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Premier Kenney helps turn the taps on new natural gas pipeline

WATCH: The shift from coal to natural gas has been on the forefront for Alberta energy producers for the last several years. On Friday, two major companies, with support from the province, launched a new pipeline. Chris Chacon was there.

The shift from burning coal to natural gas has been on the forefront for Alberta energy producers for the last several years. On Friday, two major companies, with support from the province, launched a new natural gas pipeline.

“There are so many wins for our province in this $200-million project that it’s hard to know where to begin. Obviously, the creation of 11,000 construction jobs at its peak was a big win for all Albertans who worked on this Pioneer Pipeline,” Premier Jason Kenney said.

READ MORE: Frustration grows among natural gas producers amid low prices, LNG uncertainty

“We’re very excited that the company board of directors has approved spending over a billion dollars in the next five years converting these coal plants into gas so that we can continue to provide low cost and clean electricity to Albertans,” TransAlta CEO Dawn Farrell explained.

The Pioneer Pipeline supplies natural gas to two of the province’s biggest power plants, allowing them to move away from coal as a fuel source.

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Construction of the 120-kilometre pipeline began in 2018 and was a joint venture between TransAlta and Tidewater Midstream.

According to TransAlta, by the time it fully converts from coal to natural gas, it will have reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent.

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“TransAlta’s coal to gas conversion of its energy-generating assets represents exactly what needs to happen around the world if we are to make real progress in the fight against climate change,” Kenney added.

In addition to the new pipeline, by 2021, three existing plants are expected to be converted from coal to natural gas, officials said.