Top 10 Largest Wind Farms In Canada

*Picture Source: Canadian Wind Energy Association

According to the Canadian Wind Energy Association, there are currently 140 active wind farms across Canada. With the largest Canadian wind farm creating just over 197 Megawatts of electricity, we are by no means a major player when it comes to wind energy. This is bound to change in the near future however, thanks to government initiatives like the Ontario FIT Program.

The title of the world’s largest wind farm is held by the United States, with the Roscoe Wind Farm in Roscoe, Texas. With 627 wind turbines that span over 100,000 acres (400 km2) of land, the Roscoe Wind Farm creates 781.5 Megawatts of electricity, which enough to power more than 250,000 average Texan homes.

Currently, the total wind farm capacity in Canada is only 5,265 Megawatts, and although that is enough electricity to power over 1 million homes, it only equates to about 2% of our energy requirements. In comparison, the state of Texas alone creates 10,223 Megawatts with its combined 40 different wind farm projects.

However, there is still room for growth, and by looking at the top 10 largest wind farms in Canada, it is evident that we are already on the right track:

#10 – Baie-des-Sables, QC

Located on the Gaspe Péninsule of Bas Saint-laurent, Quebec, the Baie-des-Sables wind farm consists of 73 GE wind turbines that have been cranking out 109.5 Megawatts of electricity since November 2006.

#9 – Carleton Wind Farm, QC

At the tip of Chaleur Bay in Carleton-sur-mer, Quebec you will find the Carleton Wind Farm. With 73 GE wind turbines, this wind farm is capable of producing 109.5 Megawatts of electricity, and has been doing so since November of 2008.

#8 – Jardin d’Eole Wind Farm, QC

The Jardin d’Eole Wind Farm is located in Saint-Ulric, Quebec, and with 85 GE wind turbines it has been producing 127.5 Megawatts of electricity since November 2009.

#7 – Melancthon Phase II, ON

Situated between Georgian Bay and Lake Ontario you will find the Melancthon Phase II wind farm. It was installed in November of 2008, and with its 88 GE wind turbines, it is capable of producing 132 Megawatts of electricity.

#6 – St. Joseph, MB

Just over a year old, this southern Manitoba wind farm is located on Highway 75 near St. Joseph. With its 60 Siemens wind turbines this wind farm can produce up to 138 Megawatts of electricity for Manitoba Hydro.

#5 – Dokie Wind Project, BC

Head north from Vancouver and 1,100 kilometres later you’ll find the Dokie Wind Project, near Chetwynd, British Columbia. With its 43 Vestas V-90 wind turbines it is capable of producing 144 Megawatts of electricity for BC Hydro.

#4 – Centennial Wind Power Facility, SK

Located southeast of Swift Current, Saskatchewan is the Centennial Wind Power Facility.
With its 83 Vestas wind turbines it is capable of producing 149.4 Megawatts of electricity for SaskPower. That’s enough to power 69,000 Saskatchewan homes each year.

#3 – Enbridge Ontario Wind Farm, ON

Situated on the shores of Lake Huron, near Kincardine, Ontario is the Enbridge Ontario Wind Farm. With 110 Vestas wind turbines, this wind farm has been producing up to 181.5 Megawatts of electricity since April 2009.

#2 – Prince Wind Farm, ON

Just north of Sault Ste. Marie, near the shores of Lake Superior is the Prince Wind Farm.
With its 126 GE wind turbines capable of producing 189 Megawatts of electricity each year, the Prince Wind Farm is the second largest wind farm in Canada.

#1 – Wolfe Island EcoPower Centre, ON

Wolfe Island is located at the entrance to the Saint Lawrence River in Lake Ontario near Kingston and the wind farm can be found on the western portion of island. Its 86 Siemens wind turbines are capable of creating 197.8 Megawatts of electricity, enough to power over 75,000 average households with clean, renewable energy each year, making the Wolfe Island EcoPower Centre the largest wind farm in Canada.

Ontario FIT Program Explained

FIT, or feed-in tariff, is a worldwide, governmentally funded program that is designed to encourage the growth of renewable energy technologies such as wind energy. It is achieved by offering long-term contracts, 20 years in the case the Ontario FIT Program for onshore wind energy projects, to renewable energy producers. Furthermore, the program also awards a lower per-kWh price, 13.5 ¢/kWh for wind power created in Ontario, to further assist in the growth of these renewable technologies.

Ontario first introduced their own feed-in tariff program in 2006, and later revised it in 2009, when the Green Energy Act and FIT program were officially launched with the goal of:

  • Making it easier and more efficient to develop renewable energy projects
  • Stimulating the economy and creating new jobs
  • Replacing output lost by the closure of coal-fired plants with cleaner sources of renewable energy

In just the first two years of the FIT program there have been approximately 2,500 medium and large renewable energy projects awarded and over 11,000 microFIT projects, with enough clean renewable energy produced to power almost 1.2 million homes.

Thanks largely to the efforts of the FIT program, Ontario has been able to shutdown 8 of its 19 coal-fired plants in the province, with the remaining scheduled to be closed by the end of 2014. Technologies such as wind and solar will be needed to make up the difference.

Even though wind energy is relatively new to Canada, two of the largest wind farms in the country are already located in Ontario, and by the end of 2009 they were producing nearly 1,200 megawatts of electricity for the province.

The Ontario FIT program is currently in the process of its 2-year review, which will help to ensure the continued success and sustainability of the program. The outcome of the review may be uncertain, but according to the Ministry of Energy website, Deputy Minister Fareed Amin expects to submit his “recommendations to the minister in the near future”.

With the recent release of the Drummond report, the Commission on the Reform of Ontario’s Public Services recommends that the province can reduce the impact on electricity prices by “lowering the initial prices offered in the FIT contract and introducing degression rates that reduce the tariff over time to encourage innovation and discourage any reliance on public subsidies”.

Only time will tell what the future of Ontario’s FIT program will be.