Critical thinking and teamwork results in a $23,500 grant to benefit the Aquaculture Program at Onalaska High School

August 15, 2018

In 2011 TransAlta made a commitment to the local community and the State of Washington to invest $55 million to support a variety of initiatives as the Centralia coal-fired units transition to shut down in 2020 and 2025. As part of that commitment, $20 million dollars was allocated to fund economic and community development projects within Lewis County and South Thurston County. On August 15, 2018 the Centralia Coal Transition Grants Economic & Community Development Board (“ECD”) announced funding in the amount of $23,500 is being awarded to the Onalaska School District to support the Aquaculture Program at the high school.

“This is a project that gives students an opportunity to witness first hand their work and allows them to enhance relationships with their partners” said Lori Schmitt, ECD Board Member. “Students will learn from this program, develop relationships with the agencies they work with and create an opportunity to support their local community. These are all areas the board considers when reviewing applications which have an educational opportunity. We are looking forward to hearing more about the operations of this program and seeing the results.”

Read the full News Release here

For more information on the Centralia Coal Transition Boards visit http://cctgrants.com

TransAlta’s Renewable Energy Presence: the U.S. and across North America

June 7, 2018

A History of Renewables Experience

TransAlta’s renewable energy commitment began more than one hundred years ago when the company built the first hydro assets in Alberta, Canada. Today, TransAlta is powering the equivalent of over 800,000 homes with renewable energy. We still operate those first hydro plants, and in 2002, we acquired our first wind farm. Then, in 2015, we acquired our first solar farm, further diversifying our portfolio of renewable energy sources. With a mix of hydro, wind, natural gas and solar assets and a commitment to innovation, TransAlta will complete its clean power transition by 2025.

Renewable Energy Growth at TransAlta

To support the overall strategy of growing TransAlta’s renewables platform and diversifying our presence in the U.S., the company has acquired wind assets and solar assets over the past several years. These acquisitions allow TransAlta, as Canada’s largest wind operator, to bring our expertise and experience to the United States. Here’s a glimpse of these assets:

Wind:

TransAlta’s Wyoming Wind represents our first wind project in the U.S.  The fully operational facility has the capacity to generate 144 MW of renewable energy and was acquired from NextEra Energy Resources in 2013. While NextEra Energy will continue to operate the facility, it is 100% owned by TransAlta Renewables, a subsidiary of TransAlta. Located within the Rocky Mountains, the facility is in south-western Wyoming, approximately 15km east-northeast of Evanston and commenced commercial operation in December 2003.

Lakeswind wind facility is located approximately 34 miles southeast of Fargo, North Dakota, in Rollag, Minnesota. This is TransAlta’s second wind project in the United States, with the capacity to generate 50 MW. The fully operational facility was acquired from Rockland Capital in September 2015, with fully contracted customers holding long term contracts.

On February 20, 2018 TransAlta Renewables announced that it had entered into an arrangement to acquire two construction-ready wind projects in the Northeast United States. The wind development projects consist of a 90 MW project located in Pennsylvania and a 29 MW project located in New Hampshire. The commercial operation date for both projects is expected during the second half of 2019 subject to closing conditions, including customary regulatory approvals and, in the case of the New Hampshire project, the receipt of a favorable regulatory determination in relation to the permitting of the project.

Solar:

TransAlta’s first solar project, Mass Solar in Massachusetts, United States, can generate 21 MW of renewable energy and was acquired in 2015. Mass Solar consists of four ground-mounted projects and four roof-top projects. These projects consist of just over 73,000 solar panels, two meters long and one meter wide, weighing around 60 pounds (27 kg) each.

TransAlta’s Commitment to Reducing its Environmental Footprint

Producing renewable energy has allowed TransAlta to avoid 3.1 million tons of C02 emissions, which is the equivalent of planting ~80 million trees or removing ~660,000 cars from the road. We know that how we operate has important social and environmental impacts and we strive to continually improve the sustainability practices that are core to our business.

At TransAlta, we are driving forward to power a low carbon future.

 

 

 

 

Reducing 40% in electrical energy savings, improving the learning environment and more

April 4, 2018

Investing in students

In 2011 TransAlta made a commitment to the local community and the State of Washington to invest $55 million to support a variety of initiatives as the Centralia coal-fired units transition to shut down in 2020 and 2025. As part of that commitment, $10 million dollars were allocated to fund energy efficiency and weatherization projects within Lewis County and South Thurston County. On April 4, 2018 the Centralia Coal Transition Grants Weatherization Board announced funding is being awarded to the Centralia College to help improve the learning environment for students by replacing old lighting technology with new LED lighting. The upgrade from old to new technology will improve the physical characteristics of the classroom and provide over 40% in electrical energy savings and reduce maintenance costs and operational disruptions.

“Lighting retrofits are an excellent way to reduce energy while improving student productivity as the lighting quality with LED technology is superior to traditional fluorescent lights” said Board member Nancy Hirsh. “The board is pleased to be able to help the College save on its electricity bill so more funds are available for educational purposes” said Hirsh.

Maximizing available funding

The grant amount of $231,843.00 will be leveraged with Department of Commerce Funding and Centralia City Light Utility Rebates to install new lighting in several buildings located on the campus grounds and for upgrades to the exterior lighting throughout the campus. “Thanks to the grant from the Coal Transition Board the college is able to reduce energy costs while improving the learning environment and addressing safety and security concerns”, said Steve Ward, Vice President for Financial and Administration. “In the current fiscal environment, the college would not be able to make these changes without the help of the grant.” The exterior lighting will help address safety and security concerns by providing better lamination of parking lots, walkways, and open spaces between buildings.

Improving campus efficiency

“The transition board is proud to partner with Centralia College to move forward this project that increases lighting and energy efficiency on campus”, said Board member Matt Matayoshi. “We anticipate that the College and community will benefit from this project now and into the future.” The Weatherization Board was established to fund energy efficiency and weatherization projects for the residents, employees, businesses, non-profit organizations and local governments within Lewis County and South Thurston County. Nearly 4,000 students, faculty and administration will all enjoy the benefits of this project.

For more information on the Centralia Coal Transition Boards visit http://cctgrants.com

Coal transition board awards $2 million to Centralia Community Foundation

November 20, 2017

Helping to transform public education

Thanks to a $2 million-dollar grant awarded to the Centralia Community Foundation by the TransAlta Centralia Coal Transition Grants Economic & Community Development Board, the Foundation will partner with the Centralia School District and Centralia School Board to build a district-wide evaluation and instruction plan to prepare students for college and vocational careers. This plan will support and enhance the skills of teachers and administrative staff, adding summer Math Programs, launching the first Robotics club, and adding career and college advisors to guide kids from high school through college or a career training program.

“These TransAlta funds will make a difference in this community,” State Governor Jay Inslee said. “By investing in local education, options for youth will be expanded.  This dovetails nicely with the new STEM facilities currently under construction in both Centralia and Chehalis. Together we can make a difference for young people throughout this region.”

“We are truly pleased to be able to help transform public education for Centralia students through this grant,” said Dawn Farrell, CEO and President of TransAlta.                                                         

Under the historic agreement between TransAlta and the State of Washington to transition the Centralia facility off coal, TransAlta is investing $55 million into the local community and the state of Washington.

Giving students the tools to exceed their expectations

The project will launch a systemic approach to preparing students to enroll and be successful in college or vocational careers. The BERC Group will partner and coach administrators to enhance teaching practices, strategies and methods. The TransAlta Coal Transition Board’s $2 million grant will begin by funding the initial assessments and establishing milestones and metrics with the goal to enhance the effectiveness of the new Centralia High School STEM facilities currently under construction.

“The unique role of a community foundation is the ability to create public/private partnerships that bring different entities together for a common vision” said Tim Browning, Vice-President of the Board and Chairman of the Education Committee. “We have seen how successful and measurable that strategy is in advancing education in Chehalis schools. The Centralia Community Foundation was formed to follow the success of the Chehalis Foundation while making specific changes to reflect the unique Centralia population.”

The project is being built off the neighboring Chehalis Foundation effort, which commissioned the BERC Group to evaluate their school systems. To date, Chehalis has seen higher numbers of graduates accepted into colleges with scholarships and classroom improvement across the district.

Quality education, promoting development = a strong community

“The vision that the Centralia Community Foundation shared with us is that by supporting and improving the educational system, the entire community will be able to realize the benefits of this investment,” said Mickey Dreher, transition board member.  “This approach has worked elsewhere and the board is excited to be part of such an important community-driven journey.”

The partnership has been established and now we look forward to seeing what comes next.

For more on this grant visit: http://www.chronline.com/news/transalta-gives-million-to-centralia-community-foundation-for-schools/article_980d88d6-c9a2-11e7-908a-87c01c4cdc9a.html or https://centraliacf.org/transalta-coal-transition-board-grants-centralia-community-foundation-2-million-dollars-for-education/

For more information on the Centralia Coal Transition Funding Boards visit http://cctgrants.com

 

 

 

Past, Present and Future

A look back in time

On September 14, 1925, the Centralia College opened its doors on the third floor of the Centralia High School Building. They welcomed 15 students, six teachers and did not charge tuition. Fast forward to 1953 when the first college library was opened with 1,256 books in a little white-frame church at the northeast end of the campus. By 1963 with enrollment over 1,000 a new $700,00 library and student center was constructed with seating for 252 and shelf room for 34,000 books. In 1986 Hank Kirk, the newly appointed president of Centralia College took on the job of helping to rebuild the institution, which included construction of a new library, now known as the Hank Kirk Library.

Opportunities for today

In April 2017, the TransAlta Centralia Coal Transition Energy Technology Board added to the history of the college by awarding a grant in the amount of $189,000 to support the construction of a 56kW solar photovoltaic project for the Hank Kirk Library. The renewable electrical energy produced by this solar project will reduce CO2 emissions and will help offset purchased power and lower ongoing energy bills for the next 30-40 years. It’s exciting to see that this local project has now been completed and to recognize the benefits for the students and the community for years to come.

Today, Centralia College expands over several city blocks, offers over 40 academic transfer programs, 24 professional/technical programs as well as extension and on-line courses.  Students who attend Centralia College may be preparing to transfer to a 4-year university, planning to complete a 2-year associate degree, studying to gain a certificate, or just taking a class to increase their knowledge or to gain job skills.  As it grows and changes, Centralia College continues to play an important role in the life of the community. TransAlta has formed a strong partnership with the college through community investment and scholarship programs. A great example of giving back to the communities in which we live and work.

Thinking about tomorrow

This solar project not only supports the Energy Technology Board mission of funding projects in Washington State that benefit clean energy, air quality or environment but supports the College’s energy efficiency goals as well as providing an enhanced learning environment for the students and faculty. Benefits for a great tomorrow.

As part of the historic agreement between TransAlta and the state of Washington to transition the Centralia facility off coal, TransAlta is investing $55 million into the local community and the state of Washington through its coal transition grant boards. Since January 1, 2016 the transition boards have committed approximately $3.7 million in grants to fund renewable energy, weatherization and energy efficiency projects. For more information on the Centralia Coal Transition Boards visit http://cctgrants.com

Coal transition board helps to leverage energy efficiency programs

March 30, 2017

It’s all about the customer

The Lewis County Public Utility District (the “District”) has been awarded a grant from the Centralia Coal Transition Weatherization Board to supplement the energy efficiency programs available to their customers. The grant amount for 2017 is $842,250.00 and will leverage existing programs to provide qualified customers with technology to improve their home efficiency with ductless heat pumps, support K-12 school energy efficiency improvements as well as supplement existing or pending programs to upgrade windows, insulation, lighting, lighting controls and other custom projects offered to District customers.

“Partnering with the Weatherization Board will create local jobs, allow for investment in schools, and help maximize the value and comfort from every bit of energy distributed to customers” says Chris Roden, District Power and Business Services Manager. The bulk of the dollars will be used toward installation of ductless heat pumps within the District’s service territory.

The District is a municipal corporation of the State of Washington, formed by the people of Lewis County to provide electric service. The District maintains an Energy Services department that offers customers a variety of residential, commercial and industrial conservation programs including a free energy audit.

Reducing the financial impact

The District’s Energy Efficiency team offers a free energy audit of customer homes, regardless of whether they qualify for their programs. The audit helps to explain how the home loses energy and where the most impact can be made with weatherization strategies. Once the audit is complete, the customer is given a list of measures they’re eligible for, a list of pre-qualified installers, and information regarding the District loan program.  “The grant dollars will help to leverage the opportunities the District has to offer to improve energy efficiency and weatherization and directly make a positive impact to their customers, whether it be a customer household, school or local business” says Shane Bluhm, Weatherization Board Member and Manager, Maintenance for TransAlta Centralia operations. “One of the goals of the board is to support projects that provide cost effective weatherization solutions that demonstrate an energy cost savings for those living and working in the local community. The plan outlined in the District application meets that goal.”

Fixing the problem

While a professional home energy audit is the best way to determine where your home is losing energy and where you can save, you can conduct your own simple but diligent walk-through and spot many problems in any type of house. Take a walk around the inside and outside of your home to look for problem areas and make a checklist. This list will help prioritize your energy efficiency upgrades and the start for a professional home energy audit to lead you to a possible reduction in your energy bills.

The district has several programs that can help residents lower their power bills through energy efficiency programs and other means. For more information, visit www.lcpud.org.

For more information on the Centralia Coal Transition Funding Boards visit http://cctgrants.com

Coal transition board supports Reliable Enterprises’ expansion

March 2, 2017

Plans to upgrade a 1993 building

The Centralia Coal Transition Grants Weatherization Board has approved a grant submitted on behalf of Reliable Enterprises to support their efforts to become more effective and efficient. The expansion project will convert 5000 square feet of empty warehouse space into offices to accommodate growth in the organization’s programs and to consolidate management into one location.

“This grant greatly supplements the remodel, expansion and consolidation of Reliable Enterprises staff at an existing location that will in turn free up another building to directly serve children and families” says Brett Mitchell, Executive Director of Reliable Enterprises. “This organization started back in 1977 by a group of local citizens who were concerned about the welfare of adults with disabilities and set up shop in a garage. Over the years the organization has seen many changes to get where they are today, serving children of all ages, providing affordable house, providing employment opportunities and having the ability to provide a top notch preschool education to all children living in Lewis County. Being able to put our management personnel in one location will help us to facilitate quicker and to be more efficient and collaborative in our decision making.”

Partnering with the community

 The grant amount of $84,112.52 will be used to update the 1993 building with energy efficient windows, insulated steel doors, new exterior insulation, LED lighting fixtures and a new 95% high efficiency gas forced air furnace with heat pumps. “One of our goals as a board is to fund projects that have partnering opportunities with the community and agencies that provide weatherization programs to expand the impact of the program” says Debbie Campbell, chair of the Weatherization Board. “The board’s decision to fund this project does just that by building on their ability to increase their services to their clients. Congratulations to Brett and his team for thinking outside the box to apply for and utilize the Weatherization Board funds to improve efficiency in their non-profit organization.”

Supporting positive changes for the community and environment

“The grant awarded to Reliable Enterprises creates a positive impact in the community and the environment” says Mike Lydon, Weatherization Board member and Manager, Mine & Plant Outside Resources for TransAlta Centralia. “Reliable Enterprises provides valuable services in our community and being able to help support their growing efforts and lower their energy expenses with the new efficient fixtures aligns with our board goals.”

The improvement project is underway and expected to be completed before June, 2017.

The Weatherization Board was formed as part of the 2011 agreement to transition the Centralia operations away from coal-fired generation. The board will have the opportunity to invest $10M to fund energy efficiency and weatherization projects for the residents, employees, businesses, non-profit organizations and local governments within Lewis County and South Thurston County, Washington.

For more information on the Centralia Coal Transition Funding Boards visit http://cctgrants.com

 

 

 

Coal transition board supports bus without an engine

January 30, 2017

A new chapter to zero emissions

Each year a local business known as Twin Transit provides approximately 230,000 passengers with bus transportation to medical appointments, school, shopping, employment and social services. This transportation access is vital to the local community as it provides safe and accessible public transportation services in and around the cities of Centralia and Chehalis. “When the Energy Technology Board members received an application from Twin Transit to support an electric bus charging station the members were very much interested in discussing the project” says Mike Gudeman, a member of the Energy Technology Board and a Control & Computer Technician at the TransAlta Centralia plant. “Introducing a 100% electric bus to its fleet will save on fuel expenses and provide a positive impact on the environment and community.”

No diesel or gas required

The Centralia Coal Transition Energy Technology Board approved a grant in the amount of $37,810.00 to support the installation of three-phase 440-volt electrical service which is needed for the installation of a 40kW charging station for 100% electric bus. This bus does not have an engine that requires diesel or gasoline fuel but rather operates each day on a single electric charge to its collection of battery cells. This zero-emission vehicle will save Twin Transit in fuel expenses and reduce carbon emissions.

Good things take time and planning

Now that the charging station has arrived, local contractors will begin work to install the electrical service so when the bus arrives the charging station will be fully operational. The expectation is that daily bus services will begin in February, 2017. Portions of the bus will be shipped from around the world with the final assembly taking place in California. Once assembled, the bus will be transported to Centralia where a little more work will need to be done. It will be an exciting day when the bus is available to the local community. Twin Transit is hoping this is just the beginning of a new chapter that provides safe and reliable transportation for the community.

The Energy Technology Board was formed as part of the 2011 agreement to transition the Centralia operations away from coal-fired generation. The board will have the opportunity to invest $25M in projects that create considerable energy, air quality, haze or other environmental benefits for the state of Washington.

For more information on the Centralia Coal Transition Funding Boards visit http://cctgrants.com

 

Just $5.00 a month buys 30 lunches for the homeless

September 26, 2016

A way to say Thank You

Every community faces challenges from poverty, to providing support and assistance to the very young, to the very old. This is the reason TransAlta chooses to partner with United Way. Helping others is a core value for the Centralia team and teaming up with United Way is a way to energize community programs that help to address the needs in our community. “At TransAlta, we believe it is important to support the communities in which we live and work,” says Bob Nelson, managing director, US Coal. “For the Centralia team, we have seen our community step up, responding to difficult circumstances and showing strong support for us over the past several years. Teaming up with United Way is one way that we can say “thank you” to the community for their generous support.”

United Way has done their homework

“Many families in our community are truly less fortunate and at risk, whether its financial problems, abuse, educational or health issues,” says Sandy Yanish, Centralia site United Way Campaign coordinator and United Way Board member. This year United Way of Lewis County is putting a focus on breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty and ALICE supports that direction. No, ALICE is not a person, but an acronym which stands for Asset, Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. ALICE represents people who are in jobs that are needed but don’t always pay enough to afford the basics of housing, food, child care, health care and transportation. ALICE is men and women of all ages and backgrounds. Did you know that according to research conducted in Lewis County 18 percent of residents live below the poverty threshold, but an additional 26 percent live just above the poverty threshold and are unable to consistently afford the basic necessities? In reality, 44 percent of Lewis County residents are barely making ends meet, living paycheck to paycheck to survive, not thrive. “There is not a better time than now to support United Way,” says Sandy. “For the Centralia team, I know that the understanding is already in place as employees have demonstrated their support by donating their time and dollars to the annual campaign for many years.”

Helping others. Changing lives.

Partnering with our community through United Way of Lewis County has been an integral value at TransAlta Centralia since 2000. And caring for those less fortunate is a trait possessed by our employees. Last week, we came together as a team to kick off our campaign and over the next month employees will have an opportunity to not only make individual contributions to United Way but have some fun bidding against each other on silent auction items, joining in 50/50 raffles and other fundraising events. Together we can all make a big impact in helping our community.

Values power our people and TransAlta

Great companies are built by great people.

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

TransAlta was built by people with great pride in the product we deliver and with the commitment in being a safe and responsible operator and community partner.

Moving into the future, we will maintain our century-old focus on being a valued neighbour, a trusted company with the highest standards of integrity and a key member of the communities where we work and live.

It is the power of our values that connects us as a team, and that keeps us connected to the needs of communities, business and people. When our behavior reflects our values, we honor our 105 year heritage of generating reliable, responsible and affordable electricity.

Our values are grounded in accountability, integrity, sustainability, safety and people; which create a strong corporate culture and allow all of our people to work on a common ground and understanding.

These values are at the heart of our success.

Our People. Our Values

Innovation.

TransAlta has been an industry leader for 100 years; and will lead for 100 more. Through hard work and creativity, we will stay competitive. We will pioneer innovative ways to deliver reliable, economic and greener electricity to customers for years to come.

Respect.

We listen, we are open, we value other’s perspectives and we treat all equally. In our words and actions, we place a high priority on respect in our workplace and our working relations.

Loyalty.

We are in this together. We are dedicated to achieving our goals through loyalty to our colleagues, to our customers and to our company.

Accountability.

You can hold us to our word. We are confident and empowered to make decisions that lead our company forward. Our personal commitment is to do what we say we will do.

Integrity.

We act at all times with honesty, fairness and transparency. Integrity is the foundation of our business.

Safety.

We are committed to the health and safety of our people and those with whom we work. Ensuring our facilities are designed and operated with this in mind is a principle that is important to us. Everyone who touches our business — employee, contractor, service provider — must go home safely. That’s just what we do.

Leadership.

We will lead a clean energy future and strive to enhance the quality of life in communities and regions we serve.