Rolf Westgard’s July 1 letter doesn’t give American wind power the credit it deserves in terms of its impressive growth and record of cutting emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants.
The U.S. wind energy industry had its strongest year ever in 2012, installing a record 13,124 megawatts (MW) of electric generating capacity, leveraging $25 billion in private investment, and achieving over 60,000 MW of cumulative wind capacity. Wind was the No. 1 source of new U.S. electric generating capacity, providing some 42 percent of all new generating capacity.
The 60,000 MW of American wind is enough to power the equivalent of almost 15 million homes, reducing carbon dioxide emissions by nearly 100 million tons per year.
Every amount of wind energy production displaces on a 1:1 basis the output of the most expensive power plant that is currently online, which is almost always the least efficient fossil-fired power plant. As a result, numerous states have seen their emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants plummet as they ramped up their use of wind energy. For example, Minnesota wind grew from providing less than 4 percent of the state’s electricity in 2006 to almost 10 percent in 2009, causing electric-sector carbon dioxide emissions to fall by more than 10 percent, or 4 million metric tons per year.
Wind power is not just doing its part in reducing carbon emissions; it’s doing so at impressive rate.
Michael Goggin is the manager of transmission policy for the American Wind Energy Association.
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