Canada’s wind energy industry further expanded its installed capacity in 2018 by more than half a gigawatt, according to new year-end findings from the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA).
The six wind energy projects that were powered up in 2018 added 566 MW of installed capacity – a continuation of steady growth that has contributed to an average annual growth rate of 20% per year since 2008, says CanWEA. The six projects also represented an estimated total investment of C$1 billion.
Two new projects are located in each of New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario, and two of the six have both community and First Nations ownership stakes. Quebec accounted for about two-thirds of newly installed capacity in 2018. The 65-turbine, 224.25 MW Nicolas-Riou Wind Project in Quebec was the largest of the new wind farms brought online in the country in 2018.
Both Saskatchewan and Alberta contracted for significant additional new wind energy capacity in 2018 at an average bid price of C$42/MWh and C$39/MWh, respectively, which is comparable to the record-low average bid price of C$37/MWh recorded in Alberta in late 2017.
With 299 projects, the total installed wind energy capacity in Canada is now 12,816 MW, enough to meet the needs of approximately 3.3 million homes. Wind energy production meets approximately 6% of Canada’s electricity demand – and more than that in jurisdictions such as P.E.I. (28%), Nova Scotia (12%), Ontario (8%), Alberta (7%) and New Brunswick (7%). Further, there is installed wind energy capacity in all Canadian jurisdictions except Nunavut.
For 2019, CanWEA expects to see approximately 1,000 MW of new wind energy projects commissioned, including the projects contracted under Alberta’s first renewable energy procurement and projects currently under construction in Ontario. National installed capacity has doubled since 2012, CanWEA points out.
“Each year, the wind energy industry provides more clean and low-cost electricity to Canadians and increases its contributions to a modern and reliable electricity grid,” comments Robert Hornung, president of CanWEA. “Wind is a success story across the country – helping meet electricity demand in a way that is consistent with Canada’s climate ambitions and that benefits landowners, rural and Indigenous communities, and the economy.”