Project Development, Wind Power

Canada’s Wind Power Industry Shatters Growth Records in 2005

Reflecting the brisk wind power business of its neighbor to the south, Canada’s wind energy industry installed 239 MW of new wind energy capacity in 2005, shattering the previous annual installation record of 122 MW established in 2004, according to its main industry association, Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA).

As a result, Canada’s total installed wind energy capacity grew by 54% in 2005 to 683 MW. This means that wind energy now produces enough electricity in Canada to power more than 240,000 homes. 2006 promises even more growth, with a minimum of 500 MW of new energy capacity slated to be installed across the country this year. “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,” said Robert Hornung, President of CanWEA. “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.” Wind energy projects installed in 2005 in Canada included the Pubnico Point Windfarm in Nova Scotia, the Mont Copper and Mont Miller Windfarms in Quebec, the St. Leon Windfarm in Manitoba and the Centennial Windfarm in Saskatchewan. The year 2006 will see wind energy projects being constructed in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. “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,” said Hornung. “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”, says Hornung. “In fact, federal and provincial governments both put in place policies in 2005 that could facilitate the installation of a minimum of 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.” Canada now ranks as the 14th largest producer of wind energy in the world, but 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). “While the growth we are seeing in Canada is both rapid and significant, we cannot lose sight of the fact that wind energy continues to develop much more quickly in other countries,” says Hornung. “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.”