Atlantic Canada

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Collaboration holds key to reaping benefits of tremendous resource

The four provinces on Canada’s Atlantic coast have made impressive strides in utilizing their world-class wind energy resources.

  • Prince Edward Island is the first North American jurisdiction to get more than 30 per cent of its electricity from wind energy, with an installed capacity of 204 MW.
  • Nova Scotia leads the region with 552 MW of wind energy, developed through a unique mix of ownership models that includes independent power production, utility partnerships, and community investment.
  • New Brunswick has 294 MW of large-scale wind on line, and is now looking to bolster that with 80 MW of small, locally owned renewable energy projects developed by First Nations and community groups.
  • The island of Newfoundland has 55 MW of wind, consisting of two utility-scale projects and one wind-diesel installation.

There remains significant potential to build on this strong foundation. CanWEA’s recently released Pan-Canadian Wind Integration Study (PCWIS) found the Maritimes region not only has some of the strongest wind regimes in Canada, but because of the way production correlates with periods of peak demand, it also has some of the country’s highest-value wind resources. This makes wind energy the lowest-cost option for new electricity supply in Atlantic Canada.

The region is well-positioned to export clean energy to the northeast U.S. where the looming retirement of thousands of megawatts of aging coal and nuclear plants, pending federal rules designed to cut power plant emissions, and increasingly stringent renewable energy portfolio standards have left states looking for reliable and cost-effective solutions. Replacing polluting coal generation and aging power plants in Atlantic Canada is a second avenue of potential growth.

There relatively small, fragmented electricity markets in the region makes it a challenge to integrate the potentially large amounts of wind energy these emerging sources of demand will require. Interjurisdictional co-operation, including transmission reinforcements within the provinces and new cross-border transfer capacity will be key. Fortunately, governments across the region understand this and have agreed to work together to build a clean energy future.

Wind by the numbers in Atlantic Canada (December 2015)
Number of installations:                     81
Number of Wind Turbines:                 521
Total Installed Capacity (MW):          1,104 MW
Average Turbine Capacity (MW):       2.12 MW

Learn more:

  • PowerShift Atlantic was an award-winning, four-year research program using smart gird technologies to intelligently shift customer loads to allow a more effective integration of wind generation.
  • Heat for Less Now is a program offered by the City of Summerside in Prince Edward Island that use excess wind production to heat water and homes in the community. The city’s electricity utility now meets 46 per cent of demand with wind energy.
  • The Canadian Wind Energy Association’s (CanWEA) Nova Scotia For My Community. brochure shares stories of Nova Scotia communities that are profiting from new income for rural landowners, new tax revenues, and new employment opportunities for trades people and contractors that playing host to wind energy projects provides.

CanWEA offers additional technical information and full reports to its members. Visit the members only website and browse through CanWEA’s extensive Resource Library today. Not a member? To learn more visit CanWEA’s membership page or email sales@canwea.ca. 

Useful Links:

Nova Scotia Power
Nova Scotia Department of Energy
PEI Energy Corporation
Maritime Electric
Summerside Electric
New Brunswick Power
New Brunswick Energy and Resource Development
Nalcor
Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Natural Resources
The Council of Atlantic Premiers
Atlantica Centre for Energy