Hanna Mayor con­cerned with coal con­tract can­cel­la­tion

The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Pa­trick Ko­lafa The Drumheller Mail file­photo

The fu­ture of a ma­jor in­dus­try in Hanna be­came a lit­tle more un­cer­tain this week when Tran­sCanada Cor­po­ra­tion an­nounced its in­ten­tion to ter­mi­nate its Al­berta Power Pur­chase Agree­ment (PPA).

Ac­cord­ing to a press re­lease from Tran­sCanada, this is re­lated to the in­crease in costs re­lated to car­bon diox­ide emis­sions. It plans to can­cel its PPAs with Sheer­ness and two plants near Waba­mun.

“The agree­ments con­tain a pro­vi­sion that per­mits the PPA buy­ers to ter­mi­nate the PPAs if there is a change in the law that makes the agree­ments un­prof­itable,” said Bill Tay­lor, Tran­sCanada’s ex­ec­u­tive vi­cepres­i­dent and pres­i­dent, En­ergy. “We have made the de­ci­sion to ex­er­cise this right.”

Mayor of Hanna Chris War­wick is very con­cerned with the change and spent most of Mon­day try­ing to grasp an un­der­stand­ing of the po­ten­tial con­se­quences of th­ese changes.

“Sheer­ness con­tin­ues to gen­er­ate with­out any prob­lems at all… for how long - that is the ques­tion, be­cause there is no longer a con­tract,” he said.

“The bot­tom line is the $20 car­bon tax they have put on all the gen­er­a­tion sta­tions, whether they are coal or nat­u­ral gas, has re­ally hurt the coal. It can’t be as com­pet­i­tive with the nat­u­ral gas be­cause they have more emis­sions, so it is a higher cost to them."

He said he con­tacted ATCO Power, which in­di­cated it would keep gen­er­at­ing for as long as they can be com­pet­i­tive.

“The un­der­ly­ing is­sue is the car­bon emis­sion tax has caused this,” said War­wick.

“If the govern­ment is go­ing to im­pose that tax, this is go­ing to force way ear­lier clo­sure of th­ese power plants caus-

ing more un­em­ploy­ment in the prov­ince, which is strug­gling very much. They need to re­con­sider the time­lines, I’m not say­ing don’t do it, but maybe re­tract that $20 for now and re­tool it. There are a cou­ple hun­dred jobs out here, we can’t have those peo­ple out of work.”

Op­po­si­tion leader Brian Jean says the govern­ment has failed to pro­tect job loss.

“This is the first domino to fall for work­ers in the elec­tric­ity in­dus­try and the govern­ment has failed to show how they will look af­ter the work­ers and fam­i­lies who will be im­pacted by th­ese de- ci­sions,” he said in a re­lease.

The an­nounce­ment from Tran­sCanada is not an end to the com­pany’s in­volve­ment in gen­er­a­tion. “The com­pany does not view this ac­tion on the PPAs as a full re­treat from the Al­berta pow e r mar­ket ,” added Tay­lor. “Trans-Canada has a ro­bust gas-fired cogen­er­a­tion busi­ness to­tal­ing 438 megawatts at four sites. Th­ese low cost and low CO2 emit­ting gas units are ex­pected to per­form well even in to­day’s mar­ket en­vi­ron­ment.”

Tran­sCanada En­ergy an­nounced its in­ten­tion to can­cel its Al­berta Power Pur­chase Agree­ment in re­gards to coal gen­er­a­tion plants in Waba­mun and Sheer­ness.

Chris War­wick …

Hanna Mayor

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