2010 and beyond
Since 2009, TransAlta has focused on increasing investment in a diversified generation fleet of low-cost power assets that serve customers in Alberta, other provinces in Canada, parts of the United States (U.S.) and in Western Australia. We’ve expanded our generation mix to include solar and we are Canada’s largest wind operator and Alberta’s largest hydro operator.
Diversifying our generation
Since 2010, we’ve added 370 megawatts of wind capacity by building our New Richmond wind facility in Québec and by acquiring four other wind farms in Alberta, Ontario, Minnesota and Wyoming. We also added 19 megawatts of hydro power in 2010 through the commissioning of Bone Creek Dam in British Columbia. Most recently, we expanded our renewables platform by acquiring 21 megawatts of solar generation in Massachusetts, U.S. We are expanding our renewable energy assets as we continue to reach our goal of being Canada’s largest clean power generator by 2030.
TransAlta has invested over a billion dollars in growth and development in Australia since 2012. In 2015, we constructed the longest natural gas pipeline built the past 10 years in Western Australia to fuel our 125 megawatt remote gas-fired Solomon power station; acquired in 2012 and sold in 2017. In 2017, we completed one of the most efficient power stations in Western Australia. South Hedland, a 150 megawatt combined-cycle gas power station, is now helping to meet the future energy needs of the region. Australia continues to be a core region for our company’s growth.
Securing investor value
TransAlta Renewables (RNW) was launched in 2013 by TransAlta to house our long-term contracted gas and renewable assets. The company is an ongoing commitment to secure value for investors from our renewable energy assets.
Leading the way in sustainability
We have won awards for our sustainable approach to power generation and we were the first company in Alberta to integrate our sustainability report with our financial report. We believe that achieving a perfect safety record is possible and continue to improve our safety performance.
We are committed to our people, communities and First Nations and invest millions annually where we have a meaningful impact in community programs and organizations near our operations. In 2014, we received a silver designation in the Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) certification program, recognizing the importance we place on engagement, communication and appreciation for the value that Aboriginal peoples bring to our business partnerships. This award, which recognized our efforts for the years 2011, 2012 and 2013, was followed by a second silver designation in 2017 that covered 2014, 2015 and 2016.
The 2013 Alberta Flood was unprecedented and devastating. During this time, our people played a major part in minimizing the flood’s impact. At a facility level, our team effectively responded to the sudden and intense onslaught of water, without a single reportable safety incident or injury. At a community level, our employees worked to keep stakeholders and affected communities informed; and volunteered weeks after the flood to assist people and communities.
Reclaiming mining land
Reclamation is an essential part of the development of any project and is planned before mining or construction even begins. As we continue our transition from coal generation, we are reclaiming even larger sections of land previously used for coal mining. In Alberta, we completed one of Canada’s largest coal-mine reclamation programs by reclaiming 1,913 hectares of the former Whitewood Mine land into agricultural, wildlife and wetland areas, which included planting more than 280,000 trees. At our Highvale Mine, we have completed reclamation of 23 per cent of mined land, more than 1,507 hectares, into productive farmland and other land uses. A total of 207 hectares of our reclaimed mine land in the Alberta Wabamun Lake region has been donated to the Wildlife Trust Fund, including 33 hectares to the Beaver Creek Conservation Site.
In Centralia, Washington State, we are reclaiming 3,440 hectares of land for a larger lake area, forest, wetlands, agricultural, and other land uses by 2030 – 19 years earlier than anticipated when mining operations began. We reclaimed 33 per cent of the mined land (1,187 hectares) at the end of 2015, and over 1.8 million trees have been planted since reclamation efforts began more than 25 years ago at the Centralia Mine. We also donated 405 hectares of reclaimed land towards the Industrial Park at TransAlta that the Lewis County Economic Development Council is using to support economic growth.
Transitioning to clean power
Our Centralia coal-fired plant transition has already begun under the TransAlta Energy Transition Bill in 2011. The Bill represents a significant collaboration among policymakers, environmentalist, labour leaders and TransAlta to close one coal unit by 2020 and the other by 2025. It also allows us to grow and maintain our presence in the power market while protecting jobs and the community, with $55 million set aside to assist community development during the transition.
We look forward to the work ahead to increase renewables in Alberta. We see the impact that advancing technology and changing regulations can have on the job market, and we realize how important it is to take innovative approaches that can provide future employment opportunities.
TransAlta will complete its clean power transition by 2030. Keep watching — there’s more to come.
As we continued past our first 100 years, TransAlta added new facilities such as the Mass Solar project in Massachusetts (shown above).
New Richmond wind facility
Final weld of the Fortescue River Gas Pipeline
Progressive Aboriginal Relations certification program: silver level
Employees volunteering in the community after the 2013 Alberta flood
The Beaver Creek conservation site
Tree planting on reclaimed mined land in Centralia