Controversial Alberta coal mine could soon get green energy makeover

Canada Global (Web News) It is a type of energy that aided in the western expansion. Nonetheless, coal mining has left its mark on the Alberta environment, including open pits and abandoned mines where energy developers are currently looking for new energy sources.

In many regions, “sites like these don’t actually exist,” according to Blain van Melle, executive vice president of TransAlta’s operations in Alberta.

“This is truly distinctive. It’s what we like to call a unicorn.

At Tent Mountain, metallic coal was found in the early 1900s. In 1948, small-scale mining helped make room for the first open cut pit.

However, operations were halted in 1983, and in 2021, changes to the coal policy forced owners to reconsider the mountain’s potential.

Come on, TransAlta the business used to be Canada’s top supplier of coal-fired electricity. It is currently working on a proposal to convert Tent Mountain’s former mining operation, including its pits filled with water, into a new source of renewable energy in collaboration with the Australian business Montem Resources.

Van Melle stated, “The sheer volume of potential storage that is lying in that water and the cost to run the pumped hydro plant compared to other facilities, the capital investment that will need to put into the project up front… is very unique.

“This one ranks close to the top of a list of pumped hydro projects that you could locate around the world.”

Pumped hydroelectric energy storage functions somewhat similarly to a rechargeable battery. Water is pumped from a lower reservoir and stored in an upper reservoir using extra wind and solar energy when energy demand is low. The system is turned around when there is a strong demand for energy, and gravity takes over. After that, the water runs through turbines to produce electricity.

There aren’t many ways to store power when a lot of wind is blowing overnight and nobody is really utilising electricity, according to van Melle.

This would enable us to effectively have a giant battery to store that power and then deliver it back to customers into the grid during peak periods, when there is low demand and high renewable generation.”

The removal of coal mining from the Tent Mountain plans pleases environmentalists, but they are cautiously optimistic about the project while they await the results of the environmental impact studies.

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