Concord, NH – Existing wind energy production in New Hampshire is providing significant environmental benefits for the state, according to a new report, Wind Energy for a Cleaner America, released today by Environment New Hampshire.
The report finds that New Hampshire’s wind energy is already avoiding more than 157,267 metric tons of climate-altering carbon pollution, the equivalent of taking 32,764 cars off the road, while it also saves 70,265,000 gallons of water per year, enough to meet the needs of 2,567 people.
“Wind energy is a critical component of New Hampshire’s renewable energy commitment, transitioning us to the cleaner, greener, healthier state we all envision.” said Madeline Page of Environment New Hampshire. “But, with fossil-fuel interests threatening to stall or stop wind energy in Concord and Washington, D.C., our state and federal lawmakers must act.”
The report shows that wind energy is now providing 260,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity in New Hampshire. If state and federal officials commit to continued progress, we could reduce the carbon pollution equivalent to more than 30,163 passenger vehicles, and save enough water to meet the annual water needs of nearly 2,700 people. The report also shows that today’s wind energy in New Hampshire already avoids 148 tons of smog-causing nitrogen oxides and 183 tons of sulfur dioxide, which cause acid rain and soot.
New Hampshire recent progress on wind is the direct result of our renewable portfolio standard (RPS), which requires utilities to provide 24.8% of their power from renewable energy by 2025– and federal incentives for wind power. Despite the clear benefits of wind and widespread bipartisan support for federal policies to promote renewable energy, fossil fuel interests and their political allies have vigorously opposed these initiatives.
"As the report attests, wind energy is already providing meaningful environmental and economic benefits to the Granite State," said Christophe Courchesne, Staff Attorney for Conservation Law Foundation New Hampshire. "With its value as a hedge against the volatility of fossil fuels and its already competitive costs coming down, this clean technology is a climate solution with a bright future, both on land and offshore. New Hampshire should continue to welcome and encourage its development, at appropriate sites and in close consultation with local stakeholders, as part of the state's clean energy portfolio, which must also include other clean renewables and an increased commitment to energy efficiency."
“We cannot achieve the goals of our Renewable Portfolio Standard legislation without new renewable energy development, and I believe this includes wind energy.” said Representative Robert Backus of Hillsborough District 19. “New Hampshire should not turn away from the increasingly important role of wind energy in our future, even as we take care to assure that our state siting process considers each proposed facility carefully and assesses all likely impacts.”
Yet clean energy policy is currently threatened in the New Hampshire General Court. On January 22nd the House is expected to vote on HB580, a bill which would establish a moratorium on wind turbine plants in the state. The main federal incentives for wind, the investment tax credit (ITC) and the production tax credit (PTC), were left to lapse at the end of 2013.
“Eolian applauds Environment New Hampshire for taking a leadership stance in support of increasing clean renewable energy development in New Hampshire,” said Jack Kenworthy of Eolian Renewable Energy. “New renewable generation such as wind power adds jobs, taxes and other important revenues to the local and regional economy while improving air quality and avoiding fuel combustion at fossil fueled power plants, with all of the upstream and downstream impacts that go with it. This is a time to recommit ourselves to a cleaner energy future and not allow our progress and momentum to stall just when we are beginning to see real progress.”
Due to its current and future benefits, wind power is a key component of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan to reduce the carbon pollution fueling global warming 17 percent by 2020. The plan calls for an expansion of renewable energy, investment in energy efficiency, and the first-ever federal limits on carbon pollution from power plants.
“Wind energy is improving our quality of life in New Hampshire,” said Page. “We cannot let polluters and their allies stand in the way of advancing clean and renewable energy solutions. I urge our state lawmakers to defend wind energy in tomorrow’s vote and Senators Ayotte and Shaheen to do whatever it takes to renew federal wind incentives.”