Raleigh, NC – As North Carolina moves forward with its first ever wind farm, a new report from Environment North Carolina Research & Policy Center shows that a moderate expansion of wind power over the next few years could eliminate the pollution equal to that produced by 44,000 cars in the state.
The report comes as construction continues on the Amazon Wind project, the first North Carolina wind farm. The farm, being built in Pasquotank and Perquimans counties, will generate power for retail giant Amazon.
Using data from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the report shows that as much as 456 MW of wind power could be built in the state in the next five years with the right policies in place, enough to power more than 100,000 homes.
“Wind power here in North Carolina can grow steadily, reducing pollution and helping to solve the climate crisis,” said Dave Rogers, State Director with Environment North Carolina. “But we need government policies to provide steady support for this clean energy resource to build our momentum in the fight against global warming.”
The report, Turning to the Wind, comes as state officials determine how to comply with the Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of President Obama’s Climate Action that sets state-by-state limits on carbon pollution from power plants and encourages clean energy development. The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality will hold a series of hearings about the state’s plans to meet its emissions starting next week.
The analysis is also timed with what’s become an annual tradition in Congress: waiting until the last minute to renew critical tax incentives for clean energy. The credits, which have helped spur wind power’s growth over the last two decades, expired at the end of last year, and any measure to reinstate them must be adopted before Congress adjourns for the year on December 18.
“Renewing tax credits for pollution-free energy will help sustain green jobs in STATE and reduce climate-changing carbon pollution,” said Rogers. “It’s critical for the future of our economy and our planet that Congress take action in the next seven days.”
Wind power produced across the U.S. since 2001 has displaced more than 764 million metric tons of carbon dioxide – more than a year’s worth of carbon emissions from the entire country of Canada.
As world leaders meet in Paris to hammer out an international agreement to slash climate-changing emissions, environmental advocates said wind power should play a critical role.
“To avoid the worst impacts of global warming, we need to transition to 100 percent clean, renewable energy,” said Rogers, “and that must include doing everything we can to develop abundant, pollution-free wind power.”