Quebec’s wind power potential is enough to supply North America three times over

Canada’s wind energy industry took another step forward in 2010 with the addition of 690 MW of installed wind energy capacity, positioning Canada in 9th place globally in terms of new installed capacity and 9th for overall cumulative installed capacity, according to the Global Wind Energy Council’s (GWEC) recently released ‘Global Wind Report 2010’.

“Wind energy is well established in many European countries and has a long history in the United States, but it’s still a relatively new contributor to Canada’s electricity supply,” said Robert Hornung, president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA). “With the continued growth of wind energy we see the evolution of a new and vibrant industry that is delivering manufacturing jobs, revitalizing rural economies, and generating emissions-free power. The results from 2010 are encouraging, but we look forward to even greater growth in 2011 and beyond.”

Canada’s contribution to wind energy in 2010 represents $1.7 billion in new investment. New projects commissioned in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, brought Canada’s total installed wind energy capacity to 4,008 MW by the end of 2010. Today’s Canada’s total installed wind energy capacity stands at 4,285 MW – comprised of 2,570 wind turbines operating at 131 wind farms.

Hydro-Québec’s refusal to buy excess energy remains the biggest hurdle in building an alternative energy society in Quebec. In Ontario, any customer who installs solar energy, wind turbines, bioenergy or small hydro can sell the energy to Ontario Power Authority at a rate guaranteed to cover the customer’s investment costs plus yield a small profit. This is referred to as a feed-in-tariff program.

Number of megawatts under development since Ontario began its feed-in-tariff program in September 2010: 3,443.

Total in solar energy: 1,083 MW.

In wind power: 2,124 MW. Total wind farm waiting for approval: 17,048 MW

Total megawatts to be produced by the Romaine River project by 2020: 1,550


Rank of Quebec electricity tariffs in North America: second lowest.

Rank of Quebec per capita electricity consumption: second highest.

Cost of electricity production from wind energy: 8.3 cents/kWh.


Quebec has the equivalent solar potential of Spain, winter and summer.

Declining prices of solar photovoltaic cells indicate that by 2020 they could on par with traditional energy sources such as hydro.

Solar water heaters in every home and building in Quebec would cost less than the Romaine River project and would save about 11 billion kWh of electricity, or 3 billion more kWh than will be produced by the Romaine project.


Quebec has enough abandoned farmland to grow the biomass needed to heat 400,000 homes.

An average farm could produce 100 kWh of electricity of which it would need about 25 kWh, from the biogas produced by its own manure.

In Germany, 4,500 farms are powered by their own biogas; in Quebec, three.


Potential in Quebec: 4 million megawatts, enough to supply both Canada and the United States three times over.

?Land that would be occupied by a wind farm producing equivalent energy to Romaine River project: nine square kilometres.

Land consumed by the planned Romaine reservoirs: 279 square kilometres.


Percentage of new homes in Sweden heated with geothermal power: 75.

In Quebec: one per cent.