ST. LOUIS, Dec. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Ameren Corporation and its utility companies in Illinois and Missouri today launched a major solar energy initiative that will span both states.
As a first step, the corporation is installing solar energy systems at its downtown St. Louis headquarters campus at 1901 Chouteau, while Ameren Illinois Utilities (AmerenCIPS, AmerenCILCO, AmerenIP) will install solar systems at one of its facilities in Illinois.
"This initiative reflects our strong interest in pursuing a diverse portfolio of generation options that include renewable resources," said Thomas R. Voss, Ameren chief executive officer and president. "We have a long history of incorporating renewable resources into our generation portfolio--from the early decades of the twentieth century when we began adding hydroelectric generation. Moving to solar energy at our facilities is a natural for Ameren."
The global engineering firm, Burns & McDonnell, with offices in Chesterfield, Mo., has been chosen to develop a conceptual design for the solar demonstration projects, which would include the latest in solar system technologies.
"At these sites, we will be able to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiencies of specific types of solar systems in this region," added Voss, who announced the initiative at a 10:30 a.m. media briefing today. "After the systems become operational, we will begin offering a range of online information about our findings from the project -- information that should help customers in their own evaluations of different types of solar systems."
This project will be developed in stages, beginning with solar installations either on the roof and/or grounds of two Ameren campuses. Burns & McDonnell has designed and managed renewable energy installations across the nation and globe, including development of a demonstration project at their Kansas City, Mo., corporate headquarters.
The generating capacities for Ameren's solar installations will range between 25 and 550 kilowatts. Project designs should be completed by mid-April, with the first-phase installation projects completed by the fall of 2010.
Ameren companies are taking a number of steps to encourage not only the development of renewable energy resources but also more efficient use of energy. For more on these programs, customers can go to Ameren Illinois Utilities' Act On Energy® Web site ActOnEnergy.com.
On the renewables front, AIU purchased renewable energy credits (RECs) through a bidding process managed by a state purchasing authority--the most recent bidding resulted in the purchase of 720,000 RECs for the 12-month period beginning June 1, 2009.
For customers considering solar energy, AmerenUE in 2010 is offering a rebate of $2 per watt up to 25 kilowatts or a maximum of $50,000 for qualified new solar electric system installations installed after Jan. 1, 2010. Only solar systems on residential and commercial properties are eligible for this rebate.
AmerenUE also recently agreed to buy 102 megawatts of wind power for its Missouri customers---enough to power 26,000 households.
In addition, the company sponsors performances by The National Theatre for Children (NTC), which through live theater delivers important messages about energy conservation and renewable energy to hundreds of schools throughout the region.
In September, AmerenUE announced an agreement with Fred Weber, Inc. to install combustion turbines capable of generating 15 megawatts of electricity by burning methane gas at Fred Weber's Maryland Heights, Mo., solid waste landfill.
Expected to be operational in 2011, this project will be the largest landfill gas-electric plant in Missouri and among the largest in the nation in terms of generating capacity, producing enough electricity to meet the demands of about 10,000 homes.
Finally, AmerenUE also offers a program for customers who are interested in supporting additional development of renewable energy resources---AmerenUE Pure Power™, which was launched in 2007. This award-winning, voluntary program for Missouri residential and business customers allows customers to voluntarily pay slightly more on their energy bills to purchase RECs to encourage development of renewable resources.
With assets of $24 billion, Ameren owns a diverse mix of electric generating plants strategically located in its Midwest market with a capacity of more than 16,300 megawatts. Ameren, through its subsidiaries, serves 2.4 million electric customers and nearly one million natural gas customers in a 64,000-square-mile area of Missouri and Illinois.
SOURCE: Ameren Corporation
Web site: http://www.ameren.com/