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    Canada’s TransAlta completes second coal-to-gas conversion

Summary

Utility has so far delivered 8% of Canada's GHG reduction goal.

by: Dale Lunan

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Canada’s TransAlta completes second coal-to-gas conversion

Alberta power utility TransAlta said July 19 it had completed the second of three planned coal-to-gas conversions at its Wabamum thermal power generating complex west of Edmonton.

“The full conversion of Keephills Unit 2 from thermal coal to natural gas is another significant milestone for TransAlta as it transitions off coal,” TransAlta CEO John Kousinioris said. “We are pleased to have completed another step in our plan towards 100% clean electricity by end of 2021 in Alberta.”

Converting Keephills #2 retained the full 395 MW capacity of the unit and, factoring in the benefits of the conversion earlier this year of the 401-MW Sundance Unit 6 nearby, will lower TransAlta’s CO2 emissions in 2021 to 0.51 mt CO2-equivalent (CO2-e)/MWh from about 1.04 mt CO2-e/MWh.

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

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

TransAlta has targeted a 60% reduction, from 2015 levels, of its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, representing 19.7mn mt, and to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. To date, the utility has delivered 25mn mt of annual GHG emission reductions, about 8% of Canada’s goal of reducing emissions by 292-329mn mt of emissions from 2005 levels by 2030.