How much has wind energy contributed to GDP/GNP over the last 10 years?
According to Natural Resources Canada’s Energy Markets Fact Book 2014-2015, the electricity sector as a whole makes up roughly 2.1 per cent of Canadian gross domestic product. It does not break that figure down to provide the specific contribution from wind energy, but we do know that the industry’s economic impact is significant.
An Ontario study, titled Wind Dividends – An Analysis of the Economic Impacts from Ontario’s Wind Procurements, found the province’s commitment to add 6,480 megawatts (MW) of wind to its electricity supply mix will result in $14 billion worth of new investment and $7 billion worth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The industry will create 73,000 full-time equivalents (FTEs) — each representing one year of employment — and pay more than $5 billion in wages and benefits.
A report by Clean Energy Canada found that $16.89 billion has been invested in new wind energy projects over a recent five year period, more than all other renewable generating technologies combined. In fact, more new wind energy capacity has been installed from 2010-2014 in Canada than any other generating source according to National Energy Board data. The 5,690 MW of wind energy installed represents 38 per cent of all new generating capacity to come on line in this period; however, historically the National Energy Board has not been accurate in its reporting of installed wind energy capacity in Canada, and therefore we expect the actual number to be higher than 38 percent.
(Originally answered November 2015)