan and a summary can be found at AmerenMissouri.com/IRP.