TransAlta Bill Goes to Gregoire for Signature


    Legislation that would gradually shut down TransAlta’s Centralia coal-fired plant by 2025 is about to clear its final hurdle Thursday as it goes to the governor’s office after passing through the Senate for the final time.

    Senate Bill 5769 would have the Canada-based energy company decommission one of the plant’s two boilers by 2020. The second boiler will be taken offline by the end of 2025.

    The state Senate voted 33-14 to send the bill on for Gov. Chris Gregoire’s signature.

    The measure also puts in place financial safeguards envisioned to help the community recover in the absence of one its largest employers and to encourage a push to develop cleaner sources of energy.

    The state will give projects in the Centralia area precedence when it comes to receiving funds.

    TransAlta will provide $30 million to a community investment fund for energy efficiency projects to stabilize the local economy in its absence and another $25 million for clean energy technology development to promote clean power across the state.

    Officials at the plant have stated that they have already started planning for the construction of a second natural gas plant at their Hanaford Valley facility to begin operation in 2020 when the first boiler is shut down. The natural gas plant would generate less than 1,000 megawatts. The current coal-fired plant generates 1,376 megawatts.

    It is unclear if TransAlta will expand their use of natural gas after the second boiler is shutdown in 2025.