Wind energy is on the rise in Ohio and is providing huge environmental benefits for the state. That's according to Wind Energy for a Cleaner America, a new report released by Environment Ohio.
Among the key findings of the report: Ohio’s wind energy is already avoiding more than 597,613 metric tons of climate-altering carbon pollution – the equivalent of taking 124,503 cars off the road, while saving 267,007,000 gallons of water per year. That's sufficient to meet the needs of 10,602 people. The report also shows that today’s wind energy in Ohio avoids 562 tons of smog-causing nitrogen oxides and 694 tons of sulfur dioxide, which cause acid rain and soot.
The report shows that wind energy is now providing 988,000 MWh of electricity in Ohio. Ohio could be on track to see an additional 918,294 MWh increase in wind production in the next five years. If state and federal officials commit to continued progress, Ohio could reduce the carbon pollution equivalent of more than 101,263 passenger vehicles, and save enough water to meet the annual water needs of nearly 9,854 people.
Thanks to its current and future benefits, wind power is a key component of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to reduce the carbon pollution that is fueling global warming 17 percent by 2020. The plan calls for an expansion of renewable energy, investment in energy efficiency, and the first-ever federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants.
“The wind power industry is healing our environment and stimulating our economy,” said Eric Ritter, Communications and Strategy Manager for LEEDCo, a Cleveland-based non-profit developing a six-turbine offshore wind project in Lake Erie known as Icebreaker™. “The State of Ohio is already ranked fourth in the U.S. for wind industry employment. Continued support for local projects will help solidify Ohio’s leading role in the global wind turbine supply chain.”
Vivian Daly of Environment Ohio applauded the findings. But she also warned against resting on laurels. “Now our state and national leaders need to take action to make sure we don’t leave these environmental benefits on the table," she declared.
One major potential threat to further progress looms on the legislative front. According to Daly, Ohio’s clean energy policy is threatened in the senate, and the main federal incentives for wind – the investment tax credit (ITC) and the production tax credit (PTC) – are currently set to expire at the end of 2013.
Ohio’s recent progress on wind is the direct result of Senate Bill 221 – and federal incentives for wind power. Despite the clear benefits of wind and widespread bipartisan support for federal policies to promote renewable energy, fossil fuel interests and their political allies have vigorously opposed these initiatives, Daly noted.
Also view "Ohio's Clean Energy Success Story"