The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) released a map showing 7,051 MW of installed wind energy capacity across Canada. According to CanWEA, the top three wind generating provinces are: Ontario (2,366 MW), Quebec (1,866 MW) and Alberta (1,117 MW).
British Columbia lags the rest of Canada with only 3 operating wind projects (Bear Mountain, Dokie Ridge, and Quality) comprising a paltry 390 MW. More are on the way however. Cape Scott (100 MW) is expected to come online soon and Tumbler Ridge and Meikle were awarded EPA’s with BC Hydro under the 2008 clean power call.
Recently, some new major wind projects in British Columbia were announced. EDP Renewables, TimberWest and T’Sou-ke First Nation have plans to develop a 300 MW wind projects on southern Vancouver Island. This single project would almost double existing wind capacity in the province. An editorial from the Victoria Times-Colonist considers the project worth a closer look.
In addition, EDF EN Canada and West Moberly First Nation announced three proposed wind projects in the Peace River area totalling more than 500 MW of capacity. None of the recently announced wind projects have EPA’s however.
Electricity wise, British Columbia is much like the Province of Quebec, with large-hydro supplying most of the power. Quebec has embraced wind energy finding its large-hydro system complimentary to electricity generated from wind.
Advances in technology have made the cost of wind energy lower than ever. Demand for modern emission free electricity is growing. In British Columbia, experienced global wind developers have partnered with local First Nations with expectations of seeing the province soon catch up to the rest of Canada.
With British Columbia on the brink of unprecedented industrial growth to be led by the natural gas sector, adding more low cost wind energy to the province’s clean energy mix will provide not only long term value to BC Hydro ratepayers but also a low carbon hedge against the high carbon emissions of the natural gas sector. The time is right. Wind energy makes sense for British Columbia.