© 2018 Vermont Environmental Research Associates, Inc.  •  (802) 244-7522  •  vera@verarenewables.com

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Wind Power is Clean and Renewable

Electricity generated by wind turbines won't dirty the air we breathe or emit pollutants like other energy sources - that means less smog, less acid rain and fewer greenhouse gas emissions. Fossil fuel power plants are the largest stationary source of air pollution in the United States, emitting millions of tons of sulfur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen and carbon dioxide every year. These “greenhouse gases” contribute to global climate change. Running a single 1-MW wind turbine can displace over 2,000 tons of carbon dioxide in one year (equivalent to planting one square mile of forest). In 2016, wind power avoided emissions of 637 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. Wind is available and plentiful, and it won't deplete our world's natural resources. 

Wind Energy is Reliable and Efficient

There is some confusion about the reliability of wind power. Wind power is both reliable and intermittent. All electric generating facilities have down-time when they are not producing power either expected or unexpected. Expected outages typically occur as a result of planned maintenance or system upgrades. Unexpected outages can be caused by storms, system faults, or fuel shortages. Wind turbines are very reliable and modern wind turbines have annual availability to generate electricity over 95% of the time. 


The intermittency of wind turbines is due to the fact that the wind varies on a minute to minute basis which affects the electrical output of wind turbines. In recent years, electric grid operators have improved their weather forecasting capabilities to improve wind’s compatibility with other generation sources on the grid. Additionally, grid operators are increasing large scale storage capacity to improve the fluctuations in the balance between electricity demand from customers and supply from generators. 

Wind is Growing Fast

Vermont currently has five large scale operating wind farms which have a combined nameplate capacity of 119 MW. In 2016, these plants produced over 15% of the electric energy consumed in Vermont.

 

As of July 2018, over 90,000 MW of wind capacity was installed in the U.S. consisting of over 52,000 wind turbines. Wind now supplies enough energy for over 27,000,000 average American homes annually and provides over 100,000 jobs across the U.S. Wind has the highest available capacity of all the renewable energy technologies in the U.S..

 

Worldwide, more than 51,300 MW of new wind capacity was commissioned in 2018 with global wind capacity reaching 591,000 MW. Wind energy is expected to continue to grow at a similar rate for the next five years. Globally, $107.2 billion dollars was invested in wind energy in 2017.



Wind Energy is Local


Wind projects keep more energy dollars local to the states’ and communities where projects are sited and provide a steady income through lease payments to the host landowners. Wind projects also pay significant property and state taxes each year and create local jobs. Unlike fossil fuels, the wind is not affected by international conflicts or embargoes, making it immune to supply shortages or price shocks. This is especially important during times when the electrical system is under heavy stress, such as the most recent "polar vortex" where wind power played a crucial role in delivering reliable electricity to the American midwest when some fossil fuel plants were unable to do so.