Wind Facts Alberta
Wind energy is an established and growing player in the Alberta electricity market – not to mention it’s reducing emissions!
Alberta is the birthplace of modern wind energy in Canada. Wind energy is providing some of the lowest priced electricity in Alberta’s market. Electricity that is clean, renewable, reduces air emissions and helps to diversify Alberta’s electricity supply mix.
Blackspring Ridge, Vulcan County, Alberta – the largest wind farm in Western Canada.
Photo courtesy of Enbridge Inc.
Fact: Alberta has an enormous wind potential, but still relies mostly on fossil fuels
Photo courtesy of Solas Energy Consulting.
- One of Canada’s first commercial wind farms was built just outside of Pincher Creek, Alberta.
- Generating six per cent of Alberta’s electricity in 2016, wind energy helps to diversify Alberta’s electricity generation mix.
- Enough wind power is generated in the province to power approximately 625,000 average sized homes for one year.
- Alberta now ranks third in Canada with an installed wind energy capacity of 1,479 MW.
- Technology advances have made wind energy one of the lowest cost options available.
- Costs for wind have already plummeted 66 per cent since 2009 (Lazard 10) and are projected to continue falling precipitously (Bloomberg).
- You can make a difference by sending a letter to your provincial representative and asking them to support wind energy and the policies that will help it continue to grow.
Fact: Albertans strongly support more wind energy in generating new electricity
A 2015 Nanos Research survey shows most Albertans believe wind energy offers many positive benefits and should be part of helping to diversify the province’s mix of electricity sources. Albertans also believe:
- Almost 80% of Albertans think the Government of Alberta should do more to develop renewable energy like wind and solar.
- Over half of Albertans surveyed (54%) think that more wind energy projects is the #1 way to combat greenhouse gas emissions.
- The most popular piece of advice (34%) for the Premier of Alberta to improve environmental performance: Increase the supply of renewable energy like wind and solar energy.
- For more details surrounding this research, read
Nanos research highlights on public attitudes on greening Alberta’s electricity grid and Albertans favour greener energy grid
published in the Lethbridge Herald, October 4, 2014.
- For updated news stories on sentiments on diversifying electricity generation in Alberta, see Climate change denial is over, Alberta environment minister says
published on CBC News, September 9, 2015 and also Set wind, solar targets, NDP urged; Proponents say without renewables, province will lock in on fossil fuels
published in the Calgary Herald, October 9, 2015.
- For more details surrounding this research, read
Fact: Wind energy is a cost-effective solution for Albertans
- Wind energy is one of the lowest-cost options available in Alberta, even at today’s low natural gas prices; and there’s no risk that the wind is going to get more expensive!
- Wind offers the benefit to consumers of hedging against the risk of future gas price increases.
- Because there is no fuel cost wind farms can guarantee their low prices for 20 years… or more!
Fact: Wind energy is helping Alberta diversify the economy, create local green jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and fight climate change
- Wind energy can provide substantial amounts of new clean electricity to Albertans while at the same time helping to address health concerns about air quality and increases in greenhouse gas emissions.
- Wind turbines generate electricity without consuming or contaminating water or emitting air pollutants or greenhouse gases.
- The largest wind farm in Western Canada was built near Lethbridge in 2014. At 300 MW, a wind farm this size will:
- Reduce Alberta’s GHG emissions by 600,000 tonnes a year – that’s the equivalent of taking 120,000 cars off the road.
- Reduces water consumption by 960 million litres a year, relative to natural gas generation – equivalent to the volume of 320 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Fact: Wind energy is providing significant economic benefits to local communities across Alberta
- Host communities benefit from wind farms as they provide new incomes for rural landowners, new tax revenues, as well as new local employment opportunities.
- Download the Alberta Wind. For My Community. brochure to find out more about the local economic benefits that wind energy projects are already bringing to Alberta communities.
- Wind energy development pays significant economic dividends. Every 150 MW of new capacity represents:
- $316 million in investment
- 140 full-time equivalent jobs in construction and 10 permanent jobs in operations and maintenance
- $17 million in lease payments to landowners over 20 years
- $31 million in property tax payments to municipalities over 20 years
Find out more about Alberta’s wind energy market on CanWEA’s website.
Visit www.friendsofwind.ca to find out how you can participate in the community discussion around wind and solar energy. Here you can learn more about what renewable energy is doing for Canadians, the need for alternative green solutions, the need to counter greenhouse gases and the importance of leadership to drive change. You can take advantage of the tools on this website to join the conversation and help spread the word about wind and solar energy.