Canada installed approx. 1 gigawatt solar and wind in 2021, driven by strong growth in Alberta

Canada saw the biggest build-out of new utility-scale wind and solar energy capacity since 2015

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Ontario — The Canadian Renewable Energy Association (CanREA) announced the industry’s year-end data, reporting that Canada’s wind and solar energy sectors grew significantly in 2021, adding nearly 1 GW of new generation capacity.

“2021 was a positive year for our industries, with 677 MW of new wind energy and 288 MW of new utility-scale solar energy commissioned,” said Robert Hornung, President and CEO of CanREA, “but this rate of growth is not nearly enough. We must dramatically accelerate and expand the deployment of these technologies.”

Alberta accounted for more than 60% of new Canadian capacity installed in 2021, with Saskatchewan accounting for another 20%.

In total, Canada’s new wind and solar energy capacity created approximately 2,400 person-years of employment, primarily in the construction of new facilities, but also in the ongoing operations and maintenance of these sites.

CanREA projects that 2022 and 2023 will see significantly more growth in the deployment of wind and solar energy, with numerous projects currently under construction or in advanced stages of development.

More than 3,000 MW are expected to be commissioned in 2022 and a similar number in 2023. In addition, new commitments were made across Canada in 2021 (for example, in Saskatchewan, Quebec and Nova Scotia) that will result in new wind and solar energy deployment after 2023.

“Canada is just starting to take advantage of its massive untapped wind and solar energy potential,” said Hornung.

“As the lowest-cost source of new decarbonized electricity generation available in Canada today, wind and solar energy will be a cornerstone of Canada’s efforts to address climate change. Success, however, will require several policy, regulatory and infrastructure barriers to be addressed, enabling a dramatic increase in the scale and speed of deployment,” he said.

CanREA’s 2050 Vision, Powering Canada’s Journey to Net-Zero, demonstrates that we need to deploy more than 5,000 MW of new wind and solar energy annually for the next 30 years if Canada is to meet its commitment to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has over a decade of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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