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Ameren Releases White Paper Offering Constructive Alternatives to EPA's Clean Power Plan

ST. LOUIS, Feb. 11, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- A white paper issued today by Ameren Corporation says that constructive and common-sense alterations to the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan (CPP) are needed to avoid imposing staggering costs on utility customers and significant risks to electric grid reliability.

Ameren's approach would achieve the same final CO2 emission reduction goals as EPA's own plan while saving $4 billion in costs and avoiding grid reliability problems related to the premature closure of key coal-fired power plants.

Ameren's GHG strategy proposes pragmatic changes to the EPA plan that include removing the plan's interim targets that begin in 2020; enhancing interim reporting requirements by the states to ensure that progress is being made to achieve the 2030 target; allowing full credit for the retirement of coal-fired power plants; and allowing for a reasonable extension of the 2030 deadline if utilities are making substantive progress toward achieving the EPA's final greenhouse gas (GHG) goals.

Ameren's modifications to the EPA plan would facilitate cost-effective compliance not only by Ameren, but by utilities around the country faced with complying with the agency's proposal.  Based on carefully calibrated projections of long-term regional supply-and-demand dynamics, Ameren's GHG strategy relies on a diverse mix of coal, nuclear, natural gas and renewable energy resources, as well as the continuation of robust energy efficiency programs. 

"The Ameren plan would save our customers billions of dollars while helping avoid substantial economic costs and consequences related to the potential degradation of electric reliability, long a bedrock component of America's economic prosperity and widely admired standard of living," said Warner Baxter, Ameren's chairman, president and chief executive officer. "Ameren's solution also substantially reduces greenhouse gas emissions and will, in the long run, achieve the same emission reductions as EPA's proposed rule at a significantly lower cost while safeguarding our customers' electricity supply."

Recognizing that the CPP will be subject to legal challenges, Ameren believes that the EPA could greatly enhance the adaptability and effectiveness of its CPP proposal with a few common-sense modifications:

  • 2020 Targets: Replace EPA's interim target goals beginning in 2020 with a more flexible approach that provides states greater leeway in determining the proper glide path to achieve the agency's final GHG goals by 2030.
  • Interim reporting: The EPA should establish enhanced interim reporting requirements by the states to facilitate monitoring and to ensure progress is being made to achieve the final 2030 targets.
  • Performance Metrics: Revise the compliance formula to provide proper credit under EPA's rate-based method for retiring, and not replacing, existing coal-fired power plants with fossil generation – thus giving full credit where credit is due.
  • Graduation Dates: Offer states the flexibility to extend the 2030 deadline if a clear path to meaningful reductions is evident in a reasonable time frame.

Under the Ameren GHG strategy, by 2035 Ameren would retire more than 1800 MW (about one-third) of its coal-fired fleet, add approximately 500 MW of renewable generation, extend the license of its 1200 MW Callaway Nuclear Energy Center, add a 600 MW natural gas combined-cycle unit, and continue to offer robust energy efficiency programs.

"Ameren has developed a clear path to significantly cut greenhouse gas emissions without inflicting needless pain upon our customers," Baxter said. "The modifications we propose to the EPA's Clean Power Plan reflect Midwestern values of prudence and practicality and create a more workable alternative to the agency's proposed rule by offering a solution to help address unreasonable assumptions built into the plan's building blocks. Our approach provides important environmental and climate benefits while saving customers billions of dollars and preserving the reliable service U.S. citizens have enjoyed for decades. We hope our proposal sparks a constructive conversation among all involved in this important issue."

Baxter further discussed the context of Ameren's proposal in a recent article in EM Magazine. You can download this article and the full White Paper here.

St. Louis-based Ameren Corporation powers the quality of life for 2.4 million electric customers and more than 900,000 natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area through its Ameren Missouri and Ameren Illinois rate-regulated utility subsidiaries. Ameren Illinois provides electric delivery and transmission service as well as natural gas delivery service while Ameren Missouri provides vertically integrated electric service, with generating capacity of 10,300 megawatts, and natural gas delivery service. Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois develops regional electric transmission projects. Follow the company on Twitter @AmerenCorp. For more information, visit Ameren.com.       


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SOURCE Ameren Corporation