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TransAlta Corporation
Traded asTSXTA
ISINCA89346D1078 Edit this on Wikidata
IndustryPower generation
HeadquartersCalgary, Alberta, Canada
Key people
Dawn Farrell (CEO), John P. Dielwart (Board Chair) Appt’d April 21, 2020
ProductsPower Generation (8,978 MW aggregate generating capacity).
RevenueCA$2.3 billion (2019)
Total assetsCA$9.5 billion (2019)
Number of employees
1,543 (Dec. 31, 2019)

TransAlta Corporation (formerly Calgary Power Company, Ltd.) is an electricity power generator and wholesale marketing company headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It is a privately owned corporation and its shares are traded publicly. It operates over 70 power plants in Canada, the United States, and Australia. TransAlta operates wind, hydro, natural gas, and coal power generation facilities. The company has been recognized for its leadership in sustainability by the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index, the FTSE4Good Index, and the Jantzi Social Index. TransAlta is Canada's largest investor-owned renewable energy provider. The company has on several occasions illegally manipulated the energy market to drive up power prices.


In 1909, TransAlta began the planning and construction of the Horseshoe Falls Hydro Plant in Seebe, Alberta. Two years later, Calgary Power Company, Ltd. was born.

That first dam was built by a crew of about 200 with primitive tools such as picks and wheelbarrows. It initially had a 10 MW capacity (13,500 horsepower).[1] A second dam was commissioned in 1913 at Kananaskis Falls and was built by close to 500 workers.

At the time, streetcars were responsible for a significant share of Calgary’s electrical load. Residential power was just being introduced, and many homes were lit for the first time with electrical lamps because of Calgary Power. Calgary Power's cheap energy is credited with Canadian Pacific Railway's decision to locate its regional engine repair shop in Ogden, Calgary, spurring the city's economic development.[2]

Notable leaders from the company’s early years included W. Max Aitken (eventually Lord Beaverbrook) and R.B. Bennett, who went on to become Canada’s Prime Minister from 1930 to 1935.

The company's monopoly position and behaviour made its status as a private corporation unpopular among rural customers and some Calgary residents, and a move to nationalize it was converted to a province-wide referendum in 1948, which came down very narrowly on the side of maintaining its private ownership.

In 1981, the company changed its name to its current name of TransAlta Corporation.

At the end of 2010, TransAlta became the first company to own and operate more than 1,000 MW of installed wind capacity in Canada—almost 30 per cent of the country's total.

TransAlta has gradually been transitioning its energy-generating facilities away from coal, due to adverse environmental effects, towards natural gas. Its last remaining operational coal mine, in Highvale, AB, has been laying off workers as it undergoes this transition.[3]

Ghost River Reservoir[edit]

Since the 2013 Alberta floods, as a temporary partial solution to mitigate flood damage during those months when there is a greater risk of rising water that might cause flooding, the government of Canada has been paying TransAlta Corporation $2 million to lower the level of water in its Ghost Reservoir.[4]


In 2010 and 2011, TransAlta timed their power outages so as to drive up prices of electricity and increase their revenues. The Alberta Utilities Commission declared these acts illegal in their review, concluded on July 27, 2015. The commission has yet to determine penalties for this manipulation of energy markets.[5]

Hydro facilities in British Columbia[edit]

Upper Mamquam, built by Canadian Hydro Developers and operational since 2005, is a run-of-the-river hydroelectric plant 5 km northeast of Squamish, BC. The penstock is 1.6 km long, dropping 120 meters to the powerhouse containing two 12.5 MW Pelton wheel generators.[6][7]

Bone Creek a hydroelectric plant constructed in 2011, has a 5 km penstock dropping 148 meters to a powerhouse with two 9.6MW Francis turbines. It is located 90 km south of Valemount, BC and operated by Valisa Energy Inc. Approximately 72 GWh of power annually is sold to BC Hydro.[8]

Akolkolex, built by Canadian Hydro Developers and operational since 1995, uses two Francis turbines in a 10 MW run-of-river hydroelectric plant discharging into Arrow Lakes. It is located 25 km SE of Revelstoke, B.C. The plant produces approximately 37 GWh of electricity annually.[9]

Pingston Creek has a 12 meter high sheetpile rock-fill dam which diverts water to the western shore of Arrow Lakes. It was built by Canadian Hydro Developers and Brascan Power and began operation as Pingston Power Inc. in 2003. A 4 km tunnel achieves a huge drop of 557 meters to three 15 MW Pelton wheels to generate about 200 GWh annually.[10] The project is 53 km south of Revelstoke, BC.

Energy generation summary[edit]

  • 8,978 megawatts (MW) of aggregate generation capacity (2019).
  • 48,614 gigawatt hours (GWh) were produced at an average plant availability of 88.9 per cent for the year ended December 31, 2010.
  • Over 70 facilities in three geographies: Canada, U.S., Australia
  • One surface coal mine in operation: Highvale in Alberta, Canada

Net Capacity Owned by Fuel Type
(in operation and in development)

Type Net Capacity
Coal 32%
Gas 33%
Wind/Solar 23%
Hydro 12%

Net Capacity Owned by Geography
(in operation and development)

Geography Net Capacity
Canada 80%
United States 14%
Australia 6%

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Jennings, A. Owen (1911). Merchants and manufacturers record of Calgary. Calgary: Jennings Publishing Company. p. 85.
  2. ^ Foran, Max (1982). Calgary, Canada's frontier metropolis : an illustrated history. Windsor Publications. p. 76. ISBN 0-89781-055-4.
  3. ^ Mertz, Emily (14 February 2019). "Alberta workers brace for more layoffs as TransAlta continues shift from coal to natural gas". Global News. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  4. ^ McClure, Matt (20 June 2015), "Residents upset over lack of plan for flooding threat", "Calgary Herald, Calgary, retrieved 20 June 2015
  5. ^ "TransAlta timed power outages to drive up prices: Alberta commission". Global News. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-07-19. Retrieved 2015-08-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^
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