Wind at forefront of Energy Transition
By: CanWEA staff writer
Canada needs to start laying the groundwork now if it is to take advantage of its vast, low-cost renewable energy reserves to make the necessary shift to a decarbonized electricity grid, delegates attending CanWEA 2017’s opening plenary session heard.
“With abundant resources and improving economics, one could think that the transition to a 100 per cent climate-friendly grid is inevitable. All we have to do is sit back and watch it happen,” Robert Hornung said. “In reality, however, the Energy Transition will not only be determined by resources and technology. It will also be determined by policy, markets and social acceptance.”
The wind energy industry, he said, needs to be active in advocating for measures that signal the need for investment in clean energy, prioritize smart infrastructure build out, and improve the energy literacy of Canadians.
The industry also needs to continue to drive down the levelized cost of energy so wind becomes the generation of choice for utilities, and the transition to a renewables-focused grid does not impact consumers.
“It’s all about cost,” Brian Evans, chief development officer at Renewable Energy Systems Americas, said during the session’s CEO panel. "As subsidies for renewable energy development are phased out globally," he said, "there’s 'a sense of urgency' to get wind to the point where it competes head-to-head with all forms of generation."
In Canada, that point is coming in the next decade. Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s (BNEF) New Energy Outlook 2017 analysis found wind energy will be cheaper than existing coal in 2025 and than existing gas by 2027, Alex Morgan, BNEF’s lead North American wind analyst, told delegates.
This morning’s plenary features an in-depth look at future demand drivers for wind energy in Canada. The Honourable Sergio Marchi, president and CEO of the Canadian Electricity Association, will be the guest speaker at today’s keynote luncheon, which requires a separate ticket. After a full day of meetings and sessions, delegates are invited to unwind and meet clients and colleagues at our Happy Hour reception, starting at 4:30 p.m. in the Exhibit Hall.
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