Today’s wind energy is the lowest-cost source of new electricity generation for Ontario
Communities, the economy, and the environment all benefit by adding wind energy to the electricity grid
Ontario remains Canada’s leader in clean wind energy with 5,436 megawatts (MW) of installed electricity generating capacity as of December 2019. In 2019, Ontario added two installations to the province’s current wind fleet - an additional 360 MW of generation capacity.
Ontario’s lowest-cost option
Rapidly-declining costs have made wind energy the lowest-cost source of new electricity generation available to Ontario and across Canada today. A 2017 Alberta procurement secured 600 MW of wind energy capacity at a weighted average price of only 3.7 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh). Ontario’s most recent competitive procurement was in 2014, but even then the result was an average 20-year price of 8.45 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), with one contract as low as 6.45 cents – all well below the average cost of electricity generation.
Wind energy prices are forecast to continue to decline as the technology continues to improve.
Economic benefits – jobs, taxes and community funding
Ontario’s wind industry has created thousands of well paying, much-needed jobs in manufacturing, construction and local services. Between 2006 and 2030, Ontario’s wind energy industry will generate 64,500 person-years of employment, $4.6 billion in personal earnings, and add $6.2 billion to provincial GDP.
Across the province, wind energy projects are delivering new income to landowners, new property tax revenue to municipalities, new funding for community-based initiatives, and a new source of sustained revenue for Indigenous partners. Ontario’s wind energy industry is also at the heart of a growing wind turbine operations and maintenance business for Canada’s 6,500+ wind turbines.
Moving Ontario to a low-carbon economy
In 2014, Ontario eliminated coal as a source of electricity generation. The addition of new renewable energy sources like wind energy has provided replacement electricity supply without adding emissions that contribute to smog or global warming, while maintaining reliability.
Ontario’s investments have helped drive a 90 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from its electricity sector since 2003. Ontario is positioned to lead Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy.
Wind energy generates electricity without emitting air pollutants, particulate matter, or waste of any kind. It uses virtually no water compared to conventional electricity generating stations.
Ontario will need additional electricity supply
Ontario will need new electricity generation supply in the 2020s to help ensure the province has enough power while it is refurbishing its Darlington and Bruce nuclear-generating stations and other assets reach end of life and will no longer be available to supply power. In addition, meeting greenhouse gas emission reduction targets will require Ontario to continue to prioritize emissions-free electricity generation, while increasing the province’s use of electricity to power many sectors of its economy, from transportation to industrial processes and buildings.
A study of Canada’s wind energy resources and assets has shown that Canada can get more than one-third of its electricity from wind energy without compromising grid reliability – while fully realizing economic and environmental benefits.
There are enormous untapped wind resources across Ontario that are economically competitive and can be deployed quickly at whatever scale is required to match increases in electricity demand, creating more efficient outcomes for consumers and ensuring a reliable electricity supply.
Support for wind energy in Ontario
Public opinion polling in Ontario in 2017 shows that 89 per cent of respondents believe climate change is happening, 74 percent believe immediate and significant action is needed, and 72 per cent agree that the Ontario government should encourage the development of non-emitting electricity to reduce Ontario’s carbon emissions. A majority of respondents, 58 per cent, also support government policy that encourages the development of wind power.
Wind by the numbers in Ontario (December 2019)
- Current number of projects: 94
- 5,436 MW installed capacity
- 360 MW new in 2019
- 2,681 wind turbines
For your convenience: a printer-friendly version of CanWEA’s Ontario Market Profile.
- The new 2020 white paper - Wind Energy and the Ontario Market - makes 14 recommendations aimed at unshackling wind energy’s full potential in Ontario. The recommendations are aligned with key contextual considerations such as IESO’s ongoing pursuit of its Market Renewal Program, with system needs such as reliability, and with policy priorities such as affordability. The paper was introduced with a blog by Brandy Giannetta, Regional Director – Ontario, CanWEA.
- Wind Dividends – 2018 Update: Analysis of the Economic Impacts from Ontario’s Wind Energy Industry details the economic benefits of Ontario’s investments in wind energy. This comprehensive report was first published in 2015 and updated in October 2018, to reflect the current scope of existing and planned wind energy procurement. Download an executive summary. The original 2015 report is also available for reference.
- CanWEA’s Ontario For My Community brochure and testimonials share stories of Ontario communities that are profiting from new income for rural landowners, new tax revenues, and new employment opportunities for trades people and contractors that playing host to wind energy projects provides.
- New wind energy is one of the most economical forms of energy available to Ontario today. Read more about how non-emitting wind power can help keep electricity affordable in Ontario.
- Lazard’s Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis found that the levelized unit energy cost of wind power declined in the United States by 70 per cent between 2009 and 2019.
- Wind energy prices continue to decline as the technology continues to improve, lowering the cost of wind turbines while at the same time increasing performance. Today wind turbines are more cost-effective and reliable than ever.
- Green energy is very popular in Ontario. Polling done by EKOS found that 81 per cent of Ontarians want to see more renewable energy in the future. And 74 per cent of Ontarians supported the move away from coal toward wind and solar energy.
Want to learn more? Check out blogs about wind energy in Ontario.
- Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO)
- Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks
- Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
CanWEA offers additional technical information and full reports to its members. Visit the members only website and browse through CanWEA’s extensive Resource Library today. Not a member? To learn more visit CanWEA’s membership page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.