The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) has responded to the Fraser Institute’s recently released report, Generating Electricity in Canada from Wind and Sunlight: Is Getting Less for More Better than Getting More for Less?
According to this report, wind and solar create higher costs and produce fewer environmental benefits than proponents claim.
“The Fraser Institute has missed the mark on the facts and conclusions in its analysis of the contributions renewable energy is making in Canada,” stated Jean François Nolet, VP of Policy, Government & Public Affairs with CanWEA. “Wind energy provides reliable, cost-effective and clean electricity to provincial grids while generating local economic development, creating thousands of jobs and reducing carbon emissions across Canada.”
In a press statement about the new study, co-author Pierre Desrochers, a senior fellow with the Fraser Institute and associate professor at the University of Toronto Mississauga said: “Electricity systems are complex, and too often policymakers pursue renewable energy sources such as wind and solar without understanding their true costs,”
The study finds that while wind turbines and solar panels are relatively cheap to operate — given their fuel source is free — they’re costly to build and connect to the power grid.
CanWEA disagrees, and points to several other studies. For example, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory report, Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Electricity Generation, has demonstrated that wind energy is one of the most environmentally sustainable forms of generation — even when impacts are considered on a life-cycle basis for all of the resources required to enable wind to be produced.
Additionally, reports by The Canadian Council on Renewable Electricity and Clean Energy Canada show how renewable energy sources can power the economy while cutting carbon emissions and deliver clean growth for Canada.
“Wind energy is the lowest-cost option for new electricity supply in Canada and is a corner stone to helping electrify the economy and meeting climate commitments,” added François Nolet. The Pan-Canadian Wind Integration Study, for instance, demonstrates that Canada can source more than one-third of its electricity from wind energy without compromising grid reliability – while capturing wind energy’s economic and environmental benefits.
“The wind energy industry is committed to working with communities, governments and system operators to ensure the responsible and sustainable development of the wind energy industry in Canada as the electricity grid is transformed to power a low-carbon future,” he said.
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