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Ameren gets PSC approval for Atchison County wind farm


The Public Service Commission (PSC) tackled several orders related to Ameren last week, including approving a certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) for a planned wind farm in Atchison County

Ameren will construct the project under a Build Transfer Agreement, and the commission approved a 10-day effective date so the company could take advantage of a tax credit estimated to be worth about $300 million. 

The CCN was approved with the inclusion of language offered by Commissioner Daniel Hall which he said would “make it clear we are not rubber stamping the stipulation; we are reviewing all information presented to us and making an independent determination that it is in the public interest.” 

PSC Chairman Ryan Silvey called the added language “appropriate.” 

The commission noted Ameren has agreed to conditions that will prevent detrimental environmental or animal impacts. 

The wind farm will be developed by Enel Kansas LLC, and is expected to create an estimated 300 construction jobs, Ajay Arora, vice president of Power Operations and Energy Management of Ameren Missouri, told The Missouri Times.

“We are excited to continue the process of bringing more renewable wind energy to our state,” Arora said.

Ameren Missouri previously said it has a goal of owning at least 700 megawatts of new wind generation by 2021. It also has a goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2050, based on 2005 levels, Arora said. 

Ameren recently terminated a different planned wind farm for Atchison County that was expected to create hundreds of jobs. 

Other PSC matters

Additionally, the PSC approved an order setting a test year and procedural scheduled for Ameren’s filed tariffs designed to implement a general rate decrease for electrical services. After some back and forth on proposed test years and true-up periods, the PSC set a two-week evidentiary hearing in March 2020 and the test year through Dec. 31, 2018 updated through June 30. 

Commissioners agreed the PSC “should not make any special treatment of the rate case at this time” in approving the order. 

The PSC also approved an application for the issuance and sale of up to $400 million in aggregate principal amount of long-term indebtedness for Ameren. 

The commission approved a report and order granting a limited variance from competitive bidding rules in electric and gas utility affiliate transactions for Empire District Electric Company during its weekly meeting Thursday. The commission noted safeguards were put into place to protect and shield customers. 

It also rejected Kansas City Power and Light Company’s (KCP&L) request to implement rate adjustments for its fuel and purchased power and set a prehearing conference for Sept. 5. 

This story has been updated.