Skip to main content

Capital Power is building seven renewables projects in Alberta and North Carolina, totalling 425 megawatts of clean energy to power local communities.SUPPLIED

Reducing emissions from power generation is a key step towards meeting Canada’s climate targets, and Capital Power takes this challenge seriously. The power producer headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, is advancing on its path toward becoming net carbon neutral with the twin objectives of one, building out its renewable power capacity – as well as advancing storage technologies that will make renewables more reliable – and two, decarbonizing its natural gas and coal fleet.

“We believe what is needed is a holistic transformation of the energy system,” says Sandra Haskins, SVP Finance and CFO at Capital Power. “From our perspective, in addition to building out renewables, the decarbonization of existing infrastructure is critical for meeting climate goals.”

The grid of the future requires a variety of reliable power sources, she explains. “Reliability and affordability are key components, and we’ve been taking an innovative and creative approach to optimizing our assets.”

Capital Power recently announced that it will phase out its coal-fired energy generation in Alberta in 2023 – “six years ahead of the government-mandated target,” says Ms. Haskins. “We are investing $1-billion to repower two of our three Genesee units for utilizing best-in-class natural gas combined cycle technology. The third unit will be converted to 100 per cent natural gas.”

In two years’ time, the transition of the Genesee Generation Station will deliver a carbon emission reduction of 3.4 million tonnes per year (compared to 2019 levels), which is “really moving the needle on our decarbonization journey,” says Ms. Haskins, who adds that technology innovation, such as carbon capture and utilization or hydrogen, can further improve the environmental footprint of natural gas.

We believe what is needed is a holistic transformation of the energy system

Sandra Haskins, SVP Finance and CFO at Capital Power

“A number of solutions are still in the early stages of development, but they will become critical pieces of the puzzle,” she says. “The repowered units will be 30 per cent hydrogen-capable, which can be upgraded to 95 per cent in the future.”

Over the last decade, Capital Power has also invested in advancing carbon capture and utilization research. “Our carbon conversion centre at the Genesee site looks at turning captured carbon into nanotubes that can be used in manufacturing steel or cement, for example,” says Ms. Haskins. “The innovation reduces the environmental footprint of what would otherwise be energy-intensive products from carbon captured at our Genesee site.”

Building out renewable capacity is also a significant part of the equation, she says. “We currently have several wind and solar projects in development. Once they come online, approximately 30 per cent of our EBITDA will be from renewables.”

The commitment to decarbonizing energy sources while providing grid stability has earned Capital Power the support of multiple stakeholders, including employees, investors, the scientific community and all levels of government.

“We are also on the ground and actively engaged with our local communities – working to be a contributing member of the communities in which we operate,” explains Ms. Haskins. “Being a sustainable organization means being profitable as well as advancing to be net carbon neutral and creating healthy, just societies for future generations.”

Advertising feature produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.