TransAlta Joins MidAmerican to Build Alberta Power Line

TransAlta Corp. (TA) and Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. formed a partnership that will bid to develop, own and operate a C$1.6 billion ($1.59 billion) project to supply electricity to Canadian oil-sands projects.

TAMA Transmission will seek to win a contract from the Alberta Electric System Operator to build the 500-kilometer (310-mile) Fort McMurray West Transmission Project, the companies said in a joint statement today. Buffett’s Iowa-based utility owner entered the Canadian power market last year, agreeing to fund half the cost of natural gas-fueled power plants built or bought by Calgary-based TransAlta.

“Combining our home market expertise with MidAmerican’s superb construction management and operating skills, we believe we can win the right to serve Albertans with competitive, low-cost and reliable transmission infrastructure,” Dawn Farrell, TransAlta’s chief executive officer, said in the statement.

The Alberta Electric System Operator said in a June report that an estimated C$180 billion investment in oil-sands development will help drive an annual 3.2 percent increase in power demand in the province for the next 20 years. Energy consumption in Alberta rose 32 percent during the past 10 years, the grid operator said.

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