How many new or expanded windfarm projects are planned for Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia in the next two years? How can I learn more about them?
Both Alberta and Saskatchewan have committed to wind energy production over the next 15 years. Alberta has said it will phase out coal-fired electricity generation by 2030 and will replace two thirds of that energy with renewable energy – primarily wind energy. This will require a minimum of 4,000 megawatts (MW) of new wind energy to be built in Alberta over the next 15 years, and the number will likely be higher as Alberta strives to move towards 30 per cent of all electricity coming from renewable energy by 2030.
The Alberta Government has tasked the AESO, the Alberta Electric System Operator, with developing and implementing a program to bring on new renewable generation capacity. You can find out more by visiting the AESO’s website: https://www.aeso.ca/. The first competition is set to launch in late 2016, with the first projects in service by 2019.
In 2015, SaskPower, the province of Saskatchewan`s principal electric utility, committed to expanding wind energy production as part of a broader plan to grow the contribution of renewable energy sources to the province`s electricity supply. Under the new plan, wind energy capacity would increase from just over 200 MW today to more than 2,000 MW by 2030, when wind energy would supply approximately 20 per cent of Saskatchewan’s electricity needs, up from less than three per cent in 2016. The SaskPower website lists construction projects and recent supply awards for provincial energy projects.
British Columbia currently has 489 MW of installed wind capacity and tremendous untapped potential for wind energy. Pattern Energy is currently constructing a 180 MW wind farm in the Peace Region of BC, which is expected to be completed at the end 2016. It is likely that will be the last new wind project for some time as BC Hydro has indicated they’re not likely to see a call for power in the province until 2030.
(Question answered February 2016)