An order issued Tuesday (Aug. 20) by the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) paves the way for major new investment by Ameren Corporation (NYSE: AEE) that will create jobs, enable the delivery of renewable energy and improve the reliability and efficiency of the electric power grid.
Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois (ATXI) has received approval from the ICC to build the majority of its nearly 400-mile, approximately $1.1 billion Illinois Rivers transmission project. The project consists of a new 345-kilovolt transmission line crossing the Mississippi River near Quincy, Ill., and continuing east across Illinois to the Indiana border. This is the largest transmission project in the corporation's history and the largest single investment by the corporation since the early 1980s.
Right-of-way acquisitions for the approved portions of the project are expected to begin immediately with a full range of construction activities in 2014, providing a significant boost to the Illinois economy over the next five years.
"We are pleased with the ICC's decision confirming that the Illinois Rivers project is necessary and the best approach to addressing the reliability needs of customers and ensuring the development of an efficient electricity market. This project will help fuel the Illinois economy and provide customers access to a variety of energy sources, including wind energy," said Maureen A. Borkowski, president and CEO of ATXI.
The ICC agreed with and supported the need for this new line and granted a certificate of public convenience and necessity for seven of nine proposed segments on the route and three of nine proposed bulk substations. ATXI is moving forward on the approved portions of the project. The ICC noted the remaining two segments were not approved due to lack of time and evidence to determine the most cost-effective route. ATXI plans to request a rehearing to determine the appropriate routing of the two segments and the location and need for the substations that were not approved.
The project previously received approvals from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (MISO), a regional transmission organization serving an 11-state region and the Canadian province of Manitoba.
Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois is a subsidiary of Ameren Corporation dedicated to electric transmission infrastructure investment, expanding Ameren's already robust transmission system of more than 7,400 circuit miles of high-voltage transmission lines in Illinois and Missouri.