Wind power is on track to have a record year in Canada. In 2010, 690 megawatts (MW) of wind power capacity was installed in Canada, but the Canadian Wind Energy Association is projecting the country will see 1,338 MW of new wind capacity come online in 2011. This represents almost $3.5 billion in investment, and more than 13,500 person-years of employment.
Canada is now expected to end 2011 with more than 5,300 MW of total installed wind energy capacity – enough to power more than 1.5 million Canadian homes. This is up from only 198 MW at the end of 2001.
Ontario, which leads Canadian provinces in wind energy capacity, will have installed more than 500 MW by the end of the year. New wind farms are also being commissioned in seven other Canadian provinces, including British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Over the next five years, more than 6,000 MW of wind energy projects are already under contract to be built in Canada, and several provincial governments are launching new procurement processes to obtain even more wind energy.
“2011 has been a banner year for new wind energy development in Canada, which means cleaner air, new jobs and local investments for the communities that host wind energy projects,” said Robert Hornung, president of Canadian Wind Energy Association. “Canada, and in particular Ontario, is emerging as a very competitive destination for wind energy investment globally. Maintaining that position will require continued commitments to aggressive targets for wind energy development and a stable policy framework.”