Skip to main content
Press Release

GE Upgrade to Enhance Efficiency of Alberta Power Plant, Support Region's Clean Energy Policy

October 12, 2012

  • Project to Better Position MacKay River Plant for Future Power Demands
  • GE Technology Enables Site to Align With Alberta's Push for Cleaner Energy
  • Upgrade included in a Comprehensive Contractual Services Agreement

CALGARY, ALBERTA ---Oct. 11, 2012---GE (NYSE: GE) has been selected to upgrade TransCanada Energy Ltd.'s MacKay River cogeneration plant with advanced technology that will deliver more power capacity, while enabling the facility to maintain a low emissions footprint. GE will provide a solution to ensure high operational reliability, increased output and alignment with the region's clean energy policies while it provides electricity and steam for oil sands extraction at the 165-megawatt plant, located northwest of Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada.

The project will apply GE's Advanced Gas Path (AGP) solution to its natural gas-fired 7FA turbine.

AGP technology enables power providers to operate more efficiently and reliably by upgrading hot gas path, bucket, nozzle and shroud components with design and material innovations. This installation will be complemented by the advanced controls capabilities of several GE OpFlex* solutions including a Cold Day Performance app. Together, these enhancements are expected to increase the plant's output by up to 4.5 percent, with the potential to increase steam and electricity production further in the future.

The plant runs nearly 24 hours a day, and has consistently maintained high levels of availability while sustaining very low emissions. An on-site cogeneration system is more efficient than a central power plant since thermal energy that would otherwise be wasted is captured for use. This efficiency aligns with the Province of Alberta's policies on the use of clean energy in the development of oil sands resources.

The upgrades are part of a comprehensive GE Contractual Service Agreement (CSA), which will provide maintenance services to the plant through 2024. GE CSAs are structured to help customers with predictable maintenance costs, while ensuring high availability and a steady revenue flow from power plant operations. To date, GE has long-term service agreements, including CSAs, in place at more than 700 sites worldwide.

"This project illustrates how GE's total lifecycle approach to delivering installation, maintenance and upgrade solutions can help power plant owners and operators get the most value out of their assets," said James Kaveney, America's general manager of GE's Power Generation Services group. "These solutions enable customers like TransCanada to deliver reliable electricity more flexibly, and efficiently, as their market dynamics change over time."

"GE's commitment to helping us expand MacKay River's operational performance will better position the facility to continue delivering a reliable and efficient source of power," said Alex Pourbaix, TransCanada's president of energy and oil pipelines. "With this agreement, we can also continue leveraging GE's fleet expertise, and latest technology, to continue supporting northern Alberta's growing economy in an environmentally responsible manner."

GE's OpFlex upgrades for the project include Enhanced Transient Stability (ETS), AutoTune and Cold Day Performance solutions. ETS provides robust combustor operability in the face of grid frequency and load instabilities. AutoTune eliminates the need for combustion retuning by making real-time adjustments to control parameters based on performance, environmental conditions and variation in fuel properties. Cold Day Performance allows gas turbines to operate at higher loads during cold temperatures, a key benefit for MacKay River because of the region's extremely cold weather.

*OpFlex is a trademark of General Electric Company.

About GE

GE (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter. The best people and the best technologies taking on the toughest challenges. Finding solutions in energy, health and home, transportation and finance. Building, powering, moving and curing the world. Not just imagining. Doing. GE works. For more information, visit the company's website at

In Canada, GE has operations across the country, including major manufacturing, sales and service locations with 7,000 employees. For more information on the Canadian results of the GE Global Innovation Barometer, please visit

Follow GE Canada on Twitter at: and YouTube at

GE Energy works connecting people and ideas everywhere to create advanced technologies for powering a cleaner, more productive world. With more than 100,000 employees in over 100 countries, our diverse portfolio of product and service solutions and deep industry expertise help our customers solve their challenges locally. We serve the energy sector with technologies in such areas as natural gas, oil, coal and nuclear energy; wind, solar, biogas and water processing; energy management; and grid modernization. We also offer integrated solutions to serve energy- and water-intensive industries such as mining, metals, marine, petrochemical, food & beverage and unconventional fuels. Follow GE Energy on Twitter @GE_Energy.


For further information, please contact:

Michael Goldstein
GE Power & Water
+1 678 844 6653
[email protected]

Ken Darling or Howard Masto
Masto Public Relations
+1 518 786 6488
[email protected]
[email protected]

Court Elliott
GE Corporate Canada
[email protected]

business unit