Skip to main content

TransAlta Corp. TA-T has scrapped a wind farm it had planned for southwestern Alberta and put three other projects on hold, blaming restrictions that the province’s United Conservative Party government has imposed on renewable energy and uncertainty over coming market changes.

TransAlta said it has cancelled development of its 300 megawatt Riplinger wind farm, which had been planned for Cardston County near the Rocky Mountain foothills. The project, which would have comprised 47 turbines, is located in a newly restricted 35-kilometre exclusion zone near a protected area, chief executive officer John Kousinioris said.

“So that is a project that we will not be proceeding with,” Mr. Kousinioris told a conference call to discuss the company’s first-quarter results.

The Riplinger wind farm had been scheduled to start up in 2027.

Meanwhile, the Calgary-based power generator is putting three other projects on hold until it has more clarity on the future of Alberta’s electricity market redesign. They include the 180 MW Watercharger battery-storage project west of Calgary, 100 MW Tempest wind farm south of Lethbridge, and a 44 MW gas-fired plant called Pinnacle west of Edmonton.

“We want to ensure that market changes will not impact our investment thesis on these projects before we proceed, and have pushed out financial investment decisions until at least 2026, as we are to better understand the impact of the evolving market,” Mr. Kousinioris said.

After a seven-month moratorium on new renewable-energy projects in the province, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s government imposed new restrictions on wind and solar energy that came into force at the start of March.

Changes include limits on the ability of the industry to build projects on irrigatable lands, a new system of providing secure funds for the eventual cleanup of turbines and solar panels, and buffer zones of 35 kilometres around what the province deems “protected areas and other pristine viewscapes.”

Supporters of green energy have pointed out that the oil and gas industry is not subject to such restrictions and have warned that the moves would lead to a flight of capital from the province, which had previously been the target of a renewables boom.

Meanwhile, the government is also reviewing its market structure and regulatory regime to ensure reliability of the grid and affordability for consumers, who were hit this past winter with power shortages during frigid temperatures.

In February, Mr. Kousinioris warned in an interview with The Globe and Mail that uncertainty over changes to the province’s power market structure and the moratorium on renewables were conspiring with other factors to shake investor confidence.

On Friday, he stressed that the three projects on hold were not being cancelled, but preserved so that they could be restarted when changes to the Alberta electricity market are understood.

Report an editorial error

Report a technical issue

Editorial code of conduct

Tickers mentioned in this story

Study and track financial data on any traded entity: click to open the full quote page. Data updated as of 13/06/24 4:00pm EDT.

SymbolName% changeLast
TA-T
Transalta Corp
-2.75%9.56

Follow related authors and topics

Authors and topics you follow will be added to your personal news feed in Following.

Interact with The Globe