Wind power association pursues partnership with solar, other technologies

CALGARY — The president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association says the industry has proven that wind can compete on price with other sources of electrical power but now it must prove it can be just as reliable.

Addressing the opening session of the 35th CanWEA annual wind energy conference and exhibition in Calgary, Robert Hornung said that is why next year’s conference will switch to a new format in which wind, solar, storage and other renewable technologies will get equal billing.

He says it’s also why members of CanWEA and the Canadian Solar Industries Association will vote in late November on a motion to merge the two organizations, thus promoting the benefits of wind, which tends to generate most of its power at night, and solar, which works only during the day.

Electricity analyst Kathleen Spees, a principal with The Brattle Group, says the wind energy sector has had setbacks recently with the cancelling of programs designed to guarantee rates for renewable power projects by new governments in both Alberta and Ontario.

But she says she’s optimistic about the medium- and long-term outlook for renewables because electrification in Canada is the only “known, feasible, cost-effective path” that will allow the country to meet its goal to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

She says that level of electrification will likely mean doubling the country’s electrical capacity.

“The shape of the future will be anything but circular — instead it will be triangular, with wind energy, solar energy and energy storage each making up one of the three sides,” said Rochelle Pancoast, chair of the CanWEA board, in a speech.

“This reflects the fact that integrated, complementary and multi-technology approaches will drive the successful delivery of clean and reliable energy solutions going forward.”

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