States Can Reap Economic Rewards of Wind Energy While Meeting New EPA Rules

Source: by Adam Johnston, Clean Technica • Posted: Wednesday, August 6, 2014

States can reap the economic rewards of wind energy, while meeting new EPA rules, according to the America Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

“Overall, AWEA strongly supports the draft rule proposed by the EPA,” said AWEA Vice-President Tom Vinson in a statement during recent hearings on proposed EPA carbon rules for power plants.


“EPA rightly follows the lead of dozens of states, many leading power plant owners, and various regions of our country that have already embraced the carbon reduction, economic development and job creation in renewable energy… The resulting emissions reductions contribute to the goal of mitigating climate change, and protecting public health, and welfare,” he  said.

US wind capacity has nearly doubled, on average, every three years since 2005, the AWEA said. In 2012, 13 GW of new wind power capacity was created, thanks to the uncertainty over the wind production tax credit (PTC). Because of the growth, the wind industry has drawn average yearly private investment in the past five years of $15 billion in 39 states and Puerto Rico. It has also created 50,000 jobs in 44 states.

Besides job creation, wind power has also brought significant carbon reductions. Based on EPA AVERT models used by AWEA, the current group of wind turbines reduced 2013 carbon emissions by around 127 million tons. Currently, 11 states with wind power are seeing 10% reductions in carbon emissions, plus three other states near the benchmark. The US government is targeting a 23% decline in emissions by 2030 from wind energy as part of its current goal. Iowa achieved 20% of its electricity coming from wind thanks to the state’s renewable energy standard. The short documentary Scaling Wind features Iowa Governor Terry Brandstand talking about how the Hawkeye state got its target.

Many regional representatives are backing wind power as part of the overall clean energy solution ahead of new carbon regulations.

Centerwest Energy Alliance executive director Sara Cottrell Propst, a US western organization advocating for renewable energy, said the new regulations will “ensure reductions of carbon emissions, and send a strong market signal to the private sector to invest in home-grown renewable energy.”

Bruce Burcat, executive director of the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition, points to a recent study by PJM, suggesting wind power could supply 30% of its power grid while decreasing billions annually in wholesale prices. PJM is a regional grid operator for 13 Midwestern and Mid-Atlantic states as well as the District of Columbia.

As climate change becomes increasingly risky business for power companies and utilities, wind energy is a good tool in risk management, providing a solid solution in the energy-climate era, including for those states that lack other renewables (solar and hydro) or want to complement those or other sources.