ST. LOUIS, Jan. 6 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Ameren Energy Resources Company, LLC (AER), the holding company for merchant generation and its energy marketing services for Ameren Corporation (NYSE: AEE), today announced the 2009 completion of more than $1 billion in environmental improvement projects at its Illinois-based, coal-fired power plants.
In 2009, the AER merchant generating segment completed the 36-month installation of state-of-the-art environmental control technologies at two plants. AER installed a scrubber on its Duck Creek Power Plant, near Canton, Ill., and a scrubber on Unit 1 of Coffeen Plant, near Coffeen, Ill.
"Our investment in these technologies reflects our commitment to environmental stewardship and our support for the communities we serve," says Chuck Naslund, AER chairman, president and chief executive officer. "Through these projects, we have not only offered continued permanent employment to hundreds of Illinoisans, but we have also provided jobs to contract employees who call Illinois home. Clearly these projects have had a positive impact on the economies of central and southern Illinois - areas hard-hit by tough economic conditions."
Reducing sulfur dioxide emissions by more than 90%, the scrubbers are designed to redirect the outlet stack gas through a spray-tower scrubber design where the gas mixes with water, a 20% limestone mixture and compressed air. The sulfur dioxide in the flue gas then reacts with the limestone to produce a gypsum by-product that can either be sold for commercial use or placed into a landfill for disposal.
In addition, the company will be completing installation of yet another scrubber and electrostatic precipitator within the first quarter of 2010 on Unit 2 of the Coffeen Plant.
In 2009, a new precipitator was also installed at the Duck Creek Plant. Electrostatic precipitators offer an efficient way to capture particulates before they go into the atmosphere.
To further reduce mercury emissions, AER in 2009 also installed activated carbon injection systems at the E.D. Edwards Plant, at its Meredosia Plant near Jacksonville, Ill., at Newton Plant, in Jasper County, Ill., and at the Joppa (Ill.) Power Plant (an Electric Energy Inc., plant that is 80% owned by Ameren). With activated carbon injection systems, powdered activated carbon absorbs the oxidized mercury from the flue gas, and the mercury is then collected with the fly ash in the plant's particulate collection device.
These initiatives follow the installation of a range of combustion control technologies, like low-nitrogen oxide (NOx) burners that reduce NOx emissions at many of the Illinois plants. Between 2001 and 2003, AER's merchant generation operators also installed selective catalytic reduction units at both plants, and in 2003, a selective catalytic reduction unit was installed at the E. D. Edwards Plant in Bartonville, Ill. Designed to significantly reduce NOx emissions, selective catalytic reduction breaks down NOx present in the exhaust gases into elemental benign nitrogen and water.
"We continue to invest in environmental improvements as we strive to lead the way to a secure energy future," Naslund added. "At AER, we remain committed to finding new approaches to reducing emissions, while keeping costs as low as possible so that we can remain competitive in the marketplace and improve the environment we all share."
Ameren's non-rate-regulated operations include AER's Ameren Energy Generating Company's and Ameren Energy Resources Generating Company's six coal-fired plants plus multiple natural gas-fired units. In addition, AER includes Ameren Energy Medina Valley Cogen L.L.C., which operates a natural gas-fired facility in Mossville, Ill., and Ameren Energy Marketing Company (AEM). AEM is responsible for the marketing and trading portfolios of 11 generating facilities in Illinois and Missouri. AEM serves the power needs of utilities, municipalities, electric cooperatives, energy aggregators, business customers and financial institutions.
With assets of approximately $24 billion, Ameren companies serve 2.4 million electric customers and 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/