Wind energy is one of the fastest growing major sources of new electricity around the world. In 2016, Canada’s wind generation grew by 702 MW spread among 21 new wind energy projects. In 2015, Canada’s installed capacity surpassed the 10,000 MW threshold, establishing the industry’s position as a mainstream source of cost-competitive and reliable electricity supply. This year, six per cent of Canada’s electricity demand is being met by wind power, enough to power over three million homes.
Every Canadian province is now benefiting from clean wind energy.
Interactive image courtesy of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA)
Did You Know?
- Wind energy is growing in more than 90 countries around the world at an average annual rate of 22 per cent a year because governments, citizens and electricity system operators alike have found a reliable, clean, and safe form of energy … and at a good price.
- The Canadian Hydropower Association, Canadian Solar Industries Association, Canadian Wind Energy Association and Marine Renewables Canada came together with Clean Energy Canada to establish the Canadian Council on Renewable Electricity. The Council engages in research, collaboration and communications initiatives to encourage dialogue for increased use of Canada’s abundant renewable electricity resources. Download a copy of Powering Climate Prosperity: Canada’s Renewable Electricity Advantage for the Councils recommendations on steps Canada must take to prevent average global temperatures from rising above two degrees Celsius.
- The Trottier Energy Futures Project looks at the changes we can make today to build a low-carbon, sustainable energy future for Canada while taking into account economic, social and environmental concerns.
- Globally, a collaboration initiative of energy research is trying to understand how individual countries can transition to a low-carbon economy through The Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project.
Wind turbines work on the same principle that allows airplanes to fly. The wind doesn’t push the blades, but passes over them. The resulting pressure difference between the upper and lower surfaces creates lift, which causes the rotor to turn.
As the blades of a wind turbine turn, the kinetic energy of the wind is converted into mechanical energy, which is transmitted through a drive shaft to an electrical generator in the nacelle. The resulting electrical current travels via underground cables to a substation, where it is converted to a higher voltage for the larger electricity transmission or distribution grid. From there, it’s delivered to the electric utility and customers.
Find out how a wind turbine works by using the Harness the Power of Wind interactive image at the top of this page.
Did you know?
- The blades typically start to turn when the wind speed reaches approximately13 km/h and shut down when the winds become too strong, usually around 90 km/h. That operating range means wind turbines produce electricity approximately 85 per cent of the time. How much they generate at any given point depends on the wind speed.
- Wind farms are designed to last 25 years or longer and modern turbines require very little maintenance.
- Often at the end of their life, wind turbines are “re-powered”, which involves replacing older equipment with newer technology; the re-powered wind farm will then last another 20 -25 years after that.
Did you know?
According to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), wind energy’s contribution to the Ontario electricity system continues to climb. At approximately five per cent of the province’s electricity demand, Ontario was the first jurisdiction in North America to eliminate coal as a source of electricity generation.
Did you know?
- Based on real world operational experience, most electrical grids can obtain at least 20 per cent of their total electricity from wind energy without having to make substantial changes to the existing electrical grid. In fact, in some jurisdictions such as Denmark, wind has at times supplied 100 per cent of the electricity needs of the country.
- “The experience of countries and regions that already have a high wind penetration (from 5 per cent to 20 per cent of gross electric energy demand) has been that the existing reserves are deployed more often after wind power is added to the system, but no additional reserve capacity is required”. (Wind Power Myths Debunked, Milligan et al., IEEE, 2009 v. 7, no. 6’)