Wind power steering committee presents recommendations to Natural Resources Minister

The complete document, including background information and detailed analysis is expected in October. The WindTRM is an industry-led, government-supported initiative that has developed a long-term vision for the Canadian wind energy industry and identified the major technology gaps and priorities to achieve a major increase in deployment of wind power in Canada. An industry steering committee, comprised of leaders from the Canadian wind energy industry, academia, and government, contributed invaluable expertise and significant time resources to the process.

"We know the wind industry is growing rapidly both in Canada and around the world," said Dawn Farrell, Co-Chair of the WindTRM, and Chief Operating Officer of TransAlta, Canada’s largest publicly-traded provider of renewable energy. "We are now at a point where proactive action will allow Canada to increase and capture its full share of the massive global investment that will occur. The growth of this industry will be a key solution for Canada to address its carbon constrained energy markets of the future."

The recommendations to Minister Raitt include:

– Strengthen the Policy Framework: Commitment of public funding and improvements in approval processes and long-term planning will create a competitive environment for wind in Canada that will attract global investments, generating environmental and economic benefits for all Canadians.

– Inform and Engage Canadians: Improved communication to the public, industry, financiers and government officials of the real benefits and opportunities for wind energy will create an environment wherein the broader population in Canada will commit funds, time and energy to the advancement of the wind energy industry.

– Expand the Role of Canadian Industry: Identification of key areas of need and opportunity for Canada, through mapping of the wind energy value chain, will create the information necessary to spur investment by industry and educational institutions into developing infrastructure, capabilities and skill sets to support the advancement of the wind energy industry in Canada.

– Creation of Centres of Excellence: Creation of Centres of Excellence will enable the necessary developments in tools, systems, technologies and services, so as to develop competitive niche areas for Canadian industry and drive down the cost of wind energy in Canada.

– Accelerate Development of Small Wind: Collaboration, funding and support for advancements in small wind community-based systems will both allow Canada’s rural and remote areas to have stable, secure, economical, wealth generating energy solutions, and provide leading-edge solutions for rural and remote communities around the world.

– Support Innovative Demonstration Projects: Support for innovative demonstration projects will clearly illustrate the economic and environmental feasibility of, and returns on investments in, wind energy, thereby enabling the full realization of benefits from all action areas.

Transmission policy reform was also noted as another area where the wind energy sector needs some assistance so current congestion can be relieved. Congestion can force wind farms to shut down, even when a brisk wind is blowing. Further, limited energy export capability to neighboring demand centers, and a lack of cross-border transmission links impedes the formation of a competitive market. While there is dire need for improved transmission in most provinces, scant headway has been made in solving the transmission limitations.

The steering committee explained that adoption of the recommendations could result in $330 million annually in local tax and land lease revenues for communities, and 17 MT of avoided greenhouse gas emissions annually.

WindTRM participants have developed the following vision: By 2025, Canada will be a world leading supplier of key wind energy technologies and policy solutions. More than 20 percent of its electricity needs are met by wind in 2025 and sustained annual growth creates additional wealth through export.