The Canadian Wind Energy Association promotes the development and use of wind energy. This non-profit group seeks to inform the public about wind energy and the positive impact it can have on the environment and the economy. As a part of their efforts to make Canada a global leader in wind energy, CanWEA is advocating their wind vision, which is for the country to reach a target goal of increasing wind energy production by 20% by 2025.
In order to meet the wind vision Canada’s wind energy industry needs an investment of nearly $80 million. While this is a huge number by anyone’s reckoning, global wind is a trillion dollar-a-year industry. That’s no small number either. There are many benefits to relying more on renewable energy sources like wind. Expanding the wind energy sector in Canada, according to CanWEA, is likely to produce 52,000 full-time jobs for the country while generating millions of dollars in revenue. The environmental impact is a major factor as well. With wind providing 20% of the country’s electricity, greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by 17 mega tonnes annually.
Canada Needs An Answer to Address Energy Concerns
The use of wind as a clean, renewable source of energy is on the rise worldwide and Canada wants to position itself as a major player. Canada has the sixth largest electrical system in the world. Sixty percent of the country’s electricity comes from renewable energy sources. The bulk of that number is hydro-electricity. Twenty percent is generated from nuclear plants and the remaining twenty percent is a mix of natural gas and coal. This is a remarkable system that relies on clean energy for the majority of its electricity, but it doesn’t mean this is sustainable indefinitely or that it cannot be improved upon. This is especially true, considering electricity prices, as well as demand, have been on the rise in recent years.
While wind energy represents a small fraction of the renewable energy being used in Canada, in Europe it’s a different story. In countries like Germany and Denmark, where wind power has been used for centuries, wind energy is a growing percent of the overall power supply. Canada remains behind the curve worldwide, but it has the resources and the technology to compete on a global scale. One of the reasons Canada remains behind some of these European nations is because, like the US, the Canadian government was willing to exploit natural resources to keep energy prices low. This is no longer a viable option for the long-term future.
Canada is Uniquely Suited to Be a Global Player
In order to get to the 20% wind vision goal by 2025, Canada would need to install 22,000 wind turbines. These turbines would be spread over 450 locations across the country. The total land area required for these wind farms would be roughly 5,500 square kilometers. What makes Canada so well-suited to become a leader in wind energy is its size and the length of its coastlines. Wind turbine sites are chosen due to favorable wind regimes in these areas. As ready for wind production as the country is, CanWEA understands that wind energy alone isn’t the answer, but the cost of integrating increased wind energy into Canada’s overall electricity system are expected to fall as the number of turbines are dispersed across the country.
Export Opportunities to Achieve Canada’s Wind Vision
The demand from Canada’s neighbor to the south is likely to increase over time. About half of the states in the United States are required to have some form of renewable energy as a part of their energy systems. Canada has been trading energy with the United States for many years and the opportunities for continued growth in this area are many. The surplus of electricity created by Canada’s Atlantic provinces already helps meet the demand of states in the northeastern part of the US. It is important to note that other opportunities also exist that are worth exploring.
Whether Canada can stay on track to meet the 2025 wind vision goal or not remains to be seen, but it is certainly feasible. CanWEA believes it can happen and will continue in their efforts to educate the public about the many benefits of this clean and renewable source of energy.
photo via www.newswire.ca