Over $1.1 billion in savings possible on Illinois electric bills by growing wind energy

September 29, 2015

AWEA logo2  WEF logo2

Chicago — Illinois households and business owners will be able to keep more money in their pockets by the state continuing to grow the state’s wind energy resources, according to new data released today by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and the Wind Energy Foundation (WEF).

The new results come from calculations made by AWEA using data from the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2015 report Wind Vision: A new era for wind power in the United States. According to the newly-released data, Illinois can save over $1.1 billion on consumers’ electricity bills through 2050 by achieving the Wind Vision growth scenario. Other economic benefits for Illinois that can come from greater wind energy use include $155 million in annual property tax revenue and over $63 million in annual wind farm lease payments to landowners by 2030.

According to the Wind Vision, wind energy can grow from supplying nearly five percent of U.S. electricity demand today to doubling to 10 percent by 2020, 20 percent by 2030, and 35 percent by 2050, making wind the leading source of electricity in the U.S.

“With stable policy we can grow wind energy and we can save Illinois homeowners and businesses money,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “Because of American ingenuity, wind energy’s costs have dropped by 66 percent in just the last six years, and by continuing to invest in wind over one billion dollars in savings can be passed on to Illinois consumers.”

The new data show Illinois can obtain nearly half of its electricity from wind power by 2030, up from around five percent today. That nearly ten-fold increase could provide enough electricity to supply 7.2 million typical American homes, protecting consumers against fossil fuel price spikes through stably priced wind energy, lowering consumer electricity bills as a result.

“Wind is a clean energy alternative available in substantial amounts in this state,” said Dany St. Pierre, President of CleanTech Expansion headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. “Further, being the cheapest form of energy and electricity, wind is best option for our people, our economy and our environment.”

The Wind Vision reports that over 380,000 well-paying jobs can be created across the country by wind meeting the 20 percent wind scenario by 2030, up from 73,000 jobs today. That includes 142,000 manufacturing jobs by 2030, up from the nearly 20,000 wind manufacturing jobs today.

“The study clearly shows the benefits of wind that Illinois citizens are already enjoying. It also shows that wind energy can provide an even bigger economic boost in the coming decades,” said John Kostyack, Executive Director of WEF. “With the Clean Power Plan coming online, Illinois residents will now have an opportunity to bring in more jobs and investment from wind energy while cleaning up their environment.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued the Clean Power Plan final rule earlier this summer, the nation’s first rule to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants. Expanding wind energy can help Illinois avoid over 29 million metric tons of carbon pollution per year by 2030 according to the new data, the equivalent of more than 6 million cars’ worth of carbon emissions every year.

Studies consistently show wind energy as having the largest role in cost-effectively meeting the Clean Power Plan.

Wind energy already supplies Iowa, South Dakota, and Kansas with more than 20 percent of the electricity produced in those states. Wind supplies more than 12 percent of the electricity in a total of nine states.

Wind can reliably supply even larger amounts of electricity according to a report by the utility consultant The Brattle Group. According to Brattle, wind has at times supplied as much as 40 percent of the electricity on the main Texas grid, and 60 percent on the main utility system in Colorado.

Nearly 4,000 jobs are supported by wind power today in Illinois, including well-paying manufacturing jobs at 39 factories producing wind power components around the state. Wind energy has already attracted $7.2 billion in capital investment to Illinois, and rural landowners currently receive $10.7 million a year in land lease payments.

For a library of up-to-date library images of wind energy use this link http://www.awea.org/MediaCenter/content.aspx?ItemNumber=7244

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AWEA is the national trade association of the U.S. wind energy industry, with 1,000 member companies, including global leaders in wind power and energy development, wind turbine manufacturing, component and service suppliers, and the western hemisphere’s largest wind power trade show, the AWEA WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition, which takes place next in New Orleans, LA, May 23-26, 2016. AWEA is the voice of wind energy in the U.S., promoting renewable energy to power a cleaner, stronger America. Look up information on wind energy at the AWEA website. Find insight on industry issues at AWEA's blog Into the Wind. Join AWEA on Facebook. Follow AWEA on Twitter.

The Wind Energy Foundation is a non-profit organization that recruits, trains and mobilizes business voices to education the American public and decision makers about the benefits of wind energy and other renewable energy. This work helps secure the policies needed to accelerate the nation’s transition to clean, domestic and affordable renewable energy.

AWEA is the national trade association of the U.S. wind energy industry, with over 900 member companies, including global leaders in wind power and energy development, wind turbine manufacturing, component and service suppliers, and the Western Hemisphere’s largest wind power trade show, the AWEA WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition, which takes place next in Anaheim, California, May 22-26, 2017. AWEA is the voice of wind energy in the U.S., promoting renewable energy to power a cleaner, stronger America. Look up information on wind energy at the AWEA website. Find insight on industry issues at AWEA's blog Into the Wind. Join AWEA on Facebook. Follow AWEA on Twitter.