TransAlta named preferred bidder for Australian power plant

CALGARY, Alberta, April 15 Tue Apr 15, 2014 4:55pm EDT

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CALGARY, Alberta, April 15 (Reuters) - Canadian power company TransAlta Corp said on Tuesday it has been selected as the preferred bidder to build a A$550 million ($510 million) natural-gas fired generating station in South Hedland, Western Australia.

The company said that subject to final approvals, it expects the 150-megawatt power plant to be in service in 2017.

Horizon Power and Fortescue Metals Group Ltd have agreed to buy power from the facility under 25-year contacts.

The deal, if finalized, will see TransAlta increase its presence in Australia, where it now operates six facilities producing 425 megawatts of electricity.

"Our bid on this development project illustrates the importance and focus that TransAlta places on customers and business in Western Australia," Dawn Farrell, TransAlta's chief executive, said in a statement.

The Calgary, Alberta-based company also operates in Canada and the United States.

TransAlta shares closed at C$13.09 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Tuesday. The shares have dropped 6.7 percent over the past 12 months.

($1=$1.07 Australian) (Reporting by Scott Haggett; Editing by Peter Galloway)

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