Canada’s wind energy sector is gusting towards record territory this year.
According to data from the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA), an estimated 1,338 megawatts (MW) of new wind energy installations are on track to set a record for new capacity built in Canada in a single year. The predicted numbers this year almost double the 2010 levels of 690 MW, CanWEA said. Although Canada, recently, has been known more for crude oil from the Alberta oil sands, the report released on Canada’s new wind installments for this year provided some good news to Canada on the renewable energy front, considering the criticism it has received on both the building of a new pipeline to transfer oil from the Alberta tar sands to the United States, and a lack of coherent clean energy policy among the Canadian federal government.
CanWEA president Robert Hornung said on its website that Canada is starting to become a very aggressive place for investments in the sector. Hornung added that strong targets for wind installations plus solid government policy will help Canada become a major player in the global wind industry.
Some of the major factors regarding the growth of Canada’s wind capacity in 2011 include creating new supplies of energy to meet demand, with minimal environmental impact, while creating economic opportunities in both rural Canada and industrial sectors.
With the added 1,338 MW of new power created by the end of the year, Canada’s total wind power capacity capacity will reach about 5,300 MW, more than 27 times the amount of wind power installed ten years ago (in 2001) — 198 MW, according to CanWEA. The association predicts that an extra 6,000 MW will be added over the next five years, with new projects set all over the country.
Out of all provinces, new wind installations from Ontario lead the way this year, with a targeted 500 MW of wind power capacity. While Ontario may lead the way with new wind capacity installed this year, other projects across the country, including the St. Joseph wind farm in Manitoba and Nova Scotia’s Watts Wind project, will help continue to blow Canada’s wind industry in the right direction.