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Ameren Missouri announces $5.3bn plan to modernise grid

Steve Rogerson
February 20, 2019

Ameren Missouri has announced the largest infrastructure upgrade plan in the company's history. The $5.3bn Smart Energy Plan includes more than 2000 electric projects over the next five years that will modernise the energy grid and enhance how customers receive and consume electricity.
"Building a smart grid for the future of energy in Missouri is foundational to our mission to power the quality of life for our customers and the communities we serve for generations to come," said Michael Moehn, president of Ameren Missouri. "We have developed a forward-thinking and customer-focused infrastructure upgrade plan that will not only produce a grid that is more reliable and resilient, but also be able to accommodate more renewable energy. Our Smart Energy Plan will position us to deliver on our promises to provide more customer benefits, while at the same time keeping rates stable and predictable."
Ameren Missouri filed the plan with the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC). The plan was driven by constructive energy legislation (Missouri Senate Bill 564) that was enacted in 2018. That legislation was widely supported by customers, business organisations, unions and a bipartisan majority of the Missouri General Assembly.
The PSC filing, including a five-year capital investment overview and detailed one-year plan for 2019, sets forth the projects Ameren Missouri plans to implement to modernise energy grid infrastructure in Missouri to benefit its customers and offer them more tools to manage their energy usage.
Upgrades in reliability, resilience and service throughout the energy company's 62,000-square-kilometre service territory are the foundation of the plan. Highlights include:

  • More than 2000 infrastructure improvement projects across the state totalling $5.3bn in capital investments over the next five years, including around $1bn in electric investments in 2019.
  • Major renewable energy projects to continue the transition to a cleaner energy future for customers, including $1bn for wind energy in 2020. This also includes modernising the energy grid to allow Ameren Missouri to add more solar energy and battery storage on the system to boost reliability cost-effectively, particularly in rural areas.
  • Smart grid sensors, switches and self-healing equipment to detect and isolate outages rapidly, reducing the number of outages and speeding power restoration when service interruptions occur.
  • A stronger, more secure energy delivery backbone including installing 12,000 utility poles for storm hardening, many fortified with composite materials to withstand severe weather.
  • More than 640km of new underground cable and equipment to create a more efficient and reliable underground energy delivery system that better serves customers.
  • More than 70 new or upgraded substations to increase energy service reliability and serve more users through a streamlined network that is more cost-effective and efficient.
  • Adding more than 800,000 smart electric meters by 2023 to give users more insight and control of their energy options and costs.
Additional Smart Energy Plan highlights include:
  • Stable rates in the form of a six per cent rate cut that took effect last August, a base rate freeze until April 2020, and first-ever caps on rate increases.
  • Creation of thousands of direct and indirect jobs in Missouri communities as a result of more than 2000 planned projects.
  • Economic development incentives to qualifying new and existing businesses to encourage local businesses to grow and to attract new businesses to Missouri, creating jobs and supporting economic vitality in communities across the state.
"Our customer-focused plan supports Ameren Missouri's vision to lead the way to a secure energy future, making our state an even better place to live and do business," Moehn said.
Ameren Missouri has been providing electric and natural gas service for more than 100 years. Its mission is to power the quality of life for its 1.2 million electric and 130,000 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.