The Canadian market for small wind energy systems is growing rapidly according to a new market study conducted for the Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA). The market survey shows that annual sales for small wind energy systems in Canada have grown by 55 per cent over the past two years, despite the global economic downturn. At the same time, Canadian small wind manufacturing capacity has grown, with Canadian firms now representing over half of the world’s manufacturers of mid-size turbines. CanWEA defines small wind systems as those with a rated capacity of 300 kW or less.
“Canadians are increasingly embracing small wind as a way of reducing their environmental footprint while also achieving energy independence. Despite the economic hurdles of the past two years, the small wind industry has experienced strong growth both in Canada and around the world,” said Robert Hornung, president of CanWEA.
Although Canada’s installed small wind capacity is considerably less than the U.S. or the UK, the findings of the market survey compare favorably with the growth of the U.S. and UK small wind markets, the world’s largest and second largest small wind markets, respectively.
“With Canadian manufacturers exporting 87 per cent of their sales, Canada is especially well positioned to benefit from the global rise in small wind sales, as it is home to more than half of the world’s manufacturers of small wind turbines in the 30 to 100 kW range,” said Emilie Moorhouse, CanWEA’s small wind policy manager. “As the small wind market follows large wind’s growth, favorable policies and feed-in-tariffs for small wind could help Canada take its place as a dominant manufacturer, much as Denmark did with the growth of its own wind industry in the 1990’s.”
CanWEA estimates that with favorable policies in place, the industry could sustain annual growth rates averaging 40 per cent over the next 15 years, for an estimated total of 17,900 additional jobs in manufacturing and installation. Without incentives and policies favorable to the industry, CanWEA estimates the industry would only sustain an annual growth rate of 15 per cent.
With the exception of the province of Saskatchewan, there are currently no incentives available for small wind systems in Canada. This is in sharp contrast to several other jurisdictions, such as the U.S. and the UK, who are recognizing the economic and environmental benefits of small wind by offering Feed-in-tariffs or rebates for small wind systems.
The report is available by clicking here.