Vancouver, Canada [RenewableEnergyWorld.com] The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) released its strategic vision for wind energy development during its 24th Annual Conference and Trade Show taking place this week in Vancouver. The plan, Wind Vision 2025 – Powering Canada’s Future, cites rapidly rising energy costs, reducing the country’s environmental impacts caused by current electricity generation, the need to quickly build more electricity generation to keep up with rising demand and the need to build a more robust transmission system a key drivers for the adoption of wind technology.
Through the plan, CanWEA argues that Canada can and must ensure that wind energy supplies 20 percent of the country’s demand by 2025, bringing total Canadian wind energy capacity to 55,000 MW.
Obtaining 20% of the country’s electricity supply from wind by 2025 would generate CAN $79 billion [US $64 billion] of investment in Canada and would make the Canadian wind-power sector a major player in the global wind energy market, estimated in 2007 by GWEC as worth US $37 billion.
Development on this scale would, of course, also have a major impact on the economy, creating according to plan, 52,000 full-time jobs — many of them in rural areas — accounting for CAN $165 million in revenue per year for Canadian municipalities, according to CanWEA.
The strategy states that increased wind-energy production would stabilize electricity rates for Canadians, ensure a diversity of supply of energy and reduce Canada’s annual greenhouse gas emissions by 17 megatonnes annually.
Canadians Support Renewables And Are Willing To Pay for Them
CanWEA has also released results of a national poll undertaken by The Strategic Council, which finds that Canadians overwhelmingly support more development in wind energy.
“The results from The Strategic Council survey show that 87% of Canadians support the 20 percent by 2025 wind-energy vision,” said CanWEA President Robert Hornung. The Strategic Council poll also showed that 71% felt that the 20 percent by 2025 was a realistic goal.
In addition to an overwhelming support for wind energy, Canadians also indicated that a majority of them are willing to pay more for renewable energy. In fact, 67% of those polled felt that new demand for energy should be met with renewable sources and 65% of those polled indicated that they are very willing or somewhat willing to pay more for renewables.
RenewableEnergyWorld.com ran a story last March that questioned the Canadian government’s commitment to renewables in general, a sentiment that was echoed in the survey. When asked, “is Canada a global leader in dealing with environmental issues,” a whopping 78% indicated that they felt the country was somewhat or far behind other countries.
“We have the potential, the ability and the support of Canadians, what we now need is government to step up and come to the table with a regulatory environment that streamlines and aids the development process,” said Hornung.
The results of the Strategic Council poll can be downloaded here.
CanWEA says that it is asking federal and provincial governments to quickly implement policies and programs that will address some of the current roadblocks to the development of Canada’s wind-energy potential.
The industry is asking government to assign fair value to the positive environmental impacts of wind energy, that the wind-energy procurement process be improved, that steps be taken to encourage the production of wind turbines in Canada, that transmission infrastructure be planned and built out taking wind energy into consideration, and, finally, that the process for granting and approving permits for wind energy projects be streamlined.