Bright future for Canadian wind industry as capacity breezes past 10,000 megawatts
Industry leaders say cost competitiveness has "set stage" for further projects
TORONTO—Earlier this year, Canada became one of seven countries with more than 10,000 megawatts of installed wind power capacity. Marking the milestone when they met in Toronto this week, industry leaders also agreed the growing cost competitiveness of wind energy “has set the stage for the next 10,000 megawatts.”
“Government, policymakers and utilities of today are looking to balance cost-effective electricity supply with growing pressure to clean up their power grids and diversify their generation mix,” Jean-Francois Nolet, the Canadian Wind Energy Association’s vice-president of policy and communications, said.
Nolet pointed to Alberta in particular as a a region where wind energy could make significant headway, largely due to the ALberta government’s renewed efforts to battle climate change and diversify its economy. But the opportunities do not end there. Canada’s lowest average price for a wind project of 6.3 cents per kilowatt hour was recorded late last year in Quebec, and CanWEA expects to get a windfall from this increased competitiveness in Ontario when the IESO awards power contracts later this year.
“Wind energy, as the last Quebec [Request for Proposals] proved, is now the lowest-cost option for new electricity supply in many Canadian provinces,” Nolet said. Even in markets where natural gas generation might be cheaper, wind energy provides a hedge against inevitable rising carbon costs, he added.
Approximately 1,500 megawatts of new capacity are expected to come on-line by the end of the year, led by new installations in Ontario and Quebec.