Alberta’s last coal-fired power plant mothballed

Unit 2 at the Genesee generating station west of Edmonton has been repowered with natural gas, marking the end of the coal-fired power plant in Alberta. Credit: Capital Power

The Genesee generating station, operated by Capital Power (TSX: CPX), was Alberta’s last coal-fired power station until it completed its repowering program on June 16, 2024. It is not expected that coal will ever be used in the future for electricity generation, thus marking the end of burning coal to provide power in that province.

The milestone was reached five years ahead of the Alberta government’s mandate.

“Capital Power is immensely proud to cease coal-fired operations at our Genesee generating station and deliver up to 3.4 million tonnes of annual emissions reductions through our Genesee repowering project,” said Jason Comandante, SVP and head of Canada for Capital Power.

“Our investment in this facility will result in the most efficient natural gas combined cycle plant in Canada – a feat that significantly reduces emissions while delivering more megawatts of reliable, affordable and clean capacity for our province.”

Two units at the plant are now 100% powered by natural gas. A pair of new Mitsubishi M501JAC turbines and a Vogt triple-pressure heat recovery system were installed, while the plant continues to use the existing steam generators. Each of units will add 512 MW net capacity to the provincial grid by 2025, and up to 3.4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions will be eliminate annually.

The third unit at Genesee was upgraded to use 100% natural gas in 2023. Total cost of the repowering project was approximately $1.35 billion ($980 million).

Capital Power now has a total of 19 natural gas-fired plants generating 7.8 GW, 10 wind farms with a capacity of 1.36 GW, and three solar facilities with a capacity of 130 MW. The company is planning to expand its output of clean energy to service customers throughout North America. The company also has a carbon capture and storage division.