Carbon Pricing

Published on August 4th, 2014 | by Adam Johnston


States Can Reap Economic Rewards of Wind Energy While Meeting New EPA Rules

August 4th, 2014 by  

States can reap the economic rewards of wind energy, while meeting new EPA rules, according to the America Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

“Overall, AWEA strongly supports the draft rule proposed by the EPA,” said AWEA Vice-President Tom Vinson in a statement during recent hearings on proposed EPA carbon rules for power plants.


Michigan Wind Turbine via Flickr CC

“EPA rightly follows the lead of dozens of states, many leading power plant owners, and various regions of our country that have already embraced the carbon reduction, economic development and job creation in renewable energy… The resulting emissions reductions contribute to the goal of mitigating climate change, and protecting public health, and welfare,” he  said.

US wind capacity has nearly doubled, on average, every three years since 2005, the AWEA said. In 2012, 13 GW of new wind power capacity was created, thanks to the uncertainty over the wind production tax credit (PTC). Because of the growth, the wind industry has drawn average yearly private investment in the past five years of $15 billion in 39 states and Puerto Rico. It has also created 50,000 jobs in 44 states.

Besides job creation, wind power has also brought significant carbon reductions. Based on EPA AVERT models used by AWEA, the current group of wind turbines reduced 2013 carbon emissions by around 127 million tons. Currently, 11 states with wind power are seeing 10% reductions in carbon emissions, plus three other states near the benchmark. The US government is targeting a 23% decline in emissions by 2030 from wind energy as part of its current goal. Iowa achieved 20% of its electricity coming from wind thanks to the state’s renewable energy standard. The short documentary Scaling Wind features Iowa Governor Terry Brandstand talking about how the Hawkeye state got its target.

Many regional representatives are backing wind power as part of the overall clean energy solution ahead of new carbon regulations.

Centerwest Energy Alliance executive director Sara Cottrell Propst, a US western organization advocating for renewable energy, said the new regulations will “ensure reductions of carbon emissions, and send a strong market signal to the private sector to invest in home-grown renewable energy.”

Bruce Burcat, executive director of the Mid-Atlantic Renewable Energy Coalition, points to a recent study by PJM, suggesting wind power could supply 30% of its power grid while decreasing billions annually in wholesale prices. PJM is a regional grid operator for 13 Midwestern and Mid-Atlantic states as well as the District of Columbia.

As climate change becomes increasingly risky business for power companies and utilities, wind energy is a good tool in risk management, providing a solid solution in the energy-climate era, including for those states that lack other renewables (solar and hydro) or want to complement those or other sources.

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About the Author

is expected to complete the Professional Development Certificate in Renewable Energy from the University of Toronto by December 2017. Adam recently completed his Social Media Certificate from Algonquin College Continuing & Online Learning. Adam also graduated from the University of Winnipeg with a three-year B.A. combined major in Economics and Rhetoric, Writing & Communications in 2011. Adam owns a part-time tax preparation business. He also recently started up Salay Consulting and Social Media services, a part-time business which provides cleantech writing, analysis, and social media services. His eventual goal is to be a cleantech policy analyst. You can follow him on Twitter @adamjohnstonwpg or check out his business

  • adamjohnstonwpg

    James, very well point. I would be curious to here what opponents would be thinking on this too.

    • Matt

      the lights are going to go out. Electric rates will triples, US economy will have negative growth. Massive unemployment. The sky is falling.

  • JamesWimberley

    It would be more enlightening to have the thinking of opponents of the proposed EPA rule. They may not like it, but would be delinquent not to plan round it.

    • Offgridman

      There was a post here a few days ago demonstrating that. The politicians from one of the southeastern states South Carolina or maybe West Virginia I believe. It was a call on the constituency to pray for coal because the EPA was out to destroy their way of life.
      So no real facts or numbers to back up their beliefs. Just more of the typical far right blather calling on an emotional response because they have no reasonable arguments against the change. I say typical because there have been many examples of this type of discourse in the US Congress on many different subjects over the past few years.

      • Jason Willhite

        I saw that post and was absolutely embarrassed that churches would be praying for coal. Here in Arkansas, where I think we get more than half of our energy from coal, you’d think it was the end of the world. Reading the articles, the utilities only seem to suggest the only way they can follow the EPA’s new standards is shut down operations, send people home and jack up the energy costs. If the energy companies were my kids I’d discipline them, cause that’s just throwing a fit….
        I’d rather our energy utilities embrace renewables, where it seems there’s growing employment, cleaner air and progressively lower prices in the near future…

        • Bob_Wallace

          That they are starting to make a lot of noise is a good sign. It means that they know that the butcher is on the way and their coal companies are going to get knocked in the head and sold off in parts.

          Hope people there are feeding back info on the massive numbers of jobs being created by the wind and solar industries. (Hint, hint)

          The National Solar Jobs Census 2013 found that the U.S. solar industry employed 142,698 Americans as of November 2013.

          The US wind industry employees 50,500 people.

          The average number of employees in U.S. coal mines decreased 1.9 percent to 89,838 employees.

          And that’s with about 40% of our electricity coming from coal and only 5% or so coming from wind and solar. Replace coal with wind and solar and for every coal job lost and about 16 jobs are created in the wind and solar industries.

          • Jason Willhite

            Agreed. Thanks for those links, I’m going to save those.

          • Offgridman

            Keep in mind that the election cycle is coming up, the other real way that we can make a difference is to let our opinions be known at the polls.
            Get yourself there and do your best to discuss the priorities with friends and family. I can understand that at times it seems like a very small voice amongst all the noise. But even a higher percentage for a losing cause helps to make the winners recognize the opinions of the populace.

          • Slow down. This crop of republicans have displayed virtually no recognition the populace’s opinions.

          • Offgridman

            Thus far I have to agree with you, but historically with either party when their margin of winning gets tighter and they recognize the possibility of losing next time they work their positions back towards the middle and reach out to make more deals. Just because you cast a vote that you think might be for the loser doesn’t mean it has no effect.
            A politician that feels threatened over his position is more likely to be cooperative.
            So go and vote!

          • Bob_Wallace

            Best advice I’ve heard in a long, long time.

          • Offgridman

            Appreciate you saying that.
            The articles talking about people not bothering to vote because they don’t think it has any effect, or that they are to small a part of the system to mean anything have got me spooked. It is just what the ones with money trying to control the system want.
            Hoping that the perspective of watching these games for years from our generations can be passed on to the younger ones so that they don’t give up on the system. It is the only one we have got, and the easiest way to make a difference.

          • Bob_Wallace

            My understanding is that if a high percentage of eligible votes in Texas showed up at the polls then Texas would be a blue state with Democrats holding the federal offices and governor’s spot.

      • Bob_Wallace


        • Offgridman

          Thanks again, knew it was someplace not to far off from home, but didn’t have the time to research

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