This article was published by the National Energy Board on Nov. 6, 2019.
Wind power is the fastest growing non-hydro renewable energy technology in Canada. Over the past 10 years, installed wind capacity in Canada has grown more than six times. In 2018, Canada had over 13 000 MW of total installed wind capacity, compared to 2 300 MW in 2008.
The rise in wind capacity is supported by many factors such as lower costs, improved technology, and federal and provincial government policies. In particular, modern wind turbines are getting larger. In 2018, wind turbines installed in Canada had a nameplate capacity averaging 3.3 MW and rotor diameters averaging 114 metres, which is longer than the length of a Canadian Football League field. Wind turbines from the 1990s had an average capacity of 0.15 MW and rotor diameters of 23 metres; the length of a standard tennis court.
The amount of electricity that can be generated from wind depends on wind speed, air density, and swept area of the rotor. As the rotor diameter increases, so does the amount of area covered and the capacity to generate wind energy.