Former PJM head aids Alberta effort to phase out coal generation

TransAlta Corp. said in a May 3 financial report that Terry Boston, the former CEO of PJM Interconnection, has begun his job as a “facilitator” for the Canadian province of Alberta as the province works with power generators to ease the costs of a provincial coal phase-out plan.

In November 2015, the Government of Alberta announced through the Climate Leadership Plan its intent, among other things, to phase out emissions from coal-fired generation by 2030, replace two-thirds of the retiring coal-fired generation with renewable generation, and impose a new carbon price of C$30 per tonne of CO2 emissions based on an industry-wide performance standard.

On March 16, the government announced the appointment of Boston, who retired from PJM last year, as the Coal Phase-out Facilitator to work with coal-fired electricity generators, the Alberta Electric System Operator, and the provincial government to develop options for the coal phaseout. Boston is tasked with presenting options to the government that would maintain the reliability of Alberta’s electricity grid, maintain stability of prices for consumers, and avoid unnecessarily stranding capital. Discussions with the coal-fired generators, including TransAlta, are now in progress.

TransAlta also noted that in March, Alberta began the development of its renewable energy procurement process designed for the Alberta Electric System Operator to procure a first block of renewable generation projects to be in-service by mid-2019.

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.