The wind cools us on a summer day, moves our sailboats, flies our kites and helps grow our gardens. It can also enhance our world’s security, help protect its beauty and improve the quality of air we breathe when used to power our homes and businesses.
Wind Energy Is Clean
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. Running a single 1-MW wind turbine can displace 2,000 tons of carbon dioxide in one year (equivalent to planting one square mile of forest).
Wind Energy Is Cost Competitive
Wind energy is the least expensive of all renewable energy sources. Because the fuel (wind) is free, wind energy can provide a stable long-term price for power production. Today's wind farms can generate electricity for less than 5 cents per kilowatt hour in many parts of the U.S., a price that is competitive with new coal- or gas-fired power plants. The cost is expected to continue to decline as the technology improves and the market for this source develops.
Wind Energy Can Make You Money
Under federal law, utilities must allow independent power producers to be interconnected with the utility grid, and utilities must purchase any excess electricity they generate. Many states have gone beyond the minimum requirements of the federal law by allowing net metering for customers with PV systems. With net metering, the customer's electric meter will run backward when the solar electric system produces more power than is needed to operate the home or business at that time.
Wind Energy Is Growing Fast
Wind energy has been the world’s fastest growing renewable energy source for more than a decade with an average annual growth rate of over 20%. In 2008, the United States had a record breaking year by increasing generating capacity by 50%. With more than 25,170 MW of wind energy capacity installed in the U.S. today, wind power can generate enough to power more than 7 million average U.S.households (a fraction of what it could be providing). According to the American Wind Energy Association, wind energy in the United States could provide as much as 10,777 billion kWh annually—more than twice the electricity generated in the U.S.today.
Wind Energy Is Local
Wind projects keep more energy dollars in the communities where projects are located and provide a steady income through lease payments to the landowners. Wind projects also pay significant property taxes and state taxes each year and create local jobs. Unlike oil, the wind is not affected by international conflicts or embargoes, making it immune to supply problems or price shocks.