- The 2014 Ameren Missouri Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) calls for the addition of 400 megawatts of wind, 600 megawatts of natural gas, and 10 megawatts of utility scale solar. The new sources will replace 1,800 megawatts of coal capacity at the Meramec plant, to be shuttered by 2022, and the Sioux plant, to be shuttered by 2033.
- The new wind, which Ameren will own rather than acquire through PPAs, will add to its 100 megawatts from Iowa’s Prairie State Wind Farm. New combined cycle natural gas units will add base load gas generation to Ameren’s existing gas peaker fleet.
- Ameren’s IRP does not call for an increase to its 2016 through 2018 planned expenditure of $148 million for energy efficiency program’s despite Missouri’s decoupling policy that allows the utility to fund customer efficiency upgrades and retrofits without losing revenues.
The 2014 IRP is seen as a first step away from its traditional reliance on coal in response to proposed EPA emissions and pollution reduction regulations.
Unlike Ameren’s older peaker natural gas turbines, the proposed new combined cycle natural gas capacity can be used affordably as base load because the turbines are more efficient and will be burning cheap gas supplies from the ongoing shale gas boom.
Ameren is already constructing a 5 megawatt utility scale solar project in O'Fallon, Missouri, as well. The company hopes construction will conclude by the end of the year.
Consumer advocates approve of the customer-funded decoupling program because savings offset the higher rates.