Fall River – Carbon pollution equal to that produced by as many as 151,107 cars could be eliminated by 2020 with a moderate growth in wind power, a new report from Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center said today. Speeding development of offshore wind, for which Massachusetts has vast potential, could cut even more pollution.
Using data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the report shows that as much as 400 MW of wind power could be built in the state in the next five years with the right policies in place, enough to power 137,827 homes.
“Wind power here in Massachusetts can grow steadily, reducing pollution and helping to solve the climate crisis,” said Julia Dougherty, Campaign Organizer with Environment Massachusetts. “But we need government policies to provide steady support for this clean energy resource to build our momentum in the fight against global warming.”
The report, Turning to the Wind, comes as the Massachusetts legislature is working on an energy bill to be addressed when they reconvene in January. It’s crucial that the legislature support wind energy as part of this bill, approving long term purchasing agreements from utilities to purchase wind energy, thus realizing Massachusetts potential to be a wind leader.
State officials are also determining how to comply with the Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of President Obama’s Climate Action that sets state-by-state limits on carbon pollution from power plants and encourages clean energy development. Wind will be a crucial part of this.
“As Fall River and the rest of the South Coast prepares for a transition away from relying on coal-fired power plants, wind is a healthy alternative with widespread public support,” said Sylvia Broude, Executive Director of Toxics Action Center. “We hope our public officials do everything possible to advance policies to expand off-shore wind and help the South Coast to lead the way towards a 21st century clean energy economy with cleaner air for everyone. Toxics Action Center has supported the work of Coalition for Clean Air South Coast and other local groups working to clean up coal-fired power plants for nearly a decade.”
The analysis is also timed with what’s become an annual tradition in Congress: waiting until the last minute to renew critical tax incentives for clean energy. The credits, which have helped spur wind power’s growth over the last two decades, expired at the end of last year, and any measure to reinstate them must be adopted before Congress adjourns for the year on December 18.
“Renewing tax credits for pollution-free energy will help sustain green jobs in Massachusetts and reduce climate-changing carbon pollution,” said Dougherty. “It’s critical for the future of our economy and our planet that Congress take action before the budget is due.”
Wind power produced across the U.S. since 2001 has displaced more than 764 million metric tons of carbon dioxide – more than a year’s worth of carbon emissions from the entire country of Canada.
As world leaders meet in Paris to hammer out an international agreement to slash climate-changing emissions, environmental advocates said wind power should play a critical role.
“To avoid the worst impacts of global warming, we need to transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy,” said Dougherty, “and that must include doing everything we can to develop abundant, pollution-free wind power.”
Environment Massachusetts Research & Policy Center is statewide advocacy organization bringing people together for a cleaner, greener, healthier future.