Wind Power Grows on Strength of Ontario, Quebec and Alberta

Wind Turbine Shaft

By Jonny Wakefield

March 05, 2015

Wind now accounts for around seven per cent of total Canadian power generation, according to new data from the National Energy Board's (NEB) latest market snapshot.

More good news comes in the form of an increase in total power brought online in 2014—up to 1,800 megawatts, over the 1,600 produced the year before.  According to the Canadian Wind Energy Association, installed capacity sits at 9,694 megawatts nationwide. For comparison, the yet-to-be-built Site C dam on British Columbia’s Peace River would generate 1,100 megawatts a year.

Overall, the NEB data shows that last year’s growth was driven by Ontario, Quebec and Alberta. Ontario has the lion’s share of Canadian wind power, with over 3,000 megawatts of capacity and another 2,000 megawatts set to come online through the Feed-In-Tariff program.

That program, which locks in the price the power authority will pay for renewable energy, quadrupled wind power in the province in six years. The Feed-In-Tariff has also been a boon to the Ontario manufacturing industry, with a Siemens plant in Tilonsburg recently celebrating the production of its one-thousandth blade.

Quebec, meanwhile, is set to grow its 2,400 megawatts of wind to 4,000 by 2018. Alberta, in third place for overall generation, has 17 wind power projects in the works, although not all  of them will proceed.

The NEB report notes that Alberta does not have a subsidy scheme like Ontario’s, meaning wind power costs more to produce than other power sources. In many cases, though, industries will use wind projects as credits against fossil fuel emissions. 

In all, the proposals from Alberta total 2,300 megawatts, which would more than double the roughly 1,500 megawatts currently being generated.

Sitting at fourth place, B.C.’s wind power situation remains murky, particularly with the decision to move forward on the Site C dam. However, there is some progress, with work starting on a 185-megawatt project near Tumbler Ridge, with another producer recently entering regulatory review.