Photo: Wind Farm
Benefits of Wind Power
Benefits to Texas
The offshore wind farms Baryonyx are planning represents a tremendous opportunity for Texas:
- Direct cash inflow to State treasury through taxation
- Substantial royalty payments to the Texas School Fund
- Dollars spent in capital expenditure and operations and maintenance expenditure to fabricators. Port facilities and associated companies on the Texas coast
- Direct and indirect job creation
- Revitalize the well established existing supply chain for offshore operations
- Supply Chain job security at a time when operators in the offshore oil and gas exploration industries are facing reduced future work orders.
Economic benefits and job creation
According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the wind industry now employs around 85,000 people in the United States with some 35,000 added in 2008 alone. The majority of these jobs are in the manufacturing sector. In 2008, developers invested $17 billion in U.S. wind power - mainly in agricultural and rural areas.
U.S. based manufacturing of wind turbines and their components has also greatly expanded in recent years, with more than 70 new facilities opened, expanded or announced in 2007 and 2008. (Source: AWEA Windpower Outlook 2009). As a result of this continued expansion, the share of domestically made components is increasing rapidly from 30% in 2005 to 50% in 2008. This trend is expected to continue with the re-training of workers from the U.S. automotive and other industries in green energy manufacturing processes.
According to the DOE study (EERE 2008), the proposed increase of wind power to 300,000MW would create more than 500,000 new U.S. jobs (Source: U.S. Department of Energy: 20% Wind Energy by 2030).
Protecting the environment
Wind power is one of the cleanest and most environmentally friendly energy sources. Compared to fossil power plants, wind power does not emit pollutants that contribute to acid rain and smog. Additionally, wind projects do not cause the extraction and transportation of fuels.
According to the DOE study, 300,000MW installed capacity by 2030 would:
- Displace 50% of the natural gas used to produce electricity, and reduce the use of coal by 18%, restraining fuel price rises and stabilizing electricity rates.
- Reduce global warming emissions from power plants by 825 million metric tons or 20%, the equivalent of taking 140 million vehicles off the road.
- Reduce water use in the sector by 8%, saving 4 trillion gallons
Reducing long term energy prices
Wind power has no input fuel costs in the electricity generation process. Therefore, following the initial capital investment in the plant, the annual operating expenses are negligible when compared to traditional fossil fuel and nuclear power plants. This has the effect of stabilizing long term consumer energy prices given the ability to forecast both energy production and costs over a long period without the exposure to fluctuations in fossil fuel prices.
A 2009 Union of Concerned Scientists study estimates that under a 25% national renewable electricity standard, all other things being equal, average consumer electricity prices would be 7.6% lower, with an average annual reduction of 4.3% through 2030.