Social & Economic Benefits
Wind energy is providing economic benefits to local communities
Wind energy developments are making positive and lasting economic contributions while helping to diversify communities across Canada.
- Host communities are realizing significant economic and social benefits through new municipal tax revenues, plus stable income for farmers and landowners from land lease agreements.
- Wind farms and the agricultural community are productive partners. As little as one per cent of total acreage is needed for turbines and access roads. The remaining acreage is free for other uses, such as farming or ranching.
- Wind energy is creating new high-value jobs, providing employment opportunities for local trades-people and contractors as well as full-time permanent jobs once the wind farm is operational.
- Wind energy projects bring direct investment in the form of contracts for raw materials and infusion of dollars to local services and retail businesses.
- Developers are establishing innovative ways to provide additional economic benefits and support community partnerships (e.g., voluntary Community Benefits Program / Community Vibrancy Funds).
- Community Liaison Committees are being established in developer communities to create a foundation for meaningful dialogue, while supporting an atmosphere of public trust/confidence between the wind energy developer and community.
- The Canadian wind industry produced the world’s first Best Practices for Indigenous and Public Engagement to improve and strengthen industry practices as wind energy grows across Canada.
Did you know?
- According to the Alberta Supply Chain Study, the Alberta government’s Renewable Energy Plan will drive $8.3 billion of investment in new wind energy projects in the province. These projects are expected to result in $3.7 billion in local spending and 15,000 job years of employment by 2030.
- The wind industry in Quebec employs 5,000 full-time workers, whose average annual salary is 30 per cent higher than the Quebec average.
- According to Secor-KPMG, in ten years, the development of the wind industry in Quebec has led to $10 billion in investments, an annual wealth generation of $473 million and annual tax revenues of $75 million to the Quebec government. Thanks to the wind industry, Quebec municipalities can count on $25 million in annual revenue in addition to the return on investment for municipalities that financially participate in projects.
- $25 million was invested into the community of Wolfe Island in Ontario during construction, and royalties to landowners, tax payments, operation and maintenance expenses and ongoing local economic benefits add up to an another $3 million a year.
Creating jobs in a homegrown industry
- Wind energy is providing high quality jobs for graduates of Fanshawe College, St. Lawrence College and St. Clair College in Ontario, Lethbridge College in Alberta, Groupe Collegia in Quebec and Northern Lights College in BC, to name a few.
- For every direct job created in the wind energy industry, there are spin-off jobs created in the value chain in areas like construction, transportation, provision of aggregate, etc. Much of the raw materials used in construction of wind farms is sourced locally, so the benefits are experienced at a regional level.
- According to the 2015 Compass Renewable Energy Consulting study – Wind Dividends: An Analysis of the Economic Impacts from Ontario’s Wind Procurements – found that in the 25 years from 2006-2030, wind energy in Ontario will have stimulated more than $14 billion in economic activity, including $650 million that will flow directly into local economies in the form of land lease payments, municipal property taxes, and community vibrancy funds. 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 Blue Green Canada More Bang For Our Buck examined the $1.3 billion in taxpayer subsidies the federal government provides to the oil industry and found that if those dollars were invested in renewable energy or energy efficiency it could create between 18,000-20,000 jobs. In comparison, that same amount of money invested in oil and gas would yield less than 3,000 jobs.
“I am honoured to have been involved in such a monumental project. To see all the wind turbines across our beautiful countryside is truly remarkable. I think the Blackspring Ridge Wind Farm shows the world the huge opportunities for untapped renewable energy in southern Alberta. The community of Carmangay is proud to be part of the project, helping to reduce our carbon footprint and offering renewable energy for generations to come.”
– Mayor Kym Nichols, Village of Carmangay, Alberta
“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
- In 2015, CanWEA commissioned Toronto-based Compass Renewable Energy Consulting to delve into the contribution the wind energy industry is making to Ontario’s economy. Read the results in Wind Dividends: An Analysis of the Economic Impacts from Ontario’s Wind Procurements.
- A 2015 Quebec study, “Estimate of the number of wind industry jobs in the Montreal area”, found that Montreal has become a major North American hub for the wind energy industry. The sector employs nearly 1,000 people in highly skilled jobs, with an average salary that compares favourably with other major industries in the city.
- An investigation by Aviseo Consulting confirmed that of the 5,000 jobs in the wind industry in Quebec, nearly 1,000 are in the Montréal region. These jobs have an average annual salary of $72,500, which is 42 per cent higher than the average in Montréal.
- This study by Dr. Jean-Claude Thibodeau assessed the economic benefits of the wind energy industry in Quebec and Gaspésie from 2005 to 2025.
- These figures were updated by Secor-KPMG in winter 2013.
- Take a look at Wind. For My Community for examples of significant economic benefits of real wind projects in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia.
- Projects where developers have set up a Community Liaison Committee include Summerhaven, Port Dover, Grand Renewable Energy Park, and South Kent Wind Farm. For other examples you can Google: wind energy + community liaison committee.
Visit Friends of Wind to find out how you can participate in the community discussion around how we produce and use energy. Here you can learn more about what renewable energy is doing for Canadians, the need for alternative green solutions, the need to counter greenhouse gases and the importance of leadership to drive change. You can take advantage of the tools on this website to join the conversation and help spread the word about wind energy.