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TransAlta Corporation Pinnacle 1 & 2 Peaking Thermal Electric Power Project, AUC Decision 28464-D01-2024

Link to Decision Summarized

Thermal Peaking – Facilities

Application

TransAlta Corporation (“TransAlta”) applied for approval to construct and operate a natural gas-fired thermal power plant (the “Power Plant”), including an associated substation, located within the fenceline of TransAlta’s existing Keephills Generating Station (the “KGS”) in Parkland County.

Decision

The AUC approved TransAlta’s application, finding the approval in the public interest.

Pertinent Issues

The Power Plant consisted of two generating units, Pinnacle 1 and 2, each having an 11-MW capacity. TransAlta described these as “peaker” units, which would operate on an as-needed basis during peak electricity demand periods. The units were expected to operate approximately 20 percent of the time on an annual average basis.

The AUC was satisfied that the application, including TransAlta’s participant involvement program, complied with the requirements set out in Rule 007: Applications for Power Plants, Substations, Transmission Lines, Industrial System Designations, Hydro Developments and Gas Utility Pipelines (“Rule 007”). The AUC was also satisfied that the requirements of Rule 012: Noise Control (“Rule 012”) were met.

Given that the Power Plant was situated within an existing gas plant on pre-disturbed land, the AUC was satisfied that there would be no incremental adverse effects on the environment. The AUC accepted that there was limited potential for adverse environmental effects, as the project will be constructed and operated on existing brownfield disturbance, and was satisfied that TransAlta’s existing environmental compliance requirements were appropriate to address the project’s limited potential for adverse environmental effects.

The AUC was satisfied with TransAlta’s submission that the project effects on agricultural land would be minimal, as it will be located within the fenceline of an existing power plant. The AUC was satisfied that TransAlta’s approach of reclaiming the project area as part of the overall decommissioning and reclamation of the KGS was sufficient to address its reclamation responsibilities at the project’s end of life.

The AUC found the project in the public interest in accordance with s 17 of the Alberta Utilities Commission Act and imposed the following condition of approval:

TransAlta shall submit confirmation of the substation name and electric facility ID once those have been assigned by the independent system operator. The permit and licence for the substation will be issued once written confirmation of the substation name and electric facility ID has been filed with the Commission.

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