Canada’s wind power growing by 20%

The wind market in Canada will grow by 20% this year with the addition of nearly 1,200 MW of new capacity, the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) said Oct. 15.

CanWEA opened the 28th Annual Conference and Exhibition in Toronto and noted that this year marks the second consecutive year with well over 1,000 MW of newly installed capacity.

Every 1,000 MW of new wind energy drives C$2.5 bn in investments and provides enough clean power for over 300,000 Canadian homes. CanWEA said new projects will go online in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia in 2012. Over 60% of Canada’s new wind energy capacity in 2012 will be installed in Quebec.

“Wind energy continues to prove it is a reliable and affordable partner as provinces seek to diversify and clean their electricity supplies and avoid the high costs and cost overruns associated with some other forms of energy,” says Robert Hornung, president of CanWEA. “Ontario’s wind energy industry continues to create good new jobs for Ontario’s manufacturing sector in places like Hamilton, Niagara, Chatham and Tillsonburg, but we are really just getting started. With political leadership and continued policy stability, wind energy will deliver on its promise of providing the clean, safe electricity that Canadians want.”

Canada will have over 6,400 MW of installed wind energy capacity by the end of 2012. Ontario will remain the provincial leader with over 2,000 MW; Quebec  will have 1,600 MW; and Alberta will follow with approximately 1,100 MW.

The continued growth in Canada has not gone unnoticed by U.S. companies that are seeking to maintain business while the federal production tax credit expires.

NextEra Energy Resources, which is the leading owner of wind farms in the U.S., has said it expects its development operations to dwindle as the credit expires. The NextEra Energy unit (NYSE: NEE) has reported that its Canadian project pipeline is very active and has 600 MW to build over the next two years.

Likewise, GE Energy (NYSE: GE) is poised to see its U.S. order book fall precipitously after this year. Its Canadian presence will make up some of the slack.

Eleven projects in Ontario will utilize GE turbines and by 2015 and will total 1,200 MW. And in 2012 GE will finish eight projects in Quebec to complete an initiative started by Hydro-Quebec to deliver 1,000 MW of new wind power capacity by the end of the year.