TransAlta targets renewable energy growth in Canada, the U.S., and Australia


TransAlta Corp. said it would add 2 GW of new capacity to its generating fleet, and invest around C$3 billion ($2.37 billion) developing, constructing, and acquiring new assets by the end of 2025.

The company said it had “significant growth aspirations” across Canada, the United States, and Australia and would focus on renewable and energy storage project for large customers. The company said it plans to expand further into contracted renewables with solar, onshore wind, and battery storage.

As part of its new focus, the company said it will suspend a planned 730 MW conversion to natural gas of a former coal-fired unit known as Sundance Unit 5. The company cited what it said were escalating costs, changing supply and demand dynamics, and forecasted power prices in the Alberta market, as well as regulatory risks. It said it planned to use the capital previously targeted for the Sundance Unit 5 repowering to fund renewable energy projects.

TransAlta said it has a development pipeline which includes 1.2 GW in the United States, up to 2 GW in Canada, and 270 MW in Australia.

In early September the company said it would pay $96.65 million for a 122 MW portfolio of operating solar facilities in North Carolina. The assets are being acquired from a fund managed by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners.

The portfolio consists of 20 solar photovoltaic facilities that are all operational and were commissioned between November 2019 and May 2021. The facilities have long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) with two Duke Energy units. The PPAs have an average remaining term of 12 years. Under the PPAs, Duke receives the renewable electricity, capacity, and environmental attributes from each facility.

The North Carolina portfolio is expected to generate an average annual EBITDA of around $9 million and average annual cash available for distribution of around $7 million. The facilities are expected to have an annual production of 195,000 MWh.

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