TransAlta May Double Renewables in Alberta If Prices Increase

  • CEO Gellner says company watching price of electricity
  • Company waiting for approval on renewable energy certificates

TransAlta Renewables Inc. is waiting for the right “market conditions” before reinvesting in its provincial hydropower and wind assets that would double the company’s low-carbon generation in Alberta, according to Chief Executive Officer Brett Gellner.

Alberta electricity generator TransAlta has about a dozen hydropower sites in the province that could be re-designed to generate more electricity in addition to wind power assets that could be re-fitted with newer, more powerful turbines, Gellner said in an interview in Calgary on Thursday. The company has 850 megawatts of hydro and 550 megawatts of wind in the province, he said. 

Before proceeding with expansion TransAlta is looking at the price of electricity and pending regulations for renewable energy certificates that the government has promised, Gellner said. Another issue is how the company will be compensated for the phase-out of its coal generating stations, he said.

Alberta will need at least another 4,000 megawatts of low-carbon electricity generation as the province phases out coal and replaces the fossil fuel by 2030. The provincial electricity operator said earlier Thursday that the first competitive bids for renewable power permits under the new system will take place by the end of the year.

TransAlta has more than 70 power plants in Canada, the U.S. and Australia.

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