Canada's installed wind power had a 1,468 megawatt (MW) capacity in 2006, double the previous year, and is expected to grow nearly tenfold to 14,100 MW by 2015, according to a new study by Emerging Energy Research (EER), a Cambridge, Mass.-based consulting firm.
"In the past two years the Canadian wind power market has evolved from relative obscurity -- an occasional diversion for wind turbine vendors struggling for market share in the U.S. -- to become one of the world's largest and fastest growing wind power markets," said EER senior analyst Joshua Magee.
Canada will contribute at least 25% of North America's yearly growth through 2015, and 5% of total annual global growth. Quebec and Ontario will account for approximately 60% of the total market with strong growth in British Columbia expected in later years, according to EER's study.
Driven largely by provincial utility RFPs, Canada added 784 MW in new installed wind power capacity in 2006, more than double the country's cumulative installed capacity of 684 MW through the end of 2005.
Canada will invest $18 billion (Canadian dollars) in wind power between 2007 and 2015. It will rank among the world's five or six largest wind power markets. Annual MW development over the coming decade is set to average 1,400 MW, according to EER's study.
While wind power accounted for only 0.7% of Canada's energy generation mix by the end of 2006, the renewable fuel source's contribution to Canadian electricity supply is poised to grow significantly over the coming decade, approaching an average of 5.5% across all provinces by 2015.
"If Canada remains committed to making significant reductions in its greenhouse gas emissions levels, necessary market changes in transmission and grid penetration policy should follow suit to increase wind's share of the country's energy mix," says Magee. "Barring increased competition from other low-emissions energy sources, or a lack of political will to tackle effective climate change policy, the Canadian wind market should likely remain one of the top ten markets in the world over the next decade."
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