The new natural-gas powered Shepard Energy Centre is fully operational, Enmax announced on Wednesday.

The $1.4-billion plant in east Calgary is capable of generating more than 800 megawatts of electricity for the provincial grid, the city-owned utility company said in a release.

“The facility is the largest of its kind in the province and an important step in Alberta's transition away from aging coal-fired generation facilities,” Enmax said.

Enmax announced the project in 2007 and it became a joint venture with Edmonton-based Capital Power Corporation as a 50 per cent owner in late 2012.

It uses combined-cycle technology that has two combustion turbines to generate electricity while making use of waste heat through a steam turbine for extra power production.

The centre is about 30 per cent more efficient than conventional coal plants and will emit less than half the CO2 per megawatt hour, as well as less carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide gases, Enmax says.

Its cooling towers will also use 14 million litres of reclaimed water per day from the city’s Bonnybrook wastewater treatment plant, the company says.

"With this crucial infrastructure added to Alberta's electricity system, we will bring reliable electricity to Albertans for decades to come,” said Enmax CEO Gianna Manes in a release.