Canada's wind energy industry is well positioned to build on its rapid growth to date and strong prospects for the next few years as provincial governments in all of Canada's major wind energy markets work to define the policy framework that will inform new electricity supply choices for the next decade. This was the consensus reached among participants on the Industry Leaders Panel at today's plenary session – Wind Energy across Canada.
While wind energy will see strong and steady growth through 2016 across Canada, the country's four largest wind energy markets (BC, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec) all have long-term planning processes underway that will determine how future wind energy development unfolds after 2016.
“There is little doubt that wind energy has become a significant and mainstream electricity source in all regions of Canada with another record year for installations expected in 2013”, said CanWEA president, Robert Hornung. “This does not mean, however, that our long-term future is guaranteed.”
Given provincial targets and pipeline projects already contracted to be built, Canada will see an average of 1,500 MW of new wind energy projects commissioned annually over the next three years.
Provincial governments across Canada are now engaged in processes to review future electricity demand and assess potential new supplies of electricity against some key criteria, including cost-effectiveness, environmental impact and economic benefits. By any objective measure, wind is well-positioned to meet all of these requirements. It is cost-competitive with almost any other generating technology, is one of the most environmentally sustainable sources of electricity available, and brings new jobs and investment to rural economies.