The critical business of keeping more than 11,000 MW of installed wind-energy capacity operating at peak performance is driving a burgeoning O&M market in Canada, and has attracted more than 100 wind energy professionals to Toronto for the Canadian Wind Energy Association’s (CanWEA’s) second annual O&M Summit this week.
As Canada’s wind energy sector matures, it becomes increasingly important for leaders in the industry to share ideas, implement innovative new tools and technologies, and build lasting local relationships.
“Getting the most out of wind energy facilities is not only good for owners and operators, it is also good for Canada’s environment, economy and communities,” said CanWEA president Robert Hornung. “Canada’s fleet of 6,066 wind turbines have placed us seventh in the world in installed capacity, and with wind energy costs continuing to fall after already plummeting 61% in the past six years alone, it will only continue to grow. We need to ensure our wind farms operate as safely and efficiently as possible and that they are meeting the expectations of the communities where they are located.”
An analysis completed for CanWEA shows the total market for wind energy O&M services in Canada will reach an estimated $450 million by 2020, bringing new jobs and investment to the sector as companies look to capture a share of the growing market. Ontario, which is home to nearly 40% of Canada’s installed wind energy capacity, is a hub of activity.
“Ontario is a North American leader in renewable energy and clean-tech manufacturing,” said Brandy Giannetta, CanWEA’s Regional Director in Ontario. “It is working hard to build a greener supply mix and the wind industry is working equally hard to make sure it gets the best value from its wind energy investments.”
Mining big data to improve the reliability and performance of assets, cold climate challenges, worker health and safety, and post-construction community engagement are among the key issues to be discussed by the summit’s line up of expert speakers from across North America. There will also be a tabletop exhibition featuring leading companies in the wind O&M sector.
“CanWEA’s O&M Summit allows owners, operators, manufacturers, and service providers to collectively focus on driving operational excellence in a still maturing Canadian wind industry, which is why TransAlta is pleased to once again be championing this event.” says TransAlta’s Rochelle Pancoast, Managing Director Gas & Renewables Finance, Commercial & Supply Chain Management. TransAlta is the title sponsor at this year’s summit.
“Wind energy is one of the most affordable and environmentally sustainable sources of electricity available today, and that is reflected in the fact that it has been the largest source of new electricity generation in Canada over the last five years,” notes Hornung.
He added: “We are in the midst of a global shift to renewable sources of energy, a shift that has to happen if we are to come to grips with the climate change threat. Studies have shown Canada will need to produce twice as much renewable electricity as it does today and use it to help power all parts of the economy – including buildings, vehicles, and industrial processes – in order to meet its greenhouse gas reduction commitments. Events like CanWEA’s O&M Summit help position our industry to play our part as effectively as possible.”