Wind power presents an opportunity for Canadian manufacturers

The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) and Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) today released a joint report that outlines the "significant opportunity" that North America’s growing wind farm market represents for Canadian manufacturers.

The report, titled ‘Wind Industry Supply Chain Opportunities for Canadian Manufacturers’ is the first product of a strategic partnership between CanWEA and CME aimed at exploring the opportunities, challenges and actions required to ensure Canada earns its share of new global investment in wind power manufacturing and component production.

The report, available for download at provides a high-level overview of the wind energy industry’s growth potential and the challenges and opportunities within the supply chain. The report lists action items required to ensure a globally competitive wind energy supply industry in Canada, including many areas that will require enhanced collaboration between different levels of government and also between industry and government, such as:

– stakeholder communication to raise awareness of the opportunities in the Canadian wind power industry;
– partnership facilitation to undertake activities to facilitate one-on-one partnerships;
– capability development to enhance operations management and technical capacity of companies in order to take maximum advantage of partnership opportunities; and
– policy frameworks to support development of a sustainable Canadian supply chain.

While traditional manufacturing and service sectors continue to struggle in the wake of the global recession, the long-term demand for production of high-volume manufactured goods continues to shift towards low-cost regions around the world.

The CanWEA-CME report states that Canadian companies can and must find new ways to leverage existing capabilities and transform operations in order to meet the needs of emerging manufacturing sectors. Over the past 10 years, global wind energy capacity has continued to grow at an average annual rate of more than 25 per cent. Comparatively, U.S. growth over the past five years has averaged 30%. Global investment in wind energy is projected to total more than $1 trillion (US) by 2020, bringing global installed capacity to more than 600,000 MW.

"Wind energy represents a tremendous opportunity to create new green jobs in Canada’s manufacturing sector while at the same time encouraging the development of homegrown innovation in design and technology," said Robert Hornung, president of CanWEA.

"The more than 8,000 parts that go into a wind turbine require highly skilled trades and quality manufacturing facilities, both of which are in abundant supply in Canada. While there is great potential, there is also significant competition with the U.S. in terms of attracting and establishing new manufacturing capacity in Canada. We must act now if Canada is to compete for its share of this growing market."

"We need to secure a solid manufacturing base that will support the incredible growth of this new industry," said Jayson Myers, president of CME. "In order to compete and win in the North American investment game, we need both government support and leadership. By taking the appropriate action today, we can ensure Canada is a global leader in this industry in the future."

Wind energy is one of the fastest growing sources of electricity in Canada as governments seek ways to meet increasing energy demand, reduce greenhouse gases and stimulate rural and industrial economic development.

Canada’s wind energy industry scored a record year with 950 MW of new wind energy capacity installed in eight provinces – placing Canada 9th globally in terms of new installed capacity. In 2009, new development represented more than $2.2 billion in investment, increasing total installed capacity to 3,319 MW. Growth continues, and in 2010, we currently stand at 3,426 MW of total installed capacity.

CanWEA is the voice of Canada’s wind energy industry, actively promoting the responsible and sustainable growth of wind energy on behalf of its more than 460 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 believes Canada can and must reach its target of producing 20 per cent or more of the country’s electricity from wind by 2025. The document Wind Vision 2025 – Powering Canada’s Future is available at

Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) is Canada’s leading trade and industry association and the voice of manufacturing and global business in Canada. The association represents more than 10,000 leading companies nationwide. More than 85% of CME’s members are small and medium-sized enterprises. As Canada’s leading business network, CME, through various initiatives including and the establishment of the Canadian Manufacturing Coalition, touches more than 100,000 companies from coast to coast, engaged in manufacturing, global business and service-related industries. CME’s membership network accounts for an estimated 82% of total manufacturing production and 90% of Canada’s exports.