Ameren Missouri takes largest step yet toward net-zero carbon goal with acquisition of its first wind energy center in northeast Missouri
ST. LOUIS, Dec. 23, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Ameren Missouri, a subsidiary of Ameren Corporation (NYSE: AEE), has closed on the acquisition of the company's first wind energy center, a 400-megawatt (MW) project in northeast Missouri. The purchase of the High Prairie Renewable Energy Center in Adair and Schuyler counties is the first of two planned investments in Missouri-based wind generation, which will add 700 MW of clean energy to the grid.
"This is just the beginning, as Ameren Missouri lays the foundation for a transformational advancement toward more renewable wind and solar generation in the coming years, cutting carbon emissions and driving job creation and economic growth," said Marty Lyons, chairman and president of Ameren Missouri. "Ameren Missouri is committed to clean. Expanding Missouri-based wind energy generation helps us move toward our goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050."
The High Prairie Renewable Energy Center is the first of many renewable energy additions anticipated by Ameren Missouri. The company recently released plans to invest approximately $4.5 billion in 3,100 MW of renewable generation by 2030. This includes $1.2 billion for the planned acquisitions of this energy center and a 300 MW energy center in Atchison County, Missouri.
"All of our customers, no matter where they live, are benefitting from additional clean energy on the grid as a result of this acquisition," said Ajay Arora, chief renewable development officer at Ameren Missouri. "These turbines use some of the latest technology that harnesses more wind at an affordable price. It's also very gratifying to see this project built in our state, where families will receive a host of economic benefits for years to come."
The wind facility was constructed by an affiliate of Terra-Gen LLC. The energy center consists of 175 wind turbines that are among the most technologically advanced in the state. Ameren Missouri anticipates the energy center will produce enough energy to power the equivalent of 120,000 homes in 2021.
"It's exciting to see how northeast Missouri is making a major contribution to providing cleaner energy for the entire state," said Carolyn Chrisman, executive director of Kirksville Regional Economic Development (K-REDI). "Besides providing sustainable energy, it is helping to grow the economy of our region from not only construction jobs, but ongoing operations that will provide long term good paying jobs for many years to come!"
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 132,000 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.
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, 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 Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2019, Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2020, 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;
- the length and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its impacts on our business continuity plans and our results of operations, financial position, and liquidity, including but not limited to changes in customer demand resulting in changes to sales volumes, customers' payment for our services and their use of deferred payment arrangements, future regulatory or legislative actions that could require suspension of customer disconnections and/or late fees, among other things, for an extended period of time, the health and welfare of our workforce and contractors, supplier disruptions, delays in the completion of construction projects, which could impact our planned capital expenditures and expected planned rate base growth, Ameren Missouri's ability to recover any forgone customer late fee revenues or incremental costs, our ability to meet customer energy-efficiency program goals and earn performance incentives related to those programs, increased data security risks as a result of the transition to remote working arrangements for a significant portion of our workforce, and our ability to access the capital markets on reasonable terms and when needed;
- the effect on Ameren Missouri of any customer rate caps pursuant to Ameren Missouri's election to use the plant-in-service accounting regulatory mechanism, including an extension of use beyond 2023, if requested by Ameren Missouri and approved by the Missouri Public Service Commission;
- the effects of changes in federal, state, or local laws and other governmental actions, including monetary, fiscal, and energy policies;
- the effects of changes in federal, state, or local tax laws, regulations, interpretations, or rates, including as a result of amendments or technical corrections to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, and challenges to the tax positions taken by us, if any;
- 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 effectiveness of Ameren Missouri's customer energy-efficiency programs and the related revenues and performance incentives earned under its Missouri Energy Efficiency Investment Act programs;
- our ability to align overall spending, both operating and capital, with frameworks established by our regulators and to recover these costs in a timely manner in our attempt to earn our allowed return on equity;
- 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 purchased power, zero emission credits, renewable energy credits, and natural gas for distribution; and the level and volatility of future market prices for such commodities and credits, including our ability to recover the costs for such commodities and credits and our customers' tolerance for any related price increases;
- the effectiveness of our risk management strategies and our use of financial and derivative instruments;
- the ability to obtain sufficient insurance, including insurance for Ameren Missouri's nuclear and coal-fired energy centers, or, in the absence of insurance, the ability to recover uninsured losses from our customers;
- the impact of cyberattacks on us or our suppliers, 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;
- business and economic conditions, which have been affected by, and will be affected by the length and severity of, the COVID-19 pandemic, including the impact of such conditions on interest rates;
- disruptions of the capital 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;
- the actions of credit rating agencies and the effects of such actions, including any impacts on our credit ratings that may result from the economic conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic;
- the inability of our counterparties to meet their obligations with respect to contracts, credit agreements, and financial instruments;
- the impact of weather conditions and other natural phenomena on us and our customers, including the impact of system outages;
- the construction, installation, performance, and cost recovery of generation, transmission, and distribution assets;
- 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, and decommissioning costs;
- Ameren Missouri's ability to recover the remaining investment, if any, 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 and the implementation of the Affordable Clean Energy Rule, other emissions and discharges, cooling water intake structures, coal combustion residuals, and energy efficiency, 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;
- Ameren Missouri's ability to acquire wind, solar, and other renewable energy generation facilities and recover its cost of investment and related return in a timely manner, which is affected by the ability to obtain all necessary project approvals; the ability of developers to meet contractual commitments and complete projects timely, which is dependent upon the availability of necessary materials and equipment, including those that are affected by the disruptions in the global supply chain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic; and Ameren Missouri's ability to obtain a certificate of convenience and necessity from the Missouri Public Service Commission or any other required approvals for the addition of renewable resources, retirement of energy centers, and new or continued customer energy-efficiency programs;
- the availability of federal production and investment tax credits related to renewable energy and Ameren Missouri's ability to use such credits; 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. or other regional transmission organizations at an acceptable cost for each facility;
- advancements in carbon-free generation and storage technologies, and constructive federal and state energy and economic policies with respect to those technologies;
- 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, or regulators 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/or governance practices;
- the effects of strategic initiatives, including mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures;
- legal and administrative proceedings; and
- acts of sabotage, war, terrorism, or other intentionally disruptive acts.
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.
SOURCE Ameren Corporation
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