TransAlta’s Cascade hydro power plant is located on the Cascade River in Banff National Park, Alberta, the only power development in a Canadian national park.
TransAlta bought the Cascade Plant from the Canadian Federal Government in 1941. The following year, TransAlta built a new dam and power plant to replace the original. We added a second generating unit in 1957.
The Cascade plant was named for the native translation of the term meaning ‘mountain where the river falls.’
When the Cascade plant was built, Lake Minnewanka was created as a storage reservoir. A four-kilometer canal carries water from the lake to the Cascade plant.
The Cascade plant is part of the Bow River Electric System and generates an average of 52,000 megawatt hours each year.
TransAlta’s hydroelectric plants primarily provide electricity during periods of peak electrical demand and ensure system stability. Their operating flexibility means they can start quickly to introduce hydro power within minutes, balancing out shortages due to unexpected outages, or providing power at times of high demand.
Protection of the environment is an important part of our hydro power business, as is responsible water use. We continually work with environmental and community groups to ensure habitats are protected, and that all users’ needs are heard.
We are also working to enhance the environmental component of our Environment, Health & Safety Management System to meet ISO 14001 standards (ISO 14001 is an international standard setting the framework for a holistic and strategic approach to environmental policy, plans and actions).
Facts & Figures
- Location: Banff, AB
- Fuel: Hydro
- Capacity (MW): 36
- Ownership: 100%
- Operator: Yes
- First on-stream: 1942
- Revenue Source: Alberta PPA
- Builder: Yes
- Contract Expiry: 2020