Wind and Solar Increase Market Share Ten-Fold in the Past Decade

The market share for wind turbines and solar panels in Canada's electricity mix has jumped ten-fold in the past decade, from 0.6% in 2010 to 6.1% last year.

The market share of wind turbines and solar panels in Canada's electricity mix has jumped ten-fold in the past decade.

Wind generated 36.3 million megawatt-hours (m-MWh) in 2020, up from 3.7 m-MWh in 2010, while solar generated 2.6 m-MWh last year with no output reported for that technology in 2010. Combined, the two renewable energy technologies were responsible for 0.6% of all electricity output across Canada in 2010, which grew to 6.1% last year.

The data are contained in Statistics Canada's latest report on ‘Electric power generation, monthly generation by type of electricity.' Table 25-10-0015-01 covers the period from 2008 to the end of 2020.

Total nation-wide output of electricity from all sources last year 635.6 m-MWh, of which hydro remained the largest source at 60.2% (382.7 m-MWh), followed by combustible fuels at 19.1% (121.3 m-MWh) and nuclear at 14.6% (92.7 m-MWh). Combustible fuels is the aggregate of natural gas, coal, petroleum, biomass, methane and municipal waste.

Tidal power generated 19,525 MWh in 2018, but that output dropped in half in 2019 and ceased completely last year as the Fundy facility was closed.

Statistics Canada recently expanded its coverage of renewable energy sources, and the agency cautions that data may not be historically comparable due to significant changes in reported wind generation from BC, AB, ON, QC and PEI, and significant changes to solar from ON. Prior to 2008, wind and tidal had been grouped together with hydraulic output.

While total power output declined 0.8% from 2019 to 2020, wind reported growth of 10.5% and solar rose 4.9%. Hydro facilities increased their output by 1.3% but nuclear declined 3% and generation from combustible fuels dropped 8%.

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