Canada's 2018 installations below ten-year average

Six wind farms with a combined capacity of 566MW were commissioned in Canada last year -- a 62% increase year on year, but below the country's ten-year average.

EDF EN Canada's 224MW Nicolas Riou wind farm in Quebec was the largest installed in Canada last year
EDF EN Canada's 224MW Nicolas Riou wind farm in Quebec was the largest installed in Canada last year

Since 2008, 9,512MW has been commissioned in Canada for an annual average of 951MW. However, last year’s total marks a significant increase on the 348MW installed in 2017.

Two projects were completed in Quebec and Ontario, while single sites were completed in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in 2018, according to Windpower Intelligence, the research and data division of Windpower Monthly.

Of these new wind farms — all of which are onshore sites — two have both community and First Nations ownership stakes.

The new additions bring Canada’s cumulative capacity to 12,816MW, according to figures from the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA).

Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) forecasts approximately 510MW of annual additions between 2019 and 2040. By the end of this period, the NEB expects wind power to make up 13% of Canada’s operational capacity, up from 8% in 2015

However, CanWEA believes wind power can exceed this forecast. For example, it expects approximately 1GW to be commissioned in 2019: including nearly 600MW awarded in Alberta’s first auction in 2017, more than 400MW under construction in Ontario, and the 20MW Western Lily site in Saskatchewan that was completed in January.

It also pointed out that 510MW per year is well below the country’s ten-year average.

CanWEA added that auctions in Saskatchewan and Alberta in 2018 for 963MW will help increase renewable generation in Canada in the near-future.

Saskatchewan’s tender in October received average bids of C$42 and resulted in a 200MW project being awarded a power contract. Potentia Renewables’ winning bid remains unconfirmed, but CanWEA stated it was below C$35/MWh. Meanwhile, in Alberta, 763.7MW was awarded across five projects as prices inched up to C$39/MWh in December.

All six projects awarded contracts across the tenders are expected to be commissioned in 2021.

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