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Ameren Opens Grid Research Center at University of Illinois

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) - Ameren Illinois has opened a new center at the University of Illinois to research and test smart-grid technologies.

The utility announced Wednesday the $3.3 million Technology Applications Center is part of its plan to improve Illinois' electric grid. The company and supporters of the plan say the state's power grid needs improvements for the health of Illinois' economy.

A news release from Ameren says the research at the facility in Champaign will focus on improving the reliability and security of the electric grid.   State lawmakers in 2011 passed legislation allowing utilities to increase rates to finance grid improvements. Gov. Pat Quinn's veto of the bill was over-ridden by the Legislature.

Ameren said it plans to spend $643 million over 10 years to improve the grid under that legislation.

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