Ameren Missouri, a subsidiary of Ameren Corporation, takes another important step toward bringing more renewable energy to customers by announcing a key approval in the planned acquisition of the company's largest-ever solar facility, a 200 MW solar installation in central Missouri.
The Huck Finn Solar Project is planned to be constructed on the border of Missouri's Audrain and Ralls counties. Construction is expected to create about 250 jobs and, once functional, produce enough energy to power about 40,000 homes. Based on current projections, the project could begin generating clean energy as soon as late 2024. As Ameren Missouri announced last June, the facility will be acquired pursuant to a build-transfer agreement with EDF Renewables, a company with a longstanding track record of developing and building renewable energy facilities.
"Customers across the state will be better off with the addition of Huck Finn," said Mark Birk, chairman and president of Ameren Missouri. "The project will provide clean electricity, create economic opportunity and inject millions of dollars into the community over the life of the project, which will have widespread additional benefits."
The facility is a step-change for solar generation in Missouri, and was the first project announced after Ameren Missouri updated its comprehensive plan to safeguard long-term energy reliability and resiliency for Missourians. The plan also accelerates Ameren's companywide net-zero carbon emissions goal to 2045, five years sooner than previously planned.
"Ensuring that projects such as Huck Finn are built is critical to the ongoing generation transition," Birk said. "We're actively pursuing projects that provide relatively large generation capacity, are competitively priced and backed by a developer with a proven history of delivering projects."
Huck Finn is the first renewable energy generation acquisition to be approved following the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Ameren actively advocated for components of these Acts, which will help bring about long-term customer benefits.
"Overall, the IRA enhances affordability of our ongoing clean energy transition – as we work to make the energy we provide as clean as we can, as fast as we can, without compromising on reliability, resiliency or affordability for our customers," said Ajay Arora, chief renewable development officer at Ameren Missouri.
Huck Finn is designed to generate more than 25 times the amount of energy of Missouri's largest existing solar facility. It is the latest project to be part of Ameren Missouri's planned addition of 2,800 MW in new, clean renewable generation by 2030 and the ninth solar facility that the company has announced or put in service since 2019. Together, these nine facilities represent more than 360 MW of clean energy generation capacity. In that time, Ameren Missouri has installed solar generation in underutilized locations including a parking garage, next to an airport runway and in partnership with community-based organizations working in underserved neighborhoods.
"Customers expect the generation transition to be affordable and reliable," Arora said. "As we execute our balanced, thoughtful plan, siting new generation projects across our service territory and surrounding states becomes increasingly important."