Ameren Missouri receives approval for largest-ever solar investment

March 21, 2024

Today's approval includes projects capable of powering approximately 73,000 homes and an additional opportunity to deliver more renewable energy to businesses 

ST. LOUIS, March 21, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Today Ameren Missouri, a subsidiary of Ameren Corporation (NYSE: AEE), received approval to build or acquire approximately 400 megawatts (MW) of solar energy. The first of the three solar projects is scheduled to go into service in 2025, with two more set to begin serving customers in 2026.

"Thoughtfully integrating these new, low-cost energy sources with our existing generation fleet is one of the ways Ameren Missouri is providing our customers with the reliable, resilient and affordable energy they expect," said Mark Birk, chairman and president of Ameren Missouri.

Projects in today's order by the Missouri Public Service Commission, in order of targeted in-service dates, include:

  • Vandalia Renewable Energy Center, a 50-MW project based in Vandalia, Missouri, to be self-developed by Ameren Missouri with a target in-service date of 2025.
  • Split Rail Solar, a 300-MW project based in Warren County, Missouri, with a target in-service date of 2026 to be acquired by Ameren Missouri from Invenergy.
  • Bowling Green Renewable Energy Center, a 50-MW project based in Bowling Green, Missouri, to be self-developed by Ameren Missouri with a target in-service date of 2026.

Today's order also sets the terms upon which a fourth solar facility, the 150-MW Cass County, Illinois project, could be approved if it is fully subscribed for under Ameren Missouri's Renewable Solutions Program.

Terms of the agreements for all projects remain confidential.

Meeting Customers' Reliability Needs
Investing in solar energy is part of Ameren Missouri's strategy to affordably meet the long-term reliability needs for Missourians. The strategy also includes existing energy centers, as well as utilizing planned investments in on-demand and baseload generation.

"We're able to take advantage of significant tax credits with these renewable projects, reducing overall costs with those savings going directly to our customers. That helps keep rates as affordable as possible," said Ajay Arora, senior vice president and chief renewable development officer at Ameren Missouri.

New Opportunity for Businesses
Ameren Missouri's Renewable Solutions Program is a subscription-based program that allows businesses to replace up to 100% of their total energy use with renewable resources like wind and solar.

"Renewable Solutions offers price certainty with no market risk," said Greg Lovett, manager, energy services at Ameren Missouri. "Subscribing to Renewable Solutions is an easy way for organizations to meet their sustainability goals. It's effortless renewable energy without any maintenance or administrative work."

The Renewable Solutions program was launched with the commitment of 10 organizations in 2023. Others interested in receiving renewable energy credits to meet their individual renewable energy goals can contact Ameren Missouri for more information.

Environmentally Responsible
The Renewable Solutions program and Ameren Missouri's other investments in renewable energy support Ameren's company-wide goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2045. The goal is science-based and consistent with the objectives of the Paris Agreement and limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius. This goal encompasses both Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions, including other greenhouse gas emissions of methane, nitrous oxide and sulfur hexafluoride. This goal is dependent on a variety of factors, including cost-effective advancements in innovative clean energy technologies as well as constructive federal and state energy and economic policies. Interim targets include reducing carbon emissions 60% by 2030 and 85% by 2040, in each case based on 2005 levels.

Additional details about the company's net-zero goal and Ameren Missouri's least-cost approach to reliably meet customer energy needs in an environmentally responsible manner are available at AmerenMissouri.com/Reliable.

About Ameren Missouri
Ameren Missouri has been providing electric and gas service for more than 100 years. Ameren Missouri's mission is to power the quality of life for its 1.2 million electric and 135,000 natural gas customers in central and eastern Missouri. The company's service area covers 64 counties and more than 500 communities, including the greater St. Louis area. For more information, visit Ameren.com/Missouri or follow us at @AmerenMissouri or Facebook.com/AmerenMissouri.

Forward-looking Statements
Statements in this release not based on historical facts are considered "forward-looking" and, accordingly, involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed. Although such forward-looking statements have been made in good faith and are based on reasonable assumptions, there is no assurance that the expected results will be achieved. These statements include (without limitation) statements as to future expectations, beliefs, plans, projections, strategies, targets, estimates, objectives, events, conditions, and financial performance. In connection with the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, we are providing this cautionary statement to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated. The following factors, in addition to those discussed under Risk Factors in Ameren's and Ameren Missouri's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2023, and elsewhere in this release and in our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, could cause actual results to differ materially from management expectations suggested in such forward-looking statements:

  • regulatory, judicial, or legislative actions, and any changes in regulatory policies and ratemaking determinations, that may change regulatory recovery mechanisms, such as those that may result from Ameren Missouri's petition to the Missouri Public Service Commission ("MoPSC") for a financing order to authorize the issuance of securitized utility tariff bonds to finance the cost of the planned retirement of the Rush Island Energy Center, and Ameren Missouri's proposed customer energy-efficiency plan under the Missouri Energy Efficiency Investment Act ("MEEIA") filed with the MoPSC in January 2024;
  • our ability to control costs and make substantial investments in our businesses, including our ability to recover costs and investments, and to earn our allowed returns on equity, within frameworks established by our regulators, while maintaining affordability of services for our customers;
  • the effect on Ameren Missouri of any customer rate caps or limitations on increasing the electric service revenue requirement pursuant to Ameren Missouri's election to use the plant-in-service accounting regulatory mechanism;
  • Ameren Missouri's ability to construct and/or acquire wind, solar, and other renewable energy generation facilities and battery storage, as well as natural gas-fired energy centers, extend the operating license for the Callaway Energy Center, retire fossil fuel-fired energy centers, and implement new or existing customer energy-efficiency programs, including any such construction, acquisition, retirement, or implementation in connection with its Smart Energy Plan, integrated resource plan, or emissions reduction goals, and to recover its cost of investment, a related return, and, in the case of customer energy-efficiency programs, any lost margins in a timely manner, each of which is affected by the ability to obtain all necessary regulatory and project approvals, including certificates of convenience and necessity from the MoPSC or any other required approvals for the addition of renewable resources and natural gas-fired energy centers;
  • Ameren Missouri's ability to use or transfer federal production and investment tax credits related to renewable energy projects; the cost of wind, solar, and other renewable generation and storage technologies; and our ability to obtain timely interconnection agreements with the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc., a regional transmission organization ("MISO") or other regional transmission organizations at an acceptable cost for each facility;
  • the outcome of competitive bids related to requests for proposals associated with the MISO's long-range transmission planning;
  • the inability of our counterparties to meet their obligations with respect to contracts, credit agreements, and financial instruments, including as they relate to the construction and acquisition of electric and natural gas utility infrastructure and the ability of counterparties to complete projects, which is dependent upon the availability of necessary materials and equipment, including those obligations that are affected by supply chain disruptions;
  • advancements in energy technologies, including carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration, hydrogen fuel for electric production and energy storage, next generation nuclear, and large-scale long-cycle battery energy storage, and the impact of federal and state energy and economic policies with respect to those technologies;
  • the effects of changes in federal, state, or local laws and other governmental actions, including monetary, fiscal, foreign trade, and energy policies;
  • the effects of changes in federal, state, or local tax laws or rates, including the effects of the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 ("IRA") and the 15% minimum tax on adjusted financial statement income, as well as additional regulations, interpretations, amendments, or technical corrections to, or in connection with the IRA, and challenges to the tax positions taken by us, if any, as well as resulting effects on customer rates and the recoverability of the minimum tax imposed under the IRA;
  • the effects on energy prices and demand for our services resulting from technological advances, including advances in customer energy efficiency, electric vehicles, electrification of various industries, energy storage, and private generation sources, which generate electricity at the site of consumption and are becoming more cost-competitive;
  • the cost and availability of fuel, such as low-sulfur coal, natural gas, and enriched uranium used to produce electricity; the cost and availability of natural gas for distribution and purchased power, including capacity, zero emission credits, renewable energy credits, emission allowances; and the level and volatility of future market prices for such commodities and credits;
  • disruptions in the delivery of fuel, failure of our fuel suppliers to provide adequate quantities or quality of fuel, or lack of adequate inventories of fuel, including nuclear fuel assemblies from primarily one Nuclear Regulatory Commission-licensed supplier of Ameren Missouri's Callaway Energy Center assemblies;
  • the cost and availability of transmission capacity for the energy generated by Ameren Missouri's energy centers or required to satisfy our energy sales;
  • the effectiveness of our risk management strategies and our use of financial and derivative instruments;
  • the ability to obtain sufficient insurance or, in the absence of insurance, the ability to timely recover uninsured losses from our customers;
  • the impact of cyberattacks and data security risks on us, our suppliers, or other entities on the grid, which could, among other things, result in the loss of operational control of energy centers and electric and natural gas transmission and distribution systems and/or the loss of data, such as customer, employee, financial, and operating system information;
  • acts of sabotage, which have increased in frequency and severity within the utility industry, war, terrorism, or other intentionally disruptive acts;
  • business, economic, and capital market conditions, including the impact of such conditions on interest rates, inflation, and investments;
  • the impact of inflation or a recession on our customers and the related impact on our results of operations, financial position, and liquidity;
  • disruptions of the capital and credit markets, deterioration in our credit metrics, or other events that may have an adverse effect on the cost or availability of capital, including short-term credit and liquidity, and our ability to access the capital and credit markets on reasonable terms when needed;
  • the actions of credit rating agencies and the effects of such actions;
  • the impact of weather conditions and other natural phenomena on us and our customers, including the impact of system outages and the level of wind and solar resources;
  • the construction, installation, performance, and cost recovery of generation, transmission, and distribution assets;
  • the ability to maintain system reliability during the transition to clean energy generation by Ameren Missouri and the electric utility industry as well as Ameren Missouri's ability to meet generation capacity obligations;
  • the effects of failures of electric generation, electric and natural gas transmission or distribution, or natural gas storage facilities systems and equipment, which could result in unanticipated liabilities or unplanned outages;
  • the operation of Ameren Missouri's Callaway Energy Center, including planned and unplanned outages, as well as the ability to recover costs associated with such outages and the impact of such outages on off-system sales and purchased power, among other things;
  • Ameren Missouri's ability to recover the remaining investment and decommissioning costs associated with the retirement of an energy center, as well as the ability to earn a return on that remaining investment and those decommissioning costs;
  • the impact of current environmental laws and new, more stringent, or changing requirements, including those related to the New Source Review provisions of the Clean Air Act, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and other emissions and discharges, Illinois emission standards, cooling water intake structures, coal combustion residuals, energy efficiency, and wildlife protection, that could limit or terminate the operation of certain of Ameren Missouri's energy centers, increase our operating costs or investment requirements, result in an impairment of our assets, cause us to sell our assets, reduce our customers' demand for electricity or natural gas, or otherwise have a negative financial effect;
  • the impact of complying with renewable energy standards in Missouri;
  • the effectiveness of Ameren Missouri's customer energy-efficiency programs and the related revenues and performance incentives earned under its MEEIA programs;
  • labor disputes, work force reductions, changes in future wage and employee benefits costs, including those resulting from changes in discount rates, mortality tables, returns on benefit plan assets, and other assumptions;
  • the impact of negative opinions of us or our utility services that our customers, investors, legislators, regulators, creditors, or other stakeholders may have or develop, which could result from a variety of factors, including failures in system reliability, failure to implement our investment plans or to protect sensitive customer information, increases in rates, negative media coverage, or concerns about environmental, social and governance practices;
  • the impact of adopting new accounting and reporting guidance;
  • the effects of strategic initiatives, including mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures;
  • legal and administrative proceedings;
  • pandemics or other significant global health events, and their impacts on our results of operations, financial position, and liquidity; and
  • the impacts of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the Israel-Hamas war, related sanctions imposed by the U.S. and other governments, and any broadening of these or other global conflicts, including potential impacts on the cost and availability of fuel, natural gas, enriched uranium, and other commodities, materials, and services, the inability of our counterparties to perform their obligations, disruptions in the capital and credit markets, and other impacts on business, economic, and geopolitical conditions, including inflation.

New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for management to predict all of such factors, nor can it assess the impact of each such factor on the business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained or implied in any forward-looking statement. Given these uncertainties, undue reliance should not be placed on these forward-looking statements. Except to the extent required by the federal securities laws, we undertake no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements to reflect new information or future events.

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SOURCE Ameren Missouri