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TransAlta Corporation Q1 2010 Earnings Call Transcript

Despite excellent availability, our wind resources in the quarter were down approximately 30% compared to what we would see in a normal year. As a result, expected production from our wind facilities was lower by roughly 200 gig watt hours. This phenomenon is consistent with the effects of El Nino, which typically only impact the first two to three months of the year, and we have already seen wind resources pickup throughout April. Past years have shown recovery of wind volumes in subsequent months and in our El Nino year.

Finally, looking at energy trading, gross margins for the quarter were $14 million, only slightly below the $15 million achieved last year. Overall, we’re off to a good start to the year. Before we provide an update on what to expect for the balance of the year, and commenting on our MOU with the State of Washington, I’ll turn the call over to Brian Burden.

Brian Burden

Thank you, Steve. This morning I look at both our cash flow performance for the quarter and our operations, maintenance, and administration expenses. I’ll provide an update to our sustaining and growth capital spending for 2010 and also give an update on our liquidity and financial metrics. I’ll also cover briefly that changes we’ve made to our Alberta coal fleet depreciation rates.

So, cash flow from operations in the first quarter was $174 million, compared to $83 million a year ago. The primary drivers of the $91 million increase were more favorable changes in working capital, and then for the full-year, we continued to expect to achieve $850 million to $950 million in cash flow from operations driven mainly by higher cash earnings.

Our operations, maintenance, and administration cost for the quarter decreased $14 million compared to last year. As a result of reduced plant maintenance activities in the quarter, partially offset by the acquisition of Canadian Hydro.

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