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TransAlta, Canada's largest non-regulated electricity generation company and second-largest single GHG emitter, plans to reduce net emissions of greenhouse gases from its Canadian operations to zero by 2024. However, it did not commit to eliminate fossil fuels from its generation portfolio. Rather, the company has sought to demonstrate that, through a combination of efficiency improvements, technology development, and emissions offset trading, this aggressive target could be met without large increases in the price of electricity.
In pursuing its target, TransAlta has established a reputation as one of the most active participants in the emerging market for GHG reductions. While playing this pioneering role, the company has been involved in a number of "firsts," including its purchase of reductions from a German utility, Hamburgische Electricitats-Werke AG (HEW). This is thought to be the world's first trans-Atlantic GHG trade.
By 1999, TransAlta had already engaged …