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Megan Severson,
Wisconsin Environment Research and Policy Center

Wind Energy in Wisconsin Prevents as Much Global Warming Pollution as Taking 133,000 Cars Off the Road Each Year

For Immediate Release

Madison – As this summer’s drought prompts more Wisconsinites to call for action to tackle global warming and the rise in extreme weather, Wisconsin Environment released a new report today that shows that Wisconsin’s current power generation from wind energy displaces as much global warming pollution as taking 133,000 cars off the road per year.

Wisconsin Environment’s report, Wind Power for a Cleaner America: Reducing Global Warming Pollution, Cutting Air Pollution, and Saving Water, touts wind energy’s environmental benefits to date, as well as future benefits if wind power continues to grow. The group urges 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 Wisconsinites,” said Megan Severson of Wisconsin Environment. “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, Wisconsin would reduce global warming pollution by as much as taking an additional 108,000 cars off the road, and would save enough water to meet the needs of an additional 10,200 Wisconsinites.

The report also outlined that today’s wind energy in Wisconsin is delivering results for public health, by avoiding 600 tons of smog-causing pollution and 1,030 tons of soot pollution.

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 and the offshore wind investment tax credit —expire at the end of the year. Without these credits, many planned wind farms will not be built, leaving health and environmental benefits for Wisconsinites 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 the severe drought, we must invest wisely in a future with cleaner air, fewer extreme weather events, and smart use of our water resources,” said Severson of Wisconsin Environment. “Time is running out. We urge Senator Kohl and Senator Johnson 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.”

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Wisconsin Environment is a statewide, citizen-based, environmental advocacy organization working toward a cleaner, greener, healthier future.