Provincial milestone reached just as federal government poised to end support for new wind energy projects
OTTAWA, Dec. 2 /CNW Telbec/ - Canada has achieved a new milestone as wind-generated electricity is now being produced in every province with the recent opening of Bear Mountain Wind Park near Dawson Creek, B.C. This new wind development has also increased Canada's total wind energy capacity to more than 3,100 MW - a ten-fold increase in six years that will now produce enough electricity to power nearly one million Canadian homes. All provinces now see wind energy as an important source of new electricity generation and current provincial targets and policy objectives would result in a further quadrupling of installed wind energy capacity in the next six years.
"The federal government has played a critical role in encouraging wind energy across Canada through its ecoENERGY for Renewable Power program which has provided support for renewable energy deployment in the absence of any form of carbon pricing that would provide a market value for renewable energy's environmental benefits," said Robert Hornung, president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA). "It is both ironic and disappointing that the major federal support for deployment of clean and climate friendly renewable energy is poised to end just as Canada heads off to participate in global talks in Copenhagen focused on new actions to address climate change."
The ecoENERGY for Renewable Power program was established in January 2008 to support the deployment of 4,000 MW of renewable energy by March 2011. A huge success, the program will allocate all of its funding and meet its target before the end of 2009 - almost 1.5 years ahead of schedule. At this time, the federal government has made no commitment to renew or replace the program to provide continued support until a fully functional carbon market is in place in Canada.
"Without a renewed commitment to federal support for wind energy, Canada will be increasingly challenged to compete for wind energy investment with the United States and investment will leave Canada for the US, which has implemented a package of significant new actions to support wind energy deployment," said Hornung. "The federal government must act now to support both provincial government aspirations and to keep wind energy investment and jobs in Canada."
Canada's wind energy capacity is now roughly divided among Ontario (1/3), Alberta and Quebec (1/3 split roughly 50/50), and Canada's remaining 7 provinces (1/3). An up-to-date graphic of Canada's installed wind energy capacity can be found at: www.canwea.ca.
CanWEA's vision document, Wind Vision 2025 - Powering Canada's Future, estimates that wind energy has the potential to be one of Canada's next great economic opportunities while providing environmental benefits. Achieving this goal will also create $80 billion (CDN) in new investment, a minimum 50,000 new jobs, and provide economic development opportunities for rural communities throughout Canada.
CanWEA is the voice of Canada's wind energy industry, actively promoting the responsible and sustainable growth of wind energy on behalf of its more than 450 members. A national non-profit association, CanWEA serves as Canada's leading source of credible information about wind energy and its social, economic and environmental benefits. To join other global leaders in the wind energy industry, CanWEA believes Canada can and must reach its target of producing 20 per cent or more of the country's electricity from wind by 2025. The document Wind Vision 2025 -Powering Canada's Future is available at www.canwea.ca.
SOURCE Canadian Wind Energy Association
For further information: For further information: Ulrike Kucera, Media Relations Officer, (613) 234-8716, ext. 228, Mobile: (613) 867-4433