Canada - This could be the best year yet for wind

CANADA: Canada could have its best year ever in 2014 as projects contracted under Ontario's now-defunct feed-in tariff (FIT) programme finally hit their stride.

Quebec leads… EDF EN Canada and Enbridge's 300MW Lac Alfred wind farm was the biggest to come online last year
Quebec leads… EDF EN Canada and Enbridge's 300MW Lac Alfred wind farm was the biggest to come online last year

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The country's total installed capacity stands at 7.8GW after the industry installed a record-breaking 1,599MW last year. Quebec projects made up two-thirds of the total, led by EDF EN Canada and Enbridge, which brought their 300MW Lac Alfred and 150MW Massif du Sud projects online.

Other large projects installed in 2013 include the 272MW first phase of the Seigneurie de Beaupre wind farm, developed by a consortium led by Montreal-based Boralex, and Invenergy's 135.7MW Des Moulins project.

Nextera's 124.8MW Summerhaven wind farm in Ontario was the largest project outside Quebec to be completed in 2013. GDF Suez also had a big year, bringing three projects totalling 297MW into service in British Columbia and Ontario.

Last year continued a strong growth trend for Canada, which has averaged more than 1GW additions a year over the past five years and is expected to continue to do so for at least the next three. Up to 2GW is expected online in 2014. The long-term outlook for wind energy, however, remains unclear. The industry is facing a market cliff in 2016 without continued policy support.

Current political backdrop Provincial governments are the drivers of wind energy policy, with federal government playing no role

High point of 2013 New commitments by Ontario and Quebec to buy a total of 1.4GW of wind

Low point The cancellation of Ontario's large-scale feed-in tariff programme after the WTO ruled its local content requirements contravened international trade law

Key influencer Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne has dealt with the political and trade fallout of FIT but continues to support wind development under the province's new long-term energy plan

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