Canada now ranks 12th for 1,000 MW of installed wind energy
Canada has now become the twelfth country in the world to surpass 1,000 megawatts (MW) of installed wind energy capacity. With 1,049 MW of installed capacity now in place, wind energy produces enough electricity to meet the needs of more than 315,000 Canadian homes. As of June 2006, Canada had installed a record 365 MW of wind energy capacity this year, and this number will increase further before the end of the year, says the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA).
"The 1,000 MW milestone is another clear signal that wind energy has moved from the margin to the mainstream in Canada, and our record-breaking 2006 is laying the foundation for much more significant growth in the years ahead," said CanWEA president Robert Hornung
"Canada's provincial governments are now targeting to have a minimum of 9,000 MW of wind energy production in place by 2015 and many are currently examining the possibilities of going further. In fact, British Columbia is the only province that has no wind energy facilities operating or contracted at this time."
Projects already installed this year include the Kettles Hill wind farm in Alberta, the Centennial wind power facility in Saskatchewan, the St Leon wind farm in Manitoba, several small wind energy projects in Nova Scotia, and the Kingsbridge, Melancthon and Erie Shores wind power projects in Ontario. These projects represent a total investment of approximately $650 million. In addition to their significant environmental benefits, they provide a range of local economic benefits in the form of lease income to landowners, tax revenues to municipal governments, and new investment and jobs in rural communities across Canada.
Many, if not all, of these projects have received support from the federal government's Wind Power Production Incentive (WPPI) program. This is one of a number of federal funding programs suspended pending the outcome of an overall program in preparation for new packages of initiatives to address energy and environmental issues, slated for release in the fall.
"Policy uncertainty is always problematic and costly for business," noted Hornung, adding, "We hope that the federal government will move to release the funds associated with the WPPI program as quickly as possible to ensure that the current momentum behind Canada's rapidly growing wind energy industry is not halted.
"We believe wind energy is consistent with, and supportive of, a number of stated federal government priorities in areas such as rural economic development, the adoption of new and innovative technologies, clean air, and greenhouse gas emissions reduction. Wind energy must be part of any government's energy strategy for the 21st century," he said.
CanWEA represents more than 230 companies involved in Canada's wind energy industry, including wind turbine and component manufacturers, wind energy project developers, electric utilities and service providers to the wind energy industry. The industry group's goal is to see 10,000 MW of wind energy capacity either contracted or installed in Canada by 2010.