Editor's note: Video and photos available at Ameren.mediaroom.com/HydroDay
LAKE OZARK, MO (Aug. 22, 2019) – For nearly 100 years, the power of water has been providing renewable energy from the Lake of the Ozarks and surrounding communities to Jefferson City and beyond. In recognition of America's original renewable energy, Ameren Missouri is pleased to celebrate the first National Hydropower Day tomorrow, August 23.
Hydropower is deeply woven into the fabric of the region. Ameren Missouri's Osage Energy Center at Bagnell Dam has been in continuous operation since 1931, powering the quality of life for residents and visitors at the Lake of the Ozarks and beyond. In an average year, Osage Energy Center produces enough clean energy to meet the needs of more than 39,000 homes, and Ameren Missouri has an impact beyond that. The Dam holds back the Osage River, creating the Lake of the Ozarks, which not only provides year-round enjoyment for hundreds of thousands of visitors, but supports a multi-billion-dollar tourism industry. In addition, the Osage Energy Center and nearby Shoreline office employs more than 30 area residents.
"Our hydropower facilities have been powering this community for so long that the value they provide can sometimes go unnoticed," said Warren Witt, director of hydro operations at Ameren Missouri. "As a hydropower generator, we are proud to power our communities’ homes, schools and businesses with clean, renewable energy.”
In addition to Osage, Ameren Missouri operates two other hydro facilities:
Ameren is building on its long clean energy history by investing in hydropower for the future. Just last year, crews completed a $53 million reliability upgrade at Bagnell Dam ahead of schedule. Work is wrapping up this fall on extensive renovations for increased efficiency and responsiveness at Taum Sauk. And plans are in place next year for a multi-million dollar upgrade designed to ensure continued reliable generation of renewable energy at Keokuk. The project is part of the Smart Energy Plan, a group of thousands of electric projects to benefit the more than 500 communities Ameren Missouri serves.
"As Ameren Missouri works to reduce carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050 based on 2005 levels, Osage will be a crucial part of our lower carbon future," Witt said.
In 2018, hydropower was the largest generator of clean, renewable electricity nationwide, representing 7% of total U.S. electricity generation and 39.5% of renewable electricity generation. The U.S. hydropower fleet is comprised of approximately 2,200 generating facilities with a total capacity of roughly 102 gigawatts (GW), which includes 95% of U.S. storage capacity (23 GW) of pumped storage. Hydropower is also a major job creator, employing 66,500 workers.
"National Hydropower Day celebrates hydropower’s undeniable contributions to America’s clean energy infrastructure, electrical grid resiliency and reliability benefits, and environmental protections," Witt said. "As the renewable resource that integrates other renewables, like wind and solar, onto the grid, hydropower plays a critical role in America’s future."
Given that hydropower complements other forms of renewable energy generation, such as wind and solar, states throughout the country are recognizing that hydropower is needed to help them meet their clean energy targets. Hydropower enables greater integration of variable renewables into the grid by utilizing excess generation, and being ready to produce energy during low wind and solar generation periods. Hydropower also has the ability to quickly ramp up electricity generation in response to periods of peak demand.
Ameren Missouri has been providing electric and gas service for more than 100 years, and the company's electric rates are among the lowest in the nation. Ameren Missouri's 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. For more information, visit Ameren.com/Missouri or follow us on Twitter at @AmerenMissouri or Facebook.com/AmerenMissouri.