AURORA, CO – Wind power has grown exponentially in Colorado over the last dozen years, and now supplies enough energy to power more than 674,000 homes, a new report from Environment Colorado Research & Policy Center said today. Since 2001, wind turbines across the state have produced enough energy to reduce carbon pollution from 1.1 million cars.
“Wind power here in Colorado is already growing steadily, reducing pollution and helping to solve the climate crisis,” said Kim Stevens, State Director Environment Colorado. “But we need policies to provide steady support for this clean energy resource to maintain our momentum in the fight against global warming.”
The report, Turning to the Wind, comes as state officials determine how to comply with the Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of President Obama’s Climate Action that sets state-by-state limits on carbon pollution from power plants and encourages clean energy development In Colorado, the Department of Public Health and Environment is currently underway in making a state plan to comply with carbon reduction standards.
“Reducing air pollution has both short-term and long-term heath benefits,” said Matt Strand with National Jewish Health. “I have been involved in research showing the association between fine particulate matter and acute health effects for children with asthma in the Denver area. Using wind power as an alternative to fossil-related power helps Coloradoans since it reduces both particulate matter and carbon emissions.”
The analysis is also timed with what’s become an annual tradition in Congress: waiting until the last minute to renew critical tax incentives for clean energy. The credits, which have helped spur wind power’s growth over the last two decades, expired at the end of last year, and any measure to reinstate them must be adopted before Congress adjourns for the year on December 18.
“Colorado has the third highest number of wind-related jobs in the country, including 23 manufacturing facilities and more than 7000 well-paid workers,” said Chris Gorrie, President of Ecotech Institute. “Colorado led the nation in wind energy manufacturing jobs in 2014 and in 2016 will see a massive push forwards while the Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit is in effect.”
The report also showed that renewing tax credits for clean energy sources could spur enough wind development by 2020 to power as many as 30,000 more homes, and reduce carbon pollution equal to that produced by over 11,500 cars. Nationwide, as much as 104.2 million tons of carbon pollution could be avoided.
As world leaders meet in Paris to hammer out an international agreement to slash climate-changing emissions, environmental advocates said wind power should play a critical role.
“To avoid the worst impacts of global warming, we need to transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy,” said Stevens, “and that must include doing everything we can to develop abundant, pollution-free wind power.”
Environment Colorado Research & Policy Center is statewide advocacy organization bringing people together for a cleaner, greener, healthier future.