Ameren to shut down Rush Island coal-fired power plant 15 years earlier | Local company

Jacob Barker St. Louis after the expedition

ST. LOUIS – Electric utility Ameren Corp. will shut down its Rush Island power plant in Jefferson County to comply with a court order that would have required the installation of expensive pollution control equipment.

Tuesday’s announcement by the St. Louis area electricity supplier comes months after a federal appeals court ruled that the utility, which relies heavily on coal to generate electricity, must install pollution controls to reduce the amount of sulfur dioxide emitted from the 1970s. plant. Experts have estimated that the installation could cost up to $ 1 billion.

Instead, Ameren chose to pull the plant earlier than planned. It previously planned to retire the plant, the most recent of its four coal-fired plants, in 2039.

The exact date of the shutdown was not disclosed, but the company said in regulatory and court documents that it would be at least before the March 2024 compliance date set by a court ruling.

A reliability assessment is underway by the region’s grid manager, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, known as MISO, which is expected to be released in January, Ameren said. Based on the results of this study, the plant may close earlier.

The lawsuit behind the shutdown was filed over a decade ago at the behest of the US Environmental Protection Agency, accusing Ameren of violating the Clean Air Act by improving the production of its Rush Island plant, which increased sulfur dioxide emissions without proper permits. The government lawsuit accused Ameren of installing new equipment in 2007 and 2010 that allowed Rush Island to burn more coal and therefore emit more sulfur dioxide.

Ameren had previously planned to shut down its oldest coal-fired power plant, Meramec, in the far south of St. Louis County, next year. The utility said closing the two factories could cause reliability issues with its system that will require the installation of new equipment, estimated at around $ 90 million, to protect against storms and lightning.