Livingston County Presiding Commissioner Ed Douglas said Ameren Representatives met with the County Commission last week;m the group also filed plans with the Missouri Public Service Commission (MoPSC) to build the facilities on Sept. 3.

According to a press release from Ameren Missouri, the Solar + Storage facilities will “improve customer reliability and enable access to solar energy around the clock. Each location will connect a large solar energy generation facility to battery storage. The installations will be the first-of-their-kind facilities in the state and among only a handful of Solar + Storage facilities in the Midwest.”

The proposed facilities are expected to bring increased reliability to customers, Ameren says, building renewable facilities in these communities is cost-effective due to their particular locations.

Current plans are for the locations to have a 10-megawatt solar facility, making them the three largest investor-owned utility solar installations in the state.

According to a press release from Ameren, “During sunny days, customers near the proposed facilities will receive their energy primarily from the solar facility. The solar energy will also charge the battery.”

Douglas noted that the charged battery will then give crews an ample amount of time to fix any service disruption while still allowing homes to have power, for at least several hours.

“This is especially good for those residents in Utica if we face an extended outage,” Douglas said.

The project is solely funded by Ameren Missouri, and construction of all three locations is expected to cost the company $68 million and is part of the company's Smart Energy Plan, which “includes thousands of electric projects designed to create a smarter, stronger, more reliable energy grid and introduce new sources of renewable energy, all while keeping rates stable and predictable.”

Douglas said the Utica facility will be located on the north side of Highway 36, west of Utica. The meeting between Ameren representatives and the commission was nearly a meeting to discuss the plans, Douglas said. There is no cost to the county and the facility is being built on private property, and any deals to buy or lease the land were between Ameren Missouri and the landowners. There was also no zoning concerns for the project, Douglas noted.

There currently is no timeline for the beginning of construction, though Ameren representatives say construction will be completed by next year.

The three facilities will be located in Green City, in Sullivan County; Richwoods in northern Washington County and Utica.

The MoPSC released a statement giving a deadline for comments to the commission from citizens as Sept. 23. Any comments individual citizens wishing to comment should contact either the Office of the Public Counsel (Governor Office Building, 200 Madison Street, Suite 650, P.O. Box 2230, Jefferson City, Missouri 65102-2230, telephone (866) 922-2959, e-mail opcservice@opc.mo.gov) or the Public Service Commission Staff (P.O. Box 360, Jefferson City, Missouri 65102, telephone 1-800-392-4211, e-mail pscinfo@psc.mo.gov). According to the statement, the Office of the Public Counsel is a separate state agency that represents the general public in matters before the Commission.