TransAlta’s Project Pioneer awarded government funding to proceed

Oct 14, 2009

The governments of Canada and Alberta have partnered with TransAlta, Canada’s largest publicly-traded generator of electricity and renewable power, to build one of the world’s first fully-integrated carbon capture and storage (CCS) facilities for a coal-fired power plant.

On October 14, 2009, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach announced funding of “Project Pioneer,” TransAlta’s CCS project.

“We are very pleased Project Pioneer has been selected to receive the crucial funding needed by both governments,” said Steve Snyder, President and CEO of TransAlta. “This public-private partnership will move us a step closer toward the maturation of CCS technology, vital to the continued development of our energy resources in an environmentally-sustainable way.”

Project Pioneer will be located at the Keephills 3 power plant near Edmonton, Alberta. It is expected that Project Pioneer will reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by one million tonnes annually and account for 20 per cent of the Government of Alberta’s reduction target by 2015.

Project Pioneer brings together public and private partners who have been leaders on environmental issues for years. Current partners include:

  • Alstom – Alstom is a global leader in energy technology and brings expertise in the Chilled Ammonia carbon capture process
  • Capital Power – Capital Power and TransAlta share a long history working together to bring best-in-class power technology to Albertans. TransAlta and Capital Power are also joint venture partners for the Keephills 3 power plant, currently under construction.

Further partnerships with the oil, natural gas and power sectors will provide expertise and knowledge into the full potential of CO2 storage for enhanced oil recovery.

Successfully implementing CCS is crucial if Canada and the world are to address the CO2 emissions challenge. On a smaller scale, CCS has already proven to be a safe and effective way of reducing the level of greenhouse gases that enter the atmosphere.

The project will use Alstom’s post-combustion, chilled ammonia technology to capture CO2 which can then be transported for use in enhanced oil recovery and to a permanent geological storage site, demonstrating safe, secure, large-scale storage in saline aquifers.

What makes the case for CCS so powerful is that it can be retrofitted on existing coal-fired power plants and other fossil energy infrastructure. By retrofitting coal fleets across the county, CCS has the potential to make coal a carbon-neutral fuel.

For more information about the Governments’ announcement, please read their respective press releases and background information as posted in the related information column to the right.

For more information about Project Pioneer, please download our two PDF brochures or visit