News about record-low costs tops the 2017 year-end review of wind energy in Canada. In December, a competitive electricity-supply auction in Alberta yielded the lowest-ever price paid for wind energy in Canada (weighted average of $37 / MWh), and also made wind energy the lowest-cost option for new electricity generation in the country.
This came on the heels of a major U.S. study, which found that wind-power costs had plunged 67% between 2009 and 2017.
In terms of new development in 2017, utilities and developers energized 10 new wind energy projects in Nova Scotia, Ontario, and British Columbia, collectively bringing enough new clean electricity online to meet the needs of more than 90,000 homes.
“From Nova Scotia to British Columbia, wind once again proved in 2017 that it is a reliable, scalable solution to climate change that is delivering low-cost energy and local economic benefits to communities across Canada,” said Robert Hornung, President, Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA). “We’re pleased to be delivering clean and affordable energy to Canadians.”
Over the last five years, Canada’s installed wind energy capacity has grown by an average of 15% annually – reaffirming wind energy’s leading role in Canada’s ongoing efforts to fight climate change by providing clean, cost-competitive electricity.
Taken together, the new projects represent more than 340 MW of new capacity and approximately CAD$800 million in investment. The projects created employment for approximately 3,500 people in construction and in operations and maintenance. Municipalities and communities have ownership stakes in half of the new projects, which is a reflection of a growing global trend towards greater community involvement in wind energy development.
As of the end of 2017, Canada had 12,239 MW of total installed wind capacity, producing enough electricity to supply six per cent of Canada’s electricity demand and power 3.2 million homes. In 2018, CanWEA expects over 600 MW of new wind energy capacity will come online and these numbers will continue to grow in future years.
In the December auction in Alberta noted above, the grid operator announced that three companies will together invest CAD$1 billion to build four new large wind farms in the province by the end of 2019. Together those facilities will generate 600 MW of clean electricity, reducing the province’s reliance on coal power.