Global wind energy grows by 21 per cent despite economic challenges

Canada ranks 6th globally in terms of new installed wind energy capacity and global wind power capacity grew by 21 per cent in 2011, according to annual statistics released by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). The wind industry installed a record level of just over 41,000 MW of new clean, reliable wind power in 2011, bringing the total installed capacity globally to more than 238,000 MW at the end of last year. Today, about 75 countries worldwide have commercial wind power installations, with 22 of them already passing the 1 GW level.

Canada’s wind energy industry enjoyed a record year in 2011 with approximately 1,267 MW of new wind energy capacity added to provincial grids, representing an investment of $3.1 billion and creating 13,000 person-years of employment. Canada ended 2011 with a total of 5,265 MW of wind energy installed capacity – placing Canada 9th globally for cumulative capacity. In 2011, new wind energy projects were built and commissioned in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia.

“Wind energy in Canada enjoyed a record year in 2011, surpassing the 5, 000 MW milestone. Canada, and in particular Ontario, is emerging as a very competitive destination for wind energy investment globally. Maintaining that position will require continued commitments to aggressive targets for wind energy development and a stable policy framework. As Canada continues to renew its electricity generation resources, wind energy will play an ever-increasing part in delivering reliable, economic and clean electricity”, said Robert Hornung, President of the Canadian Wind Energy Association.

Canada’s wind energy industry is on pace to easily surpass 10,000 MW of total installed capacity by 2015

2012 is expected to be another record year for wind development in Canada with approximately 1,500 MW of new developments expected to come online in Quebec, Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. With similar or higher levels of growth expected over the next four years, Canada’s wind energy industry is on pace to easily surpass 10,000 MW of total installed capacity by 2015 – keeping the country on track to meet CanWEA’s national WindVision target of supplying 20 per cent of Canada’s electricity needs by 2025.

Wind by the numbers
• Canada is the 9th largest producer of wind energy in the world with current installed capacity at 5,265 MW – producing enough power to meet about 2.3 per cent of Canada’s total electricity demand.
• Canada enjoyed a record year in 2011 with the addition of 1,267 MW of new wind energy capacity to provincial grids, representing an investment of $3.1 billion and creating 13,000 person-years of employment.
• 2011 was also a record year for new wind energy installations in Ontario with more than 500 MW installed by the end of year.
• More than 5,000 MW of wind energy projects are already contracted to be built in Canada over the next five years.

For Canada’s current installed capacity, click here:

For global wind energy statistics, click here:

About CanWEA:
CanWEA is the voice of Canada’s wind energy industry, actively promoting the responsible and sustainable growth of wind energy on behalf of its more than 440 members. A national non-profit association, CanWEA serves as Canada’s leading source of credible information about wind energy and its social, economic and environmental benefits. To join other global leaders in the wind energy industry, CanWEA believes Canada can and must reach its target of producing 20 per cent or more of the country’s electricity from wind by 2025. The document Wind Vision 2025 – Powering Canada’s Future is available at www.canwea.ca

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