Canada has now installed a record-breaking 657 MW of new wind energy capacity in 2006, representing more than $1 billion in investment, and shattering the previous annual installation record of 240 MW set in 2005. As a result, Canada's total installed wind energy capacity sits at 1341 MW, a virtual doubling of the 684 MW in place at the start of the year, and enough capacity to meet the electricity needs of 406,000 Canadian homes.
"Wind energy is an emerging Canadian success story and 2006 will be remembered as the year that our country first began to seriously capture the economic and environmental benefits of wind energy deployment," said Robert Hornung, president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA). "Wind energy projects provide substantial economic benefits to rural communities across Canada through investment, job creation, lease income for landowners, and a new tax base for municipal governments. As wind energy produces no air pollutants or greenhouse gas emissions, increased deployment of wind energy is also helping Canada to meet its objectives with respect to clean air and climate change."
Wind energy projects have already been commissioned this year in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Nova Scotia; additional facilities in Quebec and Prince Edward Island are also expected to come on line before the end of the year. These projects include Canada's largest windfarm, the 189 MW Prince Wind Energy Project in Ontario, as well as several projects of less than 1 MW in Nova Scotia. Ontario is now the jurisdiction with the most installed wind energy capacity in Canada (413 MW), followed by Alberta (384 MW), Quebec (212 MW) and Saskatchewan (171 MW).
"Canada's is on the cusp of a wind energy boom as provincial governments are now targeting to have a minimum of 10,000 MW of installed wind energy capacity in place by 2015," says Hornung. "If Canada is to meet and exceed that objective, provincial and federal governments must continue to build on their existing efforts and put in place a stable and sustainable policy framework for wind energy development in Canada."