Just a decade ago, wind power was a trivial part of America’s energy mix. Today, wind power accounts for 3 percent of our electricity. From 2006 to 2011, the amount of electricity America generated from wind power quadrupled, providing broad environmental benefits.
Generating electricity from wind doesn’t produce global warming pollution, add to air pollution or consume water—a sharp contrast with generating electricity at coal and natural gas power plants. Wind Power for a Cleaner America tallies up these savings state by state.
For Texas, which has more wind power installed than any other state, electricity from wind has helped avoid 17 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. That’s equal to more than 2.5 percent of total carbon dioxide emissions in the state—no small feat considering Texas produces more global warming pollution than any other state.
In Iowa, one of the Midwestern states hit hard by drought this year, wind power has helped to reduce water consumption. Iowa is second only to Texas in the total amount of electricity generated from wind power each year. Had that electricity been generated at coal and natural gas plants instead, water consumption would have been 2.3 billion gallons greater—enough to meet the domestic water needs of a city of 100,000 people, roughly the size of Davenport, Iowa’s third largest city.
The growth in wind power has been the result of deliberate policy choices by elected leaders to embrace renewable energy for its environmental and economic benefits. Wind Power for a Cleaner America provides a tally of how that policy decision has paid off.
Associate Director and Senior Policy Analyst, Frontier Group
Elizabeth Ridlington is associate director and senior policy analyst with Frontier Group. She focuses primarily on global warming, toxics, health care and clean vehicles, and has written dozens of reports on these and other subjects. Elizabeth graduated with honors from Harvard with a degree in government. She joined Frontier Group in 2002. She lives in Northern California with her husband and son.