Ontario set for 1.7GW wind binge

Some 1.7GW of wind capacity will be brought online across Ontario by the end of 2015, more than half the total power-generation capacity expected to be added in Canada’s most populous province during that time, according to the grid operator.

The past year has seen a bulge of high-profile wind projects commissioned across Ontario, including Samsung and Pattern Energy’s 270MW South Kent; NextEra Energy’s 125MW Summerhaven; and Capital Power’s 105MW Port Dover and Nanticoke.

The bonanza is set to continue over the next 18 months, with projects like Samsung/Pattern’s 270MW K2, Longyuan’s delayed 100MW Dufferin, NextEra’s 74MW Bornish, and wpd’s 60MW White Pines all ploughing through construction.

Ontario is in the midst of a wind boom spurred by the province’s feed-in tariff programme, launched as part of the province's Green Energy Act of 2009.

But with the feed-in tariff in the process of being by a smaller tendering system, big questions remain as to whether Ontario will hold onto the momentum its wind market has gained over the past few years.

The province is slated to tender out just 300MW of capacity annually over the next few years.

As of August 2014, Ontario had 2.5GW of operational wind capacity on its system, out of a total capacity of 33.8GW, according to Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator.

Nuclear is the largest source of electricity in Ontario, with 12.9GW of capacity online, followed by gas and hydro. Earlier this year Ontario decommissioned its last coal-fired power plant, in a landmark for the province's push towards cleaner energy.