TransAlta Renewables Inc. (“TransAlta Renewables” or the “Company”) (TSX: RNW) announced today that Microsoft Corp. is its customer pursuant to a 15-year power purchase arrangement signed earlier this year for the 90-megawatt (MW) Big Level wind facility now under construction in Hector Township, Pennsylvania.
“This project advances our North American growth and investment strategy,” said TransAlta Renewables President John Kousinioris. “Microsoft is a leader in procurement of renewable energy and a catalyst for change in how corporate customers can control their energy procurement. We’re pleased to collaborate with them on a project that suits their needs and helps them to achieve their sustainability and carbon reduction objectives.”
The Big Level wind facility is the third power purchase arrangement Microsoft has signed in the PJM Interconnection. With this Big Level project, Microsoft’s total renewable energy portfolio will rise to more than 1.2 gigawatts, covering six states and three continents.
“Working with companies like TransAlta to bring new projects online, especially wind projects in states outside the Wind Belt, is good for our business, the community and the clean energy economy,” said Brian Janous, General Manager of Energy and Sustainability at Microsoft. “We’re pleased to enter a new state in the PJM region and take another step toward our goal of enabling a clean energy future for everyone.”
“We are thrilled that TransAlta Renewables and Microsoft have decided to invest in Pennsylvania,” said Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Davin. “This project will further Pennsylvania’s role as a leader in renewable energy, while supporting the development of a cleaner and more diverse energy economy.”
The Big Level wind facility will bring direct investment, jobs, landowner lease payments, tax benefits, and clean energy to Hector Township, Pennsylvania. At the peak of construction, there will be approximately 100 full-time equivalent jobs, and over the life of the project, the communities will receive more than $8 million in tax benefits and community payments.
Construction at Big Level is underway.
Geographic and asset diversification, backstopped by long-term contracted cash flows, are cornerstones of TransAlta Renewables’ growth strategy. TransAlta Renewables’ facilities include wind and solar in Wyoming, Minnesota, and Massachusetts. TransAlta Corporation, which owns 61 percent of TransAlta Renewables, is also one of Canada’s largest wind generators and Alberta’s largest hydro operator, with a total of 8000MW of owned generation capacity including 48 renewable generation facilities in 10 operating regions in North America.
TransAlta Renewables has consulted extensively with the Pennsylvania Game Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to minimize the impact the Big Level wind facility could have on birds and bats. Extensive on-site studies were performed with agency input, and wildlife impacts are expected to be minimal. The project is fully permitted through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Potter County Conservation District.
Commercial operation for the Big Level wind facility is expected to begin in the second half of 2019. All regulatory approvals have been completed.
TransAlta Renewables is among the largest of any publicly traded renewable independent power producers (“IPP”) in Canada. Our asset platform and economic interests are diversified in terms of geography, generation and counterparties and consist of interests in 20 wind facilities, 13 hydroelectric facilities, seven natural gas generation facilities, one solar facility and one natural gas pipeline, representing an ownership interest of 2,407 MW of owned generating capacity, located in the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Québec, New Brunswick, the States of Wyoming, Massachusetts, Minnesota and the State of Western Australia. Our objectives are to (i) provide stable, consistent returns for investors through the ownership of, and investment in, highly contracted renewable and natural gas power generation and other infrastructure assets that provide stable cash flow primarily through long-term contracts with strong counterparties; (ii) pursue and capitalize on strategic growth opportunities in the renewable and natural gas power generation and other infrastructure sectors; (iii) maintain diversity in terms of geography, generation and counterparties; and (iv) pay out 80 to 85 per cent of cash available for distribution to the shareholders of the Company on an annual basis.