Brett Blume

O’FALLON, Mo. (KMOX) –  Ameren Missouri officials are casting their eyes skyward to enhance power production.

President and CEO Warner Baxter made the announcement Monday morning at Ameren headquarters in St. Louis.

“This announcement involves our newest venture into renewable, clean-air energy,” Baxter said. “It’s about an energy source that has been with us quite literally since the beginning of time. This source is one of the most powerful forms of energy known to us today, and of course we’re talking about the sun.”

The facility will be located in O’Fallon Missouri with construction scheduled to begin in April following final design and permitting is completed.

The center is slated to begin delivering power to Ameren Missouri customers by December 2014.

Warner said it’s about diversifying energy production sources.

“Relying on only one or two sources of energy is simply not good policy,” he explained. “This was recently demonstrated when a cold blast across the country caused a lot of operational issues for many utilities. That was not the case here at Ameren Missouri because our system operated in an excellent manner.”

Ameren Missouri director of renewable energy strategy Bill Barbieri estimated that construction would cost between $10 million and $20 million, but said the impact on customer bills would be “rather insignificant”.

Ameren officials provided an artist’s rendering of the solar energy center, which will be roughly the size of 19 football fields and will become the largest investor-owned facility of its kind in Missouri.

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