TransAlta has secured the approval from its board for plan devised to speed up its transformation into a gas and renewable energy generating company.

In connection with this, the Canadian power generation company has decided to retire the first unit of its 2.14GW coal-fired Sundance Power Station in Alberta province with effect from January 1, 2018.

It will mothball the second unit of the Sundance power plant over a 2-year period that comes into effect from January 1, 2018.

Put together, Sundance 1 and 2 units have a capacity of 560MW, and their power purchasing agreement with Balancing Pool is slated to end by the year end.

The Canadian company also revealed its plans to convert the remaining four units of the Sundance Units as well as the Keephills Units 1 and 2 in Alberta province with an investment of around $300m. The six coal-fired plants will be converted to gas-fired plants between 2021 and 2023 which would extend their useful life to mid-2030s.

TransAlta president and CEO Dawn Farrell said: “The Company is taking steps today that will position us as a leader in clean power generation and improve our competitive position as we consider a future where carbon is a high cost input to power generation.

“TransAlta is committed to providing reliable and competitive power to our customers. Supplying markets with renewable power and competitive clean capacity from gas conversions will serve customers with low cost and low carbon electricity for decades to come.”

The Canadian energy company also intends to secure supply for about 700 million cubic feet of gas per day which would be needed for the converted six plants. It would also take steps for the construction of the associated pipeline.

Image: TransAlta will convert six coal-fired units to gas-fired. Photo: courtesy of alex_ugalek/