Canada still ninth on list of wind energy

Trent Ernst, Editor

Canada brought 935 MW of wind energy online in 2012, 142 of which were provided by Capital Power’s 79 Turbine farm just outside of Tumbler Ridge, which comprised about 15 percent of the total new wind energy in Canada.

Globally, the amount of energy produced by wind grew 19 percent last year. While Canada is in the top ten wind powered countries, it lags far behind industry leaders China and the US, who both installed more than 13,000 MW, which is more than double Canada’s total capacity of 6,200 MW. The US alone produces 60,000 MW of wind energy annually.

“While China paused for breath, both the US and European markets had exceptionally strong years,” said Steve Sawyer, Secretary General of the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). “Asia still led global markets, but with North America a close second, and Europe not far behind.”

Canada ranks ninth globally in total installed capacity with more than 6,200 MW of wind energy in operation, providing enough power to meet the annual needs of almost 2,000,000 Canadian homes. Ontario is the Canadian leader in wind energy, with more than 2,000 MW of installed capacity now supplying over three percent of the province’s electricity demand. The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) expects to see a record year for new installations with the addition of almost 1,500 MW of new capacity coming onstream in 2013.

The rapid growth of wind energy is also reflected south of the border where the American wind industry had its best year ever in 2012, with more than 13,000 MW installed. The extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) in the US means that although the market will slow substantially in 2013, it is unlikely to be as much of a slowdown as originally expected, said Sawyer.

Worldwide, wind has an installed capacity of 282,482 MW, which is still only a fraction of the approximately 150,000 TW of energy used annually.