Last year was a good year for renewable energy in Canada; it ended with 13,588 megawatts and 3000 MW of new wind and solar capacity respectively, according to the Canadian Renewable Energy Association; and with a strong outlook for expansion in 2021.
Although the Covid-19 pandemic hit Canadian supply chain, causing disruptions and delays, as in many other countries, for Canada, the renewable energy sector kept resilient and saw continued large-scale solar and wind energy construction throughout the year.
According to CanREA, in 2020 at least 70 MW of solar PV capacity was installed in 2020, with additional 166 MW of new wind capacity. The expectation in higher for 2021, as the association expects around 2 GW of new wind and solar capacity installed during this year.
Resilient constructions activities, in addition to growing corporate demand, and policy commitments made throughout federal and provincial governments were and still will be crucial factors for the renewable energy sector’s growth in 2021 and beyond.
As for now, wind and solar generation is already the 40% of all electricity demand in Prince Edward Island; 18% in Nova Scotia, and growing to 10% in many other provinces. According to CanREA, right now, around 240 MW of solar and 745 MW of new wind capacities are under construction across the country.
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“Wind and solar energy have contributed more to Canada’s installed electricity-generating capacity than any other technologies over the last decade. Much of this growth is attributable to significant cost reductions, a product of game-changing technological improvements,” says the latest CanREA’s report.
Along with generation capacity, energy storage is also growing rapidly in the northern neighbor: currently, it has a total utility-scale storage capacity of 130 MW/ 250 MHh, and 10% of all that capacity came online in 2020 alone.
Thanks to increasing demand, drops in costs and emerging regulatory frameworks, CanREA expects to see its energy storage capacity grown substantially by 2021. Quebec, Alberta, Ontario and Saskatchewan are among the provinces currently working in integrating these solutions to their grids.
“Customer interest in wind and solar energy is increasing and there is a lot of optimism within the industry. We are ready to deliver the renewable-energy solutions that will be central to Canada’s energy transition, with benefits for all Canadians,” said Robert Hornung, President and CEO of CanREA.