Environmental assessment (EA) is an important entry point to the development of renewable energy projects, yet the role of EA in the renewable energy sector remains poorly understood in comparison to its role in assessing and managing the potential impacts of traditional fossil fuel-based energy developments. This paper examines the requirements and provisions of EA for renewable energy development, specifically wind energy development, across Canada and the implications for renewable energy transition. Results show considerable variability in EA requirements and provisions for wind energy, including such factors as EA timelines, screening approaches, proponent responsibilities for consultation, and whether a proposed wind energy development even triggers an EA review. Differences in EA systems and procedures for wind energy projects may have implications for the predictability of EA and the relative attractiveness of certain jurisdictions for wind energy developers. As countries transition to renewable energy technologies to meet climate change targets and to deliver sustainable energy to remote and developing regions, the role of EA in balancing good environmental reviews with the pressing need to build and operate renewable power production requires further attention. This paper outlines four areas where improvements are needed in EA systems to meet these dual objectives.