In honor of Earth Day, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) has highlighted some of wind power's contributions to the environment and the economy, including the following:
- Avoiding carbon: In 2009, U.S. wind farms generated 70.8 million MW of electricity and avoided over 40 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
- Improving environmental health with clean energy: On an annual basis, U.S. wind farms operating as of the end of 2009 will avoid 200,000 metric tons of acid-rain-causing sulfur dioxide and 80,000 metric tons of smog-causing nitrogen oxides that would otherwise have been emitted from conventional power plants. Wind power also avoids other power-sector pollutants such as mercury, as well as mining and drilling for fuel, and production of hazardous or toxic wastes, ash or slurry.
- Saving water: On an annual basis, U.S. wind farms operating at the end of 2009 will conserve over 20 billion gallons of water that would otherwise be withdrawn for steam or cooling in conventional power plants.
- Saving money: Investing in wind power translates into savings for consumers due to lower fuel use for electricity generation and lower energy bills. Wind power also saves money by protecting public health: A National Academy of Sciences study released in 2009 found that pollution from fossil fuels cost the U.S. $120 billion a year, including $62 billion from coal plants, in damages to human health.
- Creating new jobs and business opportunity: Wind power supports 85,000 jobs in the U.S. today, and the number of wind turbine and wind turbine component manufacturing facilities in the U.S. has blossomed to over 200 facilities across the U.S. today – up from under 100 in 2007.
‘Wind works for Americans and for our planet in more ways than one,’ says AWEA CEO Denise Bode. ‘Every day, wind power means new manufacturing jobs, less dependence on imported energy, and more pure clean, affordable energy for our country. And with the right policy – including a strong national renewable electricity standard as part of comprehensive climate and energy legislation – wind power will deliver these benefits on a massive scale.’
SOURCE: American Wind Energy Association