TransAlta completes second off-coal conversion - another major milestone in its phase out of coal
TransAlta Corporation has completed the second of three planned coal-to-gas conversions at its Alberta Thermal power generation facilities near Wabamun, Alberta.
"The full conversion of Keephills Unit 2 ("KH2") from thermal coal to natural gas is another significant milestone for TransAlta as it transitions off coal. We are pleased to have completed another step in our plan towards 100 per cent clean electricity by end of 2021 in Alberta," said John Kousinioris, President and CEO of TransAlta. "Converting to natural gas from coal maintains our current generation capacity and reduces our CO2 emissions by more than half from approximately 1.04 tonnes CO2e per MWh to approximately 0.51 tonnes CO2e per MWh in 2021. This 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."
With $31.5 million invested in the KH2 conversion and another $64.7 million for system upgrades, gas infrastructure and maintenance projects, the over $96 million investment in the project was also a significant boost to the economy, locally and across Canada. At its peak, nearly 800 additional jobs were created to complete the KH2 conversion.
The conversion of KH2 to gas is the Company's second conversion project following the successful conversion of Sundance Unit 6 ("SD6") in February 2021. Both SD6 and KH2 will maintain the same generator nameplate capacity of 401 MW and 395 MW, respectively. Later this year, the Company will also complete the conversion of Keephills Unit 3.
This project is another step on TransAlta's path to achieving our target to reduce 60 per cent, or 19.7 million tonnes, of annual greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 over 2015 levels and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. By meeting our 2030 target, our performance will exceed Canada's Paris Agreement level targets of 40 - 45 per cent reduction by 2030. To date, TransAlta has delivered 25 million tonnes of annual greenhouse gas reductions, representing approximately 8 per cent of Canada's goal of reducing between 292 - 329 million tonnes from 2005 levels by 2030. This achievement, coupled with TransAlta's diversified generating portfolio, including extensive hydro and wind assets, positions the Company to be a highly competitive provider of low carbon electricity.