CanWEA President discusses a global transition to a low-carbon future

Robert Hornung, the President of the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) recently answered some questions about the global transition to a low-carbon future, and what needs to happen in order to get there.

Hornung has been President of CanWEA since August 2003. He represents the interests of CanWEA members who are Canada’s wind energy leaders – wind farm owners, operators, project developers, consultants, manufacturers and service providers, as well as the organizations and individuals interested in supporting Canada’s wind energy industry.

In the CanWEA interview, Hornung also discusses how a global transition to a low-carbon future has influenced the theme at this year’s annual CanWEA Conference & Exhibition, which takes place in Montreal, October 3 to 5, 2017. To read the full Q&A, click here.

Q. What are the biggest opportunities for the wind-energy industry across Canada?
Hornung: The biggest opportunities today for wind energy in Canada, in my opinion, exist in Western Canada. In the immediate sense, strong commitments have been made by the governments in Alberta and Saskatchewan to dramatically increase the use of renewable energy. Alberta wants to build 5,000 MW by 2030, most of which will be wind. This would be a quadrupling of wind energy in the province.

Both provinces are currently holding their first procurements, which are meant to be the first in a series. Being a competitive process, they are likely to produce the lowest cost wind energy seen to date in Canada. These are present today as live opportunities, which will also be on-going at the time of the conference.

Wind has been the leading source of new generation in Canada for the past decade. Today, wind has demonstrated that it is cost-competitive. Wind’s main competition from a cost perspective, natural gas, is likely to become less competitive with carbon pricing, which will shortly take effect. Soon, wind will be cheaper than all other alternatives. This is great for the industry because anytime a new jurisdiction is looking to build new electricity, wind will be top of the list in terms of consideration.

Canada is currently the 8th largest wind producer in the world, so we’re well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities as we move forward.

Q. Where do you see the next market opportunities emerging in 2018, and beyond?
Hornung: New opportunities will emerge in three demand driver areas:

  1. Reduce greenhouse emissions directly – we’re seeing that in Alberta and Saskatchewan and will continue to see this occur through to 2030
  2. The export of wind energy to the United States – a recent request for proposals for clean electricity in Massachusetts has clearly demonstrated strong interest in exports of Canadian wind energy on both sides of the border
  3. The electrification of other technologies – as we electrify – with the use of electric vehicles increasing, electricity in heating and cooling buildings, etc. – this will open up additional opportunities

These emerging opportunities, reflective of the cost-competitiveness and climate friendly aspects of wind energy, will ensure the long-term viability and sustainability of wind energy in Canada moving forward.

Hornung also Read the full interview here. 

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