Addressing attendees during the opening general session of the Canadian Wind Energy Association's (CanWEA) Annual Conference and Exhibition in Toronto, Robert Hornung, CanWEA's president, issued a challenge: Canada needs to compete with the U.S. if it intends to fulfill its vision of 20% renewable energy by 2025 set forth at last year's conference in Vancouver, British Columbia.
‘We have a real opportunity here in Canada,’ Hornung said. ‘Four new projects with a combined capacity of 486 MW came online in the first seven months of 2009, and by the end of the year, we will have nearly 3,000 MW of installed capacity.’
Hornung said that utility-scale projects now operate in all 10 Canadian provinces and that the Green Energy Act is the strongest response to last year's call for more renewables.
He also spoke about the potential for the Canadian Maritime Provinces to supply the U.S. with wind power. According to a CanWEA report, the Maritime Provinces have the potential to export 5,500 MW to 7,500 MW of wind power to the U.S., but more work is needed.
According to Hornung, the Canadian government needs to step up its commitment to renewable energy. The ecoENERGY plan, a federal incentive that offered developers C$0.01/kWh generated, has not been renewed. The result, according to Hornung, sends a clear signal to investors that renewable incentives under President Obama make U.S. investment favorable by comparison.
‘We have already seen, particularly in Atlantic Canada, projects that have been delayed because of their difficulty securing credit,’ noted Hornung.
The Atlantic provinces combined have wind energy targets of at least 12,000 MW by 2015. To reach that goal, wind energy deployment will need to continue to accelerate at an average rate of 1,000 MW to 1,500 MW per year between 2010 and 2015, and there is still a lot of work to be done to transform these initial provincial goals and objectives into reality, Hornung said.
‘We have developed a suite of options that would provide the government with some flexibility in how it provides its support to enable it to meet its budgetary goals,’ he explained. ‘The one option that is clearly unacceptable is to do nothing and to simply see federal support for the industry end.’