Wind energy a key to Canada’s energy transition

Increased use of Canada’s massive untapped reserves of low-cost wind energy will be critical if this country is to remain competitive in the global shift to a low-carbon economy, industry leaders agreed as the Canadian Wind Energy Association’s (CanWEA) 33rd Annual Conference and Exhibition kicked off in Montreal.

More than 1,200 gathered in Montreal for Canada’s largest wind energy conference and exhibition. The 2 ½-day event features over 110 exhibitors, as well as a dynamic lineup of expert speakers on a range of topics that include emerging business development opportunities, wind, and energy market trends, industry best practices and technology innovation.

More than 1,200 wind energy professionals from Canada and around the world are attending CanWEA 2017, being held October 3rd to 5th at the Palais des congrès de Montréal.

“It’s becoming more obvious every day that we are on a path to a clean energy future, and that wind energy, as the lowest-cost source of new emissions-free electricity, must play a pivotal role in getting us there,” said Robert Hornung, President, Canadian Wind Energy Association.

“That’s why we chose Energy Transition as the theme for this year’s CanWEA conference,” he added. “As the energy landscape continues to evolve, it will not only open new markets for our industry, but create new opportunities for Canada to capitalize on its abundant and diverse renewable energy resources.”

Hosted by CanWEA and Hannover Fairs (Canada), the event features a dynamic lineup of expert speakers on a range of topics that include emerging business development opportunities, wind, and energy market trends, industry best practices and technology innovation.

More than 110 exhibitors, representing the industry’s leading companies in Canada, are showcasing the latest in wind-related products and services on the tradeshow floor.

Keynote speakers include Kim Rudd, Parliamentary Secretary to Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, The Honorable Jim Carr, and The Honorable Sergio Marchi, CEO of the Canadian Electricity Association.

The electricity grid of the future was in the spotlight during the conference’s opening plenary session. Independent experts and electricity sector professionals weighed in on how cost-competitive renewable generation sources, rapidly advancing smart grid and storage technologies, shifting consumer expectations, and a global commitment to clean growth are transforming the way we produce and use energy.

Panelists also shared insights on how governments and utilities in Canada can lead this transition, noting that Quebec’s 2030 Energy Policy links the province’s renewable resources to its future economic prosperity. At the same time, Alberta and Saskatchewan are moving aggressively to modernize their electricity grids and revitalize their economies by targeting clean energy development and Ontario is about to release its Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP) that will have to support its efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050.

Wednesday’s plenary session will delve into emerging demand drivers for wind, including the rise of electric vehicles, new opportunities in remote communities and northern Canada, the increasing interest in wind energy exports to the United States, and the upsurge in corporate renewable energy purchases. The conference’s closing plenary will focus on the electricity market reforms needed to help drive investment to cleaner sources of generation.

“Quebec was one of the first provinces to adopt wind energy on a large-scale, and by working to develop new markets for its clean energy resources through its export and electrification initiatives, it is once again carving out a leadership role,” says Cory Basil, vice-president of development for EDF EN Canada and Board Chair for the Canadian Wind Energy Association. “We’re excited to be in Montreal to talk about what’s next for our industry as the shift to a more sustainable future takes hold.”

The program also features eight concurrent educational sessions, providing insight on how forward-thinking wind farm operators, project developers, and electricity system planners can turn change into opportunity, tackling the permitting, resource assessment, and health and safety challenges facing a growing industry, and delving into the operational improvements and technology advancements that will contribute to the sector’s long-term success.

Canada currently has over 12,000 MW of wind energy, the eighth largest wind generating fleet in the world. More wind energy has been built in Canada over the last decade than any other form of electricity generation, with installed capacity growing by an average of 18% a year over the past five years.

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