Los Angeles – Wind power is on the rise across California and America. In 2013 alone, wind energy displaced nearly 10 million metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution in California and 132 million metric tons nationwide, according to a new analysis by Environment California Research & Policy Center. This is the equivalent of taking almost 2 million gas-powered vehicles off of California roads, and nearly 28 million off of America’s roads, for a year. The analysis comes just as Congress considers whether to renew tax credits critical to wind development.
“Wind power can replace the dirty energy sources of the past and the pollution that comes with them,” said Michelle Kinman, clean energy advocate for Environment California. “But Congress needs to act now to ensure a clean energy future.”
The report finds that if the nation were to set a course for obtaining 30 percent of its electricity from wind power by 2030, America could avert nearly 712 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year by 2025 and 1 billion metric tons per year by 2030. Reducing pollution by this amount would achieve the entire target of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan, and then some.
Wind power projects in areas such as Kern, Riverside and Solano counties already produced enough energy in 2013 to power two million homes.
“Wind energy has more than tripled under California’s forward-looking renewable energy policies over the past decade, and is now poised to play a major role in California’s energy future,” said Nancy Rader, executive director of the California Wind Energy Association.
The report, More Wind, Less Warming, comes days after the comment period closed for the Clean Power Plan, which Congressional leaders are trying to block. The analysis also comes as lawmakers jockey over the fate of wind energy tax credits in the nation’s spending plan. Yesterday the U.S. House overwhelmingly adopted a plan to renew vital wind energy tax credits retroactively through the end of 2014, which advocates said was virtually meaningless. To ramp up wind power development and avoid massive job loss, the incentives for wind power projects should be renewed at least through 2015, they said.
America has the potential to power itself 10 times over with wind that blows both over land and off the East Coast.
“I am proud of the significant role Palm Springs has played in pioneering wind energy,” said Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet. “The desert floor in North Palm Springs may be small in total area, but it is the best wind resource and the most environmentally safe wind energy site in North America. I look forward to how advances in wind energy technology will allow energy producers to expand the important role they play in our clean energy supply.”
“Speeding the development of pollution-free wind energy will slow global warming,” said Kinman. “That’s way our leaders should invest now in healthy air and a healthy planet.”