Baltimore, MD—Maryland has the potential to reap huge environmental benefits from the development of offshore wind, according to a new report released today by Environment Maryland. If state and federal officials commit to continued progress in launching Maryland’s offshore wind industry, Maryland could reduce global warming pollution by 21,167 metric tons in 2018 – equivalent to the carbon pollution produced by more than 39,569 passenger vehicles.
These projects would also save nearly 51,875,025 million gallons of water.
The potential benefits of wind power have made it a key component of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to reduce the carbon pollution fueling global warming 17 percent by 2020. The plan calls for an expansion of renewable energy, investment in energy efficiency, and the first-ever federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants.
“Wind energy has given us a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving,” said Joanna Diamond of Environment Maryland. “Now our state and national leaders need to take act to make sure we don’t leave this cornucopia of environmental benefits on the table.”
The report also shows that offshore wind energy has the potential to reduce 58 tons of smog-causing nitrogen oxide emissions and 135 tons of sulfur dioxide, which cause acid rain and soot.
“Clean energy, like solar and energy efficiency, are already providing cleaner and healthier air for Maryland,” said Talya Tavor, Field Associate for Environment Maryland. “Developing offshore wind power in Maryland will lead to less smog and deadly soot pollution by allowing Maryland to shift away from burning polluting fossil fuels, like coal.”
The report showed that across the country, wind energy is already reaping huge environmental benefits. Wind energy in the United States is already avoiding carbon pollution equivalent to taking 39,569 cars off the road, while saving enough water each year to meet the needs of2,133 people.
“To be sure, wind power can provide major economic benefits for Maryland– including clean energy jobs and investment in our local economy,” said Joanna Diamond. “Let’s not dismiss the important environmental benefits. The health impacts of cleaner air are a boon to our quality of life.”
The United States’ recent progress on wind is the direct result of – and federal incentives for wind power. Despite the clear benefits of wind and widespread bipartisan support for federal policies to promote renewable energy, fossil fuel interests and their political allies have vigorously opposed these initiatives.
With leadership from Governor O’Malley, the passage of Maryland’s recent offshore wind policy is threatened when the main federal incentives for wind – the investment tax credit (ITC) and the production tax credit (PTC) – are currently set to expire at the end of 2013.
“Wind energy is improving our quality of life in this country,” said Rob Sargent, Energy Program Director for Environment Maryland. “We cannot let polluters and their allies stand in the way of wind power for Maryland. Governor O’Malley needs to defend Maryland’s clean energy policy, and Senator Cardin and our Maryland representatives need to do whatever it takes to extend federal wind incentives before the end of the year.”
Environment Maryland is a statewide, citizen-funded environmental advocacy organization working for clean air, clean water, and open spaces.