Over the course of a two-day Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) Spring Forum in Banff, Alberta, many of Canada’s wind energy leaders shared a sense of optimism about the growth of wind energy in Canada, according to the event organizers. This includes the country’s economic and environmental benefits of wind, such as delivering the lowest-cost, emissions-free source of new electricity for provinces across Canada.
In competitive electricity-supply auctions in Alberta in 2017 and 2018, the auctions secured 1,363 MW of wind energy at average weighted prices of $37 to $39 per megawatt-hour. Saskatchewan’s most recent procurement attracted widespread interest from the wind energy industry, with the winning bid coming in below $35 per megawatt-hour. These recent prices were new lows for wind energy in Canada and make wind energy the lowest-cost option for new electricity generation in the country.
Auction results such as these explain the wind energy industry’s optimism at the Spring Forum, not only for the prairie provinces, but for all of Canada’s provinces as they strive to deliver affordable, emissions-free, reliable and safe electricity to the benefit of all Canadians.
“The four key attributes of wind energy – low price, emission-free, reliable, and flexible – underpin my optimism that wind energy can compete with, and win against, every other large-scale electricity option to meet Canada’s future needs,” said Robert Hornung, CanWEA president. “We are the lowest-cost provider; we generate emission-free power; our product is increasingly contributing to the reliability of the grid; and we offer a flexible and scalable solution to system operators as well as decentralized grids.”
The Spring Forum began just as the Alberta election results were announced, revealing a victory by the United Conservative Party. Forum speakers emphasized that the wind energy industry expects to work closely with the new government and the electricity system operator to continue to build the new wind energy projects that will deliver low-priced power, keeping electricity affordable for Albertans.
Much of the focus of Canada’s wind energy industry is now on Alberta and Saskatchewan, where it is poised to grow rapidly in the next few years. Wind energy has proven attractive to the prairie provinces because it has become the low-price leader, and because it helps to de-carbonize the electricity grid.
“Prices for wind, solar, energy storage, and fossil fuel extraction have come down rapidly. Alberta, with an abundance of energy sources – both renewable and non-renewable – is well-positioned to lead as an energy powerhouse in Canada,” said Peter Tertzakian, Executive Director, the ARC Energy Research Institute.
New wind energy projects will also help to diversify the economy through the investment of billions of dollars, while creating thousands of jobs that benefit Alberta’s economy and its host communities.