Ameren Transmission Co. of Illinois has received important regulatory approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to continue to move its Spoon River and Mark Twain transmission construction projects forward. FERC approved similar regulatory treatment for the Illinois Rivers transmission project in May 2011.
The three projects are part of the $1.3 billion multi-value projects approved by the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator Inc. (MISO) board in December 2011. MISO is a regional transmission organization serving an 11-state region, including the service territories of the Ameren utilities, and the Canadian province of Manitoba.
"We are very pleased with FERC's approvals of the incentive regulatory treatment," said Maureen Borkowski, president and CEO of ATXI. "This approval paves the way for important new investment by Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois to deliver renewable energy in the Midwest, promote electric power reliability, lower costs for consumers by reducing transmission congestion and create jobs which are important to the economy."
FERC's approved regulatory treatment includes enhanced cost-recovery mechanisms and protections for Ameren Transmission Co. of Illinois that support the investments and facilitate the cost-effective financing of the projects.
"Growth in our transmission business is a key part of our corporate strategy. This FERC approval is an important milestone in implementing this strategy," said Thomas R. Voss, chairman, president and CEO of Ameren Corporation.
ATXI Project Facts
The Spoon River project in Illinois, preliminarily estimated to cost $208 million, will span approximately 70 miles of new 345-kV transmission line from Oak Grove to Galesburg, Ill., continuing near Peoria, Ill.
The Mark Twain project in Missouri, preliminarily estimated to cost $155 million, will span approximately 90 miles in Missouri of new 345-kilovolt transmission line from the Iowa border to Adair, Mo., on to Palmyra, Mo.
The Illinois Rivers project, preliminarily estimated to cost $1 billion, will span approximately 400 miles with a new 345-kilovolt transmission line, crossing the Mississippi River near Quincy, Ill., continuing east across Illinois to the Indiana border. ATXI has filed a petition with the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) for a certificate to build the Illinois Rivers project. ATXI expects the ICC to issue a decision by mid-2013.
The recent FERC order also approved forward-looking formula rates for Ameren Illinois Co.'s transmission facilities. The primary benefit of a forward-looking formula rate is to provide timely cash flows in order to be able to efficiently finance investments.