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Report: Wind Power for a Cleaner America Reducing Global Warming Pollution, Cutting Air Pollution and Saving Water


Science & Tech  (tags: climate, climate-change, climatechange, CO2emissions, conservation, destruction, ecosystems, endangered, energy, environment, globalwarming, globalwarming, greenhousegases, GoodNews, government, green, healthconditions, nature, politics, protection, pollu )

JL
- 652 days ago - environmentamerica.org
Wind energy has none of these problems. It produces no air pollution, makes no contribution to global warming, and uses no water.



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JL A. (275)
Sunday January 6, 2013, 6:14 pm

Report:
Wind Power for a Cleaner America
Reducing Global Warming Pollution, Cutting Air Pollution and Saving Water
Released by: Environment America Research & Policy Center
Release date: Wednesday, November 28, 2012
> Read News Release
> Download Report (PDF)

Coal- and natural gas-fired power plants pollute our air, are major contributors to global warming, and consume vast amounts of water—harming our rivers and lakes and leaving less water for other uses. Wind energy has none of these problems. It produces no air pollution, makes no contribution to global warming, and uses no water.
America has more than doubled its use of wind power since the beginning of 2008 and we are starting to reap the environmental rewards. Wind energy now displaces about 68 million metric tons of global warming pollution each year—as much as is produced by 13 million cars. And wind energy now saves more than enough water nationwide to meet the needs of a city the size of Boston.
There is still plenty of room for growth in wind energy. But the pending expiration of the production tax credit threatens the future expansion of wind power. To protect the environment, federal and state governments should continue and expand policies that support wind energy.
Burning fossil fuels for electricity generation has widespread environmental and public health consequences.
• Combustion of coal and natural gas exacerbates global warming, the effects of which are already being felt across the nation. The average annual temperature in the U.S. has already risen 2° F in the past 50 years, and the number of heat waves has increased. Extreme rain and snowfall events have become 30 percent more common. Sea level has risen eight inches or more along parts of our coasts.
• Coal- and natural gas-fired power plants require vast amounts of water for cooling, reducing the amount of water available for irrigation, wildlife, recreation or domestic use, now and in the future. More water is withdrawn from U.S. lakes, rivers, streams and aquifers for the purpose of cooling power plants than for any other purpose.
• Air pollution from power plants threatens the health of millions of Americans.
Wind energy avoids about 68 million metric tons of global warming pollution annually—equivalent to taking 13 million of today’s passenger vehicles off the road—and saves more than enough water to supply the annual water needs of a city the size of Boston. Wind energy also avoids 137,000 tons of nitrogen oxide emissions and 91,000 tons of sulfur dioxide emissions, important contributors to ozone smog and soot pollution.
• Texas, Iowa and California lead the nation in wind energy capacity, delivering the greatest reductions in global warming pollution, water consumption, and health-threatening air pollution. (See Figure ES-1 and appendices.)

Figure ES-1. Top 10 States for Global Warming Emission Reductions from Wind Energy in 2011

If construction of new wind energy projects continues from 2013 to 2016 at a pace comparable to that of recent years, the United States could reduce global warming pollution by an additional 56 million metric tons in 2016—equivalent to the amount produced by 11 million passenger vehicles. These projects would also save enough water to meet the annual water needs of 600,000 people, and reduce air pollution by an additional 108,000 tons of nitrogen oxides and 79,000 tons of sulfur dioxide.
America has abundant wind energy potential. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 20 percent of the nation’s electricity could be supplied by wind power in 2030, up from 3 percent in 2011. To achieve that level of generation, construction of new generating capacity would need continue at levels comparable to that of recent years.
Wind energy’s success in reducing air pollution and saving water will continue to grow if policies such as tax incentives and renewable electricity standards are continued and expanded at the state and federal level:
• The production tax credit: The federal renewable electricity production tax credit (PTC) has been one of the most important tools to help grow the wind industry in the United States, but it is set to expire at the end of 2012. The loss of the tax credit could cause new construction to drop by 75 percent—and allow global warming pollution and water consumption to continue unabated.
• The offshore wind investment tax credit: The offshore wind investment tax credit (ITC) is designed to address the longer timelines for development and construction of offshore wind energy facilities. It covers up to 30 percent of the cost of new wind investments and grants offshore wind developers eligibility for the credit at the point that construction begins. The offshore wind ITC also expires on December 31, 2012.
• Strong renewable electricity standards: A strong renewable electricity standard (RES) helps support wind energy development by requiring utilities to obtain a percentage of the electricity they provide to consumers from renewable sources. These standards help ensure that wind energy producers have a market for the electricity they generate and protect consumers from the sharp swings in energy prices that accompany over-reliance on fossil fuels. Today, 29 states have renewable electricity standards—other states and the federal government should follow their lead.
• Tax policies for renewable energy. Changes to the federal tax code could make more private investment available to wind energy nationwide by expanding two tax provisions that have benefited investors in non-renewable sources for decades.
• Transmission policies. Upgrading and expanding existing electricity transmission infrastructure can connect areas with high electricity demand to areas of high wind energy output. Transmission upgrades should occur only where clearly necessary and where environmental impacts will be minimal.
 

Terry V. (30)
Sunday January 6, 2013, 6:25 pm
We are sooooooooooooo far behind in renewable energy :(
 

mag.w.d. Aichberger (34)
Sunday January 6, 2013, 10:16 pm
> Wind Power...produces no air pollution, makes no contribution to global warming, and uses no water.
IF and ONLY if the infrastructure is installed (and later disposed of) by our friends, the nice little red women from andromeda

and never minding eg. the zillions of birds killed per GW.year

 

JL A. (275)
Sunday January 6, 2013, 10:20 pm
Frack, the design issue has been solved so older ones being replaced are now of the kind that do not kill birds.
 

Lynn Squance (232)
Monday January 7, 2013, 11:59 pm
"Coal- and natural gas-fired power plants pollute our air, are major contributors to global warming, and consume vast amounts of water—harming our rivers and lakes and leaving less water for other uses. Wind energy has none of these problems. It produces no air pollution, makes no contribution to global warming, and uses no water."

So we will continue to pollute ourselves out of this beautiful blue planet so some fossil fuel lobby can crow and get rich? That is just plain dumb! We need to do this now!

"If construction of new wind energy projects continues from 2013 to 2016 at a pace comparable to that of recent years, the United States could reduce global warming pollution by an additional 56 million metric tons in 2016—equivalent to the amount produced by 11 million passenger vehicles. These projects would also save enough water to meet the annual water needs of 600,000 people, and reduce air pollution by an additional 108,000 tons of nitrogen oxides and 79,000 tons of sulfur dioxide."

For crying outloud, WHAT ARE WE WAITING FOR?
 

Lynn Squance (232)
Tuesday January 8, 2013, 12:00 am
Why don't we connect the wind pipes to Congress for a lot of hot air!
 

JL A. (275)
Tuesday January 8, 2013, 7:51 am
Excellent points Lynn! At least the tax credits for wind energy development were renewed with the so-called fiscal cliff deal...and apparently Warren Buffet's companies have lit a private investment fire in solar energy investment--so there may be some hope (now to get rid of oil, gas, nuclear & coal subsidies).
LOL to the above!
You cannot currently send a star to Lynn because you have done so within the last week.
 

Sheila S. (63)
Tuesday January 8, 2013, 10:08 am
I find it mind-boggling that the best choice - wind energy - is also the most expensive. And if the tax credits disappear, the price will become higher yet. This is because producers pay property owners a rental fee for land use in rural areas. Since that arrangement won't change, if the cost of production increases due to loss of tax credits, the increase is passed on to the consumer. Bummer!
 

Dave C. (216)
Tuesday January 8, 2013, 10:29 am
wind is great, if we could only have it closer to the sources.....I think its wonderful driving and seeing windmills moving off in the distance......here in MN there is a study mixing wind and solar in similar areas to see if they can help balance each other.....

wind is part of the future.....
 

Bruno Moreira (61)
Tuesday January 8, 2013, 1:12 pm
noted thanks
 

Don Saito (10)
Tuesday January 8, 2013, 4:01 pm
There's a problem with wind power: it kills birds of prey. We have them here in the San Francisco Bay Area, and birds of prey are killed by the swirling propellers of the wind collectors; they don't seem to notice them. I would submit the ultimate solution to Humankind's energy needs is what is known as Space-based Solar, or "SBS." Huge arrays can be placed in orbit around the earth, and their collected energy can be beamed down to airport-sized receiver antenna arrays via harmless microwaves. Solar panels on buildings and even (via new technology) roadways are good, but solar arrays in desert regions are still interrupting the natural habitats of native species. If we push for anything, it should be for SBS. It really is the energy source of the future.
 

JL A. (275)
Tuesday January 8, 2013, 4:13 pm
Sheila--extension of wind tax credits was part of so-called fiscal cliff deal. Don-there are designs that do not harm birds and those are replacing the older ones as their life expires. You are welcome Bruno. You are right Dave.
 

Don Saito (10)
Tuesday January 8, 2013, 4:48 pm
J.L. A - Thanks for the green star. I haven't heard of these new wind turbin designs, but I will look them up. While they sound "better," I would still be concerned with how much they would affect local ecologies. If enough machines are set up, they could literally "take the wind" out of an area that would otherwise naturally receive it. Plants and animals adapted to that habitat might suffer from the lack of that wind. That's why I like Space-based Solar so much - it has a very minimal impact on the local ecologies of earth, is unlimited, uninterruptible (not affected by weather or night), and creates no greenhouse gasses or dangerous radioactive waste.
 

JL A. (275)
Tuesday January 8, 2013, 4:53 pm
You're welcome Don. I agree that spaced-based solar is worth pursuing, but suspect it may be slower to implement and thus tend towards a multi-faceted approach. I'm pretty sure one of the articles I read about the bird and bat friendly designs was specific to Altaman Pass (I noted some of the older ones were getting replaced when I went that way last spring after I'd first read about it so hope that is what I was seeing). If you find something from a credible source, I'd encourage you to post it here on C2 for all to be able to read.
 

Mary Donnelly (47)
Wednesday January 9, 2013, 12:01 am
Thanks again J.L.A.
 

Engele van Zyl (38)
Wednesday January 9, 2013, 12:39 am
noted
 

Tanya W. (53)
Wednesday January 9, 2013, 3:28 am
Wind and solar are clean energy solutions. I have solar panels and supply the grid with excess energy produced. If everyone went clean and green the price would have to come down, then it would be clean and affordable.
 

Michael O. (173)
Wednesday January 9, 2013, 5:21 am
Wind and solar power are not perfect and are not currently able to replace all of the power that is presently derived from fossil fuels. However, they are good, clean sources of renewable energy that need to be added to our energy mix in order to reduce the demand for fossil fuels as much as possible. Hopefully, this will buy us some time to resolve the technical issues associated with renewables before it's too late on the climate change front.

Thanks for sharing J.L.!!
 

JL A. (275)
Wednesday January 9, 2013, 2:17 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Tanya because you have done so within the last week.
 

JL A. (275)
Wednesday January 9, 2013, 2:35 pm
You are welcome again Mary!
 

Melania Padilla (179)
Friday January 11, 2013, 11:05 am
Hope one day the world will run entirely with renewable energy, if we don´t kill it first!
 

JL A. (275)
Friday January 11, 2013, 12:19 pm
You cannot currently send a star to Melania because you have done so within the last week.
 
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