As superstorm Sandy and its aftermath prompt more Americans to call for action tackling global warming, Environment America released a new report recently showing 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 fiscal cliff and the expiration of key tax credits for wind power quickly approaching, Environment America is urging Congress to extend critical federal incentives for wind power—the renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) and the offshore wind investment tax credit (ITC)—before they expire at the end of the year.
“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.”
U.S. Senators championing wind energy and the wind tax extensions expressed their support this morning along with the report release:
“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,” said U.S. Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.). “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.”
“Wind energy is a win for the economy, a win for the environment, and a win for New Jersey,” stated U.S. Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “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.”
“Environment America’s report underscores the positive impacts offshore wind can have on our environment, our economy and our energy security,” said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.). “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.”
Environment America released, Wind Power for a Cleaner America: Reducing Global Warming Pollution, Cutting Air Pollution and Saving Water, at more than 30 events nationwide, standing with farmers, public health professionals, wind power businesses and local elected officials to tout wind energy’s environmental benefits.
In addition to preventing dangerous pollution from fossil fuel power plants, wind energy also saves water. 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 U.S. since the 1950s.
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. Today’s report outlines that 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.
Environment America Research & Policy Center’s report shows that wind energy reduces air pollution by avoiding 137,000 pounds of smog-forming emissions and 91,000 pounds of soot-forming emissions every year. This is good news for the almost 30 million Americans suffering from asthma, and many more suffering from other respiratory conditions.
Wind energy now 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 PTC and ITC before the end of this year.
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.
“As our nation is still healing from Hurricane Sandy and severe drought, we must invest wisely in a future with cleaner air, fewer extreme weather events and smart use of our water resources,” said Abrams. “We urge Congress to extend the renewable energy production tax credit and the offshore wind investment tax credit as soon as possible before the end of the year.”