Our History

A powerful past

Since 1911, we've supplied the electric power that has made progress and innovation possible in Alberta – and beyond.

At first, our growth was tied to the evolution of a province steeped in prairie optimism and rich natural resources. More recently, we've powered industry, commerce, and community well-being across Canada, in the U.S., and Australia.

Wherever we operate, we are committed to responsibly supplying reliable electric power to customers at an affordable cost; to investing in the local community; and to doing business in a manner that ensures our employees are safe and proud.

TransAlta timeline

When the province of Alberta was four years old, we began our journey with the planning and construction of the Horseshoe Falls Hydro Plant. Two years later, we flipped the switch and Calgary Power Company Ltd. was born.

Electricity was now being put to many new uses – from powering street lamps to motion pictures - and it contributed to the exploration and early economic success of Alberta.

When the Great Depression hit, we were fortunate and strong enough to continue operations without having to lay off a single employee. In 1937, we also toured our "Modern All-Electric Kitchen."

With the onset of the Second World War, many employees enlisted to serve their country. In 1941, we began assigning employee numbers for the first time. Jal Abelseth of the Seebe plant had the honour of being employee 00001.

The baby boom was underway and the company was experiencing a boom of its own. By 1950, we had more than 400 staff members and offices across Alberta, including Edmonton, Camrose, Wetaskiwin, Calgary and Lethbridge.

The '60s were full of celebration. In 1961, we marked our first 50 years of operation. Meanwhile, our team was building experience. In 1963, 61 employees – all with a quarter-century of service to the company – formed the 25-Year Club and held their first meeting.

By the early '70s, society was becoming environmentally conscious. We responded by retrofitting boilers with electrostatic precipitators which removed 99.5 per cent of the fly ash from emissions. While interest rates rose, we continued to expand to keep up with the needs of a growing province.

In 1981, we changed our name to that by which we are known today – TransAlta.  The new name better reflected our now province-wide operations. During this decade we advanced in leaps and bounds, growing to the point where we were supplying 81 per cent of Alberta’s electrical requirements.

In the '90s, TransAlta was instituting measures to demonstrate the company’s sustainable business practices.  We also made our first large investment in the wind power business.

With deregulation now in effect, TransAlta became the first Canadian electrical generation company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. The company has since grown to become the largest investor-owned generator of energy in Canada.

Since 2009, TransAlta has focused on increasing investment in a diversified generation fleet of low-cost power assets that serve customers in Alberta, other provinces in Canada, parts of the United States and in Western Australia. We've expanded our generation mix to include solar and we are Canada’s largest wind operator and Alberta’s largest hydro operator.

Last updated: January 24, 2013