Ameren: FERC-regulated projects to comprise 20% of CapEx program

Ameren (NYSE:AEE) has set aside 20% of its $5.9bn five-year capital investment program for FERC-regulated transmission projects, CEO Thomas Voss said Nov. 8.

Subsidiaries Ameren Illinois and Ameren Transmission will invest $750m and $400m, respectively, in FERC-regulated projects over the 2011-2015 period.

Ameren Illinois’ project spending for 2011 is $70m, and ranges from about $150m to about $200m annually for 2012 to 2015. Projects will help meet load growth, baseline reliability and aging infrastructure needs, according to a company presentation. Several are already in the development phase.

“Projects requiring new lines will benefit from an expedited siting process enabled by our 2010 Illinois legislation,” Voss said at the 46th EEI financial conference in Orlando, Fla.

Ameren Transmission expects three projects, representing $1.2bn of investment through 2020, to be approved as multivalue projects by the Midwest ISO this year. Potential investment for the 2011-2015 period will be about $400 million.

The three projects are the Illinois Rivers project, the Mark Twain project and the Spoon River project, estimated at $800m, $200m and $200m, respectively.

The Big Muddy River project, estimated at around $400m, will be evaluated in MISO’s 2012 planning process, Voss said.

Though FERC Order 1000 may have various impacts on transmission planning and cost allocation, it will not likely delay or impede plans to construct any projects that are approved by the MISO Board in 2011, Voss said.

“[W]hen we receive MISO approvals we expect to move ahead with engineering and construction on those projects,” Voss said.

Illinois Rivers is a 331-mile, 345-kV transmission line that would extend from northeast Missouri to the Mississippi River and across north central Illinois to the Indiana border.

Spoon River is a 70-mile, 345-kV line in Illinois extending from Fargo to Galesburg and on to Oak Grove.

The 345-kV, 185-mile Big Muddy River Project will comprise four line segments in southern Illinois, with one segment also crossing the Mississippi River and into southern Missouri.

There is no public information yet available on the Mark Twain project, according to an Ameren spokesperson. The project will require approvals from MISO and the Illinois Commerce Commission, he said. 

This article was amended at 4:59 p.m. to include the Ameren spokesperson’s details on the Mark Twain project. 

About Rosy Lum 525 Articles
Rosy Lum, Analyst for TransmissionHub, has been covering the U.S. energy industry since 2007. She began her career in energy journalism at SNL Financial, for which she established a New York news desk. She covered topics ranging from energy finance and renewable policies and incentives, to master limited partnerships and ETFs. Thereafter, she honed her energy and utility focus at the Financial Times' dealReporter, where she covered and broke oil and gas and utility mergers and acquisitions.