Wind energy capacity reaches record high in Canada during 2005
Canada's wind energy industry installed 239 megawatts (MW) of new wind energy capacity in 2005, almost doubling the previous annual installation record of 122 MW established in 2004. This represents a growth of 54% in 2005, for a current total of 683 MW of installed wind energy capacity. This year promises even more dramatic growth, with a minimum of 500 MW of new energy capacity slated to be installed across the country during 2006.
"While wind energy's environmental benefits are well known, its economic benefits are becoming more apparent with the rapid growth of the industry in Canada. Projects installed in 2005 represented more than $400 million worth of investment and we also saw investment in five new Canadian manufacturing facilities to produce wind turbine towers, blades and nacelles," said Robert Hornung, president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA).
"With the vast majority of wind energy development taking place in rural areas, wind energy projects are also providing real and ongoing economic benefits to both rural landowners through lease payments and rural municipalities through increased tax revenues," he added.
Wind energy projects installed in 2005 in Canada included the Pubnico Point wind farm in Nova Scotia, the Mont Copper and Mont Miller wind farms in Quebec, the St Leon wind farm in Manitoba and the Centennial wind farm in Saskatchewan. During 2006, wind energy projects will be constructed in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
Hornung stated that "2005 will be remembered as the start of Canada's wind energy boom as more than 3,000 MW of wind energy projects are now contracted and slated for construction in Canada over the next few years." Federal and provincial government policies implemented last year could facilitate the installation of at least 8,000 MW of wind energy in Canada by 2015. "This would make wind energy responsible for 16% of all electricity to be produced by new generating facilities to be constructed in Canada over the next decade," he added.
Although Canada now ranks as the world's 14th largest producer of wind energy in the world, it remains far behind global leaders such as Germany (18,100 MW), Spain (9,825 MW), the United States (8,957 MW), and India (4,225 MW), as well as smaller countries such as Denmark (3,129 MW), the Netherlands (1,219 MW), Portugal (1,000 MW), and Austria (716 MW).
"With Canada's unparalleled wind resource, we can still do more to maximize the environmental, economic and industrial development benefits associated with wind energy for Canada," Hornung concluded. CanWEA represents more than 230 companies involved in Canada's wind energy industry. Its goal is to see 10,000 MW of wind energy capacity installed or contracted in Canada by 2010.