Chicago, IL -- The carbon pollution from 16 coal plants could be eliminated in Illinois if wind power continues its recent growth trajectory, according to a new analysis by Environment Illinois. The analysis comes just as Congress considers whether to renew tax credits critical to wind development.
“Wind power can replace the dirty energy sources of the past and the pollution that comes with them,” said Rachel Konowitz, campaign organizer for Environment Illinois. “But we need to act now to ensure a clean energy future.”
Continued, rapid development of wind energy would allow the renewable resource to supply 30 percent of the nation’s electricity by 2030, providing more than enough carbon reductions to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan.
Wind power projects in areas such as LaSalle and McClean Counties already produced enough energy in 2013 to power 883,845 homes. The analysis predicts wind will expand significantly in Illinois over the next 15 years, producing enough power for 6.2 million homes.
“Wind power will play an increasingly greater role in Illinois’ energy future,” said Kevin Borgia, Public Policy Manager with the Midwest-focused advocacy group Wind on the Wires. “As state lawmakers and regulators prepare to regulate carbon emissions in Illinois, wind generation remains one of the cheapest, most rapidly-scalable solutions to reduce carbon emissions and provide reliable, emissions-free power.”
The report, More Wind, Less Warming, comes days after the comment period closed for the Clean Power Plan, which Congressional leaders are trying to block. The analysis also comes as lawmakers jockey over the fate of wind energy tax credits in the nation’s spending plan, due to be adopted next week.
America has the potential to power itself 10 times over with wind that blows both over land and off the East Coast.
“Speeding the development of pollution-free wind energy will slow global warming,” said Konowitz. “That’s why our leaders should invest now in healthy air and a healthy planet.”