Written on: January 29, 2015
Wind exists because the sun unevenly heats the surface of the Earth. As hot air rises, cooler air moves in to fill the void. As long as the sun shines, the wind will blow. And as long as the wind blows, people will harness it to power their lives. In the past mariners used sails to capture the wind, farmers used windmills to grind their grains and pump water. Today wind turbines wring electricity from the breeze. This has increased by more than 25 percent a year. Yet it only provides a small fraction of the world’s energy.
Wind power is on the rise across America. We generate 24 times more electricity from wind power than we did in 2001 providing clean, fossil fuel-free energy that helps the nation do its part in the fight against global warming. Rapid expansion of wind energy is feasible and affordable. The cost of wind energy is now at or below the cost of new natural gas power plants. The US Department of Energy has found that the electric grid can accommodate much more wind energy than we currently generate. Over the past decade offshore wind energy has provided Europe with clean energy with 69 offshore wind farms. The first two US offshore wind projects are on track for construction in 2015.
If America were to take advantage of just a fraction of its wind energy potential the nation could cut carbon emissions from power plants to 40 percent below 2005 levels. This would help us meet and exceed the carbon dioxide emission reduction called for by the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and help our nation meet its commitment to cut US carbon pollution by 30 percent by 2025.
The federal government can help by renewing and extending the Production Tax Credit which helped drive the growth in wind power over the last ten years, and the Investment Tax Credit which is vital to the successful launch of the offshore wind industry.
Industry experts predict that if the pace of growth continues, by 2050 the answer to one third of the world’s electricity needs will be found blowing in the wind.
Environment America Research and Policy Center, December 4,2014
To learn more about why and how we care for the Earth, click here