TransAlta announces development work has begun on Brazeau pumped hydro project

TransAlta Corp. has commenced development of a pumped hydro project at its existing Brazeau facility and expects to begin stakeholder consultations in the near future.

This announcement was included in a press release explaining that TransAlta has entered into an agreement with the government of Alberta on transitions payments for the cessation of coal-fired emissions from three plants on or before Dec. 31, 2030. The company also announced it reached an understanding with the government to collaborate and cooperate in the development of a policy framework to facilitate the conversion of coal-fired generation to gas-fired generation, facilitate existing and new renewable electricity development through supportive and enabling policy, and ensure existing generation and new electricity generation are able to effectively participate in the recently announced capacity market to be developed for the province of Alberta.

Specifically, TransAlta says supportive and enabling policy includes policy that addresses the value of the carbon reductions in the generation of electricity from existing wind and hydro generation. In addition, they call for the development of regulatory clarity and alignment so as to permit the economic and timely development of hydroelectric projects within Alberta (including through the establishment of contractual assurances in the form of capacity payments).

The company says: “The successful development of a future policy framework will set a clear path for the investments that TransAlta will make in its existing coal, hydro and wind fleets and will allow the company to make additional investments in gas conversions, hydro and wind development in the province.”

The company is targeting 2021 to begin construction on the Brazeau pumped storage project, subject to receiving a long-term contract, the press release says. Proposed generating capacity of the facility was not disclosed.

The 355-MW Brazeau Power Station on the Brazeau River in Alberta, Canada, has been in operation since 1965.

TransAlta owns wind, hydro, solar, natural gas and coal facilities. Its 27 hydro facilities have a total capacity of 936 MW.

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Elizabeth Ingram is content director for the Hydro Review website and HYDROVISION International. She has more than 17 years of experience with the hydroelectric power industry. Follow her on Twitter @ElizabethIngra4 .

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