Ontario takes strides towards wind energy

The Canadian Wind Energy Association wel­comed the announcement Jan. 23 of long-term contracts for six new wind energy projects in Ontario totaling 492 megawatts by Ontario’s Minister of Energy and Infrastructure George Smith­erman.

Ontario is currently Can­a­da’s wind energy leader with 782MW of installed capacity, providing clean electricity for over 230,000 homes. With al­most 400MW of additional wind energy projects currently under construction in Ontario, the announcement of new pro­jects means that Ontario is on track to put in place well over 1,500MW of installed wind energy capacity.

Canada’s total installed cap­a­city today stands at 2,369MW.

"Today’s announcement is further evidence of Ontario’s leadership in promoting and de­veloping clean renewable energy," said Robert Hornung, President of the association. "We believe that wind energy represents a tremendous op­por­tunity for Ontario and this announcement is timely in that it will help Ontario meet its future electricity needs while also supporting significant in­vestment and job creation at a time when the province is seeking economic stimulus."

Wind energy represents a major industrial development and economic stimulus oppor­tu­nity for Canada. Between now and 2020 it is estimated that $1-trillion will be invested in new wind energy facilities worldwide and that more than 1.75 million jobs will be created in this rapidly growing industry.

"We look forward to further announcements of new pro­cure­ment processes from the gov­ernment of Ontario that will continue the province’s mo­men­tum in growing wind and other renewables," said Hor­nung.

"Specifically, CanWEA calls on the government to build upon the success repre­sent­ed by today’s announce­ment by taking action in the near-term to re-launch the stan­dard offer program and an­nounce a new competitive pro­curement process that will en­sure continued investor activity in the province."

The association’s Wind Vi­sion 2025 – Powering Canada’s Future, argues that Canada has the potential to make wind en­ergy the country’s next great economic opportunity, while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing other environmental concerns.

Achiev­ing the goal of providing 20 per cent of the country’s electricity needs with wind energy by 2025 will result in $79-billion in new invest­ment, the creation of up to 52,000 new "green collar" jobs, and more than $165-million in new revenues for munici­pali­ties, many in rural areas hit hard by traditional resource declines.

The association is a non-profit group representing more than 400 members in the wind energy industry.

It promotes the responsible development and application of all aspects of wind energy in Canada, including the creation of a suitable policy environ­ment.