Canada has achieved a new milestone as wind-generated electricity is now being produced in every province with the recent opening of Bear Mountain Wind Park near Dawson Creek, B.C. This new wind development has also increased Canada’s total wind energy capacity to more than 3,319 MW – a ten-fold increase in six years that will now produce enough electricity to power nearly one million Canadian homes. All provinces now see wind power as an important source of new electricity generation and current provincial targets and policy objectives would result in a further quadrupling of installed wind energy capacity in the next six years.
“The federal government has played a critical role in encouraging wind energy across Canada through its ecoENERGY for Renewable Power program which has provided support for renewable energy deployment in the absence of any form of carbon pricing that would provide a market value for renewable energy’s environmental benefits,” said Robert Hornung, president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA). “It is both ironic and disappointing that the major federal support for deployment of clean and climate friendly renewable energy is poised to end just as Canada heads off to participate in global talks in Copenhagen focused on new actions to address climate change.”
The ecoENERGY for Renewable Power program was established in January 2008 to support the deployment of 4,000 MW of renewable energy by March 2011. A huge success, the program will allocate all of its funding and meet its target before the end of 2009 – almost 1.5 years ahead of schedule. At this time, the federal government has made no commitment to renew or replace the program to provide continued support until a fully functional carbon market is in place in Canada.
“Without a renewed commitment to federal support for wind energy, Canada will be increasingly challenged to compete for wind energy investment with the United States and investment will leave Canada for the US, which has implemented a package of significant new actions to support wind energy deployment,” said Hornung. “The federal government must act now to support both provincial government aspirations and to keep wind energy investment and jobs in Canada.”
CanWEA is the voice of the wind energy industry, actively promoting the responsible and sustainable growth of wind energy throughout Canada on behalf of its more than 400 members. A national non-profit association, CanWEA serves as Canada’s leading source of credible information about wind energy and its social, economic and environmental benefits.
To join other global leaders in the wind energy industry, CanWEA believe Canada can and must reach its target of producing 20 percent or more of the country’s electricity from wind by 2025. The document Wind Vision 2025 – Powering Canada’s Future is available at www.canwea.ca