April 6 (UPI) -- With economic diversification on the agenda in Canada, the country's natural resources minister said this may be the start of the era for wind energy.
Wind energy advocates and government officials visited Quebec for a regional energy conference as the North American energy landscape is shifting. Robert Hornung, the president of the Canadian Wind Energy Association, told the audience more of the economic growth needs to be powered by low-carbon sources.
"We have the resources and we have the technology," he said.
The Canadian government estimates it has the eighth largest wind-energy portfolio in the world, with nearly 12,000 megawatts of installed capacity. Some provincial governments are taking the initiative on clean energy, which Saskatchewan leading efforts with its commitment to source 50 percent of its electricity from renewable energy by 2030.
Canadian Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said the energy landscape in North America was shifting in more ways than one.
"It's clear that wind energy's time has come," he said. "My message is a very simple one: our government is committed to addressing climate change, and we know that wind power will play a critical role in those efforts."
In oil-rich Alberta, a five-member task force is working to help steer research, development and deployment of technology that could be used to advance a low-carbon economy in the province. Last year, the government unveiled a $23 million package to help pay for long-term, locally developed projects meant to create jobs and diversify the provincial economy.
Canada's oil sector got some support this year when U.S. President Donald Trump pushed the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Alberta toward approval. Earlier this year, however, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said proposed changes to regional tax and trade arrangements could burden both economies.