Headquartered in Calgary, TransAlta is the largest investor-owned renewable energy provider in Canada. TransAlta generates electricity from a wide array of traditional and renewable resources, with the majority of their power being produced by power plants they own and operate. TransAlta offers competitive electricity, natural gas and energy solutions to large commercial organizations and wholesale marketers in a variety of industries, including retail stores, manufacturing, industrial, investor-owned utilities, public utilities and energy production.
TransAlta’s retail offerings are tailored to businesses and organizations in Alberta that utilize more than 250,000 kWh of electricity or 2,500 gigajoules of natural gas per year. TransAlta’s offerings currently include:
Index: TransAlta’s index energy contract allows maximum flexibility for businesses still determining the breadth of their energy needs or waiting for the right market conditions to lock in a long-term contracted price. Electricity rates are determined by the hourly market pool price of electricity.
Block: For businesses that have predictable energy consumption levels, or who want to minimize risk by having a predictable baseline, TransAlta’s block pricing energy plan allow companies to purchase set volumes of electricity at a pre-negotiated, fixed price, while being able to bridge shortfalls by purchasing additional electricity at the current market pool rate.
Structured-Block: Some businesses have a very in-depth understanding of their energy needs throughout the year, and need to be able to budget ahead of time accordingly. For those customers, the structured-block energy plan allows companies to purchase varying volumes of electricity for set periods of time to meet changing demand. Excess energy is sold off and credited at the hourly pool price, while energy can be purchased at the same hourly pool rate in the case of shortfalls.
Load Following: For those who need an absolute minimum of risk, TransAlta’s load following energy plan allows for absolute predictability of energy cost by establishing a single set cost for electricity throughout the year, regardless of consumption or market conditions. This assists customers in simplifying energy management as much as possible, so resources can be dedicated to more integral needs and priorities.
TransAlta was first formed as the Calgary Power Company in 1911 to meet the growing needs — and populace — of the City of Calgary. Its first project was the construction of a hydroelectric dam at Horseshoe Falls, supplying the city with 3,000 horsepower upon its completion in 1911. Eventually, the dam was expanded to supply a total of 13,500 horsepower.
The Calgary Power Company grew as it developed several more hydroelectric dams along the Bow River. Perhaps the most unique feature of its dams was its use of lignum vitae — a type of wood derived from Guaiacum trees — for the dam bearings. TransAlta still uses lignum vitae bearings for their modern-day dam projects.
In 1981, the company changed its name to TransAlta, to reflect the spread of their operations across the entirety of the province of Alberta. It was the first utility in Alberta to offer an incentive program for industrial energy efficiency, and was also the first Canadian electricity generation company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
With the advent of energy deregulation in Alberta, TransAlta spun off its retail and distribution businesses, choosing to focus strictly on electricity generation.
It currently operates more than 70 power plants around the world, powered from a variety of sources, including geothermal, wind, hydroelectric, natural gas and coal. Currently, plants powered by renewable resources comprise one quarter of their holdings.
TransAlta recently developed the company TransAlta Renewables, with that company’s sole focus being the development and growth of its renewable-resource energy production facilities.