702 MW of wind added in 2016: CanWEA
Canada's wind energy industry had another year of strong growth in 2016, according to the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA), adding 702 MW of new capacity through the commissioning of 21 projects in Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia. Sixteen of these projects are owned, at least in part, by aboriginal or local communities, or municipal governments. Canada now has 11,898 MW of installed wind generation capacity delivering reliable and emissions-free electricity, enough to supply six percent of Canada's electricity demand and to place Canada 8th in the world for installed capacity.
More wind energy has been built in Canada in the last 11 years than any other form of electricity generation. CanWEA expects Canada to install approximately another 700 MW of new wind energy capacity in 2017.
Among the significant developments:
• Ontario continued to lead Canada in market size and growth, adding 413 MW of new wind energy capacity in 2016 to bring its total installed capacity to 4,781 MW.
• Quebec added three projects totaling 249 MW of capacity in 2016, ending the year with 3,510 MW of wind energy on its grid and maintaining its position as the second largest wind energy market in Canada.
• Nova Scotia installed more wind energy projects than any other province in 2016, with 10 new facilities totaling 39.5 MW coming on line, most driven by the province's unique community feed-in tariff program. Nova Scotia ended the year with 597 MW of wind energy capacity, placing it fourth among the provinces for total installed capacity.
• Canada's new wind energy projects in 2016 represented about $1.5 billion in investment.
There are now 285 wind farms made up of 6,288 wind turbines operating in Canada, bringing economic development and diversification to well over 100 rural communities through land lease income, property tax payments, ownership revenue and community benefits agreements.
Canada's first commercial wind facility, the Cowley Ridge Wind Farm, was decommissioned in 2016, 23 years after it began operations in southern Alberta in 1993. Alberta added no new wind capacity last year, but remains Canada's third largest wind market with 1,479 MW.
In 2016, CanWEA released its Pan-Canadian Wind Integration Study. Among other findings, it concluded that Canada can get more than one-third of its electricity from wind energy without compromising grid reliability – and at the same time realize economic and environmental benefits.