New Canadian power generation projects to ease shortage


21-06-00 Canadian energy companies announced a raft of new gas-fired power-generation projects in Alberta, plants aimed partly at easing electricity shortages in the booming Calgary region. PanCanadian Petroleum, Canadian Occidental Petroleum and TransCanada PipeLines unveiled plans for four new plants, three near the southern Alberta city where the population has jumped by 100,000 to 850,000 over the past five years.

The three southern Alberta projects, to produce a total of almost 300 MW of electricity, were selected by the province's Transmission Administrator, which had an open call for up to 500 MW of new generating capacity to ease the run on power in the region. PanCanadian said it won bids to build two gas-fired power plants at a cost of C$ 100 mm ($ 68 mm) each.

One of the proposed plants will be built at the site of Canadian Occidental's Balzac gas plant, about five km (three miles) north of Calgary. CanOxy will hold a 50 % interest in the facility, designed to generate 106 MW. PanCanadian's other plant, to be 100 % owned by the big oil and gas producer, would be at the company's Cavalier gas compressor station, about 50 km (30 miles) east of Calgary. It, too, will generate 106 MW.

Meanwhile, TransCanada said it will build an 80 MW co-generation plant at fertiliser producer Agrium's nitrogen production facility at Carseland, Alberta. The C$ 75-mm facility, 40 km (25 miles) south-west of Calgary, will provide power and steam to Agrium's operations under a 25-year deal. TransCanada will supply the surplus electricity to the Alberta grid, it said.

TransCanada also said it plans to build another co-generation plant at Redwater, Alberta, near the provincial capital of Edmonton. That plant will provide steam and power to its natural gas liquids fractionation facility, which the company wants to sell as part of plans to divest a total of C$ 3 bn in assets.

The company put the gas liquids operations, along with other international businesses, up for sale so it could concentrate on pipelines and power generation in Canada and the northern United States. The Redwater power plant will cost about C$ 35 mm to build, it said.

TransCanada said construction could begin on its projects this fall with start-up set for November 2001, subject to regulatory approvals. PanCanadian and CanOxy said their power plants were also subject to approval by the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board as well as by both boards of directors. Construction could start this fall for start-up in the summer of 2001, they said.