For More Information: Travis Madsen, Env. Washington: 720-937-2609
Wind power in Washington could prevent 8 coal-fired power plants-worth of global warming pollution if wind supplied 30 percent of the nation’s electricity needs, according to a new analysis by Environment Washington Research & Policy Center. The analysis comes just as Congress considers whether to renew tax credits critical to wind development.
“Wind power can replace the dirty energy sources of the past and the pollution that comes with them,” said Travis Madsen, State Global Warming Campaign Director for Environment Washington. “But Congress needs to act now to ensure a clean energy future.”
Continued, rapid development of wind energy would allow the renewable resource to supply 30 percent of the nation’s electricity by 2030, providing more than enough carbon reductions to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan.
Wind power facilities in Washington, such as the Windy Point Wind Farm and the Wild Horse Wind Farm, produced enough energy in 2013 to power more than a half-million Washington homes. The analysis predicts that onshore and offshore wind could expand significantly in Washington over the next 15 years, producing enough power to supply more than 4 million homes across the region.
“Wind energy has been a proven success in helping to reduce Washington’s carbon emissions and in benefitting our state economy,” said Governor Jay Inslee. “Since 2001, Washington state’s independent power producers and public and private utilities have invested more than $5.7 billion in wind energy projects that have brought new clean electricity to customers, created construction and operating jobs and strengthened the tax base for many of our rural counties. We will continue to advance policies that will build on our state’s clean energy leadership, and as vice chairman of the Governors Wind Energy Coalition I will continue to work with my fellow governors - Republicans and Democrats – to promote national policies that support renewable energy innovation.”
Last month Inslee unveiled policy proposals to promote clean energy and electric vehicles in Washington state. This week Inslee submitted Washington’s comments in support of the U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan proposal to reduce carbon pollution from existing power plants. Inslee wrote that this proposal “will help spur investments in clean energy innovation, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, create jobs and lower consumer energy costs.” Also this week, Inslee joined with Governors Dennis Daugaard (R-SD), John Kitzhaber (D-OR) and Terry Branstad (R-IA) in urging Congress to extend renewable energy tax incentives that will support continued growth in Washington and American clean energy industries.
The report, More Wind, Less Warming, comes as Governor Inslee considers a comprehensive state approach to tackle global warming, and three days after the comment period closed for the Clean Power Plan, which Congressional leaders are trying to block. The analysis also comes as lawmakers jockey over the fate of wind energy tax credits in the nation’s spending plan, due to be adopted next week.
“Wind energy is widely supported across the United States and now provides over 4 percent of our nation’s electricity,” said Karen Conover, Vice President of DNV GL, and member of the American Wind Energy Association Board of Directors. “As an indigenous natural resource, wind energy addresses concerns about energy security, climate change, and diversification of our energy generation. It acts as a hedge against future fuel price increases, creates jobs, and brings additional revenue streams to our rural communities. We need long term, consistent energy policies in place to help us continue to combat global warming while expanding our economy.”
America has the potential to power itself 10 times over with wind that blows both over land and along the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. Offshore wind, which is in the early stages of development in the United States, will be critical to achieving the 30 percent target, the report said.
“Speeding the development of pollution-free wind energy will slow global warming,” said Madsen. “That’s why our leaders should invest now in healthy air and a healthy planet.”
Environment Washington Research & Policy Center is statewide advocacy organization bringing people together for a cleaner, greener, healthier future.