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The latest news from every corner of the state, including policy emerging from Missouri's capitol.

Ameren Missouri Purchases Second Wind Energy Facility In Northwestern Missouri

Ameren Missouri

A wind energy facility in northwestern Missouri will allow Ameren Missouri to provide more clean energy to its customers.

Ameren purchased the Atchison Renewable Energy Center as part of its $1.1 billion investment in wind energy in the state. Ameren officials said the 300-megawatt project will be completed this year, but the facility is already producing energy.

Ameren officials said the site will provide energy to 90,000 customers this year.

“Missouri is starting to take a leadership position in developing local renewable resources,” said Ajay Arora, chief renewable development officer at Ameren Missouri.

The Atchison center is the second wind energy facility purchased by the utility. Ameren Missouri purchased the High Prairie Renewable Energy Center in Schuyler and Adair Counties in December. The facilities are expected to add a combined 700 megawatts of wind generation to the state.

Wind and other forms of sustainable energy have become cheaper over time, Arora said. The new investments will not only benefit the environment, but also the economy.

Ameren officials said the wind farms will add construction and maintenance jobs in the facilities. But the new plants also will lead to lower utility costs for customers.

“This energy is now competitive, it’s reliable, it’s affordable, and it allows us to access federal tax credits on behalf of our customers,” Arora said.

Ameren Missouri’s investments are part of the company’s announcement last fall to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Ameren has made a significant investment in wind energy, which has become a cheaper source of power, said Andrew Linhares, regional director and senior counsel for Renew Missouri St. Louis.

“This and similar purchases by Ameren represent a huge ground shift in Ameren’s progress towards a clean energy future,” Linhares said. “Renew Missouri has long been advocating for this type of investment and future planned investments to happen.”

Linhares said Ameren’s transition to significantly invest in wind energy has come a long way in recent years. Renew Missouri published a report in 2017 that found Ameren served more customers than its peers but had the least amount of wind capacity when compared to other Midwest utility companies.

“Ameren is obviously following the economics of where things are pushing them, but they’re also making some bold steps to close coal fired power plants which have become too expensive,” Linhares said.

Ameren officials said they will also start the transition into solar energy and battery storage over the next few years.

Follow Chad on Twitter @iamcdavis

Copyright 2021 St. Louis Public Radio

Chad Davis is a 2016 graduate of Truman State University where he studied Public Communication and English. At Truman State, Chad served as the executive producer of the on-campus news station, TMN Television. In 2017, Chad joined the St. Louis Public Radio team as the fourth Race and Culture Diversity Fellow. Chad is a native of St. Louis and is a huge hip- hop, r&b, and pop music fan. He also enjoys graphic design, pop culture, film, and comedy.
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