To the Editor: Wind Energy’s Role

Source: By MICHAEL GOGGIN , New York Times • Posted: Monday, April 27, 2015

To the Editor:

Re “Environmentalists Rethink Development,” by Eduardo Porter (Economic Scene column, April 15):

Wind energy plays a critical role in reducing carbon emissions while minimizing land use.

Wind turbines provide high-density energy production, as typically only 1 to 2 percent of the land within a wind plant is occupied by turbines, roads and electrical substations. The rest can be used for its original purposes; for example, farmers and ranchers benefit from wind lease payments while continuing to work the land around the turbines.

A recent Energy Department report calculated that supplying 35 percent of America’s electricity from wind would use less land than just a third of our golf courses. Moreover, other energy sources consume fuel that must be continually mined or drilled, devouring new land over time, while wind plants produce energy from the same land in perpetuity.

Most important, United States wind energy reduced carbon pollution by 125 million metric tons in 2014, the equivalent yearly emissions of 26 million cars. As the lowest cost zero-emission energy source, wind energy must play a critical role in tackling the most pressing challenge facing all of Earth’s lands: climate change.

MICHAEL GOGGIN is the Senior Director of Research, American Wind Energy Association.