Environmental policy-making has been slow and inconsistent over the past decade. The lack of consistent policy across all of our jurisdications makes an even and well-planned approach to environmental solutions challenging. As compliance is costly, we must know our investments and changes will comply not only today, but also in the future.
TransAlta continues to work with governments and regulators to help define regulatory frameworks that are attainable, effective and affordable.
We believe that with a proper regulatory approach that is aligned with capital stock turnover opportunities in the power sector, greenhouse gas and other emissions can be significantly reduced over time.
Perceptions of coal
Some believe that coal is ‘dirty’ and that coal-fired generation should be eliminated.
We believe we play a key role in providing power for essential services. Coal remains the most affordable and reliable means of generating power today. TransAlta continually seeks new technologies that will reduce environmental impacts, including the impact of coal-fired generation. At Centralia alone, we have invested $300 million in new pollution controls and operational improvements, making that plant one of the cleanest coal facilities in North America.
The recession of 2009 resulted in lower demand for electricity. Markets may not recover in 2010; demand will be slow to come back given still-tough economic times. TransAlta is highly contracted in 2010 which should provide greater earnings stability. We will also continue to focus on reducing overhead costs, strengthening maintenance plans and improving availability.
In all of TransAlta’s jurisdictions, power transmission remains a challenge. Demand for power will continue to increase and transmission networks will not meet long-term requirements to connect new generation facilities to end users.
TransAlta works with government and supports the development of new transmission lines in all jurisdictions where they are required for the reliable delivery of electricity.