News roundup: PTC is "common sense," wind cuts CO2 emissions, states embrace clean energy

22 April 2014 by Peebles Squire Peebles Squire

This Earth Day, we have a trio of stories that highlight the PTC’s success, wind’s ability to reduce CO2 emissions, and eleven key states that are embracing clean energy in a big way.

Wind power is a good deal for Americans, says the Iowa Wind Energy Association’s Mike Prior, who took to The Hill this week to promote the success of the PTC:

  • The Production Tax Credit drives $15 billion a year on average in private investment into the U.S. economy and more than pays for itself in local, state, and federal taxes, over the life of the wind project. With this tax credit in place, wind power has improved its technology and lowered costs 43 percent in just four years and these savings are being passed onto American bill-payers.
  • It’s not surprising many Republicans support wind power and the market-driven solutions that help make it grow. After all, 71 percent of districts held by Republicans have either a wind turbine or a wind-related manufacturing plant that supports well-paying jobs.
  • And these figures are more than just numbers down on paper. The return on investment in wind power pays dividends for families and communities across the country. It’s why Sen. Chuck Grassley said “wind energy will stand up next to any other form of energy when given a fair shake.”
  • While some in Congress have made proposals regarding tax reform, there’s been no substantial movement one way or the other. The tax code remains our nation’s de facto energy policy, and so far it’s worked to grow domestic forms of energy, including the adoption of wind power and other renewables.

Mike Barnard, Senior Fellow for Wind Energy at the Energy & Policy Institute, took to E&PI’s blog to highlight wind’s status as one of the fastest, biggest, and cheapest ways to cut CO2 emissions:

  • It's worth digging into the reality compared to the odd myths that are being spread, but before we get into the details, what does actual grid management data tell us? As the graph above shows, there is pretty much a one-for-one replacement of fossil fuel generation with wind energy, meaning that CO2e is also displaced on a one-for-one basis.
  • To summarize the reality of the situation:
    • Wind turbines have very low full-lifecycle carbon emissions
    • Wind turbines require very little backup
    • Fossil fuel plants that provide warm standby for variances in grid electricity demand work efficiently
    • Wind farms cause only minor micro-climate effects
    • Wind turbines pay back their total environmental debt in months
  • Wind farms are one of the key wedges in the fight against global warming. The myth that they aren't is a multi-headed hydra. As can be seen, each head of the hydra is as mythical as the last. It is kept alive only on anti-wind disinformation sites…

Eleven states excelled in clean energy in 2013, producing power from clean sources at double the U.S. average:

  • In those 11 states, nonhydro renewable resources accounted for between 14 percent and 32 percent of the net electric generation, with Maine leading all states by producing 32 percent of its power from nonhydro renewables. Biomass resources accounted for 25 percent of Maine’s total electric generation, according to the EIA.
  • The other states largely relied on wind power to produce its nonhydro renewable power, with Iowa and South Dakota producing more than 25 percent of their net electricity from wind generation. Idaho, Kansas, Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon and Colorado generated between 12 percent and 20 percent of their power from wind resources, the EIA stated.

Be sure to check out Monday’s roundup: PTC boosts wind, Utah grows its resources, Texas goes big

Sources:

Mike Prior, “Production Tax Credit is common-sense policy.” The Hill. 21 April 2014.

Mike Barnard, “Wind Energy is a Key Wedge in the Fight Against Global Warming.” Energy & Policy Institute. 18 April 2014.

Staff, “Eleven states generate power from nonhydro renewables at double U.S. average.” Power Engineering. 21 April 2014.