The Bearspaw plant was built in 1954, primarily to reduce the possibility of winter flooding and ice packing on the Bow River through the City of Calgary. It was named after Chief Bear’s Paw, one of the chiefs who signed the treaty at Blackfoot Crossing in 1877.

Bearspaw was TransAlta’s last downstream development on the Bow River in Alberta. It is one of four TransAlta hydro plants on the Bow River Mainstream System, which is part of the Bow River Electric System.

The Bearspaw plant generates an average of 70,000 megawatt hours each year.

TransAlta’s hydroelectric plants primarily provide electricity during periods of peak electrical demand and ensure system stability. Their operating flexibility means they can start quickly to introduce hydro power within minutes, balancing out shortages due to unexpected outages, or providing power at times of high demand.

Environmental Highlights

Protection of the environment is an important part of our hydro power business, as is responsible water use. We continually work with environmental and community groups to ensure habitats are protected, and that all users’ needs are heard.