TransCanada to buy 778-MW Ironwood plant in Pennsylvania from Talen Energy

TransCanada Corp. (TSX: TRP) (NYSE: TRP) said Oct. 8 that it has reached an agreement to acquire the Ironwood natural gas-fired, combined cycle plant in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, with a nameplate capacity of 778 MW, from Talen Energy (NYSE: TLN) for US$654 million.

At closing, US$42 million in debt will be assumed and then repaid within 45 days of closing out of funds placed into escrow by the seller.

“This acquisition presents a unique opportunity in the current market environment and is a natural extension of our U.S. northeast power business, strengthening our overall portfolio of assets in the region,” said Russ Girling, TransCanada’s president and chief executive officer. “This relatively new and highly efficient gas-fired power plant provides us with a solid platform from which to continue to grow our already substantial wholesale, commercial and industrial customer base in this market area.”

The Ironwood power plant delivers energy into the PJM Interconnection market, North America’s largest and most liquid energy region which includes a three-year forward capacity market, TransCanada noted. Strategically located in proximity to the Marcellus shale gas play, the facility is well positioned to access competitively priced natural gas in a market that is in the midst of transitioning away from coal-fired power generation to gas, it added.

The acquisition is expected to be immediately accretive to earnings and cash flow and generate approximately US$90-$110 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization annually through a combination of capacity payments and energy sales.

“The Ironwood power plant will be very complementary to our U.S. northeast operations, which now total over 4,500 MW, and is consistent with our disciplined approach to growth in this important region where we have been operating on the power side since 1998,” added William (Bill) Taylor, TransCanada’s executive vice-president and president, Energy.

The acquisition will be financed with a combination of cash on hand and available debt capacity. The transaction is expected to close early in the first quarter of 2016, subject to certain conditions being satisfied in the coming months.

TransCanada operates a network of natural gas pipelines that extends more than 68,000 kilometres (42,100 miles), tapping into virtually all major gas supply basins in North America. TransCanada is one of the continent’s largest providers of gas storage and related services with 368 billion cubic feet of storage capacity. A growing independent power producer, TransCanada owns or has interests in over 10,900 MW of power generation in Canada and the United States. TransCanada is developing one of North America’s largest liquids delivery systems.

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.