Wind power in Canada is now on track to enjoy a record year in 2011 with approximately 1,338 MW of new installed wind turbines capacity projected to come on line – compared to 690 MW installed in 2010, according to new projections from the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA). These new installations represent almost $3.5 billion in investment and have created more than 13,500 person years of employment in addition to providing emissions-free electricity for families and businesses.
2011 is also a record year for new wind farm in Ontario with more than 500 MW projected to be installed by the end of year. While Ontario is Canada’s leader for new wind energy installations, it is not alone in pursuing the economic and environmental benefits of wind energy development. New wind farms are being commissioned in seven other Canadian provinces in 2011, including British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
"2011 has been a banner year for new wind energy development in Canada, which means cleaner air, new jobs and local investments for the communities that host wind energy projects," said Robert Hornung, president of CanWEA. "Canada, and in particular Ontario, is emerging as a very competitive destination for wind energy investment globally. Maintaining that position will require continued commitments to aggressive targets for wind energy development and a stable policy framework." Canada is now expected to end 2011 with more than 5,300 MW of total installed wind energy capacity – enough to power more than 1.5 million Canadian homes every year. This is up from only 198 MW at the end of 2001. Looking forward, more than 6,000 MW of wind energy projects are already contracted to be built in Canada over the next five years and several provincial governments are launching new procurement process to obtain even more wind energy.
Wind energy’s growth in Canada has been driven by a desire to meet rising energy demand, reduce environmental impacts of electricity generation and stimulate rural and industrial economic development. Wind energy developments in Ontario alone will create more than 80,000 person years of employment and attract more than $16 billion in private sector investments in the next eight years, according to the most comprehensive study ever undertaken on the economic impacts of the wind energy industry in the province. The report, ‘The Economic Impacts of the Wind Energy Sector in Ontario 2011 – 2018’, by ClearSky Advisors, quantifies the projected jobs and economic benefits associated with the rapidly growing wind energy industry in Ontario, including $8.5 billion invested locally and more than $1.1 billion in revenues to local municipalities and landowners in the form of taxes and lease payments over the 20-year lifespan of the projects.
For a map of installed wind energy capacity in Canada: www.canwea.ca/farms/index_e.php
For a list of wind farm developments and to view a PDF of federal and provincial initiatives in Canada:
By José Santamarta, www.canwea.ca