By Jim Salter, Associated Press
ST. LOUIS — Ameren Missouri plans to build a 400-megawatt wind farm in rural northeast Missouri, creating enough power to serve 120,000 homes within two years, the company said Monday.
St. Louis-based Ameren said its High Prairie Wind Farm near Kirksville will be the largest in the state. Ajay Arora, vice president of power operations and energy management at Ameren Missouri, called it a significant step toward Ameren’s goal of reducing carbon emissions 80 percent by 2050.
“What’s most important for our customers is to have a balanced energy mix,” Arora said in an interview. “That would be a combination of hydro, nuclear, natural gas, coal, wind, solar. Our portfolio has it all. And that provides the affordability and reliability that our customers expect.”
Plans call for 175 450-foot-tall wind turbines on land in Adair and Schuyler counties, near the Iowa border about 200 miles north of St. Louis.
Groundbreaking is expected in summer of 2019, and the turbines are expected to be operational by 2020, Arora said.
The wind farm will create hundreds of construction jobs and fewer than 100 permanent jobs, Arora said. The project must still be approved by the state Public Service Commission.
Arora said northern Missouri in general is a “good wind resource.” The state’s largest current wind farm, operated by Lenexa, Kansas-based Tradewind Energy Inc., opened last year in northwest Missouri and can generate 300 megawatts of electricity, or enough to power 100,000 homes.
The Ameren wind farm isn’t actually a stand-alone farm. The company leases land from farmers. The Ameren project is spread out over about 70,000 acres.
Additional but smaller wind farms could follow. Arora said Ameren will spend around $1 billion by 2020 toward a goal of generating at least 700 megawatts of wind-generated energy.
Ameren Missouri also plans to add 100 megawatts of solar-generated energy over the next decade, the company said.