Ameren signs up for net zero, plans to extend Callaway operation

October 1, 2020, 11:59AMNuclear News

Ameren Corporation has announced the establishment of a goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 across all of its operations in Missouri and Illinois, according to a recent news release from the company.

This goal is included in subsidiary Ameren Missouri’s latest integrated resource plan (IRP), filed on September 28 with the Missouri Public Service Commission. (In Ameren Missouri’s 2017 IRP, carbon emissions were to be reduced 80 percent from 2005 levels by 2050.)

The plan: To help achieve net zero, Ameren said that it expects to seek an extension of the operating license for its Callaway nuclear plant, a 1,190-MWe pressurized water reactor located near Fulton, Mo. In 2015, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission renewed the operating license for Callaway—which entered commercial operation in 1985—to 2044.

The company also said that it is planning its largest-ever expansion of solar and wind generation, with some $4.5 billion allocated over the next 10 years to add 3,100 MW of renewable energy. By 2040, that number is expected to increase to 5,400 MW.

In addition, Ameren intends to move up the closure dates of two of its coal-fired plants in Missouri: the Sioux plant in 2028 and the Rush Island plant in 2039. More than 75 percent of the company’s current coal-fired energy generating capacity is expected to be retired by 2040, and all coal-fired plants are scheduled to be retired by 2042, Ameren said.

Quote: “This is a step change in renewable energy investments and carbon emission reductions from the plan we presented three years ago,” said Marty Lyons, chairman and president of Ameren Missouri. “Under our plan, customers will receive significant benefits from advances in technology and falling renewable energy costs, as well as from robust energy efficiency programs to help keep their energy costs affordable.”

Tech support: Ameren’s plan for reaching net zero is also expecting contributions from advanced energy technologies, including nuclear. The IRP’s executive summary states, “New technologies will be critical to achieving our goal of net-zero CO2 emission by 2050, so we will be actively participating in efforts to help advance the development of technologies such as carbon capture and sequestration, the use of hydrogen fuel for electric production and energy storage, next-generation nuclear, and large-scale long-cycle battery energy storage.”

The 13-page executive summary is available online.

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