TransAlta provides an essential service. Our primary impact is as a provider of electricity – we power essential services to society. We do so responsibly, affordably and reliably, and in a manner that respects the goals of all our stakeholders.
TransAlta employs more than 2,300 people in the many communities in which we operate. We provide stable, long-term employment opportunities for our workers.
Our operations are generally located in areas with few other employment opportunities. TransAlta hires locally where practical, and pays wages and provides benefits comparable to other industrial companies.
In 2009, TransAlta contributed $65 million dollars to local, state, provincial and federal governments through income tax payments.
TransAlta also pays royalties and goods and services tax, and fees to land owners where we have wind operations.
TransAlta endeavours to hire local suppliers wherever practical. Our operations typically undergo major maintenance periods each year; specialized labour is brought in and further supports local economies. In 2009 we spent more than $900 million with suppliers across our operations.
Our operations have an impact on the environment. TransAlta is one of the largest greenhouse gas emitters in Canada and the Pacific Northwest. Through our operations we also emit nitrogen oxide (NOx), sulphur dioxide (SO2), particulates and mercury into the air. TransAlta has assumed responsibility in this regard and has strategies in place to reduce these emissions.
We have established a pattern of taking action and testing solutions ahead of regulation. We proactively research and test solutions, share what we learn with policy-makers and work collaboratively with industry, typically resulting in more workable and practical answers.
We also have an impact on the land. We use natural resources to produce electricity. Coal mining involves removing the heavier soil, or overburden, that covers coal seams. This requires some of the world’s largest earth-moving equipment and can result in disruptions to the earth and the ecological systems living on it, as well as to local communities. We have comprehensive and approved reclamation plans in place prior to any mining activity, and work with local stakeholders to ensure that we have systems in place to mitigate any disruptions as quickly as possible. TransAlta’s operations can result in spills.
We also conduct biomonitoring surveys on fish, wildlife and invertebrates to manage our impacts.
TransAlta’s operations rely on the use of water, for power generation purposes at hydro facilities, for steam at cogeneration facilities and for production systems at coal-fired locations. Generally our operations result in little net impact on water resources; however we are diligent in ensuring that we minimize impact on others relying on the same water sources.
TransAlta also continually pursues ways to increase the efficiency of our operations. These efforts are generally aimed at improving heat rate at our coal-fired generation facilities, and any successes also decrease emissions.
We do everything possible to minimize our impact on the environment, and strive to ensure that our impact on society is positive.
TransAlta’s wind operations are often located on private land. Our hydro operations are sometimes integrated with recreation areas. Our coal-fired operations are near communities. Occasionally, our business can cause disruption, such as noise from mining activities or increased traffic during expansion or maintenance activities. We strive to minimize disruptions to our neighbours and communities. We regularly engage with these stakeholders to ensure that we understand their concerns, and so that solutions to potential issues can be found.