Environmental Protection & Preservation
AmerenUE Announces $1 Billion 'Project Power On' Reliability and Environmental Improvement Program
AmerenUE, a utility
operating company of Ameren Corporation, plans to invest $1
billion over the next three years to improve reliability, upgrade delivery
systems, and enhance the environmental performance of its power plants.
"With the severe weather patterns of the past few years and a focus on
improving air quality, we are working even harder to ensure reliability for
our customers of today and tomorrow," said Thomas R. Voss, president and
chief executive officer of AmerenUE. "We've been working closely with
community officials and leaders across our system to determine the best
approach for improving our delivery system, while ensuring that we meet the
growing demand for energy."
Named "Project Power On," this three-year initiative involves a
commitment over and above the $500 million per year the company has been
spending on efforts to upgrade and maintain the system.
Project Power On involves four components designed to address the
region's current and future energy and environmental needs. These include:
- $300 million over three years for undergrounding and reliability
improvement -- AmerenUE is planning to increase company spending by
$100 million per year to better protect the system against severe
weather. This includes a substantial underground cabling effort in
neighborhoods most at risk of electric service disruption and where
undergrounding is feasible, improves reliability, and makes economic
- $135 million over three years ($45 million annually) for tree-trimming
-- Nearly twice the budget of a few years ago, AmerenUE is pursuing a
more aggressive tree removal and trimming plan that will include
trimming on private property with the property owner's consent. This
program targets electric lines built to serve new developments over the
past four decades; many new trees planted during that time now
jeopardize the system in severe weather. The company will continue to
work with local governments on ways to handle tree issues both on
public lands and private property.
- $84 million over three years (approximately $28 million per year) for
circuit and device inspection and repair -- AmerenUE is increasing the
frequency of pole repair and replacement and establishing a "foot
patrol" inspection program, in addition to the visual inspection done
by tree-trimming staff. This aggressive preventive maintenance will
help identify, repair, and/or replace poles and other equipment prior
to failure. The company is expanding its pole and line inspection
programs to include all poles. These efforts will be supported by new
technology that allows crews to check the integrity of lines throughout
the distribution system.
- $500 million over three years to address the growing energy needs of
the region by installing environmental controls on existing plants so
that they meet or do better than federal environmental standards -- The
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Air Interstate Rule
(CAIR) calls for reductions of nitrogen oxide emissions by 70 percent
and sulfur dioxide by 65 percent - both by 2015 - and the Clean Air
Mercury Rule (CAMR) calls for mercury emission reductions of 70 percent
by 2018. With this $500 million investment, AmerenUE expects to improve
air quality for future generations. Most of the funding will go toward
installing scrubbers at AmerenUE's Sioux Plant, helping AmerenUE
achieve compliance with EPA and state requirements.
"We know what our customers want," Voss said. "When they flip a switch,
they want the lights to come on, and these initiatives will help us
reliably supply that electricity -- now and into the future. A significant
part of this goal is continuing our environmental leadership role, ensuring
our plants are clean and efficient, while addressing the increasing energy
needs of our region."
Voss added that, in addition to committing funding for a range of
projects, the company has appointed a full-time project manager as the
primary contact for this effort. In April, AmerenUE hired an experienced
consultant to help evaluate its reliability and storm response. KEMA Inc.
has extensive experience in the areas of emergency response, reliability,
and maintenance practices. KEMA will develop a Storm Adequacy Study that
will be shared with regulators.
Voss stressed that AmerenUE
continues to welcome a public dialogue to
determine future actions and investments that are necessary to prepare the
AmerenUE system for severe storms. He said that working with the
regulators, community leaders, and customers will be key in determining the
best public policy approach to investment in greater reliability.
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