Oregon households and businesses will keep more money in their pockets if the state continues to grow wind energy resources, according to new data released by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and Wind Energy Foundation (WEF).
The estimates come from calculations made by AWEA using data from a U.S. Department of Energy 2015 report, “Wind Vision: A new era for wind power in the United States.” According to the report, Oregon can save more than $2.35 billion on consumers’ electricity bills through 2050 by achieving the Wind Vision growth scenario.
Under the Wind Vision, wind energy can double from supplying nearly 5% of U.S. electricity demand today to 10% by 2020, 20% by 2030 and 35% by 2050. Other economic benefits for Oregon that can come from greater wind energy use include $48 million in annual property tax revenue and almost $22 million in annual wind farm lease payments to landowners by 2030.
AWEA and WEF say the new data underscores the opportunity presented by a current legislative proposal to raise Oregon’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) to 50% by 2040 – up from the current standard of 25% by 2025.
According to the data, wind energy supplies more than 12% of Oregon’s in-state electricity production. Wind Vision shows Oregon wind energy alone could supply nearly 37% of the state’s electricity by 2030 – enough to power the equivalent of 2 million American homes. Including Oregon, nine states already rely on wind power to provide 12% or more of their state’s electricity production.
In Oregon, wind power supports nearly 2,000 jobs, including well paying manufacturing jobs at 10 factories producing wind components around the state. Wind energy has already attracted $6.2 billion in capital investment to Oregon, and rural landowners currently receive $9.5 million a year in land lease payments, the data says.
In addition, expanding wind energy can help Oregon avoid 10 million metric tons of carbon pollution per year by 2030 – the equivalent of more than 2 million cars’ worth of carbon emissions every year.
“Increasing the state’s RPS to 50 percent by 2040 would be a key and big step in making this vision a reality and would be critical hallmark in Oregon’s clean energy leadership,” says Tom Darin, western state policy director for AWEA. “The Wind Vision findings show wind energy is a win-win option for Oregon – cutting carbon pollution goes hand in hand with billions in ratepayer savings.”