CanWEA: Popular Demand Drives Canadian Small-Wind Market Growth

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The Canadian market for small wind energy systems is growing rapidly, according to a new market study conducted for the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA). The market survey shows that annual sales for small wind energy systems in Canada have grown by 55% over the past two years, despite the global economic downturn.

At the same time, Canadian small wind manufacturing capacity has grown, with Canadian firms now representing over half of the world's manufacturers of midsize turbines. Small wind systems have a rated capacity of 300 kW or less and are used to power homes, farms, small businesses and off-grid communities.

Although Canada's installed small wind capacity is considerably less than the U.S. or the U.K., the findings of the market survey compare favorably with the growth of the U.S. and U.K. small wind markets, the world's largest and second largest small wind markets, respectively.

‘With Canadian manufacturers exporting 87 percent of their sales, Canada is especially well positioned to benefit from the global rise in small wind sales, as it is home to more than half of the world's manufacturers of small wind turbines in the 30 kW to 100 kW range,’ says Emilie Moorhouse, CanWEA's small-wind policy manager .’As the small wind market follows large-wind's growth, favorable policies and feed-in tariffs for small wind could help Canada take its place as a dominant manufacturer, much as Denmark did with the growth of its own wind industry in the 1990s.’

CanWEA estimates that with favorable policies in place, the industry could sustain annual growth rates averaging 40% over the next 15 years, for an estimated total of 17,900 additional jobs in manufacturing and installation. Without incentives and policies favorable to the industry, CanWEA estimates the industry would only sustain an annual growth rate of 15%.

With the exception of the province of Saskatchewan, there are currently no incentives available for small wind systems in Canada. This is in sharp contrast to several other jurisdictions, such as the U.S. and the U.K., that are recognizing the economic and environmental benefits of small wind by offering FITs or rebates for small wind systems.

SOURCE: Canadian Wind Energy Association

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