Ameren Missouri continues to expand clean energy with acquisition of second wind energy generation facility
ST. LOUIS, Jan. 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Ameren Missouri, a subsidiary of Ameren Corporation (NYSE: AEE), closed on the acquisition of the company's second wind energy center, a 300-megawatt (MW) project located in northwest Missouri. Clean, renewable energy from the facility is already reaching customers, even as construction continues on some of the project turbines. Approximately 100 MW are now in-service, with an additional 50 MW to 75 MW expected by the end of March. The remaining 125 to 150 MW are expected to be operational later this year.
The new Atchison Renewable Energy Center, along with the 400 MW High Prairie Renewable Energy Center that Ameren Missouri began operating in December, will add 700 MW of in-state wind generation to the grid. The total investment in these two projects is approximately $1.1 billion.
"Ameren Missouri is taking major steps forward in our transformation to clean energy with the addition of these two large facilities," said Marty Lyons, chairman and president of Ameren Missouri. "We're planning for the long term with deep carbon reductions to achieve our goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050."
The new energy centers are 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, including the Atchison and High Prairie renewable energy centers.
"Missouri-based clean energy is good for our customers, the environment and the economy," said Ajay Arora, chief renewable development officer at Ameren Missouri. "The ongoing operation of these facilities is the next step in getting the energy we provide as clean as we can, as fast as we can, without compromising on reliability or affordability."
The remaining portion of the Atchison Renewable Energy Center wind facility is still being constructed by Invenergy. It is the fourth utility-scale wind energy facility operating in the county, which will soon have a combined wind generation capacity of approximately 800 MW, the most of any county in Missouri.
"Wind energy continues to have a tremendous economic impact on Atchison County," said Monica Bailey, executive director, Atchison County Development Corporation. "Our county strongly supports wind energy production because it provides permanent, family-supporting jobs and unparalleled financial benefits to public entities such as our schools. We look forward to a long, productive relationship with Ameren Missouri."
Ameren Missouri is dedicated to supporting the communities where it serves or operates. Recent philanthropic recipients in the area include Tarkio Tech to support its wind energy technician training program and the East Atchison Wolves Football Team Booster Club.
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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