Ameren to acquire Missouri's largest wind farm

UNITED STATES: Utility Ameren Missouri will acquire an unnamed 400MW wind farm in the north-east of the state after it has been built.

Ameren plans to own 700MW of operational wind farms in Missouri by 2020

An affiliate of renewable energy company Terra-Gen is expected to start building the project in Adair and Schuyler counties next summer, Ameren stated.

The project will comprise 175 turbines and will be the largest wind farm in Missouri, the utility added.

It will be connected to the grid via the Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois’ 154-kilometre, 345kV Mark Twain transmission project, which was approved in January and is due to enter service in December 2019.

It will run south-east from Kirksville in Adair county, Missouri to Palmyra, and then north into the neighbouring state of Illinois.

Ameren’s announcement is the first step in implementing its 20-year integrated resource plan, in which it targets 700MW of operational wind capacity in Missouri by 2020.

Vice president of power operations and energy management at Ameren Missouri, Ajay Arora said: "Missouri-based wind generation recently became an affordable option.

"These planned investments in wind energy would help keep customers’ rates more stable. Our state would also benefit from continued investment and economic growth, including hundreds of construction jobs, as well as permanent jobs when the turbines are in service."

The transaction is subject to a number of conditions including approval from the Missouri Public Service Commission and obtaining an acceptable Midcontinent Independent System Operator (Miso) transmission interconnection agreement, Ameren added.

Ameren currently has power purchase agreements (PPAs) for wind farms in neighbouring states. It buys power generated at Invenergy’s 81MW Bishop Hill II project in Illinois, Avangrid Renewables’ 100MW New Harvest site and EDP Renovaveis’ 102MW Pioneer Prairie II wind farm, which are both in Iowa.

Enel’s 300MW Rock Creek project is currently the largest operational wind farm in Missouri, according to Windpower Intelligence, the research and data division of Windpower Monthly.