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TransAlta announces second coal-to-gas conversion


On Monday, Alberta-based power utility TransAlta announced it completed the second of three planned coal-to-gas conversions at its Wabamum thermal power generating complex; in fact, this facility is located west of Edmonton.

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In this regard, TransAlta CEO John Kousinioris commented; “Indeed, the full conversion of Keephills Unit 2 from thermal coal to natural gas is another significant milestone for TransAlta; particularly, as it transitions off coal. Therefore, we are pleased to have completed another step in our plan towards 100% clean electricity by the end of 2021 in Alberta.”

Similarly, Kousinioris said; “This coal-to-gas conversion not only highlights TransAlta’s commitment to meet Alberta’s need for safe, reliable and low-cost electricity; but also, our commitment to meet our sustainability goals focused on clean electricity generation.”

Worth noting, TransAlta said the coal-to-gas conversion of Keephills #2 retained the total 395 MW capacity of the unit will lower its CO2 emissions in 2021; particularly, to 0.51 mt CO2-equivalent (CO2-e)/MWh from about 1.04 mt CO2-e/MWh. Additionally, the utility will make this possible, factoring in the coal-to-gas conversion benefits earlier this year of the 401-MW Sundance Unit 6 nearby.

Further, conversion of the 495-MW Keephills Unit 3, the newest thermal plant in TransAlta’s portfolio, will be completed later this year, Kousinioris said.

About the coal-to-gas conversion

Indeed, the Keephills #2 project represented an investment of more than C$96mn (US$75mn) by TransAlta; specifically, C$31.5mn for the conversion and C$64.7mn for system upgrades. Besides, this project created a peak workforce of about 800, the utility said.

Besides, and it is worth noting, TransAlta said it has targeted a 60% reduction, from 2015 levels, of its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, representing 19.7mn mt. Similarly, to date, the utility delivered 25mn mt of annual GHG emission reductions; indeed, this means about 8% of Canada’s goal of reducing emissions by 292-329mn mt of emissions from 2005 levels by 2030.

Thus, TransAlta Corp took another step in its goal of becoming carbon neutral. Therefore, Chief executive John Kousinioris said the latest coal-to-gas conversion maintains its current generation capacity. Besides, it reduces carbon dioxide emissions by more than half to about 0.51 tonnes CO2e per MWh.

Finally, this was the second conversion project after the coal-to-gas conversion of Sundance Unit 6. Lastly, Keephills Unit 3 will be converted later this year.

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