TransAlta reports on its latest sustainability achievements

TransAlta Corp. (TSX: TA) (NYSE: TAC) is pursuing everything from new gas-fired capacity to renewable energy development as it works toward a more sustainable future.

The Canada-based company on June 24 released its annual 2013 Report on Sustainability, marking the 20th year the company has reported on balancing the growing demand for electric power with environmental, social and economic interests.

“It takes committed and capable people with strong values to build sustainable companies. TransAlta was built by people like this. We take pride in our 103-year history and our record of providing reliable, competitive electricity that powers industry, commercial business, hospitals, schools, communities and homes,” said TransAlta President and CEO Dawn Farrell.

Report highlights include:

  • Performance update on TransAlta’s 23 sustainability targets.
  • New targets set for 2014 and beyond, including a long-term greenhouse gas emission reduction. TransAlta’s greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction target for its coal-fired capacity is a 20% reduction from 2005 levels by 2021 or the equivalent of 7,000,000 tonnes CO2e per year, and 55% reduction from 2005 levels by 2030 or the equivalent of 19,700,000 tonnes CO2e per year.
  • Review of the extensive biomonitoring program at Alberta Coal, which produces strip-mine coal for utility power plants in Alberta.
  • New subsidiary formed, TransAlta Renewables, including 29 wind and hydro assets.
  • Contract extension in Western Australia and for TransAlta’s Ontario gas facility.
  • Reclamation completed at the Whitewood coal mine site, approximately 1,900 hectares of land transformed including 277,600 trees planted.
  • Coal-fired Sundance Units 1 and 2 in Alberta (total of 560 MW of capacity) efficiently and safely repaired and re-commissioned. TransAlta shut both units in December 2010 due to issues with boiler tubes and a concern for worker safety and declared a force majeure. An independent arbitration panel ruled against TransAlta, forcing the repair of the units.

In the 2013 report, TransAlta reports its progress on the 23 sustainability targets, which include environmental, social and economic metrics that have been integrated with TransAlta’s operational goals. Most targets were achieved in 2013, and TransAlta remains committed to achieving the remaining targets in the long-term.

TransAlta said its contributions to delivering responsible electricity include:

  • TransAlta Renewables – A new subsidiary formed in mid-2013. TransAlta Renewables was designed to create stable, consistent returns for investors through the ownership of contracted power generation assets including 29 of TransAlta’s wind and hydro assets.
  • Growth and new business opportunities – TransAlta continues to explore opportunities for value creation with Sundance 7, an 800-MW combined-cycle natural gas-fired facility in Alberta targeted for commissioning in 2018. The company is also venturing into infrastructure that supports electricity generation, such as pipelines and transmission.
  • Contributing to public policy – In 2013, TransAlta focused on discussions with the Alberta Government in aligning air pollution regulations for coal-fired power generation.

TransAlta maintains a low-to-moderate risk profile by operating a highly contracted portfolio of assets in Canada, the U.S. and Australia. TransAlta’s focus is to efficiently operate geothermal, wind, hydro, natural gas and coal facilities in order to provide customers with a reliable, low-cost source of power. In 2013, TransAlta’s net generating capacity increased to 8,964 MW and electricity generation was 42,482 GWh on a financial ownership or equity share basis and 35,889 GWh on an operational ownership basis.

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.