Huck Finn Solar Project is 25 times larger than any current solar site in Missouri
ST. LOUIS, June 27, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Today Ameren Missouri, a subsidiary of Ameren Corporation (NYSE: AEE), takes another important step toward bringing more renewable energy to customers by announcing the planned acquisition of the company's largest-ever solar facility, a 200 megawatt (MW) solar installation in central Missouri that is expected to create more than 250 construction jobs.
The facility will be acquired pursuant to a build-transfer agreement with EDF Renewables, a company with a longstanding track record of developing and building renewable energy facilities. Known as the Huck Finn Solar Project, it is planned to be constructed on the border of Missouri's Audrain and Ralls counties. Huck Finn is expected to produce enough energy to power approximately 40,000 homes. With timely regulatory approvals, the project could begin generating clean energy as soon as 2024.
"Developing Huck Finn is good for all of our customers because it provides clean electricity, creates economic opportunity and injects millions of dollars into the community over the life of the project, which will have widespread additional benefits," said Mark Birk, chairman and president of Ameren Missouri.
The facility is a step-change for solar generation in Missouri, and its announcement comes just days after Ameren Missouri updated its comprehensive plan to safeguard long-term energy reliability and resiliency for Missourians, a plan that also accelerates Ameren's companywide net-zero carbon emissions goal to 2045, five years sooner than previously planned.
"We're focused on the two items customers say are most important to them: reliability and affordability," Birk said. "The thoughtfully planned additions of renewable generation over time keeps the grid reliable and resilient while also managing costs."
Huck Finn is designed to generate more than 25 times the amount of energy of Missouri's largest existing solar facility. It is the latest project to be part of Ameren Missouri's planned addition of 2,800 MW in new, clean renewable generation by 2030 and the ninth solar facility that the company has announced or put in service since 2019. Together, these nine facilities represent more than 360 MW of clean energy generation capacity. In that time, Ameren Missouri has installed solar generation in underutilized locations including a parking garage, next to an airport runway and in partnership with community-based organizations working in underserved neighborhoods.
"Our customers will benefit from technological improvements that make solar generation an adaptable resource where we can get more energy from previously unused locations, including parking lots and garage rooftops," said Ajay Arora, chief renewable development officer at Ameren Missouri. "In the coming months, we anticipate taking more steps to demonstrate Ameren Missouri's commitment to clean energy generation."
Terms of the agreement between Ameren Missouri and EDF are confidential.
About Ameren Missouri
Ameren Missouri has been providing electric and gas service for more than 100 years. Ameren Missouri's mission is to power the quality of life for its 1.2 million electric and 135,000 natural gas customers in central and eastern Missouri. The company's service area covers 64 counties and more than 500 communities, including the greater St. Louis area. For more information, visit Ameren.com/Missouri or follow us on Twitter at @AmerenMissouri or Facebook.com/AmerenMissouri.
Statements in this release not based on historical facts are considered "forward-looking" and, accordingly, involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed. Although such forward-looking statements have been made in good faith and are based on reasonable assumptions, there is no assurance that the expected results will be achieved. These statements include (without limitation) statements as to future expectations, beliefs, plans, projections, strategies, targets, estimates, objectives, events, conditions, and financial performance. In connection with the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Ameren and Ameren Missouri are providing this cautionary statement to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated. The following factors, in addition to those discussed under Risk Factors in Ameren and Ameren Missouri's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2021, and their other reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, could cause actual results to differ materially from management expectations suggested in such "forward-looking" statements. All "forward-looking" statements included in this report are based upon information presently available, and Ameren and Ameren Missouri, except to the extent required by the federal securities laws, undertake no obligation to update or revise publicly any "forward-looking" statements to reflect new information or current events.
- regulatory, judicial, or legislative actions, and any changes in regulatory policies and ratemaking determinations, that may change regulatory recovery mechanisms, such as those that may result from the impact of a final ruling to be issued by the United States Court for the Eastern District of Missouri regarding its September 2019 remedy order for the Rush Island Energy Center, and the Missouri Public Service Commission ("MoPSC") staff review of the planned Rush Island Energy Center retirement;
- the effect on Ameren Missouri's investment plan and earnings if an extension to use plant-in-service accounting ("PISA") is not sought by Ameren Missouri or approved by the MoPSC;
- the effect on Ameren Missouri of any customer rate caps pursuant to Ameren Missouri's election to use the PISA, including an extension of use beyond 2023 if requested by Ameren Missouri and approved by the MoPSC under current Missouri law, or beyond 2028 if requested and approved by the MoPSC if Missouri Senate Bill 745 is enacted;
- the effects of changes in federal, state, or local laws and other governmental actions, including monetary, fiscal, foreign trade, and energy policies;
- the effects of changes in federal, state, or local tax laws, regulations, interpretations, or rates, and challenges to the tax positions taken by the Ameren Companies, if any, as well as resulting effects on customer rates;
- the effects on energy prices and demand for our services resulting from technological advances, including advances in customer energy efficiency, electric vehicles, electrification of various industries, energy storage, and private generation sources, which generate electricity at the site of consumption and are becoming more cost-competitive;
- the effectiveness of Ameren Missouri's customer energy-efficiency programs and the related revenues and performance incentives earned under its Missouri Energy Efficiency Investment Act programs;
- our ability to control costs and make substantial investments in our businesses, including our ability to recover costs and investments, and to earn our allowed returns on equity, within frameworks established by our regulators, while maintaining affordability of our services for our customers;
- the cost and availability of fuel, such as low-sulfur coal, natural gas, and enriched uranium used to produce electricity; the cost and availability of purchased power, zero emission credits, renewable energy credits, emission allowances, and natural gas for distribution; and the level and volatility of future market prices for such commodities and credits;
- the cost and availability of transmission capacity for the energy generated by Ameren Missouri's energy centers or required to satisfy Ameren Missouri's energy sales;
- the ability to obtain sufficient insurance, or in the absence of insurance, the ability to timely recover uninsured losses from our customers;
- the impact of cyberattacks on us or our suppliers, which could, among other things, result in the loss of operational control of energy centers and electric and natural gas transmission and distribution systems and/or the loss of data, such as customer, employee, financial, and operating system information;
- business and economic conditions, which have been affected by, and will be affected by the length and severity of, the COVID-19 pandemic, including the impact of such conditions on interest rates and inflation;
- disruptions of the capital markets, deterioration in credit metrics of the Ameren Companies, or other events that may have an adverse effect on the cost or availability of capital, including short-term credit and liquidity;
- the actions of credit rating agencies and the effects of such actions, including any impacts on our credit ratings that may result from the economic conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic;
- the inability of our counterparties to meet their obligations with respect to contracts, credit agreements, and financial instruments, including as they relate to the construction and acquisition of electric and natural gas utility infrastructure and the ability of counterparties to complete projects, which is dependent upon the availability of necessary materials and equipment, including those obligations that are affected by disruptions in the global supply chain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic;
- the impact of weather conditions and other natural phenomena on us and our customers, including the impact of system outages and the level of wind and solar resources;
- the construction, installation, performance, and cost recovery of generation, transmission, and distribution assets;
- the effects of failures of electric generation, electric and natural gas transmission or distribution, or natural gas storage facilities systems and equipment, which could result in unanticipated liabilities or unplanned outages;
- the operation of Ameren Missouri's Callaway Energy Center, including planned and unplanned outages, as well as the ability to recover costs associated with such outages and the impact of such outages on off-system sales and purchased power, among other things;
- Ameren Missouri's ability to recover the remaining investment and decommissioning costs associated with the retirement of an energy center, as well as the ability to earn a return on that remaining investment and those decommissioning costs;
- the impact of current environmental laws and new, more stringent, or changing requirements, including those related to the New Source Review provisions of the Clean Air Act and CO2, other emissions and discharges, Illinois emission standards, cooling water intake structures, coal combustion residuals, energy efficiency, and wildlife protection, that could limit or terminate the operation of certain of Ameren Missouri's energy centers, increase our operating costs or investment requirements, result in an impairment of our assets, cause us to sell our assets, reduce our customers' demand for electricity or natural gas, or otherwise have a negative financial effect;
- the impact of complying with renewable energy standards in Missouri;
- Ameren Missouri's ability to construct and/or acquire wind, solar, and other renewable energy generation facilities, retire energy centers, and implement new or existing customer energy-efficiency programs, including any such construction, acquisition, retirement, or implementation in connection with its Smart Energy Plan, integrated resource plan, or emissions reduction goals, and to recover its cost of investment, related return, and, in the case of customer energy-efficiency programs, any lost margins in a timely manner, which is affected by the ability to obtain all necessary regulatory and project approvals, including certificates of convenience and necessity from the MoPSC or any other required approvals for the addition of renewable resources;
- the availability of federal production and investment tax credits related to renewable energy and Ameren Missouri's ability to use such credits; the cost of wind, solar, and other renewable generation and storage technologies; and our ability to obtain timely interconnection agreements with the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. or other regional transmission organizations at an acceptable cost for each facility;
- cost-effective advancements in clean energy technologies, and the impact of constructive federal and state energy and economic policies with respect to those technologies;
- labor disputes, work force reductions, changes in future wage and employee benefits costs, including those resulting from changes in discount rates, mortality tables, returns on benefit plan assets, and other assumptions;
- the impact of negative opinions of us or our utility services that our customers, investors, legislators, regulators, or other stakeholders may have or develop, which could result from a variety of factors, including failures in system reliability, failure to implement our investment plans or to protect sensitive customer information, increases in rates, negative media coverage, or concerns about environmental, social and governance practices;
- the impact of adopting new accounting guidance;
- the effects of strategic initiatives, including mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures;
- legal and administrative proceedings; and
- acts of sabotage, war, terrorism, or other intentionally disruptive acts.
New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for management to predict all of such factors, nor can it assess the impact of each such factor on the business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained or implied in any forward-looking statement. Given these uncertainties, undue reliance should not be placed on these forward-looking statements. Except to the extent required by the federal securities laws, Ameren and Ameren Missouri undertake no obligation to update or revise publicly any forward-looking statements to reflect new information or future events.
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