Benefits of Wind Power
Wind turbines have become a familiar sight along desert freeways, mountain ridges and farmland throughout the United States and the world for a variety of environmental and economic reasons:
- Wind power is the most economical source of renewable energy and therefore the fastest growing sector of the entire energy industry. Wind power installations have increased by approximately 50% each year since 2006 with strong long-term growth potential during the years to come.
- A growing wind energy industry will create hundreds of thousands of new, stable jobs. At the end of 2008, the wind industry supported 85,000 jobs, up from 50,000 just one year earlier. In the Department of Energy’s “20% Wind by 2030” report, wind energy experts speculate that the wind energy industry could support up to 180,000 operations, manufacturing and construction jobs directly related to wind (operations, manufacturing, construction) and up to 500,000 jobs indirectly (trucking, shipping, component manufacturing) by the year 2030.
- In addition to this nationwide economic stimulus, wind energy projects revitalize local rural economies by adding to the local tax base and by generating new income to communities.
- In addition to numerous financial benefits, wind power is clean, renewable and beneficial to the environment. Unlike coal, oil, and natural gas which are finite energy sources with volatile costs subject to market fluctuations, wind is an infinite and stable energy source. Unlike fossil-fuel based energy, wind generated energy does not cause air emissions of mercury and other heavy metals, emissions from extracting and transporting fuels, lake and streambed acidification, or the production of toxic solid wastes, ash or slurry. The market prices of fossil fuels inaccurately reflect their true costs because their prices do not include the costs of these environmental impacts.
Wind power currently generates about 2% of the country’s electricity, but with proper investment, incentives, and policies, wind energy will quickly become a major staple in the United States’ power portfolio while simultaneously stimulating the economy and protecting the environment.