Ameren’s proposed solar facility would transform the energy landscape of the region.
The longer we wait to diversify our energy sources, the more costly the transition will be for companies, consumers and our environment. As such, we just finished up representing Sierra Club on Ameren’s proposal to construct a new solar energy generation facility (PSC file No. EA-2022-0245). At the evidentiary hearing we showed that Ameren will have no choice but to replace its coal generation in the coming years as those units approach the end of their useful lives. While the precise timing of those replacements is uncertain, we showed that Ameren’s customers and the environment will benefit if Ameren diversifies its energy generation sources today. Missouri Public Service Commission staff took an opposing view, asserting to the Commissioners that the solar facility is not needed. In April, the Commissioners granted a certificate of convenience and necessity authorizing construction of the 150 MW solar energy facility.
As the largest energy producer in Missouri, Ameren heavily influences our impact on the environment and sets the standard for energy generation. The new solar project is expected to produce enough renewable energy to meet the annual needs of nearly 27,500 homes and would allow 10 partnering organizations to source their energy entirely from renewables through Ameren’s Renewable Solutions program. This facility represents a critical step towards realizing Ameren’s plan for net-zero carbon emissions by 2045, a goal that still falls short of the national target of a carbon-pollution free power sector by 2035.
As of 2022, the Mongomery Community Solar Center was the largest Ameren Missouri solar energy center at a capacity of 5.7 MW. The new facility will have a 150 MW capacity. (Photo via Ameren Missouri.)
The utility still has a long way to go. In 2022, renewable energy accounted for only 3.6 million MWh of Ameren’s generated electricity, compared to the 25 million MWh generated from coal plants. (Source: 2023 Ameren Sustainability Report.) That is 7 times more coal energy than renewables. Great Rivers is pushing for the continued development of renewable resources to supply electricity for our state.
We are representing several parties in Ameren Missouri’s stakeholder process regarding its upcoming 20-year Integrated Resource Plan (IRP). We will continue to advocate for earlier retirement of the company’s coal-fired power plants and increased reliance on solar and wind sources for energy generation. Your support makes this work happen.
(Header image via Canva.)
Eva Kappas is a student at Brown University studying International and Public Affairs and Hispanic Studies. A native St. Louisan, Eva is invested in protecting the people and places she calls home. She is excited by the potential to transform our electrical grid with renewable energy. In her free time, she can be found running in Forest Park, writing short stories, and practicing Spanish with her friends and family.
Great Rivers Environmental Law Center is a non-profit 501(c)3 environmental law center providing free and low cost services to protect the environment and public health. They work to promote the public health by encouraging cleaner energy, improved environmental performance by businesses, and more efficient transportation and land use, thereby achieving cleaner air and water, and improving the quality of life in the region. Learn more at www.greatriverslaw.org.