Canada’s wind energy industry had another year of strong growth in 2016, adding 702 MW of new capacity through the commissioning of 21 projects in Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia. Sixteen of these projects are owned, at least in part, by aboriginal or local communities, or municipal governments.
Canada now has 11,898 MW of installed wind generation capacity, which is enough to supply 6% of Canada’s electricity demand and meet the annual electricity needs of more than three million homes.
“More wind energy has been built in Canada in the last 11 years than any other form of electricity generation, and for good reason,” said Robert Hornung, President of the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA). “Costs for wind energy have fallen dramatically over the past seven years, making wind energy one of Canada’s two most cost-competitive sources of new electricity supply.”
Wind energy and natural gas are the two most cost-competitive sources of new electricity generation in Canada today, and wind energy has been the largest source of new electricity generation in Canada since 2005. Between 2012 and 2016, Canada’s installed wind energy capacity has grown by an average of 18% or 1,327 MW annually.
CanWEA expects Canada to install approximately 700 MW of new wind capacity in 2017. New wind energy procurement in Alberta and Saskatchewan in 2017, coupled with a renewed focus in Canada on actions to transition to a low carbon economy, mean that wind energy’s growth prospects will remain strong in Canada for many years to come.
“Unlike natural gas, wind energy is not impacted by carbon prices or commodity price fluctuations, meaning that wind energy will only become more affordable over time,” added Kiernan. “The fact that the vast majority of new wind energy projects built in Canada in 2016 had some form of local ownership demonstrates the value of wind not only as a driver of economic growth, but also as a source of local jobs and revenue in communities right across the country.”
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