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Ameren starts work on Jefferson smart grid project

Steve Rogerson
August 21, 2019

Ameren Missouri has begun construction of a smart grid project that should reduce the number of outages and speed power restoration for users in downtown Jefferson City.
New underground equipment with smart technology is being installed throughout the downtown area to create a self-healing grid that is designed to reduce outage times for some service disruptions from hours to seconds.
Workers have started installing switchgear on Jackson Street as part of its storm-hardening project. Work on the $1.2m initiative started this month and is due to be completed by the end of the year.
"The Jefferson City smart grid project will modernise and dramatically upgrade underground infrastructure to provide more reliable electric service to local and state agencies and businesses that serve millions of Missouri families on a daily basis," said Ralph Webb, division director of central Missouri for Ameren Missouri.
Part of Ameren Missouri's Smart Energy Plan, the project includes installation of eight smart technology switchgears that have the capability to work together to detect and isolate outages and quickly re-route power. The project also includes the addition of fibre optic cables that will allow streamlined communications with Ameren Missouri's network.
Among the businesses and government agencies that will benefit from these smart technology improvements are the Jefferson City Hall and Police Department, Cole County Court House, Cole County Sheriff's Department and Jail, Missouri State Capitol, Missouri Department of Transportation, and Missouri Department of Revenue.
"We recognise that the downtown area has seen some service interruptions and know that even short intermittent outages can have an adverse effect on daily lives and local government and business operations," Webb said. “This project will transform the energy grid into a much more robust, smarter and secure system for families and businesses.”
In addition to the downtown smart technology project, Ameren Missouri will upgrade the Fairgrounds substation with new energy delivery cables to harden the system and provide improved reliability for decades to come. Multiple upgrade projects are also planned throughout central Missouri and other parts of the state.
The Smart Energy Plan, announced in February, is the largest infrastructure upgrade plan in Ameren Missouri's history and was made possible by the passage of Senate Bill 564 last year by the Missouri General Assembly. The plan includes a $5.3bn capital investment in more than 2000 electric projects across Missouri. It also includes a $1bn investment in wind generation to continue Ameren Missouri's transition to using cleaner, renewable energy sources, which will help reduce carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. The projects will also accelerate smart energy infrastructure and create thousands of direct and indirect jobs for Missouri workers.
Ameren Missouri has been providing electric and gas service for more than 100 years. Its mission is to power the quality of life for its 1.2 million electric and 127,000 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.