Canada needs a diverse selection of reliable, clean and safe sources of new energy to meet its growing electricity demand.
Wind energy is one of the fastest growing major sources of new electricity around the world. In 2012, clean wind energy grew by nearly 20 per cent in Canada, representing over $2.5 billion in investment and creating 10,500 jobs. Canada’s current installed capacity is just over 8,000 MW, generating the equivalent electricity consumed by over 2 million average Canadian homes.
Every Canadian province is now benefiting from clean wind energy.
Interactive image courtesy of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA)
Did You Know?
Wind energy is growing in more than 90 countries around the world at an average annual rate of more than 25 per cent a year because governments, citizens and electricity system operators alike have found a reliable, clean, and safe form of energy … and at a good price.
Wind turbines work on the same principle that allows airplanes to fly. The wind doesn’t push the blades, but passes over them. The resulting pressure difference between the upper and lower surfaces creates lift, which causes the rotor to turn.
As the blades of a wind turbine turn, the kinetic energy of the wind is converted into mechanical energy, which is transmitted through a drive shaft to an electrical generator in the nacelle. The resulting electrical current travels via underground cables to a substation, where it is converted to a higher voltage for the larger electricity transmission or distribution grid. From there, it’s delivered to the electric utility and customers.
Find out how a wind turbine works by using the Harness the Power of Wind interactive image at the top of this page.
Did you know?
- The blades typically start to turn when the wind speed reaches approximately13 km/h and shut down when the winds become too strong, usually around 90 km/h. That operating range means wind turbines produce electricity approximately 85 per cent of the time. How much they generate at any given point depends on the wind speed.
- Wind farms are designed to last 25 years or longer and modern turbines require very little maintenance.
- Often at the end of their life, wind turbines are “re-powered”, which involves replacing older equipment with newer technology; the re-powered wind farm will then last another 20 -25 years after that.
Did you know?
According to the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO), wind energy’s contribution to the Ontario electricity system continues to climb. At just over 3 per cent of electricity supplied in Ontario in 2012, wind energy’s contribution has now surpassed that of coal!
Did you know?
- Based on real world operational experience, most electrical grids can obtain at least 20 per cent of their total electricity from wind energy without having to make substantial changes to the existing electrical grid. In fact, in some jurisdictions such as Denmark, wind has at times supplied 100 per cent of the electricity needs of the country.
- "The experience of countries and regions that already have a high wind penetration (from 5 per cent to 20 per cent of gross electric energy demand) has been that the existing reserves are deployed more often after wind power is added to the system, but no additional reserve capacity is required”. (Wind Power Myths Debunked, Milligan et al., IEEE, 2009 v. 7, no. 6’)