"The government needs to be a key player to support the acceleration of clean growth, not only through policy, but by investing and showing leadership," McKenna said in Calgary.
It was the first time a federal cabinet minister attended CANWEA's annual gathering in nearly a decade, marking a major shift in how Canada's central government is approaching renewable energy since the Liberal Party came to power in 2015.
Further details about the amount of electricity the government will buy and how it will be procured have yet to be released.
CANWEA president Robert Hornung said the industry is "quite confident" that wind will play a central role in meeting the federal target.
The day before McKenna's CanWEA address, the Canadian government announced plans to spend C$22 billion ($16.4 billion) on green infrastructure projects.
"There are more details to come, but... these funds will support essential initiatives, like strategic investments in transmission lines so we can get more clean electricity from one province to another and move to phase out coal," McKenna said.
The money will also help fund new renewable power projects and the expansion of smart grids, she said.