From the West Coast, through the Prairies and onto the East Coast, wind energy is quickly becoming a powerful resource in Canada. It was only last year (2015) that 36 new energy projects were installed in Canada, which totalled 1,506 MW, making Canada the sixth in the world for the amount of capacity, as reported by Canada Wind Energy Association. Come the end of 2015, Canada finished with more than 11,000 MW of installed capacity, which presented a smooth and positive path going into the first quarter in 2016.
Needless to say, windmills are quickly becoming a favourable sight within Canada. The wind energy industry is looking good for 2016, as the benefits of building a cleaner, stronger and more affordable power system are quickly being seen within the first quarter.
The Leading Wind Energy Provider in Canada
Unlike the oil industry, which is primarily located on the west coast of Canada, wind energy is being produced well across the entire country. In 2015, wind energy projects were built and commissioned across Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia. However, 2016 has shown that BC, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec are the country’s four largest wind energy markets to date. Going into the first quarter of 2016, Ontario being the leader in Canada for producing clean wind energy with quite impressive statistics:
- 4,361 MW of installed capacity in Ontario in 2015
- Ontario supplies 5% of the province’s demand
- Starting in 2012, Ontario was generated more electricity using wind than coal
- In 2014, Ontario was the first jurisdiction in North America to eliminate the use of coal as a source of electricity
- Approximately $1Billion worth of wind energy was produced in Ontario in 2015
Canada as a Global Leader in Wind Energy
Although Ontario is the leading wind energy provider in Canada, the entire country is succeeding in comparison to other nations. Currently, Canada is the 7th largest wind energy producer in the world, which also puts Canada ahead of the United States in regards to long-term sustainable climate action. Some interesting statistics about the wind energy industry that will certainly play a part in 2016 include:
- Over the last 5 years wind energy has been the largest source of new electricity generation in Canada
- The installed wind energy capacity within Canada has increased an average 23% per year, over the course of the past 5 years.
Predictions for the Wind Energy Industry in 2016
While the statistics and outlook of 2015 are impressive as we head into 2016, there are some predictions that need to be carefully considered. As Canada moves through the transitional period within the year, growth rates are expected to slow, but only for a short period. However, Canada is still well ahead the United States in regards to climate change policies, which will provide many long-term opportunities for not only the industry, but also the country as a whole. Some important statistics that will play a part in 2016 outlook include:
- Among the G-7 group of leading industrialized countries, Canada’s electricity grid is the least greenhouse gas-intensive
- Alberta and Saskatchewan are more greenhouse gas intensive than the other Canadian provinces, and the government has responded with climate change plans that will grow wind energy in these areas
- 15-year plans have been put in place, beginning in 2016 that will result in 6,000 MW of new wind energy being produced in Alberta and Saskatchewan alone
- Ontario and Quebec have comprehensive climate change plans put in place that will provide new opportunities for wind energy
The past several years have been incredible for the wind energy industry. Although 2016 is expected to show a slowdown for a short period of time, the country is quickly putting plans in action to bring the wind energy back up to speed. There is an enormous amount of opportunities for wind energy in Canada, especially with plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% or more by 2050.