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TransAlta announces 66 MW Alberta expansion

Calgary-based TransAlta says it will start constructing a 66 MW expansion of its Summerview wind farm in southern Alberta in the second quarter of 2009. The C$123 million second phase, using 22 Vestas 3 MW turbines, is expected to begin commercial operations in the first quarter of 2010. The project will help meet Alberta's growing need for new electricity supply, says TransAlta CEO Steve Snyder, but future development will require grid upgrades. "We have identified the potential to develop an additional 500 MW of wind generation in southern Alberta over the next five years. Our ability to execute on these future opportunities is largely dependent on the addition of new transmission capacity within the province," says Snyder. The need for grid upgrades in the south-west part Alberta was approved back in May 2005, but has been caught in regulatory limbo that has delayed the expected in-service date to the end of 2009. The Alberta Electric System Operator has also recently wrapped up public consultations on options to increase transfer capacity right across the entire southern part of the province. It has received applications for more than 11,000 MW of wind power, with more that 9500 MW of that distributed across the south. It expects a total of 2000-3900 MW of that to actually be built over the next ten years. The first phase of Summerview is made up of 38 Vestas 1.8 MW turbines.

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