TransAlta Corp. will expand its presence in Quebec with a 66-megawatt wind power project on the Gaspe Peninsula expected to cost about $205-million.
The Calgary-based power producer said Monday that the Gaspe project is contracted under a 20-year power purchase agreement with Hydro-Québec .
Commercial operations at the project, which will include 33 wind turbines, are expected to start in the fourth quarter of 2012.
TransAlta estimated the project will produce enough energy to power about 10,500 homes and will create about 100 jobs during construction.
"Building our presence in a key market such as Quebec is an important part of our goal to enhance shareholder value, as well as strengthen our position as the premier wind power generator in Canada," chief executive Steve Snyder said in a news release.
"We appreciate the relationships we have built with the municipalities of New Richmond, St-Alphonse and Caplan, in which the wind turbines will be installed, and look forward to playing a part in the long-term sustainability of these communities," said Mr. Snyder.
The Gaspe Peninsula has been hit with high unemployment in recent years.
RBC Dominion Securities analyst Robert Kwan noted that it's TransAlta's second wind power project in Quebec province. The company already operates one wind facility in the Gaspe's New Richmond area.
"Given the small size of the project, we do not view it to be material to earnings," Mr. Kwan said in a research note.
"From a strategic perspective, the project continues to further TransAlta's strategy to green the portfolio and increase contracted cash flows," Mr. Kwan said.
TransAlta is a power generation and wholesale marketing company that operates biomass, geothermal, wind, hydro, natural gas and coal facilities in Canada, the United States and Australia.
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