More Wind, Less Warming

Posted by Content Coordinator on Wednesday, December 17th, 2014


How American Wind Energy’s Rapid Growth Can Help Solve Global Warming

Wind power is on the rise across America. The United States generates 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.

American wind power is already significantly reducing global warming pollution. In 2013 alone, wind power averted 132 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions – as much as would be produced by 34 typical coal-fired power plants. But with the United States and the world needing to move toward a future of 100 percent clean energy in order to prevent the worst impacts of global warming, America must do much more.

If America were to take advantage of just a fraction of its wind energy potential to get 30 percent of its electricity from the wind by 2030, the nation could cut carbon emissions from power plants to 40 percent below 2005 levels. That much wind power would help states meet and exceed the carbon dioxide emission reductions called for by the Environmental Protection Agency’s draft Clean Power Plan, and help the nation meet its commitment to cut U.S. carbon pollution by 26 to 28 percent by 2025.

Power plants are the biggest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States. By implementing policies that increase the production of wind energy, both on- and offshore, America can help put the nation – and the world – on a course to prevent the worst impacts of global warming.

Wind power has already significantly reduced carbon pollution.

  • In 2013, wind power displaced more than 132 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
  • Since 2001, wind power has displaced more than 620 million metric tons of carbon dioxide – more than a year’s worth of CO2 emissions from the entire country of Canada.
  • After more than a decade of rapid growth, wind energy now accounts for 4 percent of total U.S. electricity generation.
  • Nine states – Iowa, South Dakota, Kansas, Idaho, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Oregon – now generate more than 12 percent of their total electricity production with wind power.
  • Wind power capacity in Iowa and South Dakota now supplies more than a quarter of all in-state electricity generation.

By aggressively expanding wind energy, America can displace even more carbon pollution – putting the nation and the world on track to addressing global warming.

  • America has enough wind energy potential to power the nation more than 10 times over.
  • America will need to tap its ample offshore wind energy potential in order to hit a goal of 30 percent wind generation by 2030. Offshore wind energy is a proven technology that has provided Europe with clean energy for a decade, with 69 offshore wind farms now operational there. The first two U.S. offshore wind projects are on track for construction in 2015 and areas have been designated for offshore wind development off the U.S. coast capable of producing enough electricity for 6.4 million homes.

Figure ES-1. A Path to 30 Percent Wind Electricity

Download full version (PDF): More Wind, Less Warming

About Environment Texas
“Environment Texas is a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization. We believe there’s something special about Texas — something worth protecting and preserving for future generations. Whether it’s swimming at Barton Springs on a hot day, paddling down the Trinity River or hiking through Big Bend National Park, Texas’ natural wonders enrich our lives in countless ways.”

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One Response to “More Wind, Less Warming”

  1. jerry schneider says:

    The article didn’t mention floating windmills – the EU is far ahead of the US in developing this capability. I have an article that explains what is happening in the EU and I can forward it to anyone interested. It was published in the Financial Times in early December and is quite significant, in my opinion. Apparently, attachments are not allowed in these comments – too bad.

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