During the Wind Energy Across Canada meeting this week, the Industry Leaders Panel during the plenary session agreed that the country’s wind energy industry is well positioned to build on its rapid growth to date and strong prospects for the next few years. However, for this to happen, there is a need to define the policy framework that will inform new electricity supply choices for the next decade.
While wind energy is expected to 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 Canadian Wind Energy Association (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. Wind 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.