Canada has celebrated Global Wind Day by announcing it has become the 7th nation in the world to surpass 10,000 MW of installed wind power; enough to provide energy for over three million homes.
More wind energy has been installed in Canada over the past five years than any other source of generation, including coal and gas. Three record years of investment growth in the sector has seen capacity increase by an average of 1,300 MW, or 24 per cent, each year. CanWEA president Robert Hornung believes 2015 is on track to break new records for new wind installations.
“Meeting the 10,000 MW milestone confirms that Canada is a global leader in wind energy development,” Hornung says. “Wind energy’s cost competitiveness, coupled with the fact that it produces no greenhouse gas emissions, means it is well positioned to continue its rapid growth as a mainstream contributor to Canada’s electricity supply.”
With wind farms providing power in every Canadian province, from Ontario to the Yukon, wind energy now contributes nearly five per cent of the country’s electricity needs, the equivalent of three million households.
CanWEA has calculated the benefit of wind power not just for the environment, but for Canada’s employment figures. It states that every 100 MW of new wind creates over 1,000 person-years of work during the construction phase of projects and 350 person-years of long-term work for operational and maintenance staff. Additionally, every megawatt of new wind added to capacity represents an investment of around $2 million.
“Wind energy is meeting Canada’s demand for new electricity in a clean, reliable and cost-competitive way,” says Hornung. “As concerns about global climate change grow, wind energy will also need to play a critical role in Canada’s transition to a more flexible and decentralized low carbon electricity system.”
Global Wind Day falls on the 15th June every year. An internationally coordinated action between the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) and the Global Wind Energy Council and national bodies, the day explores how wind power can reshape the world’s energy mix and help combat climate change.