Modernizing the electricity grid by adding wind energy creates benefits for Ontarians
Today’s wind energy is the lowest-cost source of new electricity generation
Ontario remains Canada’s leader in clean wind energy with 4,900 MW of installed capacity, supplying approximately 7.5 per cent of the province’s electricity demand. In 2017, Ontario added four installations to the province’s current wind fleet—an additional 119 MW to current generation capacity.
Wind energy developments are making positive and lasting social and economic contributions in communities across Ontario
Ontario’s wind industry has created thousands of well paying, much-needed jobs in manufacturing, construction and local services. Across the province, wind energy projects are delivering new income to landowners, new property tax revenue to municipalities and new funding for community-based initiatives.
Ontario, with 40 per cent of Canada’s installed wind energy capacity, is at the heart of a growing wind turbine operations and maintenance business in Canada.
Between 2006 and 2030, Ontario’s past and planned investments in wind energy will:
- Create 73,000 direct and direct full-time equivalent (FTE) years of employment,
- Generate $5.1 billion in direct and indirect wages and benefits,
- Contribute $7 billion to the province’s GDP, and
- Stimulate $14 billion in investment.
“Wind energy is about land stewardship. We’re using a small portion of land to provide the clean energy our modern society demands. New jobs and investment from wind energy mean a brighter future for the local economy.”
– Mayor Randy Hope, Chatham-Kent, Ontario
Building a stronger, cleaner and affordable power system in Ontario
In 2014, Ontario became the first jurisdiction in North America to eliminate coal as a source of electricity generation. By replacing that generation with new renewable sources of energy, like wind and solar, it has positioned itself to lead Canada’s transition to a low-carbon economy. Ontario’s investments have helped drive a 90 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from its electricity sector since 2003, protecting the province from unpredictable, but inevitable, carbon cost increases over the long-term and ensuring consumers won’t be held hostage to volatile fossil fuel prices. It has built a clean, reliable, affordable and modern grid with the flexibility to respond to changing economic and environmental circumstances.
Ontario’s updated Long-Term Energy Plan, released in October 2017, shows a growing need for new, affordable and emissions-free electricity generation beginning in the early 2020’s. It commits to building on “the province’s leading role in the global fight against climate change” and continuing to “shift Ontario towards a low-carbon economy.”
These commitments will require Ontario to prioritize emissions-free generation, and use electricity to power all sectors of its economy, from transportation to industrial processes. Fortunately, there are enormous untapped wind resources across Ontario that are among the lowest-cost electricity supply options available to the province; and they can be deployed quickly at whatever scale is required to match customer demand growth.
As a low-carbon, low-cost and low-risk source of power, wind energy has an important and ongoing role to play.
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 2017)
Number of Installations: 94
Number of Wind Turbines: 2,515
Total Installed Capacity (MW): 4,900
Average Turbine Capacity (MW): 1.94
- Wind Dividends: Analysis of the Economic Impacts from Ontario’s Wind Procurements provides an analysis of the economic impacts of Ontario’s investments in wind energy. Download the Wind Dividends executive summary.
- In October 2017, CanWEA responded to the Ontario government’s release of its updated Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP). As the province implements its energy plan, it will need to continue its commitment to renewable energy if it is to keep Ontario’s electricity supply reliable and affordable while meeting its greenhouse gas emission targets and transitioning Ontario’s economy to a low-carbon future.
- CanWEA’s Ontario Wind. 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 67 percent between 2009 and 2017.
- 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.
- Suspending the second phase of large renewable procurement is a missed opportunity for the province. Fortunately, the province is about to review its Long-Term Energy Plan and the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) will play an active role in this engagement. Ontario was an early leader in wind energy integration and remains in a position to benefit from the global surge in renewable power and move to decarbonization. Ontario must continue to invest in renewable energy.
- Green energy is very popular in Ontario. Recent 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.
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