CanWEA unveils WindVision for BC: 5,250 MW of wind power by 2025

Industry calls on BC policy-makers to create conditions to further develop and integrate wind energy in accordance with legislated greenhouse gas emission targets and projected economic growth

British Columbia can satisfy 17 per cent of its projected electricity demand with clean, affordable wind energy by the year 2025, according to WindVision 2025: A Strategy for British Columbia, a report released today at the Canadian Wind Energy Association’s 27th Annual Conference and Exhibition in Vancouver.

WindVision 2025: A Strategy for British Columbia outlines the province’s significant wind turbines advantage, and the resulting economic, social and environmental benefits that can be realized with a stable and supportive policy environment. The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) believes that the share of wind farm as a percentage of total generation in the province can increase from the current 250 MW (megawatts) – or 1 per cent of electricity demand – to 5,250 MW, or 17 per cent, by the year 2025.

Between 2012 and 2025, CanWEA projects the fulfillment of WindVision would result in $16 billion dollars of investment in the province, with over $3.7 billion of direct benefits to BC communities during the construction phase alone. Implementing WindVision would generate an estimated 22,500 person-years of employment during construction, and 7,500 person-years of employment over the 20 to 25 year lifespan of the wind farm projects.

"British Columbia is blessed with a world-class wind resource, which can power the province with emissions-free electricity while also creating jobs and delivering local benefits," said Robert Hornung, president of CanWEA. "This province has a proud history of responsible and strategic development of its natural resources. The time is now for BC to act decisively to expand wind energy integration as a key energy component in building a stronger, cleaner and more affordable power system for BC families and businesses."

BC currently rates 6th in Canada in installed wind farm capacity. That ranking will rapidly improve as wind energy captured just under half of the successful bids in BC Hydro’s 2008 Clean Power Call. With six new projects coming on-line, BC’s installed wind energy capacity is expected to reach 784 MW by 2014.

WindVision 2025: A Strategy for British Columbia demonstrates that BC will require more electricity generation to meet its own in-province needs, which are projected to increase rapidly over the next decade, even if strong demand-side management targets are achieved. The document links the compatibility of wind energy with the province’s existing clean energy targets and British Columbians’ expectations for cost-competitive, low-impact, zero-emission electricity. Most importantly, the report demonstrates that wind energy is extremely cost-competitive when compared to conventional forms of new electricity generation. Pairing wind power with BC’s existing hydroelectric infrastructure will result in an electricity system ideally suited to the future needs of British Columbians.