TransAlta, MidAmerican Form Generation Alliance

Calgary-based TransAlta Corp. and Des Moines, IA-based MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. reported that they have entered into an alliance to develop, build and operate natural gas, coal and hydro-powered electricity generating assets in markets throughout Canada, the United States and Mexico. The agreement also includes the possibility of jointly acquiring existing power facilities. The companies currently have a combined portfolio of 18,000 MW globally.

"The strategic value of this alliance between TransAlta and MidAmerican will enable both companies to expand their asset base," said Steve Snyder, TransAlta CEO. "There are obvious benefits to the joint development of power projects through broader relationships with suppliers, efficiencies in project design and construction, economies of scale and greater diversification of project risks."

Greg Abel, MidAmerican president, said, "We view this as an opportunity to join with an experienced and successful company which brings a complementary presence to MidAmerican in key markets and accelerates our planned development of power projects in North America."

The companies said the degree of financial ownership and the operating partner on each project will be considered on a case-by-case basis, with the goal of creating equal participation between the two companies over the term of the alliance. Both companies have said that they expect to implement aggressive growth strategies to grow their generation businesses in North America.

"We each have our own individual projects that are in different stages to meet our individual growth goals," said Murray Nelson, TransAlta executive vice president of generation. "Now we are going through and looking at which ones make sense to put on the list to develop jointly." Nelson added that the alliance is not mandatory, but that he expects joint projects will be "more than less."

Nelson also said the companies will monitor areas of the United States and Canada that are entering deregulation for plant acquisition opportunities.

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