UPDATE 2-TransAlta, MidAmerican to seek Canada power projects

Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:39pm EDT
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* Partnership to seek new gas-fired projects in Canada

* Pact set up to speed growth, spread risk

* Net income up 12 percent to C$0.24 a share in quarter

* Shares up 2.7 pct to C$15.63

By Jeffrey Jones and Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay

Oct 26 (Reuters) - TransAlta Corp said Friday it was teaming up with Warren Buffett's power generation and pipeline company to seek opportunities for new gas-fired electricity plants to power the booming Alberta oil sands and nascent Pacific Coast LNG export industries.

TransAlta, known for Canadian and U.S. coal, gas and renewable generation businesses, said it signed a strategic partnership with MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., owned by Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

The pair will seek out prospects to build and operate plants to help meet an estimated C$200 billion of new investment in generation that Canada needs over the next two decades.

The tie-up will allow the Calgary-based power generator to speed up its growth ambitions, as the financial risk would be shared. It announced the partnership, MidAmerican's first foray into Canada, while reporting that third-quarter profit grew 12 percent on lower maintenance costs and strong margins in most of its operations.   Continued...