Wind energy report highlights progress, encourages credit extension

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A new report shows that wind energy in Colorado displaces as much global warming pollution as taking 525,000 cars off the road each year.

And the state’s current power generation from wind energy saves enough water to meet the needs of 23,300 state residents.

The report comes from Environment Colorado and highlights wind energy’s environmental benefits, as well as future benefits if wind power grows in the state.

The nonprofit released the report as Congress is considering allow wind-energy tax credits to expire. The group urges Congress to extend federal incentives for wind power, which include renewable energy production tax credit and the offshore wind investment tax credit. Both are due to expire in December.

“Wind power is already replacing the dirty and dangerous energy sources of the past,” said Anneli Berube of Environment Colorado. “Our message to Congress is clear: Don’t throw wind power off the fiscal cliff.”

Wind energy provides 9.2 percent of the state’s electricity, making it the 10th largest wind producer in the country. If development continues at its current rate, the state could reduce pollution even further – the equivalent of taking 457,000 cars off the road each year.

Wind energy powers nearly 13 million homes nationwide and it’s on its way to being cost-competitive with traditional fossil fuels. But the group says the two key federal wind power incentives expire at the end of the year, and without these credits planned wind farms might not be built.

“Extending the wind production tax credit is one of the most straightforward ways we can support clean, Made-in-America energy and American manufacturing jobs,” said Sen. Mark Udall, a Democrat from Colorado. “We need the PTC to help create more good-paying jobs here at home, including jobs for our veterans who are transitioning from the military into the civilian workforce.”