Alberta Sundance power station
Alberta Sundance is a coal-fired power station owned and operated by TransAlta in Alberta, Canada.
The undated satellite photo below shows the plant, located 70 kilometers west of Edmonton, Alberta on the south shore of Wabamun Lake.
The facility is the largest coal-fired electrical generating facility in western Canada, with a total of six generating units:
Retirement and Conversion
In February 2011, TransAlta said it will be closing operations at two of the Sundance coal-fired units because repairs would be too costly. The Sundance 1 and 2 units have been down since December 2010. The units comprise 560 MW of the 2,126 MW Sundance power plant, which operates as a baseload facility for the Alberta electricity system.
The closing of the units could cost consumers more than $200 million in unrealized refunds through Alberta’s Balancing Pool. The agency that oversees power purchase agreements would have to pay that amount to TransAlta as net book value of the plants and to TransCanada as partial payment on the remainder of its contract. TransCanada holds the Sundance units' power purchase agreement and expects reimbursement.
In 2011 TransAlta brought units 1-2 back online because it was demanded under the company’s PPA agreement with TransCanada.
In April 2017 TransAlta said it plans to retire Sundance Units 1-2 effective January 1, 2018, but the utility is seeking approval to have unit 2 on reserve between 2019 and 2021. Additionally, TransAlta plans conversion of Sundance Units 3 to 6 from coal-fired generation to gas-fired generation in the 2021 to 2023 timeframe, for use until the mid-2030s.
In December 2017 TransAlta announced that Unit 3 and Unit 6 would be mothballed until 2020 due to low demand for electricity. The two units then mothballed were actually Unit 3 and Unit 5.
An October 31, 2018 TransAlta press release states that in the third quarter of 2018 the company "Retired the previously mothballed Sundance Unit 2 due to its relatively short useful life, small size relative to other units, and the capital required to return the unit to service."
In March 2019 TransAlta received approval from the Alberta Electric System Operator to continue mothballing Unit 3 and Unit 5 until November 2021, an extension of 18 months.
In May 2020 TransAlta's CEO Dawn Farrell stated on a quarterly earnings call with investors that Unit 6 would be converted to gas in 2020. The conversion of Unit 6 to gas was completed in February of 2021.
In July 2020 TransAlta officially retired the plant's mothballed Unit 3.
In November 2020, jwnenergy.com reported that TransAlta will stop using coal before January 1, 2022, converting Unit 4 to burn only natural gas before the announced date. It will also end operation at the Highvale coal mine before the end of 2021. When Unit 4 stops burning coal, its maximum output will fall from 406 MW to 70 MW.
The currently mothballed Sundance Unit 5 is undergoing conversion to run solely on gas. When the conversion is complete, the unit will have a maximum output of 730 MW. The conversion is expected to cost approximately $760 million and be operational by 2023.
A 53-megawatt uprate to Sundance 5 was completed in 2009 at a cost of $75 million. Additionally, a 44-megawatt upgrade was completed on Sundance 6 in 2001 and a 53-megawatt uprate on Sundance 4 in 2007. In May 2015, TransAlta completed a 15-megawatt uprate on Sundance 3.
- Owner: TransAlta Centralia Generation LLC
- Parent Company: TransAlta
- Plant Nameplate Capacity: 2,133 MW (Units 1-2: 280 MW; Unit 3: 380 MW; Unit 4: 433 MW ; Unit 5: 433 MW ; Unit 6: 422 MW)
- Status: Units 1-2: Retired; Unit 3: Retired; Unit 4: Operating; Unit 5: Mothballed; Unit 6: Retired (converted to gas)
- In service: Unit 1: 1970-2018; Unit 2: 1970-2018; Unit 3: 1976-2018 (mothballed in 2018, retired in 2020); Unit 4: 1976-present; Unit 5: 1976-2018 (mothballed); Unit 6: 1980-2021
- Location: Wabamun, AB
- GPS Coordinates: 53.5072, -114.5567
- Coal Consumption:
- Coal Source: TransAlta's Highvale coal mine
- Number of Employees:
Articles and Resources
- "Sundance" TransAlta Company Website, accessed April 30, 2010.
- "TransAlta issues notice of termination for Sundance units" Power-Gen, Feb. 10, 2011.
- "Economics lead to early coal shutdowns, improved possibilities for health and jobs," Pembina Institute, April 20, 2017
- "TransAlta Board Approves Plan for Accelerating Transition to Clean Power in Alberta," TransAlta, Apr 19, 2017
- TransAlta Announces Accelerated Transition to Clean Energy, TransAlta, Dec. 6, 2017
- "Status of Sundance Unit 1 (SD1) and Sundance Unit 2 (SD2) effective January 1, 2018," AESO, Jan 1, 2018
- "TransAlta Reports Third Quarter 2018 Results," PR Newswire, Oct 31, 2018
- TransAlta to extend mothballing of Sundance coal-fired units, S&P Platts Global, Mar. 11, 2019
- TransAlta Corp (TAC) Q1 2020 Earnings Call Transcript, Motley Fool, May 12, 2020
- Amanda Stevenson, TransAlta completes first of three coal-to-gas conversions; company aims to be off coal entirely by 2022, Calgary Herald, Feb. 02, 2021
- Maryam Adeeb, TransAlta to retire mothballed Sundance coal unit in Alberta, S&P Platts Global, Jul. 23, 2020
- "TransAlta announces plan to stop mining coal at Highvale, stop using coal in Canada" jwnenergy.com, November 4, 2020
- TRANSALTA CORPORATION Third Quarter Report for 2020, TransAlta, 2020
- TransAlta Advances its Clean Energy Investment Plan, TransAlta, Oct. 30, 2019
- Sundance, Transalta, accessed June 2020
- "Highvale" TransAlta Mine Page, accessed May 5, 2010.
Related GEM.wiki Articles
- Existing coal plants in Canada
- Existing U.S. Coal Plants
- Washington (state) and coal
- Highvale coal mine
- Canada and coal
- Global warming
- Phuong Le, "Wash. says deal will cut pollution at coal plant," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, September 10, 2009.
- Kathy Durbin, "Sierra Club Organizes Effort to Close Coal Fired Plant in Centralia," The Columbian, April 25, 2010