Wind power is one of Canada's best resources for clean, renewable energy. Wind energy became Canada's lowest-cost source of renewable energy in 2018, according to the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CANWEA). Canadian wind energy companies added more wind energy projects between 2008 and 2018 than any other form of power generation. Over the past ten years, canadian energy from wind power has grown by 20 percent per year.
Wind power's influence on Canada's energy mix is also growing. As of 2018, wind power accounted for about 6 percent of Canadian power demands. By the end of 2018, there were 299 operating wind farms. Every Canadian province has at least one wind power project. As of the end of 2018, Canada had nearly 13,000 megawatts of operating wind energy, enough power to meet the needs of 3.3 million homes. Canada is the world's 9th largest wind energy producer.
Projects by Wind Energy Companies in New Brunswick
With 7 percent of the province's energy generated by wind power, New Brunswick is among Canada's top four provinces for wind energy. Naveco Power announced their wind farm project in 2019, as the first New Brunswick wind energy company to build a project in the province. Once online in 2020, the project will generate 20 megawatts of renewable power. In 2018, TransAlta Renewables completed its expansion of the Kent Hills wind power facility, adding more than 17 megawatts of power to the wind farm's generating capacity. Kent Hills now contributes up to 167 megawatts of electricity to New Brunswick. The Kent Hills project was New Brunswick's first, starting in 2008. Smaller wind projects are underway, including a single-turbine wind power project being built by Pabineau First Nation that will power about 900 homes. Pabineau First Nation's turbine will connect directly to NB Power and enable the nation to power homes as well as sell surplus power back through NB Power's grid.
Canada's Biggest 2019 Wind Projects
Saskatchewan and Alberta are leading Canadian provinces with the most significant increases in wind energy capacity for 2019 and 2020. The Golden South Wind Energy Facility south of Assiniboia will be in service by 2021. It is expected to generate up to 200 megawatts of power, enough for about 90,000 homes. SaskPower will have 600 MW of wind power by the time the project is complete.
Alberta is known for its oil sands, but the province continues to develop wind and other renewable energy projects. Alberta contracted for a total of 763 megawatts of wind power in 2019 through a competitive bid process. Alberta's five upcoming projects are funded by a combination of private investment and First Nations equity investment. The projects include TransAlta's 207-megawatt Windrise project southwest of Fort MacLeod, and EDF Renewables 202 megawatt Cypress Wind Project near Medicine Hat. The Cypress Wind Project is a partnership with the Kanai First Nation.
Canada's National Energy Board projects that current and proposed wind projects will add about 510 megawatts of energy capacity a year. CANWEA reports that more than 1,000 megawatts of wind power are currently under construction throughout Canada, considerably more than the Energy Board's projection. Wind power is likely to generate over 27 percent of the new electricity Canada will need between now and 2040. Other large wind projects are still in the conceptual phase, including a 500-megawatt offshore wind farm proposed by 4C Offshore for the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
What are the Economic Benefits of Canada's Wind Power and Renewable Energy?
Wind power development is speeding up because prices have become competitive with non-renewable energy generation costs. The new wind projects in Saskatchewan and Alberta had the lowest renewable energy per-megawatt cost yet recorded in Canada, between $37 and $35 per megawatt.
Clean Energy Canada reported that the renewable energy sector employed nearly 300,000 Canadians as of 2017. Renewable energy is growing by 4.8% each year across Canada. In Atlantic Canada, renewable energy contributes $3 billion to the region's economy annually, accounting for over 12,100 jobs. As of 2018, annual investment in clean energy topped $3.8 billion a year.
What About New Brunswick?
As of the end of 2018, New Brunswick had 314 megawatts of wind power installed, providing about 7 percent of provincial energy needs. In 2006, New Brunswick had no wind power. As of 2018, the province is able to meet up to 50 percent of its electrical needs from wind power in the summer.
A 300-megawatt wind farm will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 600,000 tonnes -- equivalent to taking 120,000 cars off the road. Wind power also doesn't consume or contaminate water. A 300-megawatt wind farm will reduce water consumption by 960 million liters a year as compared to the water consumed by natural gas power generation.
With a bit of simple math, we can see that Canada's 2018 wind power capacity reduced Canada's greenhouse gas emissions by 26 million tonnes. Canada's wind farms saved over 4.6 billion liters of water from waste or contamination. Wind power has the potential to provide clean, renewable energy with no downsides or drawbacks. Out of Canada's mix of energy sources, wind power and solar power together offer the best results for the environment.
Wind power isn't just increasingly affordable and good for the environment, and it offers active investing opportunities in New Brunswick / Fredericton. You can invest locally in wind energy and build our energy independence, address climate change, and contribute to our local economic growth. Renewable energy provides a renewable economic and environmental opportunity. Naveco Power is developing renewable energy projects for New Brunswick to benefit New Brunswickers. We offer the opportunity for socially responsible and economically feasible impact investing. Wind power is already a strength for New Brunswick and is anticipated to continue to grow in its influence and economic and environmental benefit for the foreseeable future.