AmerenUE Requests $140 Million in Federal Stimulus Grants to Fund Smart Grid, Advanced Management System, Electric Vehicle Projects
ST. LOUIS, Aug. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- AmerenUE this week filed an application for $140 million in projects for consideration under the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the stimulus package). Of the total $787 billion package, about $43 billion is targeted for energy projects and energy efficiency.
"UE's application focuses on pursuing funding to support our core strategies--improving reliability and meeting the needs of our customers," says UE Vice President for Energy Delivery Technical Services Dave Schepers. "Our multi-disciplinary team has worked since the February enactment of the stimulus package legislation to determine which projects made the most sense for our customers and the environment.
"Most of the money we are requesting involves modernizing our delivery system across Missouri. Our application would fund improvements that go from the delivery of electricity down to the customer. This funding would increase our operating efficiency and support our investment in infrastructure improvements to help customers better manage their energy use, lowering their energy bills now and in the future. It would also help avoid service disruptions and improve outage restoration times. Receiving these funds would help us develop a next-generation electrical system that would benefit our customers and the environment."
Of the total stimulus package, about $4.5 billion is targeted to support research and development of the nation's smart grid that would deliver electricity from suppliers to consumers using digital technology.
UE's application includes the following funding requests for a 50 percent federal match:
- $125 million in projects for modernizing the company's Missouri delivery system. This funding would more than double the company's remote switching and sensing capabilities on major delivery system lines, providing information that would identify problems as they occur and help the grid heal itself with little or no intervention. In addition, this funding would go toward updating technology in UE's substations. It would help pay for diagnostic monitoring in substations (where electricity is transformed from high to low voltages to move power across the system). This technology would give the company a better picture of what's taking place on major pieces of equipment, allowing personnel to intervene before a failure occurs.
- Part of this request would also fund a project to enable homeowners to better manage their use of electricity through real-time, two-way communications devices connected to the customer's computer system and meter. These small electronic devices have the ability to pull data directly from the meter at a home and push this information to an "in-home" display or to an Internet Web site, allowing a customer to view electric usage almost as quickly as it is consumed. These devices could also link the utility with a customer, allowing the utility to send out pricing signals in an effort to lower energy demand at times of peak use and cut utility costs for the consumer.
- NOTE: UE is spending $90 million through 2011 to provide a range of energy efficiency programs to residents and businesses. The goal is to reduce the demand on the company's system by 540 megawatts by 2025--deferring the need to build a large baseload power plant.
- An additional $15 million for an Advanced Distribution Management System---an operating system that would synthesize and provide data from the various computer applications that are used to manage UE's response to service disruptions. In 1993, UE became one of the first utilities in the nation to install a sophisticated outage analysis system that ties together detailed delivery system data, the customer information system and call center operations, so that UE staffs know when service outages occur, the locations of outages and the number of customers affected. A new operating system would unify components of systems added over the years.
- Matching funds to purchase two plug-in electric trouble trucks. UE is joining a group of other utilities in an application spearheaded by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to test and purchase these trucks as part of an effort to continue to "green" fleet operations of America's utility companies. UE already owns and operates a hybrid electric bucket truck.
AmerenUE serves 1.2 million electric and 127,000 natural gas customers across Missouri. Ameren, through its subsidiaries, serves 2.4 million electric and nearly one million natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area of Illinois and Missouri. Ameren and its subsidiaries have dozens of initiatives aimed at improving the environment. The corporation is committed to addressing climate change issues and reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Check out Ameren company climate change initiatives under the section on what Ameren and its companies are doing at www.ameren.com/climatechange/.
Web site: http://www.ameren.com/