Executive Director, PennEnvironment
Executive Director, PennEnvironment
Wind Power will reduce global warming, save water
As Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath prompt more Pennsylvanians to call for action to tackle global warming and the rise in extreme weather, PennEnvironment released a new report today that shows that Pennsylvania’s current power generation from wind energy displaces as much global warming pollution as taking 218,000 cars off the road per year.
PennEnvironment released the group’s newest report, Wind Power for a Cleaner America: Reducing Global Warming Pollution, Cutting Air Pollution, and Saving Water. The study touts wind energy’s environmental benefits to date, as well as future benefits if wind power continues to grow in Pennsylvania and across the nation. 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 energy sources of the past and creating a cleaner, healthier future for Pennsylvanians,” said David Masur, Director of PennEnvironment. “We can continue on this path of cutting dangerous pollution 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 must be a part of our energy future,” said state Rep. and Auditor General-Elect, Eugene DePasquale. “Pennsylvania is a clear leader for wind production and it has helped create jobs, save consumers money and help our environment. Renewing the Production Tax Credit is a critical step for our state and the country.”
If wind development continues at a pace comparable to that of recent years through 2016, Pennsylvania would reduce global warming pollution by as much as taking an additional 185,000 cars off the road, and would save enough water to meet the needs of an additional 17,400 Pennsylvanians.
“We must continue to invest in alternative forms of energy to help relieve our dependence on fossil fuels,” stated Sean Wiley, Senator-Elect of the 49th District. “Pennsylvania emits the 3rd-highest level of global warming pollution in the nation and we must take strides to ensure the Commonwealth meets its environmental responsibility by reducing its carbon footprint.”
“We need to increase these important environmental benefits of wind energy by increasing wind power in our state,” said Masur. “We cannot afford the devastation of more storms like Hurricane Sandy.”
The report also outlined that today’s wind energy in Pennsylvania is delivering results for public health, by avoiding 780 tons of smog-causing pollution and 1,880 tons of soot pollution.
“Wind energy has the potential to help with the evident problems of global warming and pollution and the obvious negative impact on our environment,” states State Representative Pat Harkins.” As we move forward with energy sources like wind and solar, there are endless opportunities for the environment, the economy, and employment.”
Pennsylvania’s successful development of wind energy results largely from the Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPA) requiring electricity suppliers to supply 18% of their sales from alternative energy by 2020, 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 Pennsylvanians on the table.
“The PennEnvironment report highlights the many environmental benefits of wind energy,” noted state Senator John Yudichak, Minority Chairman of the Senate Environmental Resources & Energy Committee. “Their recommendations on tax policy, renewable energy standards, and transmission infrastructure should be considered so that we can continue to advance this valuable renewable resource.”
“When we consider our future and the ever increasing demand for energy, we are fortunate to be a leader in the development of clean and renewable energy sources,” remarked state Senator John Blake. “In order to ensure continued diversity in our energy portfolio and to remain well positioned for future investment and jobs we need to sustain tax policies that strengthen our competitive position and that signal predictable financial performance for wind energy business concerns in this Commonwealth.”
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.
“It is important as a nation and as a region that we focus on wind power because it would help define us as a region and nation that is focused on the environment” said Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty.
“Wind power makes sense because it’s non-polluting and renewable. In Harrisburg, we need to be focusing on a green city, especially in our urban environment,” noted City Controller Dan Miller.
“As our state and region is still healing from Hurricane Sandy, we must invest wisely in a future with cleaner air, fewer extreme weather events, and smart use of our water resources,” said Masur. “Time is running out. We urge Senator Bob Casey and Senator Pat Toomey 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.”