A new report shows that wind energy is probably the best way to meet a proposed new federal government rule regarding carbon pollution for existing power plants. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has just published a new white paper that shows wind is one of the biggest, fastest, cheapest ways states can meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule on limiting carbon dioxide pollution expected to be published June 2.
Among the key findings in the new report are:
The 167.7 million megawatt-hours (MWh) of wind energy produced in the U.S. in 2013 reduced CO2 emissions by 126.8 million tons, the equivalent of reducing power sector emissions by more than 5 percent, or taking 20 million cars off the road.
The top 10 states by volume of carbon reductions from wind energy are: Texas, Illinois, California, Colorado, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Wyoming.
States achieving a reduction in carbon emissions of 10 percent or more (compared to a 2011 baseline) from wind energy alone include California, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Nebraska, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, and Washington State, with Oklahoma, Wisconsin and Wyoming coming in just under 10%.
Wind energy also currently reduces sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions by nearly 347 million pounds per year and nitrous oxide (NOx) emissions by 214 million pounds per year. These pollutants acidify lakes and streams, contribute to smog, and negatively impact public health.
AWEA officials say the best part of this news is that many states and their utilities are already familiar with the affordable, reliable product that wind energy provides.