Cleveland, OH – Wind energy is on the rise in Ohio and is providing huge environmental benefits for the state, according to a new report released today by Environment Ohio. Ohio’s wind energy is already avoiding more than 597,613 metric tons of climate-altering carbon pollution – the equivalent of taking 124,503 cars off the road, while saving 267,007,000 gallons of water per year – enough to meet the needs of 10,602 people.
Thanks to its current and future benefits, wind power is a key component of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to reduce the carbon pollution that is 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 Holiday Season,” said Vivian Daly of Environment Ohio. “Now our state and national leaders need to take action to make sure we don’t leave these environmental benefits on the table.”
The report, Wind Energy for a Cleaner America, also shows that today’s wind energy in Ohio avoids 562 tons of smog-causing nitrogen oxides and 694 tons of sulfur dioxide, which cause acid rain and soot.
“We are expected to be good stewards of the earth and its riches gifted to us by the One who has created the world we inhabit” said The Rev. Canon Will Mebane. “I call on my sisters and brothers from faith traditions across northeast Ohio and all citizens to follow the lead of President Obama and demand that federal decision makers support bold action to protect our communities from the most catastrophic effects of climate change.”
The report shows that wind energy is now providing 988,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity in Ohio. Ohio could be on track to see an additional 918,294 megawatt-hours (MWh) increase in wind production in the next five years. If state and federal officials commit to continued progress, Ohio could reduce the carbon pollution equivalent of more than 101,263 passenger vehicles, and save enough water to meet the annual water needs of nearly 9,854 people.
“The wind power industry is healing our environment and stimulating our economy,” said Eric Ritter, Communications and Strategy Manager for LEEDCo, a Cleveland-based non-profit developing a six-turbine offshore wind project in Lake Erie known as Icebreaker™. “The State of Ohio is already #4 in the U.S. for wind industry employment. Continued support for local projects will help solidify Ohio’s leading role in the global wind turbine supply chain.”
Ohio’s recent progress on wind is the direct result of Senate Bill 221 – 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.
Ohio’s clean energy policy is threatened in the senate, and 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 Ohio,” said Daly. “We cannot let polluters and their allies stand in the way of additional benefits of wind. Governor John Kasich needs to defend Ohio’s clean energy policy, and Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman needs to do whatever it takes to extend federal wind incentives before the end of the year.”