Wind Energy in Canada

canada.jpgIn 2016, Canada added 681 MW of wind power capacity (net), an increase of 6.1% over 2015, to reach a total of 11,898 MW. This capacity was installed in Ontario (413 MW), Quebec (249 MW), and Nova Scotia (40 MW). Of the 21 new wind projects, 16 included significant ownership stakes from Aboriginal Peoples, municipal corporations, or local owners—an increase from the 15 out of 23 projects with community ownership in 2015.

Western Canada continues to show the strongest potential for growth in the near term. Alberta set a target of 30% renewable electricity generation by 2030, while Saskatchewan set a target of 50% renewable energy capacity by 2030. These provinces plan to procure approximately 5,000 MW and 2,000 MW of renewable power capacity by 2030, respectively, a significant portion of which is expected to be met by wind.

With wind becoming increasingly cost competitive, request for proposal (RFP) is expected to remain the preferred method of procurement.

Policies Supporting Development

In October 2016, the federal government announced a pan-Canadian carbon pricing plan, which requires all provinces and territories to have some form of carbon pricing by 2018. The floor price for carbon was set at 10.00 CAD/metric ton (7.07 EUR/metric ton; 7.44 USD/metric ton) for 2018, rising to 50.00 CAD/metric ton (35.35 EUR/metric ton; 37.20 USD/metric ton) by 2022.

Regionally, the government of Quebec released its Energy Policy 2030 in April 2016. This policy calls for a 25% increase in total renewable electricity production by 2030 and a reduction in oil and gas consumption of 40%. They will also allow wind power projects to supply export markets for the first time.

The Alberta government announced in November that it would launch a competitive process for 400 MW of new renewable electricity in 2017 as part of a larger plan to add 5,000 MW over the next 15 years. Alberta plans to retire all coal-fired generators ahead of the 2030 deadline targeted by the federal government. Saskatchewan plans to add up to 2,000 MW of renewable power capacity over this time frame, with an initial RFP for up to 200 MW expected in 2017.

Renewable Energy Targets

The federal government plans to reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions 30% below 2005 levels by 2030, largely by phasing out traditional coal-fired power. Electricity supplied by non-emitting sources nationally will be brought up to 90% by that date, from the current 79%. Additionally, the government has committed to meet 100% of its power needs through renewable sources by 2025.

Several provinces have implemented targets for renewable electricity generation: Alberta (30% by 2030), New Brunswick (40% by 2020), Nova Scotia (40% by 2020), and Quebec (25% increase by 2030). Saskatchewan has a capacity-based, rather than generation-based, target of 50% renewable energy capacity by 2030.