By Ryan Saundercook
Wind power’s contribution to Canada’s electricity supply is expected to grow by more than 20 per cent by the end of this year, according to the Canadian Wind Energy Association.
The association expects new wind energy to add almost 1,200 MW (million watts) of clean energy by the end of 2012. In comparison, traditional coal plants produce between 300 and 1000 MW. This will bring the country’s wind energy output up to a combined 6,400 MW.
“Ontario’s wind energy industry continues to create good new jobs for Ontario’s manufacturing sector … but we are really just getting started,” said Robert Hornung, president of Canadian Wind Energy Association, in a press release. “With political leadership and continued policy stability, wind energy will deliver on its promise of providing the clean, safe electricity that Canadians want.”
Ontario is currently the provincial leader when it comes to wind energy production, producing about a third of the national output.
Vince Bennici, coordinator of the green energy systems program at Seneca College, told Humber News that while the news is good, there are some problems with green energy infrastructure in Ontario.
Bennici said that the 2009 Green Energy Act was created to increase green energy use in Ontario “through the industries,” meaning training was supposed to happen through the private sector.
The act states the legislation “is committed to fostering the growth of renewable energy projects, which use cleaner sources of energy, and to removing barriers to and promoting opportunities for renewable energy projects and to promoting a green economy.”
According to Bennici, that has not necessarily been the case.
“The equation is missing basically one component, and that’s a trained labor force. The government never thought of that, assuming that industry would do that. So the problem is that colleges and private enterprises have to scurry and create these new energy programs.”
Bennici said a better example of how to handle the transition into green energy is found in the U.S.
“They solved the crucial problem of having a trained, skilled work force, and supplying a lot of money to colleges and university to develop labs,” said Bennici, adding that many institutions in Ontario lack the labs to provide proper training.