Why Wind Power?

Wind power provides many economic, social, and environmental benefits.
Wind Power Means:

Economic Benefits

New jobs:
Wind energy stimulates the growth of rural communities by adding a long-term source of highly-skilled jobs. For every one megawatt of installed capacity, wind energy produces 22 direct and indirect jobs. Five jobs are added for installing turbines and 17 jobs per megawatt (MW) are added related to manufacturing. Across the country, the U.S. wind industry directly employs more than 2,000 people and contributes to the economies of 46 states. These jobs include the installation, operation, and maintaining of turbines and the manufacturing of the turbine’s blades, electronic components, gearboxes, generators, towers, and other equipment.

A study conducted by the New York State Energy Office states that wind energy creates 27% more jobs in the state than the amount produced by a local power plant and 66% more than a natural gas power plant.

Landowner revenues: Wind energy projects are farmers' and landowners’ new cash crop. Leasing a 250MW project could generate $14,000 in profits annually. However, shared ownership of a wind energy system, as in National Wind’s model, can bring in a significant amount more. A 200MW project could generate 300 more jobs and $7.8 million more income than receiving lease payments from wind developers.

Tax revenue: Wind power provides a large amount of tax revenues to rural areas. Property tax revenues vary from state to state, however, 1% to 3% is the typical range. Property tax payments at a 1% rate provide $10,000 per MW of installed capacity. This revenue flows to the rural communities, helping build new schools, roads, bridges, and other infrastructure.

Cost-efficient energy production and affordability: The cost of wind-generated electricity has dropped from nearly 40 cents per KWh in the early 1980’s to 2.5-5 cents per kWh today, depending on the wind’s speed and the project size. Many utilities today provide customers the option to purchase wind-generated electricity as the cost continues to decline.

At a rate of at least 2 to 2.5 cents/per KWh, the average household could maintain 25% of its electricity from wind at a rate of $4 to $5 a month. The cost of wind is on the decline, making it more cost-effective as years go on.

Free fuel: Mining and transportation of fossil fuels is an expensive process. Wind energy does not require mining or transportation because it is a renewable, native source of fuel. Wind power’s potential could generate an oil supply of 20 billion dollars a year. This is as much as the current world production of oil.

Price stability:
The price of fossil fuels have fluctuated immensely in the last several years due to international conflicts. Wind power offers a stable fixed rate and is free.

Social Advantages

National security/energy independence:
Because wind energy is a homegrown energy, it reduces our independence on fossil fuels. This can help improve rapid increases in fuel costs. Distributed generation centers for community wind projects help safeguard potential terrorist threats to these plants.

Supporting agriculture:
Wind turbines can be installed and operated on farmland without disturbing people, livestock, or crop production.

Local ownership: If clusters of turbines could be owned by local landowners and small businesses, it will make a significant contribution to the worldwide energy mix. Local ownership also puts more money back into the hands of landowners and the local economy, not corporate developers.

Local electricity sources mean we import less fuel from other states, regions, and nations. Some states such as Minnesota and Nebraska have instituted C-BED statutes that promote locally owned energy facilities.

Environmental Advantages

Clean Water:
Wind turbines don’t emit any pollution that could contaminate lakes and streams. Wind energy also conserves water. 600 times more water is needed to produce electricity with nuclear power and 500 times more water is needed to produce electricity with coal, than with wind.

Clean Air: Traditional sources of electricity are associated with air pollution, acid rain, global warming, radioactive waste disposals, and oil spills. Wind energy is pollution free.

Mining and Transportation: With traditional electricity sources, destructive mining and transportation is necessary. Mining depletes are limited fossil fuels and transportation is expensive and can lead to “price shocks”. Harvesting wind does not require or involve any of this. Harvesting the wind preserves our resources because there is no need for destructive resource mining nor for fuel transportation to processing facilities.

Land Preservation and Visual Aesthetics: Wind farms can be spaced over a large geographical area, covering only a small portion of the land.

There is little impact on crop production and livestock grazing. Wind farms preserve open spaces because large buildings cannot be constructed in the path of a turbine. Modern wind turbines are also elegant, beautiful sculptures that are striking and awe-inspiring.

Source: Windustry