McKenna’s words “time to walk the talk” underscore main take-away from CanWEA Spring Forum
April 8, 2016
Wind energy at core of climate change solution – Canada, wind industry and the technology are ready
TGIF! We hosted our annual Canadian Wind Energy Association Spring Forum this week in Gatineau, Quebec, and there was an inspiring level of interest in the program. The focus was on the significant level of political, policy and procurement developments for wind energy in recent months and where to collectively go from here.
Going into this week, here are some of the developments that helped draw attention to the wind energy industry and piqued interest in the event:
- Canada surpassed 11,000 MW of installed wind energy capacity to remain 7th in the world;
- Alberta committed to phasing out coal-fired electricity generation by 2030 and replacing close to two-thirds of it with wind energy;
- Saskatchewan committed to making wind energy 30 per cent of generating capacity by 2030;
- Ontario awarded contracts for 300 MW of new wind energy with an average price (8.59 cents/kwh) which demonstrates wind energy’s cost-competitiveness;
- The Paris Agreement was signed at the COP21 conference;
- The tri-lateral and bi-lateral agreements were signed with the U.S. and Mexico, which included commitments to clean energy;
- The Vancouver Declaration was made promising collaboration between the Prime Minister and Premiers;
- The recent Federal Budget came out embracing a low carbon future;
By the end of this week, we learned of two more important developments that will improve the prospects for wind energy:
- The Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli announced that Ontario plans to purchase another 600 MW of wind energy!
- The Quebec Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Pierre Arcand, released the Quebec Energy Policy 2030 that includes the goal of increasing total renewable energy production by 25 per cent.
When speaking about the positive drivers for wind energy in Canada in his opening remarks, CanWEA President Robert Hornung said “These are all important milestones for our industry, but I would argue the most important change for the world of wind energy in the last six months has been the renewed public, media, and political attention focused on the greatest challenge facing our generation – climate change.”
Evidence of the increasing acceptance of the need for Canada to transition to a low carbon economy and a growing willingness to take the steps required to get there were apparent in the closing keynote by the federal Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, who said, “I think you will agree with me that we can do even better and be even more ambitious to secure a cleaner energy future. Can Canada take a bigger share of the global market? I like to think so and when it comes to renewable energy, we all need to walk the talk, starting with the government.”
Minister McKenna also said she’s really counting on all of us to take an active part in the consultations on climate change and announced that her team will be launching a web portal on Earth Day, April 22 where submissions can be made that will inform the findings and recommendations of the four working groups struck as part of the agreement with provincial Premiers – we’ll be watching for that!
In closing, clearly this is an exciting and critical time for wind energy and moving from ambition to action creates a huge opportunity for the wind energy industry. We have a lot of work to do to turn potential to reality. More about that in future blogs.
Featured Photo: Tracy Walden, Director of Media and Communications at the Canadian Wind Energy Association and The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change. Photo by Teckles Photo Inc.