Ameren’s Energy Plan Locks Customers Into Fossil-Fuel Future


Edward Smith, 

St. Louis, MO – Ameren Missouri, the largest monopoly electric utility in the state, released its latest energy plan that adds even more fossil fuel investments than its previous plan. While Ameren claims it is concerned about increasing global climate 1.5 degrees Celsius, climate scientists tell us that our planet will reach that threshold in the early 2030s. Burning fossil fuels is directly related to our changing climate. From the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

In this decade, accelerated action to adapt to climate change is essential to close the gap between existing adaptation and what is needed. Meanwhile, keeping warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels requires deep, rapid and sustained greenhouse gas emissions reductions in all sectors. Emissions should be decreasing by now and will need to be cut by almost half by 2030, if warming is to be limited to 1.5°C.

Ameren also appears to double down on its Labadie coal plant by saddling customers with a $700 million investment in air pollution controls for two units at the power plant instead of retiring the units and spending that money on a clean energy grid, despite Ameren’s own modeling that shows that spending more capital at Labadie increases customers costs overall. Ameren remains committed to operating this massive coal-burning plant into the 2040s that currently causes 195 premature deaths annually

Ameren Missouri plans to build a 800 megawatt gas power plant in 2028 followed by the construction of a 1,200 megawatt gas power plant in 2033. The so-called “natural gas” burned in these power plants is predominantly methane, is sourced from pollution-heavy fracking, and transported via pipelines to power plants. The fracking and transportation results in fugitive emissions, which is bad for limiting climate change. Additionally, gas power plants have notoriously failed during extreme weather events, particularly in the winter. Gas was the biggest failure during Winter Storms Uri and Elliot, and adding to the pain of being without power in the cold, gas prices often skyrocket when the supply is low, leaving customers with high utility bills and unreliable service.

Statement from Jenn DeRose, Missouri Beyond Coal Campaign Representative: 

“Ameren’s announcement reeks of greenwashing because its energy plan is to burn a lot of potent greenhouse gases and could invest hundreds of millions of dollars into Labadie, a deadly coal-fired power plant. Ameren has previously refused to consider public health impacts or the upstream release of methane gas during fracking and pipeline transportation, and it’s unlikely that changed this time. Locking captive customers into brand new fossil fuel investments may look good to shareholders, but it is a bad deal for customers and downwind communities. Ameren CEO Marty Lyons is simply not serious about acting on climate change or being a good community partner if Ameren will not consider the full consequences of its decisions. It’s a dirty shame that Ameren isn’t taking full advantage of the Inflation Reduction Act in a way that would be transformative for our economy, grid, and customers.” 

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