Morning Minutes: Noranda denied again, KC gets auto supplier

The Noranda smelter employs about 900 people in the New Madrid area. | Courtesy of KOMU News/Flickr
Noranda Aluminum, which has a smelter in New Madrid, is Ameren Missouri’s largest customer. | Courtesy of KOMU News/Flickr

Here are today’s top business headlines from across Missouri:

Ameren to replace coal plants with gas, renewable energy

Ameren Missouri plans to expand its electricity generation through wind and natural gas to make up for the loss of two coal plants it will retire within 20 years, and the utility intends to add another 10 megawatts of utility-scale solar by 2016.

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Missouri regulators rule against Noranda on rate appeals

Missouri’s Public Service Commission declined to rehear Noranda Aluminum’s request for an electricity rate reduction and rejected Noranda’s complaint that Ameren has taken in more money than commissioners authorized when they set the utility’s rate schedules.

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Kansas City auto market draws another big supplier

Challenge Manufacturing Co. will join eight other automotive suppliers that have been attracted to the Kansas City area since June 2013 by the region’s expanding Ford Motor Co. and General Motors assembly plants. The Michigan-based company has leased a 351,520-square-foot building at KCI Intermodal BusinessCentre near Kansas City International Airport.

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Community college gets $2.5 million job training grant

The Labor Department awarded Johnson County Community College a $2.5 million grant to provide innovative training programs in partnership with employers in the Kansas City area. JCCC was among 270 community colleges to receive part of a $450 million pie for job-driven grants.

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Consumer advocacy group sues for health insurance rate information

The Consumers Council of Missouri is suing the federal government in an attempt to force the public disclosure of health insurance rate information ahead of the upcoming enrollment. The group filed the suit in U.S. District Court in St. Louis after the Department of Health and Human Services denied its Freedom of Information Act request for the rate filings.

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