Ameren Missouri on Thursday cancelled development of a 157 MW wind project, citing "unacceptably high" transmission upgrade costs.
The utility reached a mutual agreement with developer EDF Renewables to terminate the project, noting it didn't want to push those costs on to ratepayers. The two originally announced the project last October
- Ameren in February filed a $6.3 billion plan with state regulators, which included a $1 billion carveout for wind projects and the remaining $5.3 billion for infrastructure upgrades, including transmission.
Transmission infrastructure is an important component of grid modernization and as utilities incorporate more renewable energy sources on to the grid, having the equipment to transmit that power can be a challenge.
Clean energy stakeholders from across the country have been calling for an energy infrastructure overhaul, specifically updates to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's 2011 Order 1000, as transmission investments stall. And in May, the New York ISO warned that without additional transmission capacity, the grid operator's decarbonization efforts could slow.
Though the Ameren subsidiary isn't moving forward with its Atchison County project, it still has two wind facilities totaling 700 MW in its queue, representing a $1.2 billion investment.
"While we're focused on incorporating more renewable energy, we also have to be good financial stewards for our customers," Michael Moehn, chairman and president of Ameren Missouri, said in a statement. "While it is disappointing we will not be moving forward with this project, we remain focused on seeing our other, larger projects through to the finish line."
Out of the two facilities still in Ameren's queue, the 400 MW project has obtained a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity (CCN) from the Missouri Public Service Commission, while the 300 MW project's CCN remains pending. Both projects are in their final phase for transmission interconnection cost approval, "which were in-line with expectations" and those agreements are expected to be finalized this fall, according to the utility.
Ameren said it had no further comment beyond its press release.