Wind Energy Production in New York Reduces Global Warming Pollution As Much As Taking 300,000 Cars Off the Road Each Year

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Environment New York Research & Policy Center

In the wake of Superstorm Sandy and other recent extreme weather events fueled by global warming, Environment New York Research & Policy Center released a new report today showing that New York’s current power generation from wind energy displaces as much global warming pollution as taking 300,000 cars off the road per year. Existing wind energy production in New York offsets almost 1.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year.

The report, titled Wind Power for a Cleaner America: Reducing Global Warming Pollution, Cutting Air Pollution, and Saving Water, touted wind energy’s environmental benefits to date, as well as future benefits if the wind power industry continues to grow.

“This report quantifies clearly the environmental and health benefits of wind as a local and clean energy source,” said Gordian Raacke, Executive Director of Renewable Energy Long Island, a regional not-for-profit organization. “Given the cost of extreme weather events such as Hurricane Sandy, Congress should extend tax credits for wind energy as an incentive for an energy source which doesn’t contribute to climate change.”

“Wind power is already replacing the dirty and dangerous energy sources of the past and creating a cleaner, healthier future for New Yorkers,” said Eric Whalen of Environment New York. “We can continue on this path of cutting dangerous pollution and saving water if Congress acts now to extend critical wind incentives. Our message to Congress is clear: Don’t throw wind power off the fiscal cliff. Our clean air, water, and children’s future are too important to blow it now.”

Wind energy now provides enough energy to power 340,000 homes in New York. If wind development continues at a pace comparable to that of recent years through 2016, New York would reduce global warming pollution by as much as taking a total of more than 500,000 cars off the road, and would save enough water to meet the needs of an additional 12,000 New Yorkers.

The report also outlined that today’s wind energy in New York is delivering results for public health, by avoiding 1,400 tons of smog-causing pollution and 2,900 tons of soot pollution each year.

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 (PTC) and the offshore wind investment tax credit (ITC)—expire at the end of the year. Without these credits, many planned wind farms will not be built, leaving health and environmental benefits for New Yorkers 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 Superstorm Sandy we must invest wisely in a future with cleaner air, fewer extreme weather events, and smart use of our water resources,” said Whalen. “Time is running out. We urge Congress 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.”