Lansing – On the day that Governor Snyder delivered a special message on energy and as more Michiganders call for action to tackle global warming in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Environment Michigan released a new Environment Michigan Research & Policy Center report that shows that Michigan’s current power generation from wind energy displaces as much global warming pollution as taking 48,000 cars off the road per year. Michigan has also suffered from severe drought this year, and the report shows that wind power saves enough water to meet the needs of 3,300 Michiganders.
Environment Michigan was joined by Kali Fox, regional manager for U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Virg Bernero, mayor of Lansing, Jessica Yorko, environmental justice coordinator for Ingham County, and Damon Glei, owner and operator at Glei’s Orchard, in releasing the Environment Michigan Research & Policy Center report, Wind Power for a Cleaner America: Reducing Global Warming Pollution, Cutting Air Pollution, and Saving Water, and touting wind energy’s environmental benefits to date, as well as future benefits if wind power continues to grow. The speakers urged Congress to extend critical federal incentives for wind power—the renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) and the offshore wind investment tax credit (ITC)—before they expire at the end of the year.
“Wind power is already replacing the dirty and dangerous energy sources of the past and creating a cleaner, healthier future for Michiganders,” said Virginia Shannon of Environment Michigan. “We can continue on this path of cutting dangerous pollution and saving water if Congress acts now to extend critical wind incentives. We’re proud of Michigan’s clean energy champions in the Senate and our message to their House colleagues is clear: Don’t throw wind power off the fiscal cliff.”
If wind development continues at a pace comparable to that of recent years through 2016, Michigan would reduce global warming pollution by as much as taking an additional 169,000 cars off the road, and would save enough water to meet the needs of an additional 11,300 Michiganders.
“Clean energy technologies reduce our dependence on foreign oil and create the jobs of the future right here in Michigan,” said Senator Stabenow. “Wind and other Michigan energy businesses have already helped Michigan become number one in the country in clean energy patents. We’re in position to be number one in clean energy manufacturing and clean energy jobs as well.”
“In this year of significant drought, we know that saving water is critical for our farms, for our environment and for all of us,” added Damon Glei, owner and operator of Glei’s Orchards.
The report also outlined that today’s wind energy in Michigan is delivering results for public health, by avoiding 260 tons of smog-causing pollution and 420 tons of soot pollution.
“Michigan’s capital city is leading the way toward a cleaner, greener future by ramping up our commitment to renewable energy, including wind power,” said Mayor Virg Bernero. “Soon we will have new wind turbines installed on several city-owned buildings, and we will continue to seek ways to leverage the benefits of wind power and other renewable energy sources to improve our environment and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.”
Michigan’s successful development of wind energy results largely from a renewable energy standard (RES) — requiring utilities to provide 10% of their power from renewable energy by 2015, and the federal renewable energy production tax credit.
Wind energy now powers nearly 13 million homes across the country and is on its way to being cost-competitive with traditional fossil fuels. But the two key federal wind power incentives—the production tax credit and the offshore wind investment tax credit—expire at the end of the year. Without these credits, many planned wind farms will not be built, leaving health and environmental benefits for Michiganders on the table.
Despite the benefits of wind energy and widespread public support for federal policies to promote renewable energy, fossil fuel interests and their allies in Congress are vigorously opposing the PTC and ITC.
“As our state is still healing from severe drought and Hurricane Sandy, we must invest wisely in a future with cleaner air, fewer extreme weather events, and smart use of our water resources,” said Virginia Shannon of Environment Michigan. “Time is running out. We thank Senator Stabenow and Senator Levin for supporting clean, renewable wind power and urge them to do everything they can to extend the renewable energy production tax credit and offshore wind investment tax credit before the end of the year. Our clean air, water, and children’s future depend on it.”