ST. LOUIS — Ameren plans to invest $8 billion in renewable projects during the next two decades, with a goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 across Missouri and Illinois, the energy company announced Monday.
The St. Louis-based company said it plans to reduce carbon emissions 50% by 2030 and 85% by 2040, based on 2005 levels. It also will eventually close all of its coal-based power plants, starting with the retirement of the Meramec Energy Center in 2022 and ending with the final coal-power plant closing in 2042.
The changes were included in a generation plan — known as an Integrated Resource Plan — that Ameren submits to state regulators every three years.
“Under our plan, customers will receive significant benefits from advances in technology and falling renewable energy costs, as well as from robust energy efficiency programs to help keep their energy costs affordable,” Marty Lyons, chairman and president of Ameren Missouri, said in a news release.
The company's plan would result in renewable energy projects that generate 3,100 megawatts by 2030, increasing to 5.400 megawatts of capacity by 2040. Ameren had already announced plans to acquire to wind-based energy systems in Missouri in the next few months for $1.2 billion.
“Climate change is one of the most important issues of our time. Our transformative plan to add large amounts of wind and solar energy generation will ensure all customers, regardless of where they happen to live or their household income, have access to clean, reliable and affordable energy,” said Gwen Mizell, vice president of sustainability and electrification at Ameren.
Ashok Gupta, a Kansas City-based senior energy economist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, said the plan is significant progress from Ameren, driven in part by mounting pressure from investors, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
“This is driven by market forces because renewables have become so much cheaper than coal. Having so much coal in their portfolio was seen as a risk by investors,” Gupta said.