News Release from American Clean Power Association


Wind Industry Profile of

Impressive Numbers from the US

U.S. wind farms reduced electric power sector carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 132 million metric tons in 2015, according to the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) forthcoming annual U.S. wind industry market report. The avoided emissions are equal to those of 28 million cars, or more than six percent of all carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from U.S. electricity generation last year.

Wind energy also greatly reduces a variety of health-harming air pollutants, including smog-causing sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOx), which helps reduce rates of asthma and other respiratory issues. Electricity generated by wind in 2015 displaced an estimated 176,000 metric tons of SO2 and 106,000 metric tons of NOx, representing $7.3 billion in avoided health costs last year alone.


“Americans will be able to breathe easier and live longer thanks to clean energy produced by American wind power,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA (image to the right). “Clean air benefits from wind power totaled $7.3 billion last year, without even including the value of carbon savings, and the industry also attracts thousands of quality jobs and billions of dollars in private investment to the U.S. economy. With wind power, states don’t have to make a trade-off between clean air and strong economic growth.”

More than 2.5 million Americans work in the clean energy industry across all 50 states, according to a new comprehensive analysis by the national nonpartisan business group Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2). The report – "Clean Jobs America," available here – is based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics information and new data from the U.S. Department of Energy, as well as a comprehensive survey of tens of thousands of businesses across the country. 77,000 workers work in the wind sector alone.

Wind power displaces generation from power plants using traditional fuel sources, and thus reduces greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants. A typical new wind turbine will avoid over 4,200 metric tons of CO2 emissions every year, the equivalent of nearly 900 cars’ worth.

Wind energy is the most cost-effective energy source to comply with the Clean Power Plan, the nation’s first-ever rule to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants, according to the government’s Energy Information Administration, Wall Street investment firm Lazard, and other analysts. While the U.S. Supreme Court recently issued a temporary stay of the Plan, many states and utilities have already indicated they continue to plan for generation changes and have recognized carbon reductions as inevitable.

Total U.S. power sector emissions fell to their lowest annual level since 1995 last year, according to the Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance's recently released fourth annual Sustainable Energy in America Factbook. Even while America has greatly reduced electric sector carbon pollution, electricity rates across the U.S. have remained 5.5 percent lower than they were in 2009.

Wind produced over 190 million megawatt-hours of electricity in the U.S. last year, enough to power 17.5 million typical U.S. homes, making the U.S. number one in the world in wind energy production.

Wind energy could grow to supply 20 percent of U.S. electricity by 2030 and 35 percent by 2050, according to the 2015 Wind Vision report by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Cumulatively by 2050, the DOE estimates wind could avoid $400 billion in climate change damages and save an additional $108 billion in public health costs by cutting other air pollutants, including preventing 22,000 premature deaths.

Impressive figures that indicate not only that wind energy provides clean power, but also makes for a better quality of life in many areas.

Edited by Katrin Radtke

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