Missouri's largest utility provider will work to determine how to comply with a renewable energy mandate. A ballot measure approved in 2008 and a vote by the Missouri Public Service Commission will require AmerenUE to generate 15 percent of its Missouri power through renewable energy by 2021.



Missouri's largest utility provider will work to determine how to comply with a renewable energy mandate. A ballot measure approved in 2008 and a vote by the Missouri Public Service Commission will require AmerenUE to generate 15 percent of its Missouri power through renewable energy by 2021.
The PSC approved the renewable energy mandate this month by a 3-2 vote. The rules will apply to four investor-owned electric utilities: Ameren UE, Kansas City Power & Light, KCPL-Greater Missouri Operations Company and the Empire District Electric Company.
 “These rules take significant steps toward reducing our reliance on out-state-fuels for the production of electricity,” said PSC Chairman Robert M. Clayton III.  “Missouri voters made it clear that they expect Missouri utilities to acquire clean and locally produced energy for their customers.  These rules will support the creation of Missouri jobs and Missouri electricity.”
The rules of the renewable energy mandate begin in 2011, when energy providers must generate 2 percent of their electricity through renewable sources. The PSC defines renewable sources as wind, solar, biomass, landfill gas, hydrogen fuel cells, and small-scale hydropower projects. Ameren UE's employees are working to determine what percentage of Ameren's power is currently generated through sources that the PSC would classify as renewable.
"We're analyzing all that right now," Ameren UE Manager of Renewables Bill Barbieri explained. "We just did get the rules."
The company generates 75 percent of its power at its five coal-fired sites. The Callaway nuclear plant accounts for 21 percent of generation. Hydroelectric plants, including Bagnell Dam, generate four percent of Ameren's power, but the dams may not qualify as renewable sources of electricity.
"We consider what we're doing with our hydro facilities as renewable, so we're probably somewhere around four percent. There are limitations based on Prop C, so not all of that will count," Barbieri said.
In order to raise renewable generation standards to 15 percent by 2021, power companies will have to construct new generation facilities or purchase renewable energy credits (RECs).
"Every time you generate one megawatt-hour of electricity from a renewable resource, it creates two specific things: it creates the physical energy, which makes your lights go on, and then it creates the positive environmental attributes associated with renewable energy," Barbieri said.
"The credit represents those positive attributes," Barbieri continued, "when you utilize an REC, it represents that there has been one megawatt of generation from a renewable resource."
Power companies can buy and sell their RECs, but Ameren UE executives are unsure if there are limitations on where the credits can be purchased from because of the PSC's declaration of a desire to reduce Missouri's dependence on out-of-state energy sources.
"We haven't had time to fully evaluate the specific rules, especially as they pertain to things like renewable energy credits," Ameren spokesman Tim Fox said.
The PSC order also states that companies will not be allowed to raise customer rates by more than one percent per year to offset the cost of complying with the mandate. Ameren has a new rate schedule as of this month devised to raise the company's take by $226 million.
The new mandate did not catch any utility providers by surprise. In 2007, then-Governor Matt Blunt signed a green energy initiative, which foreshadowed the Proposition C vote in 2008.
"(Blunt's initiative) was a voluntary target, it wasn't manadated. We had already been doing some things in advance based on that to move some of those renewable energy initiatives forward," Barbieri said.

Ameren UE renewable energy programs
Rebates for qualified solar electric systems- $2 per watt up to 25 kW or $50,000
Landfill gas- in September, Ameren announced a plan to generate electricity using methane gas from a Maryland Heights landfill. At 15 MW, the Fred Weber, Inc. "Methane to Megawatts" project is one of the largest of its kind in the nation.
Wind power- Ameren purchased 1-2 MW from Horizon Wind
Hydroelectric- Upgrades at various hydroelectric plants will likely qualify under the Prop C mandates.
Ameren UE Pure Power- a voluntary program where residential and business customers pay more on their energy bills to help Ameren purchase renewable energy credits
Ameren serves 2.4 million electric customers in Missouri and Illinois.
Ameren's various generation plants combined capacity is 16,300 MW.