Record year for installation reveals CanWEA

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A minimum of 122 MW of wind power generation will be added in Canada this year, a 38% increase over the country's installed wind capacity at the end of 2003, says the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA). In addition, construction is likely to start this year, but may not be completed, on a further 100 MW. CanWEA released its 2004 outlook in the midst of a heated federal election campaign in which wind energy has received unprecedented political attention. Three of the four major political parties have included wind energy targets in their election platform, proposing to spend anywhere from C$400 million to C$1 billion over the next five years to accelerate the industry's growth. The Conservative Party, looking like a winner in the days leading up to the June 28 vote, has pledged to work with the provinces to develop an alternative energy strategy, but has no specific wind power policy. The role of federal policy is key to wind power development, says CanWEA's Robert Hornung. Despite predictions of a record 2004 and wind power's average growth of 27% a year in the preceding five years, Canada has only begun to "scratch the surface" of its potential. "Provincial governments are currently considering or implementing policies that would increase Canada's wind energy production almost ten-fold in the next six years," he says. "The choices made by a new federal government and its willingness to partner with provincial governments will play a key role in determining whether or not these policies become a reality."

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