Learn more about corporations VOTING to rewrite our laws.
|Type||Public (NYSE: AEE)|
|Headquarters||1901 Chouteau Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63103
|Area served||IL, MO|
|Key people||Gary L. Rainwater, CEO|
|Industry||Electric Producer and Utility|
|Revenue||$7.38 billion (2007)|
|Net income||▲ $618 million (2007)|
Ameren Illinois Utilities
|Subsidiaries||Electric Energy Inc. (IL)
Union Electric Co. (MO)
Ameren is a St. Louis-based corporation and among the nation's biggest investor-owned electric and gas utilities, with approximately $23 billion in assets. The largest electric utility in Missouri and the second largest in Illinois, Ameren companies provide energy services to 2.3 million electric customers throughout its 64,000-square-mile territory.
- 1 Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council
- 2 History
- 3 Political contributions
- 4 Lobbyists
- 5 Negative tax rate
- 6 CEO compensation
- 7 Power portfolio
- 8 FutureGen 2.0
- 9 Nuclear power
- 10 Existing coal-fired power plants
- 11 Proposed coal unit closures
- 12 Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Ameren coal plants
- 13 Coal waste
- 13.1 Labadie Station ranked 22nd on list of most polluting power plants in terms of coal waste
- 13.2 Leak at coal waste site for Labadie Station
- 13.3 Citizens oppose new coal ash site for Labadie plant
- 13.4 Shareholder resolution for Ameren to disclose coal waste practices narrowly defeated
- 13.5 Ameren coal ash contaminants exceed state health levels
- 14 Ameren to lower mercury and other coal plant emissions
- 15 Ameren Missouri cuts back on energy efficiency
- 16 Articles and resources
Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council
Ameren has been a member of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as of 2011. It sponsored "Missouri Night" at Antoine's Restaurant in New Orleans during the 2011 ALEC Annual Meeting. It has been a member of ALEC since at least 1998.
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.
Created by the year-end 1997 merger of Union Electric Company and CIPSCO, parent of Central Illinois Public Service Company, the company grew in 2003 with the acquisition of CILCORP, the parent of Central Illinois Light Company and again in 2004 with the acquisition of Illinois Power Company. At the end of 2009 it was announced that Ameren Energy Resources had spent $1 billion for the installation of scrubbers at two of its facilities, including the Duck Creek Station and the Coffeen Power Station. The scrubbers reduce nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide emissions.
Ameren is one of the largest energy company contributors to both Republican and Democratic candidates for Congress. These contributions total $132,500 to the 110th US Congress (as of the third quarter), the largest of which has been to Rep. Roy Blunt, who in 2007-2008 took $51,500 from coal-related companies of which $12,500 was from Ameren. More information on coal industry contributions to Congress can be found at FollowtheCoalMoney.org, a project sponsored by the nonpartisan, nonprofit Oil Change International and Appalachian Voices.
Ameren paid $60,000 for the services of Bryan Cave Strategies LLC in 2008. The registered lobbyists were Matt Jessee, and David Russell. Ameren spent another $160,000 on Ogilvy Government Relations in 2008 and 40,000 so far in 2009. The registered lobbyists were Chris Giblin, Drew Maloney, Julie Dammann, Wayne Berman, and John Green. Elmendorf Strategies LLC received $90,000 from Ameren in 2008 and $30,000 in 2009. The registered lobbyists were Robert Cogorno, Steven Elmendorf, James Houton, Kristina Kennedy, and Shanti Stanton in 2008 with Barry LaSala joining the team in 2009. Ameren also spent $78,000 on Bracewell & Giuliani in 2008 and another $50,000 in 2009. The registered lobbyists were Scott H. Segal, Jeffrey Holmstead, Edward Krenik, Joshua Zive, and E. Dee Martin. They have also used the lobbying firms the Gephardt Group Government Affairs and Barnes & Thornburg, and their own in-house services arm, Ameren Services. Together the utility spent $2.36 million on lobbying the federal legislature in the first six months of 2009 alone.
Ameren is a member of the American Coal Ash Association (ACAA), an umbrella lobbying front group for coal ash interests that includes major coal burners Duke Energy, Southern Company and American Electric Power as well as dozens of other companies. The group argues that the so-called "beneficial-use industry" would be eliminated if a "hazardous" designation was given for coal ash waste.
Negative tax rate
A 2011 analysis by Citizens for Tax Justice and the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, "Corporate Taxpayers & Corporate Tax Dodgers: 2008-10" found dozens of companies, including fossil fuels, used tax breaks and various tax dodging methods to have a negative tax balance between 2008 and 2010, while making billions in profits. The study found 32 companies in the fossil-fuel industry -- such as Peabody Energy, ConEd, and PG&E -- transformed a tax responsibility of $17.3 billion on $49.4 billion in pretax profits into a tax benefit of $6.5 billion, for a net gain of $24 billion.
The companies that paid no tax for at least one year between 2008 and 2010 are the utilities Ameren, American Electric Power, CenterPoint Energy, CMS Energy, Consolidated Edison, DTE Energy, Duke Energy, Entergy, FirstEnergy, Integrys, NextEra Energy, NiSource, Pepco, PG&E, PPL, Progress Energy, Sempra Energy, Wisconsin Energy and Xcel Energy.
In May 2007, Forbes listed former Ameren CEO Gary L. Rainwater as receiving $1.44 million in total compensation for the latest fiscal year, with a three-year total compensation of $5.7 million. In 2007 he ranked 39th on the list of CEOs in the Utilities industry, and 462nd among all CEOs in the United States. In 2008 he made $5 million in total compensation, and handed the CEO title to Thomas R. Voss on May 1, 2009.
Out of its total 16,546 megawatts (MW) of electric generating capacity (1.55% of the U.S. total), Ameren gets 64.8% from coal, 19.5% from natural gas, 7.5% from nuclear, 4.5% from hydroelectricity, and 3.7% from oil. Ameren owns power plants in Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri.
On August 5, 2010, the Obama administration awarded $1 billion to "FutureGen 2.0," replacing the earlier plan for a "clean coal" power plant in Illinois that would have used a different technology. The money will retrofit a now-shuttered Ameren coal-fired power plant in the western Illinois town of Meredosia, and establish a pipeline network to transport and store more than one million tons of carbon-dioxide a year in Mattoon, Ill., the site of the original project. Supporters of the latest version say it will create jobs and reduce greenhouse gas pollution. Opponents contend the clean coal technology is less developed and more expensive than cleaner renewable energy. The U.S. Energy Department said the money would go to the FutureGen Alliance, the same group that backed the original "clean coal" project, along with Ameren, Babcock & Wilcox, and Air Liquide Process and Construction. 
On February 28, 2011, FutureGen Alliance announced Morgan County, Illinois, will house the $1.3 billion underground carbon dioxide storage facility for the coal gasification plant FutureGen 2.0. An estimated 32-miles of pipeline will also be constructed to pump the plant’s carbon dioxide emissions into the 4,500-foot deep underground site located north of Interstate 72 and west of County Highway 123. FutureGen Alliance claims the site could permanently store more than 1.3 million tons of carbon dioxide each year.
On June 1, 2011, legislation needed for three multibillion-dollar coal gasification projects to move forward in Illinois - FutureGen 2.0, Power Holdings Company plant and a proposed $3-billion Chicago plant at an abandoned steel site along the Calumet River by Leucadia - arrived at Governor Pat Quinn's desk after winning final approval in the General Assembly the night before. The FutureGen bill addresses the legal liability issue of storing CO2 underground in Morgan County as part of the $1.2 billion near-zero emissions project at Ameren Illinois' Meredosia Power Station also located in the county. Quinn must decide whether to sign or veto S.B. 2062, S.B. 1533 and S.B. 2169, relating to FutureGen 2.0, Leucadia and Power Holdings, respectively. Quinn has until late August 2011 to sign or veto the measures.
Ameren opts out
In November 2011, Ameren told its FutureGen partners that, because of its financial situation, it cannot take part as promised in the CCS project. The company had agreed to supply an old oil-fired power plant in Meredosia, Illinois for the plant, set to be shut down by the end of the year. A spokesman for Ameren declined to comment on whether it would play any role in the project. The NY Times reported that if "the project needed a deadline extension from Congress to hold on to the $1 billion in federal aid... it is not clear that it could get one in this fiscally weak environment. And experts on coal-fired emissions say that without government help, it is unlikely that the private sector will risk the money necessary for a first-of-a-kind engineering project."
On November 15, 2011, Bloomberg said a number of recent reports suggested Ameren is looking to transfer the lead role in the project to the FutureGen Alliance, and that FutureGen is in talks to lease the shuttering Meredosia plant from Ameren.
Although Ameren Missouri generates most of its power by coal-fired plants, about 20 percent of its electrical power comes from the Callaway Nuclear Power Plant in Callaway County near Reform, MO.
In April 2009, Ameren suspended efforts to build a proposed new nuclear power plant, the "Callaway 2," in Missouri. It was "the first of the 'nuclear renaissance' reactors to fall by the wayside," reported the New York Times. The move came after Ameren stopped efforts to change Missouri state law to allow "construction work in progress" (CWIP). CWIP allows utilities to charge customers to cover the cost of future electricity, and has been used to help fund expensive nuclear reactor projects.  The bill allowing companies to pass construction costs on to consumers during construction died in the Senate.
However, a Nuclear Regulatory Commission spokesperson "hinted that AmerenUE's application might not, in fact, be dead," as "AmerenUE had been in contact with the commission staff this week, and had not asked that the commission staff stop work on the application. That work is done at the expense of the applicant." 
January 2011: Ameren revives Callaway 2
In January 2011, it was reported that rural electric cooperatives and city-owned power plants in Missouri are teaming up with Ameren Missouri to seek an early site permit for a second nuclear reactor at the Callaway Nuclear Power Plant. The electric companies say it is due to EPA regulations on coal plants - Ameren Missouri was cited early that month for Clean Air Act violations at the utility’s Rush Island Power Station. Newly elected U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt is defending Ameren Missouri. Blunt sent a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson saying Ameren Missouri has been unjustly accused.
Existing coal-fired power plants
Ameren had 31 coal-fired generating stations in 2005, with 10,719 MW of capacity. Their aging power stations, based on 2005 data, emitted 1.2% of all U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. Here is a list of Ameren's coal power plants with capacity over 100 MW:
|Plant Name||State||County||Year(s) Built||Capacity||2007 CO2 Emissions||2006 SO2 Emissions|
|Labadie||MO||Franklin||1970, 1971, 1972, 1973||2389 MW||16,400,000 tons||51,445 tons|
|Rush Island||MO||Jefferson||1976, 1977||1242 MW||6,828,000 tons||28,674 tons|
|Newton||IL||Jasper||1977, 1982||1235 MW||7,799,000 tons||20,922 tons|
|Joppa||IL||Massac||1953, 1954, 1955||1100 MW||9,222,000 tons||26,408 tons|
|Sioux||MO||St. Charles||1967, 1968||1099 MW||6,043,000 tons||44,148 tons|
|Coffeen||IL||Montgomery||1965, 1972||1005 MW||6,699,000 tons||22,007 tons|
|Meramec||MO||St. Louis||1953, 1954, 1959, 1961||923 MW||6,635,000 tons||17,225 tons|
|E.D. Edwards||IL||Peoria||1960, 1968, 1972||780 MW||4,696,000 tons||50,126 tons|
|Duck Creek||IL||Fulton||1976||441 MW||2,545,000 tons||N/A|
|Meredosia||IL||Morgan||1948, 1949, 1960||354 MW||1,809,000 tons||N/A|
|Hutsonville||IL||Crawford||1953, 1954||150 MW||897,000 tons||N/A|
In 2005, Ameren's 11 largest coal-fired power plants emitted 69.6 million tons of CO2 (1.2% of all U.S. CO2 emissions) and at least 261,000 tons of SO2 (1.7% of all U.S. SO2 emissions).
Proposed coal unit closures
Meramec plant may close between 2015 and 2020
In Feb. 2011, Ameren filed its integrated resource plan, outlining the company's strategy for meeting energy demand for the next 20 years, and said the updated coal regulations for air pollution, water use and coal waste disposal would probably prompt the company to close its 58-year-old Meramec Power Plant in St. Louis, Missouri, sometime between 2015 and 2020. The company is looking at a nuclear- or natural gas plant to make up for the plant, rather than improvements in energy efficiency. Although the company found in the report that efficiency is cheaper, they said the company cannot collect the revenue from efficiency measures quickly enough to please its shareholders.
Meredosia and Hutsonville may close by 2012
In October 2011, Ameren announced it will likely shutter its Meredosia Power Station and Hutsonville Power Station by the end of the year, saying the price of complying with impending U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rules - particularly the Transport Rule - was too costly. The plants provided about 4 percent of Ameren's total generation over the last two years.
The Meredosia Energy Center is also the proposed site for FutureGen 2.0, and Ameren said shuttering the plant will not impact the FutureGen project. More than half of the project's $1.3 billion budget — $730 million — will go to retrofit one of plant's generating units. The rest of the budget is set aside for construction of a carbon dioxide pipeline and underground storage.
Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Ameren coal plants
In 2010, Abt Associates issued a study commissioned by the Clean Air Task Force, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization, quantifying the deaths and other health effects attributable to fine particle pollution from coal-fired power plants. Fine particle pollution consists of a complex mixture of soot, heavy metals, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides. Among these particles, the most dangerous are those less than 2.5 microns in diameter, which are so tiny that they can evade the lung's natural defenses, enter the bloodstream, and be transported to vital organs. Impacts are especially severe among the elderly, children, and those with respiratory disease. The study found that over 13,000 deaths and tens of thousands of cases of chronic bronchitis, acute bronchitis, asthma, congestive heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, dysrhythmia, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung disease, and pneumonia each year are attributable to fine particle pollution from U.S. coal plant emissions. These deaths and illnesses are major examples of coal's external costs, i.e. uncompensated harms inflicted upon the public at large. Low-income and minority populations are disproportionately impacted as well, due to the tendency of companies to avoid locating power plants upwind of affluent communities. To monetize the health impact of fine particle pollution from each coal plant, Abt assigned a value of $7,300,000 to each 2010 mortality, based on a range of government and private studies. Valuations of illnesses ranged from $52 for an asthma episode to $440,000 for a case of chronic bronchitis.
Table 1: Death and disease attributable to fine particle pollution from Ameren coal plants
|Type of Impact||Annual Incidence||Valuation|
|Heart attacks||628||$68.7 million|
|Asthma attacks||6,896||$0.36 million|
|Chronic bronchitis||250||$111.0 million|
|Asthma ER visits||440||$0.16 million|
|Hospital admissions||294||$6.8 million|
Source: "Health Impacts - annual - of Existing Plants," Clean Air Task Force Excel worksheet, available under "Data Annex" at "Death and Disease from Power Plants," Clean Air Task Force. Note: This data includes the following plants owned by Ameren and affiliates AmerenEU and Central Illinois Light Co.: Coffeen, Meredosia, Newton, Labadie, Meramec, Sioux, Rush Island, E.D. Edwards, and Duck Creek.
Labadie Station ranked 22nd on list of most polluting power plants in terms of coal waste
In January 2009, Sue Sturgis of the Institute of Southern Studies compiled a list of the 100 most polluting coal plants in the United States in terms of coal combustion waste (CCW) stored in surface impoundments like the one involved in the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant coal ash spill. The data came from the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) for 2006, the most recent year available.
Leak at coal waste site for Labadie Station
Since 1992, the Labadie Power Station Bottom Ash Pond has been 'seeping' coal waste - up to 35 gallons a minute for two decades. Ameren said there's no evidence the leaks have fouled the groundwater or the drinking water of nearby homes, but critics say that's because neither the state nor the company has ever tested the area for contamination. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources, the agency charged with regulating coal ash ponds and enforcing the Clean Water Act in the state, isn't required to monitor groundwater at the site under current state laws. But it has legal authority to do so under the plant's water permit and hasn't — despite learning of the leaks from Ameren 19 years ago, according to utility filings with the DNR.
Ameren uses water to wash the coal waste to unlined ponds west of the plant. There, the waste sinks to the bottom, and the water drains through a permitted outfall into Labadie Creek and the Missouri River. One pond constructed in 1993, Labadie Power Station Fly Ash Pond, has a protective liner. The leaking 154-acre Labadie Power Station Bottom Ash Pond, which began receiving coal ash when Labadie began operation in 1970, actually has two leaks, according to information provided by Ameren to the DNR. The smaller one, flowing at a rate of up to 5 gallons a minute, is near the wastewater outfall and leaks into the creek. The other leak releases up to 30 gallons a minute on the south side of the pond. Combined, that's the equivalent of more than 50,000 gallons of water escaping the ponds each day, or nearly 350 million gallons over 19 years.
The water discharge permit for the plant expired 12 years ago. Ameren applied for a permit renewal in 1998, but the department has yet to finish its review. Under state law, the plant can legally continue operating under the existing 1994 permit. DNR officials have declined to be interviewed about the leaking ash ponds. Spokeswoman Renee Bungart said the agency has asked Ameren to resubmit its water permit application, but provided no timeline.
Members of the Labadie Environmental Organization said they are concerned because the leaking waste site sits in alluvial soil — a fine mix of silt, sand and clay that's an easy pathway for contamination to migrate via water.
Citizens oppose new coal ash site for Labadie plant
In June 2010, environmental groups voiced opposition to a plan from Ameren to build a 400-acre coal ash landfill for the Labadie Power Station near the Missouri River, about 35 miles west of St. Louis. The group is trying to prevent the county from changing its zoning regulations. The environmentalists say the changes would make it too easy for Ameren to put a landfill in an area not zoned for waste disposal. Patricia Schuba with the Labadie Environmental Organization says coal ash contaminants could leach into groundwater and the Missouri River: "Fifty percent of Missourians drink from Missouri River water. So this is an issue that has been painted as very local, but it's truly a metro St. Louis issue." Ameren officials say the landfill would be lined to prevent groundwater contamination and surrounded by a berm to keep out flood water.
On December 14, 2010, in the first hearing on the new waste site, environmentalists and residents urged the Franklin County Commission to hold off on a proposed change in the zoning code that would pave the way for Ameren Missouri to build the new coal ash landfill near the Labadie plant. The group said the commission should wait to act until the Environmental Protection Agency announces its long-planned coal waste regulations. The group also called for an advisory committee on the issue, reflecting environmentalists' longtime concerns that Ameren's proposed landfill could leak in the event of a disaster, causing heavy metals from ash to enter the St. Louis area's drinking water and pose serious health risks.
If the commission approves the zoning change, Ameren would still need a variety of government permits to build its landfill. Construction likely would not occur for another two years. Ameren captures about 99 percent of the ash that its coal-fired power plants would otherwise emit. About half the waste is recycled, according to the utility, but the rest must be disposed. Ameren proposed the landfill because its existing coal-ash ponds are reaching capacity. The landfill's proposed location is in a flood plain. Environmentalists and their experts said a landfill in a flood plain has an especially high risk of leaking toxic heavy metals such as arsenic and selenium into groundwater in the event of a flood or earthquake. They're concerned that the toxins could make their way down the Missouri River, which supplies drinking water across the St. Louis region.
Even if the commission amends its landfill code to allow Ameren's landfill to go forward, environmentalists said they don't want a landfill that falls below EPA's eventual standards. If Ameren gets approval on the landfill before EPA enacts its regulations, then the landfill would be grandfathered under existing standards.
On October 25, 2011, the Franklin County Commission voted 2-1 in favor of adopting land use amendments which removes a major hurdle for a coal ash landfill in the Labadie area. Immediately following the commission's vote, many of the 100 community members in the audience began shouting "shame" at the commissioners.
On April 21, 2011, the Midwest Coalition for Responsible Investment voted on a shareholder proposal that would have required Ameren to provide detailed information about coal waste management and how those efforts may reduce risks to company finances and operations. The proposal got 46 percent of the votes cast — short of the majority needed to pass. The subject of coal ash disposal has taken on significance because of plans by Ameren Missouri to build a new coal ash landfill in the Missouri River floodplain next to the Labadie Power Station, spurring contentious zoning hearings in Franklin County, Illinois. In response to the shareholder vote, Ameren Chief Executive Thomas R. Voss said that he recognized there is interest in the issue and that the company will release 'substantial" information on its coal waste practices by the end of 2011 as part of a broader report on social responsibility; Ameren, however, had advised shareholders to vote against the resolution, saying such a report was "not necessary, prudent or cost effective." The company didn't specify what information it would provide as part of the corporate responsibility report, or whether it would address issues raised in the resolution. Institutional Shareholder Services, a proxy advisory firm, has also recommended that shareholders support resolutions involving corporate sustainability. 
Ameren coal ash contaminants exceed state health levels
A 2011 report by Prairie Rivers and the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP), "Illinois at Risk: Lax safeguards and no enforcement endanger the water, air & lives of residents near coal ash dumps" found that Illinois has the second highest number of contaminated coal ash dump sites in the United States. The report evaluates data from groundwater sampling conducted by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) at coal ash disposal sites in 2010. IEPA found exceedances of health standards for coal ash contaminants in groundwater at all 22 sites evaluated. Prairie Rivers and IEP said two-thirds of the impoundments don't have groundwater monitoring and don't have liners, which keep contaminants from leaching out of the impoundments. And dams holding the impoundments at most of the 83 sites have no permits and have not been inspected for safety or stability by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
The report focuses on the specific problems at 10 of the 22 coal waste sites: the Vermilion Power Station, the Joliet 9 Generating Station and Joliet 29 Generating Station, the now retired Ameren Energy Venice Power Station in Madison and St. Clair counties, coal ash generated by the Bunge dry corn mill in Vermilion County, the Hutsonville Power Station, the Crown 3 Mine, the Industry Mine, the Gateway Mine, and the coal mine reclamation Murdock site by Alpena Vision Resources in Douglas County.
Prairie Rivers and the EIP said the U.S. EPA should implement comprehensive coal ash regulations that would regulate coal ash as a special waste with federal standards that all states would have to follow, like requiring liners at disposal sites, covers, monitoring, cleanup standards and the phase out of ash ponds. According to the IEPA's ash impoundment strategy progress report in February 2010, the agency now requires new ash ponds to have liners, and the agency supports the U.S. EPA's initiative for stricter controls on coal ash.
The 2011 report, "State of Failure: How States Fail to Protect Our Health and Drinking Water from Toxic Coal Ash" by Earthjustice and Appalachian Mountain Advocates, looked at EPA data and found that state regulations are often inadequate for protecting public health. The report noted that Illinois ranked first in the number of coal ash ponds with 83, yet only about a third of the ponds are lined or monitored.
Ameren to lower mercury and other coal plant emissions
In August 2006, a proposed regulatory agreement announced between state environmental officials and Ameren Corp.'s power-generating subsidiaries would reduce levels of mercury and other pollutants released at Ameren's coal-burning plants downstate. It wasn't clear whether Ameren's large customer base ultimately would pay the tab for the necessary technology, estimated to cost more than $1.5 billion. The St. Louis-based utility may end up buying electricity from outside sources when a controversial power auction is held in September in Illinois. Under a proposal before the Illinois Pollution Control Board, most Ameren-affiliated power plants would install equipment to reduce releases of poisonous mercury by 90 percent by 2009 - a tougher target than the 70 percent suggested by the federal government over a longer period. There would be a slower phase-in at a few plants, but the Ameren affiliates also would "dramatically" cut emissions of sulfur dioxides and nitrogen oxides beyond federal requirements, Gov. Rod Blagojevich's office said in a news release. Also, the power-makers would agree not to skirt the new standards by buying emission credits from other producers. Ameren operating companies - AmerenCILCO, AmerenCIPS and AmerenIP - provide electricity to much of central Illinois. Its separate power-generating subsidiaries would install new equipment at the Coffeen, Duck Creek, Edwards, Hutsonville, Meredosia and Newton power stations, the utility said in a news release. The company suggested the cost of its capital expenses could reach $2 billion.
In January 2010, Ameren spent $1 billion installing flue gas desulfurization systems, or scrubbers, on its 438-megawatt Duck Creek Station near the city of Canton. Scrubbers were also built in Unit 1 of its 900-MW Coffeen Power Station in Montgomery County. Ameren also installed an electrostatic precipitator at the Duck Creek plant, to capture particulates,and placed activated carbon injection systems at the following sites: the 794-MW E.D. Edwards Generation Plant in Bartonville, the 513-MW Meredosia Power Station near Jacksonville, the 1,151-MW Newton Power Station in Jasper County and the 164-MW Joppa Steam Plant, an Electric Energy, Inc. power plant where Ameren holds an 80 percent stake. Carbon injection systems enable powdered activated carbon to absorb oxidized mercury from the flue gas. Mercury is then collected with fly ash in the plant’s particulate collection device, and stored as coal waste.
2010: Labadie Station ranked 4th in mercury emissions
A 2010 report by the Environmental Integrity Project using EPA data found that Ameren's Labadie Power Station is the 4th worst mercury polluter in the United States, emitting 1,442 pounds of mercury in 2008, the most recent year for data.
Ameren Missouri cuts back on energy efficiency
In Feb. 2011, Ameren Missouri said energy efficiency hurts Ameren's bottom line, at up to $30 million annually, and that the company plans to cut its budget for energy efficiency investment from $25 to $20 million over a year, or a third of what sister utility Ameren Illinois plans to spend.
Ameren currently subsidizes compact fluorescent light bulbs, pays rebates for replacing older appliances with Energy Star models, and finances marketing programs to raise awareness about energy efficiency, among other efforts. The Missouri Legislature in 2009 passed Senate Bill 376, the Missouri Energy Efficiency Investment Act. The law directs investor-owned electric utilities to pursue all cost-effective energy efficiency programs. It also authorizes regulators to award them profits for such investments that equal those for building power plants.
In Feb. 2011, Ameren filed its integrated resource plan, outlining the company's strategy for meeting energy demand for the next 20 years, and said the new rules for air pollution, water use and coal waste disposal would probably prompt it to close its 58-year-old Meramec coal plant sometime between 2015 and 2020. The company is looking at a nuclear- or natural gas plant to make up for the plant, rather than improvements in energy efficiency. According to the plan, it costs about 4 cents to save a kilowatt-hour of energy — far less than the 10 cents per kilowatt-hour to build and operate a new nuclear plant, or 12 cents for a natural gas-fired plant. But Ameren said SB 376 does not allow the company to recover costs quickly enough: "Shareholders foot the bill for potentially several years before we see any cost recover." The utility wants authority to charge customers up front for energy efficiency investments that will reduce electricity sales, not wait to collect the money through a rate case after it is spent.
A plan commissioned by the utility and published in 2010 indicated that energy efficiency alone could reduce consumption by 7.3 percent by 2030. But such a target would require about $100 million in annual investments.
In August 2011 Peabody Energy announced that they had signed a six-year deal with Ameren Missouri to supply 91 million tons of low sulfur coal from its Power River Basin mines for use in "multiple electricity generating plants in Missouri" through to 2017.
Articles and resources
Related SourceWatch articles
- Gary L. Rainwater
- Douglas R. Oberhelman - former board member
- Illinois and coal
- Missouri and coal
- United States and coal
- Global warming
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- Dig Deeper, Carbon Monitoring for Action database, accessed June 2008.
- Jeffrey Tomich, "Ameren cuts efficiency efforts to conserve bottom line" Feb. 25, 2011.
- Julie Wernau, "Ameren to shutter 2 coal plants in Illinois" Chicago Tribune, Oct. 4, 2011.
- "The Toll from Coal: An Updated Assessment of Death and Disease from America's Dirtiest Energy Source," Clean Air Task Force, September 2010.
- "Technical Support Document for the Powerplant Impact Estimator Software Tool," Prepared for the Clean Air Task Force by Abt Associates, July 2010
- Sue Sturgis, "Coal's ticking timebomb: Could disaster strike a coal ash dump near you?," Institute for Southern Studies, January 4, 2009.
- TRI Explorer, EPA, accessed January 2009.
- Jeffrey Tomich, "Leaks from Ameren toxic waste pond in Labadie stir fears" stltoday, Sep. 1, 2011.
- Veronique LaCapra, "Franklin County residents fight coal ash landfill plan" St. Louis Public Radio, June 15, 2010.
- Puneet Kollipara, "Labadie environmentalists protest zoning change to allow coal-ash landfill" St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 15, 2010.
- Evin Fritschle, "County Amends Code, Clears Way for Utility Landfill" emissourian, Oct. 25, 2011.
- Jeffrey Tomich, "Request for coal waste information rejected at Ameren meeting" stltoday, April 22, 2011.
- Jeff Stant and Traci Barkley, "Illinois at Risk: Lax safeguards and no enforcement endanger the water, air & lives of residents near coal ash dumps" Prairie Rivers and Environmental Integrity Project report, August 17, 2011.
- Tracy Moss, "EPA says it's monitoring coal ash sites" The News-Gazette, Aug. 19, 2011.
- Mike Ramsey, "Ameren, EPA reach deal on emissions" The State Journal-Register, August 3, 2006.
- "Ameren completes $ 1 billion Illinois coal plant retrofits" ecoseed, January 7, 2010.
- "Dirty Kilowatts: America's Top 50 Power Plant Mercury Polluters" WOUB, March 2010.
- Peabody Energy, "Peabody Energy (NYSE: BTU) and Ameren Sign Contract for 91 Million Tons of Powder River Basin Coal", Media Release, August 4, 2011.