Transalta acquires power plant in New York through MEGA

CALGARY, Alberta, Jan. 25, 2001 (BUSINESS WIRE)—TransAlta (TSE:TA.; CDNX:TA.) is entering the New York energy market with the $9 million U.S. purchase of a 55-megawatt (MW), gas-fired power plant in Binghamton, New York.

TransAlta will own and operate 100 percent of the facility, the company’s first power plant acquisition in the New York state market. The purchase was facilitated through the Merchant Energy Group of the Americas (MEGA), who will be responsible for commercial management of the plant. In June 2000, TransAlta acquired a 50 percent interest in MEGA, which specializes in commercial development and management of U.S. power assets.

“This is TransAlta’s first power plant purchase in the dynamic eastern U.S. power market,” said Steve Snyder, TransAlta’s president and CEO. “It’s another step in our goal to grow our generation by 1,000 megawatts per year.”

The Binghamton plant is a peaking plant, which means TransAlta will operate it to provide electricity during periods of high demand to the New York Power Pool. “The acquisition is the first in a strategy to identify and acquire merchant projects in the U.S. through MEGA,” said Gary Hart, TransAlta’s general manager, Ontario region. “The knowledge and expertise demonstrated by the TransAlta team and MEGA made this purchase possible.”

“TransAlta is committed to using local services and maintaining jobs at the plant,” continued Hart. “The Binghamton peaking plant is an efficient, well-maintained facility with access to key energy markets.”

The Binghamton plant that was commissioned in 1992 is located near the Pennsylvania and New York state borders. The plant lies 70 miles south of Syracuse and 100 miles west of Albany.

Merchant Energy Group of the Americas (MEGA) was established in 1997 by Gener SA, a Chilean-based electric generator, specializing in the commercial management of power generation assets in the United States.

TransAlta is an international electric energy company with more than $6.6 billion in assets. The company is focused on achieving strong earnings growth and enhancing its competitive edge as a low-cost operator of generation and transmission assets, and a successful developer of gas-fired independent power projects. The company is concentrating its growth in Canada, the United States, Australia and Mexico. TransAlta owns and operates more than 8,000 megawatts of generation plus significant transmission assets in Alberta.