Canadian Manufacturing

TransAlta forms strategic partnership to build gas fired power plants

Calgary firm will work with MidAmerican Energy to develop, build and operate facilities across Canada

CALGARY—TransAlta Corp. has formed a new strategic partnership with an American company for building power plants in Canada.

Under the partnership with Des Moines, Iowa-based MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., the two companies will work together to develop, build and operate new natural gas-fired electricity generation projects in Canada.

“The creation of this partnership is a new and exciting development in our growth strategy and better positions the two companies to pursue significant growth opportunities in Canada,” said Dawn Farrell, TransAlta president and CEO.

“Studies are showing that more than $200-billion worth of new investment in power generation is needed in Canada over the next 20 years. MidAmerican is a strong partner to enable us to capture a sizable share of that market opportunity,and this project will build off our already existing business relationship, which dates back to 2001.”

The agreement encompasses all new natural gas-fuelled generation opportunities considered by either TransAlta or MidAmerican in Canada, including TransAlta’s proposed Sundance 7 project, an up to 800-megawatt project based in Alberta.

All development and construction or acquisition of approved projects will be funded on a 50-50 basis and TransAlta will be responsible for construction management, operation and maintenance of projects that proceed.

Meanwhile, TransAlta said net income attributable to common shareholders in the third quarter was $56-million, or 24 cents per diluted share.

That compared with $50-million or 22 cents per share in the same 2011 period.

Revenue fell to $538-million in the three months ended Sept. 30 from $629-million in the same year-earlier period.

Comparable earnings were $41-million or 18 cents per share, down from $61-million or 27 cents per share in the 2011 period.

“Comparable results for the quarter were primarily driven by strong availability across the fleet as generation gross margins increased by $51-million compared to the same period last year,” the company said in a release.

Lower operations, maintenance and administrative costs also benefited the quarter. However, the gains were partially offset by higher planned major maintenance and a loss in energy trading, while lower prices in the Alberta and Pacific Northwest markets were also a factor, it said.

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