Hyannis – As Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath prompt a call for action to tackle global warming and the rise in extreme weather, Environment Massachusetts released a new report today showing that the commonwealth’s projected power generation from wind energy displaces as much global warming pollution as taking 14,000 cars off the road per year. The Environment Massachusetts report also shows that current wind power already saves 6 million gallons of water per year in the commonwealth.
The report, Wind Power for a Cleaner America: Reducing Global Warming Pollution, Cutting Air Pollution, and Saving Water, touts wind energy’s environmental benefits to date, as well as future benefits if wind power continues to grow. 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.
“Our message to Congress is clear: Don’t throw wind power off the fiscal cliff. Our clean air, water, and children’s futures are too important to blow it now,” said Environment Massachusetts Energy Associate Danielle Falzon.
If wind development continues at a pace comparable to that of recent years through 2016, Massachusetts would reduce global warming pollution by the equivalent of taking 14,000 cars off the road and would save an additional 10 million gallons of water each year. “We cannot afford another devastating storm like Hurricane Sandy,” said Richard Elrick, Energy Coordinator of the Towns of Barnstable and Bourne. “Our leaders must continue to invest in clean energies like wind that do not contribute to global warming.” “Wind and other renewable energies give us the opportunity to mitigate climate change and create a cleaner, more secure future for Massachusetts,” said Woods Hole Senior Scientist Eric Davidson.
The report also outlined that wind energy installed in Massachusetts today is already delivering results for public health, by avoiding 10 tons of smog-causing pollution and 30 tons of soot pollution each year. In a state where more than 650,000 adults and children have asthma, the prospect of less asthma causing smog pollution is welcome news. Massachusetts’ successful development of wind energy results largely from the state’s Renewable Energy Standard, which requires utilities to provide 15% of their power from renewable energy by 2020 and the federal renewable energy Production Tax Credit (PTC). Wind energy now powers nearly 13 million homes across the country and is on its way to being cost-competitive with traditional fossil fuels. Without the PTC and the ITC, many planned wind farms will not be built, leaving health and environmental benefits for Bay Staters on the table.
“The environmental benefits of wind energy are enormous,” said Megan Amsler, Executive Director of Cape and Islands Self-Reliance. “We need to be utilizing this clean energy source to its full potential.”
“Time is running out. We urge our Congressmen to extend the renewable energy production tax credit and offshore wind investment tax credit before the end of the year,” said Danielle of Environment Massachusetts. “Our clean air, water, and children’s futures depend on it.”