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Ameren to invest $8B in clean energy

The Ameren Corporation published a plan to reach its net-zero carbon emissions goal in Missouri Monday, projecting $8 billion in clean energy investments over the next two decades. 

The company committed to its largest expansion of solar and wind-generated energy for both Missouri and Illinois, aiming for net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 as part of its shift to clean energy amid an environmental focus. Goals in the initiative included reducing carbon emissions by 50 percent of the 2005 company totals in the next 10 years and an 85 percent decrease by 2040. 

“Our analysis shows that now is the time to capitalize on investment opportunities for the benefit of our customers, the communities where we raise our families and the environment,” Ameren Missouri President Marty Lyons said. “Renewable energy, constructed right here in Missouri, is good for the local economy.”

The commitment was submitted as part of its Integrated Resource Plan (IRP), a document filed with the Public Service Commission (PSC) every three years to establish its plans to transform its energy generation portfolio. 

The company pledged to shift toward clean energy in its 2017 filing, with this year’s update expanding on its plans to reduce carbon emissions and create jobs in the renewable power sector.

“This is a step-change in renewable energy investments and carbon emission reductions from the plan we presented three years ago,” Lyons said. “Under our plan, customers will receive significant benefits from advances in technology and falling renewable energy costs, as well as from robust energy efficiency programs to help keep their energy costs affordable.”

The company said the projects would add 3,100 megawatts of renewable energy generation by 2030, coming from an investment of $4.5 billion. Ameren plans to increase the available wattage to 5,400 megawatts by 2040.

Ameren said the clean energy facilities would create thousands of construction jobs and benefit local economies.

Approximately $1.2 billion is set to go toward acquiring two Missouri-based wind generation facilities in the next few months.  

The company seeks to expand its nuclear, hydro, and solar energy output substantially with nearly 30 percent of its power currently generated from those sources. Ameren committed to retiring more of its coal processing facilities with two coal-fired energy centers due to retire in the next 20 years. 

All coal-based energy generation facilities are set to be phased out by 2042. 

Expanding clean energy would also lead to a larger variety of options and services for Ameren customers, it said. The company offers Community Solar and Neighborhood Solar programs to its customers and said it hopes to expand those initiatives as new opportunities become available.  

The company’s commitment to expanding its green energy programs received praise from organizations and community leaders, including the Natural Resources Defense Council and St. Louis County Executive Dr. Sam Page. 

“I applaud Ameren’s leadership in committing to a net-zero carbon emissions goal,” Page said. “As a direct result of Ameren’s investments, residents will benefit from cleaner air, an even stronger grid, and a stronger economy.”

Major elements of the plan, including construction projects and new customer programs, require approval from the PSC before being implemented.