New Bedford, MA — The carbon pollution from the equivalent of 1.7 million vehicles could be eliminated in Massachusetts if wind power continues its recent growth trajectory, according to a new analysis by Environment Massachusetts. 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 Julia Persinger, campaign organizer for Environment Massachusetts. “But Congress needs to act now to ensure a clean energy future.”
“It is no longer a technological challenge,” said Brian Kuhn, Founder and VP of development at Aeronautica Wind. “It is, rather, a challenge of political will, requiring us to acknowledge and account for fossil fuel environmental costs, insist that efficient changes to our grid operations continue to be made, and recognizing that everyone profits from investing in sustainable energy for our future.
Continued, rapid development of wind energy would allow the renewable resource to supply 30 percent of the nation’s electricity by 2030, providing more than enough carbon reductions to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan.
Wind power projects in areas such as Jiminy Peak and Joint Base Cape Cod, already produced enough energy in 2013 to power 17,212 homes. The analysis predicts offshore wind will expand significantly in Massachusetts over the next 15 years, producing enough power for 1.5 million homes.
“Massachusetts has some of the best offshore wind resources in the world, just waiting to be tapped. Cape Wind will be the first of many offshore wind projects that will deliver significant economic, energy and environmental benefits to Massachusetts’ citizens,” said Mark Rodgers, Communications Director, Cape Wind.
Megan Amsler, Executive Director of Self-Reliance, further expanded upon those economic benefits. She spoke of their clean energy jobs trainings, saying: “By providing comprehensive technical and health and safety training to the construction workers and operations and maintenance workers for the offshore wind projects slated for New England, we can be sure that US workers will be prepared and able to work on these projects. These jobs are a very tangible benefit that can be part of our local economy. Through The North Atlantic Offshore Training & Development Center, we look forward to making sure that Americans are working safely on the first offshore wind projects.”
The report, More Wind, Less Warming, comes as Massachusetts gets closer and closer to tapping into offshore wind power. The analysis also comes as lawmakers jockey over the fate of wind energy tax credits in the nation’s spending plan, due to be adopted next week.
“New Bedford is proud to play a lead role in North America’s emerging offshore wind industry. Fully 25% of the nation’s wind reserves lie just south of Martha’s Vineyard and New Bedford is the closest industrial port.” Said John Mitchell, Mayor of New Bedford. “Not only will wind energy create new well-paying jobs, it will also help meet the region’s electricity demand with a clean renewable source of power, and help fight global warming”
America has the potential to power itself 10 times over with wind that blows both over land and off the East Coast. Offshore wind development, which is in its very nascent stages in the U.S., is critical to achieving the 30 percent target, the report said.
U.S. Senator Ed Markey praised wind power emphatically today, saying: “When we support clean energy development, we’re promoting job creation that will help all of creation. That’s because good clean energy policy is good climate policy, and helps us be the leader in developing the technologies that power our economy and protect our environment. America’s wind energy industry is the future of our economy, and we need to invest in the fuels of the future, not the industries of the past.”
“Speeding the development of pollution-free wind energy will slow global warming,” said Persinger. “That’s why our leaders should invest now in healthy air and a healthy planet.”