Quebec, Canada, October 20, 2004 (ENS): Delegates
to the Canadian Wind Energy Association Annual Conference
and Tradeshow in Montreal this week are buzzing over
the opportunities opened by the federal government,
which is quadrupling the financial incentive it offers
for wind power production.
The Liberal government headed by Prime Minister Paul Martin
announced its new level of support for the Wind Power
Production Incentive (WPPI) in its major policy speech
at the opening of the legislature on October 5.
The Canadian wind power industry shifted into high
gear to make use of the government's commitment to increase
the original 1,000 megawatt WPPI target four-fold.
Four thousand megawatts of wind energy in Canada will
generate approximately C$6 billion in investment and
will create more than 40,000 direct and indirect person-years
of employment,” said Robert Hornung, president
of the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA). The
association has long advocated expansion of the WPPI
program target to 4,000 megawatts.
As of September 2004, Canada had 439 megawatts of installed
wind energy capacity. One megawatt of wind power provides
enough electricity to power at least 240 typical Canadian
households for a year.
“By expanding the WPPI program," said Hornung,
the federal government will substantially increase the
economic benefits of wind energy developments to Canada
by facilitating the development of a domestic market
large enough to attract manufacturers of wind turbines
and wind turbine components."
Most wind turbine makers today are European, with Germany
and Denmark in the lead.
Hornung said the WPPI increase signals to provincial
governments that Ottawa is willing to partner with them
to put wind projects into motion that are now under
consideration or in the early stages. That would put
in place "between 4,500 and 5,000 MW of wind energy
by 2012,” he said.
Provincial, corporate and projects caps under the WPPI
program should be eliminated, Hornung says.
The C$260 million WPPI currently provides a payment
of one cent per kilowatt hour for electricity produced
from qualifying wind energy facilities for a 10 year
This covers about half of the current higher cost of
wind energy compared to conventional sources for the
first 10 years of new wind power projects, federal officials
The federal government has also committed to purchase
20 percent of its electricity from emerging renewable
power sources by 2006.
Federal ministers offered additional practical support
for the industry at the opening of the Montreal conference
on Monday when Environment Minister Stéphane
Dion and Minister of Natural Resources John Efford unveiled
the "Canadian Wind Energy Atlas."
The newly completed atlas is a massive database of high
resolution wind statistics for all of Canada, making
Canada the first large area country in the world to
have a comprehensive Wind Energy Atlas across its entire
"An efficient, reliable supply of clean, renewable
energy is an essential part of addressing climate change
and respecting our Kyoto commitment, and in assuring
a competitive economy for the future," said Dion.
"The Canadian Wind Energy Atlas is an important
step in that direction, and all Canadians can be extremely
proud of the Canadian scientists and researchers who
have developed the exciting and valuable technology
that made the Atlas possible."
The Wind Atlas was created with WEST - the Wind Energy
Simulation Toolkit - a sophisticated computer modeling
program developed by scientists with the MSC, in partnership
with their colleagues at Natural Resources Canada.
WEST allows planners of wind energy projects to look
both backward and forward in time to generate a detailed
picture of wind patterns - a "wind atlas"
- for any location in Canada. This means wind farms
can be situated with greater precision and, by reducing
the need for extensive field studies to verify wind
conditions in a given area, development of new projects
can move much more quickly.
"There is no question wind power will be an important
part of Canada's energy mix for the future, and the
Government of Canada is determined to provide the conditions
that will allow the industry to expand," said Efford.
As well as helping choose the best places for new wind
farms, WEST also can be used to forecast wind conditions
up to two weeks in advance, with an estimation of the
prediction's uncertainty. This will allow electricity
generators to predict when auxiliary power sources may
need to be brought on-line to supplement the wind generation
Canada has plenty of wind power potential. The province
of Quebec has 100,000 megawatts of potential wind energy
potential within 25 kilometers (15.5 miles) of existing
transmission lines that is economically viable in the
short and medium term, according to a study released
in April by wind energy consulting firm Helimax Energy.
If only 10 percent of this potential was captured, wind
energy would account for more than 15 percent of Quebec’s
total electricity production.
The Canadian Wind Energy Association is found at: http://www.canwea.ca
View the Canadian Wind Energy Atlas at: http://www.windatlas.ca/en/index.php
Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2004. All