Ameren Missouri releases plan to transition the state to a smart grid
Ameren Missouri announced this week the largest infrastructure upgrade plan in the company’s history. The Smart Energy Plan includes more than 2,000 electric projects over the next five years that will modernize the energy grid and enhance how customers receive and consume electricity for generations to come, all while keeping electric rates stable and predictable.
“Building a smart grid for the future of energy in Missouri is foundational to our mission to power the quality of life for our customers and the communities we serve for generations to come,” said Michael Moehn, president of Ameren Missouri, a subsidiary of Ameren Corporation AEE. “We have developed a forward-thinking and customer-focused infrastructure upgrade plan that will not only produce a grid that is more reliable and resilient, but also be able to accommodate more renewable energy. Our Smart Energy Plan will position us to deliver on our promises to provide more customer benefits, while at the same time keeping rates stable and predictable.”
Ameren Missouri filed the plan with the Missouri Public Service Commission (PSC) on Thursday. The forward-thinking plan was driven by constructive energy legislation (Missouri Senate Bill 564) that was enacted in 2018. That legislation was widely supported by customers, business organizations, unions and a bipartisan majority of the Missouri General Assembly.
The PSC filing, including a five-year capital investment overview and detailed one-year plan for 2019, sets forth the projects Ameren Missouri plans to implement to modernize energy grid infrastructure in Missouri to benefit its customers and offer them more tools to manage their energy usage.
Upgrades in reliability, resilience and service throughout the energy company’s 24,000-square-mile service territory are the foundation of the plan. Highlights include:
- More than 2,000 infrastructure improvement projects across the state totaling $5.3 billion in capital investments over the next five years, including approximately $1 billion in electric investments in 2019.
- Major renewable energy projects to continue the transition to a cleaner energy future for customers, including $1 billion for wind energy in 2020. This also includes modernizing the energy grid to allow Ameren Missouri to add more solar energy and battery storage on the system to cost-effectively boost reliability, particularly in rural areas.
- New smart grid sensors, switches and self-healing equipment to rapidly detect and isolate outages — reducing the number of outages and speeding power restoration when service interruptions occur.
- A stronger, more secure energy delivery backbone including installing 12,000 new utility poles for storm hardening, many fortified with composite materials to better withstand severe weather.
- More than 400 miles of new underground cable and equipment to create a more efficient and reliable underground energy delivery system that better serves customers.
- More than 70 new or upgraded substations to increase energy service reliability and serve more customers through a streamlined network that is more cost-effective and efficient.
- Adding more than 800,000 smart electric meters through 2023 to give customers more insight and control of their energy options and costs.
Additional Smart Energy Plan Highlights:
- Stable rates in the form of a 6% rate cut that took effect last August, a base rate freeze until April 2020, and first-ever caps on rate increases.
- Creation of thousands of direct and indirect jobs in Missouri communities as a result of more than 2,000 planned projects.
- Economic development incentives to qualifying new and existing businesses to encourage local businesses to grow and to attract new businesses to Missouri, creating jobs and supporting economic vitality in communities across the state.
“Our customer-focused plan supports Ameren Missouri’s vision to lead the way to a secure energy future, making our state an even better place to live and do business,” Moehn said.
Customers can learn more about the plan at AmerenMissouri.com/SmartEnergyPlan, or by attending an informational public stakeholder meeting that opens at 5:30 p.m. March 4 at the Millbottom Event Center, 400 W. Main St. in Jefferson City, Missouri, with a presentation starting at 6 p.m.
To view the complete Smart Energy Plan filing, including detailed projects in 2019, visit the Missouri PSC website at https://psc.mo.gov/ and refer to File No. EO-2019-0044.
News item from Ameren Missouri