Wind energy remains the biggest, fastest, cheapest ways to cut carbon pollution. In 2017 alone, wind cut over 40 million cars’ worth of CO2 emissions, an amount that represents around 11 percent of total electric sector carbon emissions, and the amount under construction is expected to reduce emissions by another two percent. Because wind’s costs have fallen by 67 percent since 2009, these reductions were made cost effectively.
Climate change poses a substantial threat to human health and the environment, and AWEA supports policies that reduce carbon pollutions, including through accurately valuing wind’s zero-carbon electricity.
For example, AWEA is one of a diverse group of backers participating in Americans for Carbon Dividends (AFCD) and the associated Baker-Shultz plan. This forum offers a valuable opportunity to join a bipartisan conversation on carbon policy. Baker-Schulz is one of several carbon pricing plans we’re analyzing.
Zero carbon electricity
Wind power generates electricity without any carbon pollution. Even when considering carbon emissions from manufacturing and construction associated with building wind farms, a typical wind turbine repays its “carbon footprint,” in six months or less.
A peer-reviewed analysis by a Department of Energy lab found that wind energy produces 99.8 percent of the carbon emissions savings expected of a zero-emissions resource even when accounting for increased cycling of fossil generation to help integrate variable resources like wind. The study found that for a scenario with wind and solar providing 33 percent of electricity on the Western U.S. power system, one megawatt hour (MWh) of wind energy saves more than 1,190 pounds of carbon pollution on average, with those savings reduced by only 0.2 percent as a result of increased cycling of fossil-fired power plants. Other studies have confirmed these results.