Report: Wind Energy Reduces GHG Emissions

Environment America has released the new report, “Wind Power for a Cleaner America: Reducing Global Warming Pollution, Cutting Air Pollution and Saving Water,” detailing how current power generation from wind energy prevents as much global warming pollution as taking 13 million cars off the road each year. With the Production Tax Credit (PTC) quickly reaching its expiration date, Environment America is urging Congress to extend the federal incentives for wind power. In addition to the PTC, they are also encouraging the offshore wind investment tax credit (ITC) be renewed as well.

“Our message to Congress is clear: Don’t throw wind power off the fiscal cliff,” said Courtney Abrams, Clean Energy Advocate for Environment America. “Our clean air, water, and children’s future are too important to blow it now.”

In light of the results of the report, several U.S. Senators who support wind energy offered comments. U.S. Senator Mark Udall, whose bill to repeal the clause that prevented the U.S. military from pursuing aviation biofuels was passed by the Senate, said, “Extending the wind Production Tax Credit is one of the most straightforward ways we can support clean, Made-in-America energy and American manufacturing jobs. We need the PTC to help create more good-paying jobs here at home, including jobs for our veterans who are transitioning from the military into the civilian workforce. The wind PTC is also a commonsense way to support clean energy and to reduce our carbon emissions. It is critical that Congress extend the PTC ASAP and support clean, renewable wind energy.”

U.S. Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, noted, “Wind energy is a win for the economy, a win for the environment, and a win for New Jersey. We will continue fighting in Congress to extend the wind production tax credit and support the kind of energy development that is needed to create jobs, clean up the air our children breathe, and move America to a clean energy future.”

The report sites one advantage of wind is that it saves water. According to Environment America, more water is withdrawn from lakes, rivers, streams, and aquifers in the U.S. for the purpose of cooling power plants than for any other purpose. Environment America’s report shows that wind energy saves enough water to supply the annual water needs of a city the size of Boston.  This is especially important on the heels of the U.S. Department of Agriculture finding that 80 percent of agricultural land was impaired by drought in 2012 – the most extensive drought in the United States since the 1950s.

Yet despite the benefits of wind energy and wide bipartisan support for federal policies to promote renewable energy, fossil fuel interests and their allies in Congress are vigorously opposing the PTC and ITC.

The report state that over the next three years, at the current rate of expansion, power generation from wind energy would double, and with that growth would come increased environmental and public health benefits. Should this come to fruition, wind energy would then prevent as much global warming pollution as taking an additional 11 million cars off the road, and save enough water to supply an additional 600,000 people.

Today, wind energy powers nearly 13 million homes across the country, but development is expected to slow to a crawl if Congress fails to extend the renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) and the offshore wind investment tax credit (ITC) before the end of this year.

The state of Delaware is supporting the development of an offshore wind project, and Delaware U.S. Senator Tom Carper added, Environment America’s report underscores the positive impacts offshore wind can have on our environment, our economy and our energy security. If we want to tap this domestic source of energy off our shores, we must foster investment in this nascent industry. The best way to foster offshore wind investment is by extending the investment tax credit for offshore wind beyond 2012. I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on an extension of the investment tax credit and other policies that support the development of offshore wind in this country.”