2015: A Great Year for Wind Energy in Canada
January 28, 2016
If you read my last blog, you’ll be happy to know I’m still smiling! 2015 was a heck of a year for renewable energy in general, world-wide, and certainly for wind energy here in Canada. Lucky for me, it’s my job to share some of Canada’s 2015 highlights.
As we reported in our press release on January 12, Canada rang in the New Year with 11,205 megawatts (MW) of installed wind energy capacity.
Why is this a remarkable number?
To start, there are only six other countries in the world with more wind energy capacity than Canada out of the more than 90 that have turbines connected to their electricity grids. There is no doubt, Canada is a world leader in wind energy.
What’s more, with 36 new projects adding 1,506 MW of wind capacity in 2015, Canada continued its five-year trend of making wind energy the largest source of new electricity generation year over year – more new wind than new natural gas, new hydropower, new nuclear, you name it.
The five year average annual growth rate is 23 per cent per year – only five other counties in the world added more wind energy than Canada last year. With 6,066 turbines in the ground, the responsible and sustainable operations of wind farms is of paramount concern, which explains why our Operations and Maintenance Summit sold out last year (still time to register for this year).
One of the reasons wind energy is the preferred choice for new generation is the price. The cost of utility-scale wind has been going down dramatically with the growth and maturation of the industry and the technology – falling 60 per cent over the past six years.
New wind energy is now cost-competitive with the other sources of new electricity generation. Looking ahead, all signs are pointing to even more competitive positioning for renewable energy as costs for carbon continue to go up. Also, renewable energy has the added benefit of free ‘fuel’ costs (e.g. the wind) – not true for fuels that have to be bought to be burned.
While cracking 11 gigawatts is a great achievement in the world of wind, supplying the electricity to meet roughly five per cent of Canada’s demand is only the first leg of a challenging journey to a low carbon future. Across Canada, the energy debate is lively with many considerations at play as we work collectively to figure out how to more than double our renewable electricity generation capacity by 2050 in order to meet current reduction targets for climate changing emissions and use clean electricity to power other sectors of the economy, like transportation.
How do we get there?
That will be the subject of many of the submissions you’ll find on the CanWEA blog this year! In the meantime, we hope you enjoy this infographic depicting the 2015 highlights of Canada’s wind energy presence across the country and I encourage you to visit our blog again soon.
Vice-President – Communications and Events at the Canadian Wind Energy Association