New Report: Wind Energy can Cut Carbon Pollution by More Than 3.6 Million Cars

PA Congressional Delegation will help decide future of wind in December

PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center

Wind power is on track to cut as much carbon pollution in Pennsylvania as 4 coal-fired power plants, or 3,689,000 cars produce in a year by 2030, according to a new analysis by the PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center. If wind continues to grow at its current rate nationally, it will be able to supply 30% of our nation’s electricity needs by 2030.

The report, More Wind, Less Warming, comes as congressional lawmakers threaten to block the Clean Power Plan, and as the Senate wrestles over whether to reinstate tax credits viewed as critical to the growth of wind energy in recent years. Last night, the United States House of Representatives approved a bill that, if passed by the Senate, would eliminate our country’s best chance for to provide wind energy with the meaningful support it deserves.

“A steady increase in pollution-free wind energy is a key ingredient in solving the climate crisis,” said Elowyn Corby, PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center’s Global Warming and Clean Energy Associate.

“Pennsylvania has become a leader in the wind energy industry. In 2010 alone, the industry supported
4,000 direct and indirect jobs, and project owners paid $1.3 billion in annual property taxes right here in Pennsylvania. Wind energy has rapidly decreased in price, and has increasingly become the preferred option for consumers and individuals, both because of its environmental impact and economic value,” said Representative Matt Cartwright. “The federal government must continue to incentivize the deployment of wind energy and help serve as a catalyst as we transition to renewable energy sources.”

Wind power projects in areas such as Harrisburg and Scranton already produced enough energy in 2013 to power 300,000 homes. The analysis projects that wind energy will expand significantly in Pennsylvania over the next 15 years, producing enough power for nearly 2 million homes.

“Wind energy is a growing industry that shows great positive benefits for future generations.” Rep. Pat Harkins stated. “As an energy source that is evolving it has great potential with the environment and the economy. We must invest our time and resources into this technology to ensure that we make the most of this clean and green energy resource.”

Sen. Bob Casey recently released a strong statement on the moral imperative behind tackling climate change, in order to protect our health and future generations. This new report directly addresses Sen. Casey’s only concern: whether Pennsylvania will be able to meet the clean energy standards that have been laid out in the U.S. EPA’s Proposed Clean Power Plan. In fact, reducing pollution by this amount would achieve the entire target of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan, and then some.

“Wind energy is better for the environment than coal, natural gas or nuclear energy. Wind turbines operate pollution free, do not add to climate change and use very little water. Wind power increases energy price stability,” said Pennsylvania State Representative Greg Vitali.

“Wind energy is a low cost option to reducing carbon emissions and diversifying our energy mix. With over 62,000 megawatts installed across the US, wind energy generates enough electricity to power some 15.5 million homes. In Pennsylvania, the wind industry represents a $2.7 billion capital investment and offsets the carbon emissions equivalent of 510,000 cars,” pointed out Jim Spencer, President and CEO of EverPower Wind Holdings.

Paul Zeph, Conservation Director at the Pennsylvania Audubon Society, spoke to the importance of tackling climate change in order to protect endangered species by pointing out that “Audubon scientists have determined that half of the birds of North America will be severely impacted by global warming in the coming decades, with many of those species potentially disappearing from Pennsylvania altogether, if we do not change course immediately and reduce carbon pollution from power plants.”

“Pennsylvania has greatly benefitted from wind energy development in terms of jobs and investment,” noted Bruce Burcat, Executive Director of the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition. “It has 25 operating wind farms and 28 wind related manufacturing facilities that ranks it in the top quartile in the nation in wind industry related jobs.  Much of this success is a result of the federal Production Tax Credit.  If Congress failed to extend the tax credit, it would be a major step backwards for PA.”

America has the potential to power itself 10 times over with wind that blows both over land and off the East Coast. Since 2001, wind power has displaced more than 620 million metric tons of carbon pollution – more than the annual carbon dioxide emissions of the entire country of Canada.

“Wind power is a local, renewable energy resource that is just waiting to be harnessed for its economic and environmental benefits.  We need leadership at all levels – national, state and local – to transform our energy future,“ argued NW PA Green Economy Task Force Co-chair Steve Porter.

“Wind power holds enormous promise for combatting global warming,” said Corby. “We just need the right policies in place to boost wind power and transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy.”

The report itself can be viewed and downloaded on PennEnvironment Research and Policy Center’s website here:


PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center is a statewide advocacy organization bringing people together for a cleaner, greener, healthier future.