Benefits of Wind Energy

Economic Benefits

  • Local economic impacts of wind power are derived from temporary and permanent employment in construction, engineering, transportation, manufacturing, and operations; local economic activity resulting from wind construction; and increased revenues from land lease payments and tax revenue.[1]
  • Attracting more than $100 billion in private investment to the US since 2008
  • Supporting a manufacturing supply chain of more than 500 factories across 43 states
  • By the end of 2016, approximately 102,500 individuals were employed directly in the U.S. wind industry. In the 39 states with utility-scale wind deployment, wind plants create permanent jobs for site operations and provide local tax and lease payments. [2] Globally, an estimated 834,000 direct and indirect jobs were tied to wind in 2013. [3]
  • The value of wind project development flows toward the local community through annual land lease payments. With over 98% of all wind energy projects on private land, wind energy projects deliver at least $245 million every year in land lease payments to landowners. Other local benefits include property tax payments, payments in lieu of taxes, and increased local spending plus its associated tax revenue. These local benefits are often used toward community development such as schools, libraries and hospitals.[4]

Environmental Benefits

  • Wind deployment delivers public health and environmental benefits today, including reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, reduced air pollutants, and reduced water consumption and withdrawals. [5]
  • In 2016, wind energy avoided an estimated 159 million metric tons of CO2—the equivalent of reducing power sector CO2 emissions by around 9%, or 33.7 million cars’ worth of carbon emissions.
  • The 10,432 megawatts (MW) of wind power capacity under construction at the end of 2016 is expected to reduce another 24.2 million metric tons of CO2 per year when it is operational — the equivalent of reducing power-sector CO2 emissions by another 1%. This would bring total emissions reductions from U.S. wind generation to around 183 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.[6]
  • On average, wind generation today will avoid roughly 0.69 metric tons (1,500 pounds) of CO2 for every MWh of wind generation. A typical new wind turbine will avoid over 4,200 metric tons of CO2 annually, the equivalent of nearly 900 cars worth of carbon emissions.[7]
  • In 2016, wind energy generation reduced water consumption at existing power plants by approximately 87 billion gallons of water – the equivalent of roughly 266 gallons per person in the U.S. or conserving the equivalent of 657 billion bottles of water.[8]

Reliability

  • Continued advancements and scale-up of turbine technology have helped reduce wind power costs and enable broader geographic deployment of wind power. [10]
  • Providing over 82 GW of wind across 40 states in 2016.
Pinwheel by Holgers Fotografie [CC0]

Photo from the public domain

Since 2008, wind power has attracted more than $100 billion in private investment in the U.S.
Wb_deichh_drei_kuhs by Dirk Ingo Franke [CC BY-SA]

Photo by Dirk Ingo Franke

maple-ridge-cropped

Photo by Jaya Prime and Stevebidmead

In 2013, 61 gigawatts of energy was generated by wind power across 39 states.