Canada

Wind Energy in Canada


canada.jpgIn 2017, Canada added 341 MW of wind power capacity, bringing the total installed wind power capacity to 12,239 MW. The five-year annual growth rate of wind power capacity is 15%. There are currently 295 wind farms operating across the country, including utility-scale projects in two of the three northern territories.

Canada installed about half as much new capacity in 2017 as in 2016 (341 MW and 681 MW, respectively); this reduction is a result of policy uncertainty in several key regions in Canada, as well as a general slowing of load growth across the country. Wind energy continues to be one of the lowest cost options for new electricity supply in Canada. Despite originally seeking 400 MW of wind, the Alberta Electricity System Operator (AESO) entered into contracts for 600 MW of new wind power capacity.

Western Canada continues to have the highest wind energy growth potential in the near term, with an anticipated 6,900 MW of new renewable power capacity by 2030—a significant portion of which is expected to come from wind.

To read more about Canada's wind energy sector, read their chapter in the IEA Wind TCP 2017 Annual Report.

National Objectives


Under the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, Canada committed to reducing greenhouse gases (GHG) 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. The Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change was developed to meet Canada’s emissions reduction targets while growing the economy and building resilience, which includes carbon pricing.

In December 2017, the government gave provinces until the end of 2018 to submit their own carbon pricing plans before a national price is imposed. While there are no national targets for renewable energy, many provinces have set renewable energy targets, including Alberta (30% electricity used by 2030), New Brunswick (40% electricity used by 2020), Nova Scotia (40% of electricity produced by 2020), and Quebec (25% increase of 2013 overall renewable energy output by 2030).

Progress & Operational Details


Ten wind power projects contributed to 341 MW of new wind power capacity in 2017—an investment of approximately 800 million CAD (530 million EUR; 636 million USD). Four out of five new wind farms larger than 10 MW featured turbines of three megawatts or greater.

The 179-MW Meikle Wind Farm came online in British Columbia as the province’s largest, consisting of 26 GE 2.75-MW-120 and 35 GE 3.2-MW-103 turbines. Similarly, the 100-MW Belle River project in Ontario commissioned 40 Siemens SWT 3.2-MW-113 turbines.

National R,D&D Priorities & Budget


Several new programs and initiatives were announced in 2017 as part of the Canadian government’s overall clean growth agenda, which includes a Mission Innovation commitment to doubling R,D&D spending from 2015 to 2020. Most relevant to the wind industry is the 49 million CAD (32 million EUR; 39 million USD) funding for the Energy Innovation Program from April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2019 to support clean technology research and development.

The Green Infrastructure programs, including the Emerging Renewable Power Program, have pledged 200 million CAD (133 million EUR; 159 million USD) over four years to support commercial renewable energy technologies not yet deployed in Canada, including offshore wind development. Other components of the Green Infrastructure program, including 100 million CAD (67 million EUR; 80 million USD) for Smart Grid demonstration and deployment projects, will indirectly support the wind industry by seeking to further integrate renewable energy sources into the bulk electricity system.