Green power growing at different rates

CANADA - Wind, solar and geothermal are among the key new clean electricity technologies in use around the world. But they have developed at vastly different paces in Canada.

Wind:

At the end of 2010 there is an installed wind capacity of 4,055 megawatts in Canada, with about one-third of that in Ontario. That’s up from 3,320 MW at the start of the year, a jump of about 22 per cent.

While wind power still represents just a small fraction of Canada’s overall electricity production, it is now a significant industry with equipment makers and developers popping up across the country, and especially in Ontario where incentives support a domestic industry.

Solar:

Ontario’s Green Energy Act, which provides for very high prices for solar-generated power as long as some of the hardware is manufactured in the province, has kick-started the industry.

But it is still very much in its infancy. Despite a handful of large solar farms coming on-stream in the province in 2010, at the end of the year they produced only about 245 megawatts of power. Still, that is more than double the 95 MW that was in production from solar panels at the start of the year.

Geothermal:

While Canada is a centre for financing for international geothermal firms – with several listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange – there are no active geothermal projects in Canada. The only one being considered as a possible future prospect is Ram Power Corp.’s South Meager project in British Columbia.

Canada has lots of potential geothermal resources, particularly in the West, but companies in the sector say this country is unfriendly when it comes to regulations and incentives.

The United States, by contrast, offers generous exploration grants, low-cost loans, and tax breaks, which have catalyzed an active geothermal industry.



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