Alberta strikes $1.36 billion deal with coal companies as part of plan to shut down plants early – by Geoffrey Morgan (Financial Post – November 25, 2016)

CALGARY — The Alberta government will pay three coal-fired electric generating companies $1.36 billion for the province’s decision to close their plants early, while also potentially avoiding a lawsuit with other power companies in the province.

The province’s Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd announced Thursday the province will pay Capital Power Corp., TransAlta Corp. and ATCO Ltd. a total of $97 million per year, beginning next year and payable every year until 2030, to shut down six of their 18 power plants early.

The other 12 coal-fired electric generating stations in the province are all scheduled to close, or convert to natural gas, before 2030. Alberta’s NDP government has mandated that all coal-fired power plants either cease operations or eliminate all their emissions by that date as part of sweeping climate change legislation announced last year.

“The government is committed to working with existing Alberta businesses as we transition away from coal, and we are making good on that commitment today,” Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd said.

The transition payments mark the third major announcement affecting Alberta’s deregulated electricity market this week, after government officials announced Tuesday a cap on electric prices and on Wednesday changes to the way the electric market is regulated and structured.

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