The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) and its partner Hannover Fairs (Canada) announced that CanWEA’s 32ndAnnual Conference and Exhibition attracted 1,676 registrants and hosted 126 international exhibitors, covering 23,200 square feet of exhibition space at the BMO Center in Calgary, Alberta in early November.
Canada is the seventh largest producer of wind energy in the world. Canadian wind projects represent more than 11,000 megawatts (MW) of wind energy capacity, delivering clean and cost-effective energy to consumers, as well as new jobs and investment to communities across the country.
Commenting on why CanWEA chose to hold this year’s annual event in Calgary, the Canadian Wind Energy Association President Robert Hornung said, “Many new growth opportunities for our industry have emerged in the western provinces. Wind energy represents a massive opportunity for Alberta and Saskatchewan. Capitalizing on the world-class wind resources in the region can help both provinces meet aggressive climate change goals in a cost-effective way. During this year’s conference, industry experts demonstrated how wind energy can help position both Alberta and Saskatchewan for success in the transition to a low-carbon economy.”
Alberta takes action to become Canada’s largest wind energy market
A highlight of this year’s conference was Alberta’s Minister of Environment and Parks and the Minister responsible for the Climate Change Office, The Honorable Shannon Phillips’ announcement that the Alberta government will initiate a process in November to procure the first 400 MW of 5,000 MW of new renewable energy. This procurement represents the first step towards fulfilling Alberta’s target of renewable energy meeting 30% of electricity demand in the province by 2030.
“Alberta’s renewable energy target is ambitious and achievable and Alberta’s commitment to enshrine the target in legislation makes it clear to investors that Alberta will be Canada’s largest market for new wind energy investment for at least the next decade,” said Hornung. “The Minister’s preview of key details of Alberta’s plans for procuring new renewable energy will absolutely ignite investors to take action in this market.”
Keynotes highlight how wind energy will boost western canadian economies
Calgary’s Mayor His Worship Naheed Nenshi delivered the opening remarks at the conference’s first plenary session, a session spotlighting wind energy opportunities in western Canada. Highlights include the Alberta government plan that will support the installation of 5,000 MW of renewable energy as it works to meet its goal of 30 percent renewable electricity by 2030. The plan expects to attract at least $10.5 billion in new investment and create a minimum of 7,200 new jobs.
The Saskatchewan government plan expects to target the addition of at least 1,600 MW of wind energy to its electricity supply mix over the next 15 years.
Also of note, Vice President of Planning, Environment and Sustainable Development at SaskPower Guy Bruce shared that over the next few years, a large number of SaskPower’s generating facilities will reach the end of their life spans. SaskPower expects demand for electricity to continue to grow as the province grows and has set a goal of reducing electricity sector greenhouse emissions 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.
Renewable energy to power all Alberta federal buildings by 2025
In her keynote address on Wednesday, November 2, the Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, The Honorable Catherine McKenna stated that 100% of electricity for federal buildings will be renewable energy by 2025. Her overall address focused on her government’s efforts to tackle climate change and the critical role clean energy technologies like wind energy must play.
Complementing the Minister’s address, Wednesday’s program delved deep into the technical, policy and market drivers that are shaping Canada’s evolving energy industry. The combination of low cost and zero emissions makes wind energy a leading source of permanent, large-scale and affordable greenhouse gas reductions. Therefore, wind energy is poised to play an increasingly important role as policymakers look for ways to make the deep carbon cuts needed to meet Canada’s international climate obligations. Wind energy will be an important player in cleaning electricity grids in Alberta and Saskatchewan and across Canada clean electricity grids will be needed for reducing fossil fuel use in other sectors through electrification and in the United States through clean energy exports.
Sessions spotlight data-driven strategies, CANwea wind integration study and O&M
In addition to high-level policy discussions and market analysis, Wednesday’s conference sessions gave delegates a chance to gain insight into the science of assessing wind as a resource, data-driven strategies to improve project performance, models of community engagement and the evolution of storage technologies.
Thursday’s conference sessions gave delegates an overview of Alberta’s renewable electricity program principles, objectives and details on the first competitive procurement under the program. CanWEA presented findings from its ground-breaking Pan-Canadian Wind Integration Study, which demonstrated how Canada can get more than one-third of its electricity from wind energy without compromising grid reliability. At the same time the study showcased how wind energy can dramatically cut emissions, save billions in fossil fuel costs and generate new export opportunities. Program sessions also featured discussions around Canada’s rapidly expanding wind energy operations and maintenance (O&M) market. During these sessions, representatives from some of the country’s largest wind farm operators weighed in on strategies to boost efficiency, improve productivity and lower costs. Ongoing innovation on the O&M side of the business helps position the wind industry to play its part in meeting ambitious climate and sustainability goals as effectively as possible.
Exhibitors display technological advancements and optimistic outlook for Canada’s wind energy market
During CanWEA’s 32nd Annual Conference and Exhibition, wind energy solutions providers showcased their latest technological advancements and gathered to discuss the future of Canada’s wind energy market.
Turbine manufacturer ENERCON has installed 2.2 gigawatts in Canada, operates coast-to-coast and employs more than 450 people across the country. ENERCON participates in the CanWEA Annual Conference and Exhibition every year. Commenting on this year’s event, Eva Lotta Schmidt, Business Development Manager at ENERCON Canada, said “This year’s event was exceptionally strong, and we were very happy to be present in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Obviously, being present in these upcoming markets is important for our business. Year-after-year CanWEA’s annual event offers ENERCON a great networking platform. Traffic to our exhibition booth was very strong this year, and we connected with existing clients and networked with many potential new clients, as well.”
Commenting on Senvion’s experience at this year’s annual event, Helmut E. Herold, CEO North America at Senvion Canada, said, “Hosting the CanWEA 2016 event on location of a future wind market offered us and other members a great opportunity to meet with local authorities, developers and investors to showcase our latest technology designed to reach the lowest possible cost of energy. Exhibiting at the annual event provides a terrific platform to share our track record of projects requiring intelligent turbine technology as well as our experience working with First Nations and other communities. CanWEA’s annual event is a great place to hold discussions with our clients, suppliers, investors and potential clients.”
David Estill, Sales and Strategy Manager for the Wind Power Division at Siemens Canada, said, “We are a longtime CanWEA sponsor and were proud to be the Diamond Sponsor for this year’s conference. Attending CanWEA’s annual event offers us the opportunity to show off the latest Siemens wind energy technology and is a wonderful platform to discuss the future of the wind industry with our community. We found it very convenient that CanWEA chose to hold this year’s event in Alberta and took the opportunity to expand Siemens Canada’s presence in the western provinces.”
“CanWEA’s 32nd Annual Conference and Exhibition energized and excited exhibitors and attendees about the opportunities that are emerging as governments, utilities and consumers across Canada recognize that wind energy not only benefits the climate, but makes economic sense as well,” added Hornung.
CanWEA’s 33rd Annual Conference and Exhibition will be held October 3-5, 2017 at the Palais des congrès de Montréal in Montreal, Canada. For more information: http://windenergyevent.ca/savethedate.