Saint Louis, MO – In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and the severe droughts of recent years, more Missourians call for action to tackle global warming and the rise in extreme weather. Today, Environment Missouri Research & Policy Center released a report, Wind Power for a Cleaner America, showing that Missouri’s current power generation from wind energy displaces as much global warming pollution as taking 131,000 cars off the road per year. The report shows that wind power saves enough water to meet the needs of 8,000 Missourians.
Environment Missouri was joined by Senator Scott Sifton (D, SD-1) in releasing the report, Wind Power for a Cleaner America: Reducing Global Warming Pollution, Cutting Air Pollution, and Saving Water, and in touting wind energy’s current environmental benefits, as well as future benefits if wind power continues to grow. Both speakers urged Congress to extend critical federal incentives for wind power—the renewable energy production tax credit and the offshore wind investment tax credit—before they expire at the end of the year.
“Wind power is already replacing the dirty and dangerous energy sources of the past and creating a cleaner, healthier future for Missourians,” said Stuart Keating, State Advocate for Environment Missouri. “We can continue on this path of cutting dangerous pollution and saving water if Congress acts now to extend critical wind incentives. Our message to Congress is clear: Don’t throw wind power off the fiscal cliff. Our clean air, water, and children’s future are too important to blow it now.”
If wind development continues at a pace comparable to that of recent years through 2016, Missouri would reduce global warming pollution by as much as taking an additional 94,000 cars off the road and would save enough water to meet the needs of an additional 5,700 Missourians.
“Wind energy is a critical part of our energy future and presents tremendous opportunities for job creation in the years ahead,” said Senator Sifton.
“In this year of significant drought, the water savings secured by increased wind power are critical to our local environment and our economy,” added Keating.
The report also outlined that today’s wind energy in Missouri is delivering results for public health, by avoiding 520 tons of smog-causing pollution and 1000 tons of soot pollution in the state alone.
Missouri’s successful development of wind energy results largely from a citizen-passed set of Renewable Electricity Standards -- requiring utilities to provide 15% of their power from renewable energy by 2021 and the federal renewable energy Production Tax Credit (PTC).
Wind energy now powers nearly 13 million homes across the country and is on its way to being cost-competitive with traditional fossil fuels. But the two key federal wind power incentives—the production tax credit (PTC) and the offshore wind investment tax credit (ITC)—expire at the end of the year. Without these credits, many planned wind farms will not be built, leaving health, environmental, and economic benefits for Missourians on the table.
Despite the benefits of wind energy and widespread public support for federal policies to promote renewable energy, fossil fuel interests and their allies in Congress are vigorously opposing the PTC and ITC.
“As our state is still healing from severe drought, we must invest wisely in a future with cleaner air, fewer extreme weather events, and smart use of our water resources,” said Keating. “Time is running out. We urge Senator McCaskill and Senator Blunt to extend the renewable energy production tax credit and offshore wind investment tax credit before the end of the year. Our clean air, water, and children’s future depend on it.”