Ameren leaving the generation business

Ameren Corp. operates five coal-fired and three gas-fired generating plants in Illinois, but it recently announced its intentions to exit the merchant generation business because of weak power prices and the increasing cost of environmental compliance. The merchant generation business is operated by the Ameren Energy Resources subsidiary, which was formed in 2000 with Illinois’ deregulation of the electricity market.

In its filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Ameren said it intends to focus on its ­regulated business. Earnings from the merchant ­generation business have fallen due to the decline in wholesale power prices. Ameren also cited the significant investment requirements needed to meet environmental regulations as another reason for the decision.