Coal, Wind

Canada lags in wind power development

21 October 2008 — Cheap power from hydro and coal, and a lack of interest by government, is choking the growth of wind power compared to other developed countries, according to a new report from the Canadian Wind Energy Association.

According to the report, European nations in particular are pricing in the cost of environmental impacts when they determine energy costs.

Canada is not making a similar effort, with the consequence that green energy resources such as wind are less competitive than they would be if environmental costs were factored in, the report states.

Canada ranks 16th in the world in terms of installed wind power capacity and although its installed capacity grew 500 percent between 2003 and 2008, wind power in leading European nations and the United States grew much faster.

Nations including Germany, Spain and Denmark have kick-started their wind sectors by allowing wind producers access to electricity grids at minimum fixed prices that make them competitive with other sectors.

Wind accounts for one per cent of generation capacity in Canada at present compared to projections by European wind producers that the sector could account for 25-30 per cent of capacity in leading proponent nations such as Germany and Spain.

The report notes that Canada’s present federal ecoEnergy incentive, a one cent per KWh pre-tax subsidy to green energy producers, is running out of funds two years ahead of schedule and no replacement program is promised.

By contrast in the United States, the government offers a 2.1 cents per KWh post-tax incentive.