Wind power is one of the fastest-growing sources of energy in the world. The wind-power industry creates new jobs, offsets emissions from fossil fuel-fired power plants and enhances security of electricity supply. It also generates billions of dollars in revenue every year.
Wind power capacity increased more than any other renewable-energy technology in 2008, with an estimated 27,000 MW.
Germany and Spain have become two of the wind industry's global leaders through their advanced renewable-energy policies, although both now trail the United States. Those policies have led them to install 23,900 MW and 16,740 MW of wind power respectively.
Canada is lagging far behind many countries already reaping the economic and environmental benefits of wind power. Wind energy has tremendous potential in Canada, with thousands of kilometres of shoreline along our lakes and oceans. Despite this potential, the current total capacity of all wind farms in Canada is only 3,319 MW—far short of its potential.
If all provinces and territories were to implement strong policies to ensure the wide manufacture and installation of wind turbines, it would be possible to develop at least 30,000 MW of wind power in Canada in the near future.
Wind energy has become a multi-billion-dollar industry worldwide. In 2008, total revenues from the sale of wind-generated electricity, wind turbines, towers and development services reached $60 billion. The industry has created 550,000 jobs worldwide.
Once considered prohibitively expensive, wind power has dropped in cost during the past two decades because of economies of scale, larger turbines and more experience with building, installing and operating wind turbines effectively.