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Canada ups wind capacity by 702 MW in 2016, to add another 700 MW

Canada bolstered its renewable energy generation portfolio in 2016 through the commissioning of 21 new wind facilities totaling 702 MW. The new projects represent about C$1.5 billion of investment, according to a Jan. 31 report by the Canadian Wind Energy Association, or CanWEA.

Ontario topped the wind energy market, having energized 413 MW in 2016 and bringing its total installed wind capacity to 4,781 MW. Quebec trailed Ontario in market size, adding three projects totaling 249 MW and boosting its aggregate wind projects on the grid to 3,510 MW.

Nova Scotia comes in fourth among provinces for total installed capacity, after installing a total of 10 projects totaling 39.5 MW in 2016, most of them driven by the community feed-in tariff program. Novia Scotia now holds 579 MW of wind capacity. Alberta ranks third but did not add any new wind facilities in 2016.

Counting the new installations, operating wind facilities in Canada now total 285, or 11,898 MW, enough to power 6% of the country's electricity needs. From 2012 to 2016, Canada's wind generation portfolio grew on average by 18%, or 1,327 MW annually. CanWEA expects an additional 700 MW of new wind energy capacity to be installed in 2017.

"More wind energy has been built in Canada in the last 11 years than any other form of electricity generation, and for good reason," CanWEA President Robert Hornung said in a statement. "Costs for wind energy have fallen dramatically over the past seven years, making wind energy one of Canada's two most cost-competitive sources of new electricity supply."

Of the 21 projects new projects in 2016, 16 are wholly or partially owned by aboriginal or local communities, or municipal governments.