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New Report Says Rhode Island Can Benefit From Wind Power

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

 

Power generation from wind energy projects currently under construction could displace as much global warming pollution as taking 1,000 cars off the road per year, according to a new report released by the Environment Rhode Island Research & Policy Center.

The report, titled Wind Power for a Cleaner America: Reducing Global Warming Pollution, Cutting Air Pollution, and Saving Water, details wind energy's environmental benefits to date, as well as future benefits if wind power continues to grow.

Channing Jones, a spokesman for the organization, praised the Obama administration for announcing competitive lease sales for wind energy development in areas off the coasts of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Virginia, and urged Congress to extend critical federal incentives for wind power—the renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) and the offshore wind investment tax credit (ITC)—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 Rhode Island," Jones said. "We can continue on this path of cutting dangerous pollution 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 futures are too important to blow it now."

The report was released one day after the commissioning of the wind turbines at the Narragansett Bay Commission's Field's Point wastewater treatment facility.

In Rhode Island, wind energy represents an important resource to help the state meet its goal of producing 16 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2019, a target made possible in part by key federal tax credits––the production tax credit (PTC) and the offshore wind investment tax credit (ITC). 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 these two federal wind power incentives expire at the end of the year. Without these credits, many planned wind farms will not be built.

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.

Democratic State Rep. Chris Blazejewski, a member of the House Environment & Natural Resources Committee said the state needs to take advantage “of the important environmental and economic benefits of wind energy.”

"With the increasing risks of rising sea levels, extreme weather patterns, and volatile foreign energy sources, Rhode Island needs to look to wind power as one way to lessen carbon emissions, strengthen our energy independence, and grow the local green economy in the 21st century,” he said.

 

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