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The Sundance power plant is the largest coal-fired electrical generating facility in western Canada, with six generating units. The plant is located 70 kilometers west of Edmonton, Alberta on the south shore of Wabamun Lake.
Plants are designed for optimal efficiency – meaning the highest production and lowest emissions and costs possible. As they age, efficiency can be improved through uprates, which involve updates to technology and replacement of older components such as steam turbines. The improved energy conversion that results from an uprate typically results in lower emissions per megawatt hour and greater production.
An uprate usually occurs only once in a plant’s life. To date, three of Sundance's six units have been uprated.
A 53-megawatt uprate to Sundance 5 was completed in 2009 at a cost of $75 million. Additionally, a 44-megawatt uprate was completed on Sundance 6 in 2001 and a 53-megawatt uprate on Sundance 4 in 2007.
In October 2010, TransAlta announced the 15-megawatt uprate to Sundance 3 for completion in 2012.
Our Sundance 5 plant was the location of a mercury control test in 2006, to assess technologies to meet the Alberta government’s goal of reducing mercury emissions by 70 per cent. The test, conducted in conjunction with General Electric, had an overall capture rate of 70 per cent and has subsequently undergone a longer term test at our Keephills facility.