MONTREAL, 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
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 period.
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 said.
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 territory.
"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
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
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
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