Market Snapshot: Ontario and Quebec are among the leaders in North American wind power capacity

Release date: 2018-05-09

Ontario and Quebec ranked in the top 10 jurisdictionsFootnote 1 in North America in terms their total amount of installed wind capacity in 2017. Over the past 10 years, the wind capacities of Ontario and Quebec have both grown more than 10 fold. With 4 814 megawatts (MW) and 3 511 MW of installed capacity, respectively, Ontario and Quebec accounted for 68.6% of Canada’s 12 134 MW of total wind capacity.

In the United States (U.S.), Texas and Iowa lead the deployment of wind. With 20 924 MW, Texas holds 21.0% of North America’s wind capacity. Iowa has the 2nd largest capacity, at 6 915 MW.

The Mexican state of Oaxaca housed 2 346 MW, or 73.5% of that country’s wind capacity in 2017, but did not place in the top 10 jurisdictions.

Source and Description

Source: North American Cooperation on Energy Information (NACEI)

Description: This bar chart illustrates installed wind capacity by jurisdiction in North America in MW in 2016. Texas had the most wind capacity, at 20 924 MW, followed by Iowa (6 915 MW), Oklahoma (6 655 MW), California (5 697 MW), Kansas (4 950 MW), Ontario (4 814 MW), Illinois (4 009 MW), Minnesota (3 517 MW), Quebec (3 511 MW), and Oregon (3 211 MW).

One common obstacle to the adoption of wind power is the challenge to grid reliability caused by the intermittent nature of renewable electricity generation. A key factor behind the success of wind development in these jurisdictions is the availability of reliable backup electricity sources, either locally, or accessible through trade with other regions.

Hydro facilities in Ontario and Quebec, and natural gas and coal facilities in Texas and Iowa produce a large, steady, and controllable amount of electricity. This provides the flexibility that is needed to balance wind’s intermittent nature. The variable portions of daily demand can either be supplied by other local generation, both renewable and non-renewable, or with electricity imported from other regions. Ontario, Quebec, and Iowa actively trade electricity, which allows them to buy and sell surplus electricity, and increase their overall grid reliability.

Source and Description

Source: North American Cooperation on Energy Information (NACEI)

Description: This interactive map illustrates installed wind capacity across all Canadian, U.S., and Mexican jurisdictions. Darker green shading indicates higher installed capacity. Jurisdictions shaded in white have zero installed wind capacity.

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