President and CEO Dawn Farrell’s message to customers

TransAlta has reached another milestone in our 105-year history with the launch of a plan to accelerate our transition to gas and renewables generation.

It includes retirement of Sundance Unit 1 and mothballing Sundance Unit 2 for up to two years, starting next January. We also plan to convert Sundance Units 3 to 6 and Keephills Units 1 and 2 from coal to gas-fired generation in the 2021 to 2023 timeframe, when we expect to be substantially off coal. The benefits of accelerating the coal-to-gas transition include significantly lowering carbon intensities, emissions and carbon cost.

And that will benefit our customers through competitive pricing and a secure, reliable supply.

Remember that the Sundance plants were already scheduled for closure as they reached their federally-mandated retirement dates — permanent job losses that we would have faced through more than a decade. By being proactive and positioning ourselves for a new market in which capacity is priced and renewables are more likely to provide energy, we are setting up the company to compete here in Alberta for the next 20 years.

You can learn more about coal-to-gas and our Brazeau Hydro Pump Storage project elsewhere on this site. Brazeau will complement our existing hydro, wind and converted gas plants. It’s a project for a future, where electricity prices continue to be a competitive advantage here Alberta, and where generating electricity without emitting carbon will be a competitive advantage.

That has always been TransAlta’s history.

In 1911, we built the first hydro plants in Alberta. In the ‘50’s we were the first to build coal in the province. In the ‘80’s we were among the first to build cogeneration plants and in the year 2000, we were leaders in Canada’s first wind projects. Today, we can see that those who invest in renewables and have competitive capacity to back them up will be among the most competitive electricity generators.

We’re excited by the plan we’ve set and confident in our ability to execute it. I look forward to hearing your feedback and comments.