Alberta approves uprate of new Keephills Unit 3

The Alberta Utilities Commission has approved a TransAlta Corp. (TSX: TA and NYSE: TAC) plan for a 13-MW uprate project at the coal-fired Keephills Unit 3.

The Keephills power plant is located in the Lake Wabamun area of this Canadian province. TransAlta in March filed a letter of enquiry with the commission under Section 11 of the Hydro and Electric Energy Regulation to increase the maximum operating capacity of Keephills Unit 3 by 13 MW, from 450 MW to 463 MW (net to the Alberta Interconnected Electrical System). TransAlta stated that the capacity increase would be achieved through increased coal consumption by the power plant.

No public concerns regarding the Keephills Unit 3 optimization project were raised during a public notice process, the utility said. TransAlta also stated that no adverse environmental impact will be caused by the proposed work and that the power plant would continue to be operated in compliance with all environmental approvals.

“The Commission has determined that TransAlta demonstrated that the proposal is of a minor nature, no other person is directly and adversely affected by the proposal, and no adverse environmental impact will be caused by the proposed alterations, thereby meeting the requirements of Section 11 of the Hydro and Electric Energy Regulation,” said the commission’s June 19 approval.

Keephills 3, located at the site of an existing plant, began commercial operations in September 2011. TransAlta and Capital Power are equal partners in the ownership of Keephills 3 with TransAlta responsible for operations. TransAlta and Capital Power independently dispatch and market their share of the unit’s electrical output.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.