As Hurricane Sandy and this summer’s drought prompt more Iowans to call for action to tackle global warming and the rise in extreme weather, Environment Iowa released a new report today that shows that Iowa’s current power generation from wind energy displaces as much global warming pollution as taking 1,187,000 cars off the road per year. All of Iowa has also suffered from severe or extreme drought this year, and the Environment Iowa report shows that wind power saves enough water to meet the needs of 98,100 Iowans.
Environment Iowa was joined by Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie, Maureen McCue with Physicians for Social Responsibility, and Steve Falck with the Environmental Law and Policy Center in releasing the report, Wind Power for a Cleaner America: Reducing Global Warming Pollution, Cutting Air Pollution, and Saving Water, and touting wind energy’s environmental benefits to date, as well as future benefits if wind power continues to grow. The speakers urged Congress to extend critical federal incentives for wind power—the renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) and the offshore wind investment tax credit (ITC)—before they expire at the end of the year.
Read the new report on the benefits of wind energy here.
“Wind power is already replacing the dirty and dangerous energy sources of the past and creating a cleaner, healthier future forIowans,” said Amelia Schoeneman of Environment Iowa. “We can continue on this path of cutting dangerous pollution and saving water if Congress acts now to extend critical wind incentives. Our message to Congress is clear: Don’t throw wind power off the fiscal cliff. Our clean air, water, and children’s future are too important to blow it now.”
Wind energy now provides almost 20% of Iowa’s electricity making Iowa the second greatest producer of wind in the country. If wind development continues at a pace comparable to that of recent years through 2016, Iowa would reduce global warming pollution by as much as taking an additional 1,047,000 cars off the road, and would save enough water to meet the needs of an additional 86,500 Iowans.
The report also outlined that today’s wind energy in Iowa is delivering results for public health, by avoiding 8,480 tons of smog-causing pollution and 7,420 tons of soot pollution.
Iowa’s successful development of wind energy results largely from federal renewable energy Production Tax Credit.
Wind energy now powers nearly 13 million homes across the country and is on its way to being cost-competitive with traditional fossil fuels. But the two key federal wind power incentives—the production tax credit and the offshore wind investment tax credit —expire at the end of the year. Without these credits, many planned wind farms will not be built, leaving health and environmental benefits for Iowans on the table.
Despite the benefits of wind energy and widespread public support for federal policies to promote renewable energy, fossil fuel interests and their allies in Congress are vigorously opposing the PTC and ITC.
“As our state is still healing from the summer’s unprecedented droughts, we must invest wisely in a future with cleaner air, fewer extreme weather events, and smart use of our water resources,” said Amelia Schoeneman of Environment Iowa. “Time is running out. We urge Iowa’s Senators and Representatives to reach out to their colleagues and extend the renewable energy production tax credit and offshore wind investment tax credit before the end of the year. Our clean air, water, and children’s future depend on it.”