A power plant

Ameren Missouri Embarks on $5.3 Billion Grid Modernization Plan

Microgrid and new technology pilot program to be included.

Ameren Missouri over the next five years plans to invest $5.3 billion on more than 2,000 infrastructure improvement projects across its 24,000 square mile service area.

The Smart Energy Plan, which was filed earlier this month with the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC), entails: the deployment of switching devices and communications technologies to develop self-healing power lines; the installation of 12,000 utility poles specially fortified to withstand severe weather; and the creation of a pilot portfolio to test microgrid, net metering inverters and other technologies.

The utility also plans to increase its generation capacity through the addition of at least 700 megawatts (MW) of wind generation by 2020, and 100 MW of solar generation by 2027. Notably Ameren Missouri by 2050 intends to reduce its carbon emissions by 80%.

“Building a smart grid for the future of energy in Missouri is foundational to our mission to power the quality of life for our customers and the communities we serve for generations to come,” said Michael Moehn, president of Ameren Missouri, a subsidiary of Ameren Corporation.

Ameren’s grid modernization program comes as utilities around the country seek to incorporate new technologies, and revise their existing business models.

According to the NC Clean Energy Technology Center, grid modernization activity increased by 60% in 2018, compared to the prior year. However, a number of utilities including North Carolina’s Duke Energy and Virginia’s Dominion Energy were in 2018 forced to revise their grid modernization plans following regulatory scrutiny.

Regulators that year rejected Duke and Dominion’s plans due to questions around cost and the public benefit. Both have been allowed to resubmit their plans to their respective regulatory bodies.

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