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Devils Lake Journal - Devils Lake, ND
  • Wind energy in ND helps with environmental concerns

  • As the widespread and severe drought prompts more North Dakotans to call for action to tackle global warming and the rise in extreme weather, Environment America released a new Environment America Research and Policy Center report Thursday that shows that North Dakota’s current power generation from wind energy displaces as much global warming pollution as taking 571,000 cars off the road per year.
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  • As the widespread and severe drought prompts more North Dakotans to call for action to tackle global warming and the rise in extreme weather, Environment America released a new Environment America Research and Policy Center report Thursday that shows that North Dakota’s current power generation from wind energy displaces as much global warming pollution as taking 571,000 cars off the road per year. The Environment America report also shows that wind power saves enough water to meet the needs of 33,700 people. Environment America was joined by farmer Gene Wirtz and Jay Johnson of Lake Region State College in releasing the Environment America Research and Policy Center report, Wind Power for a Cleaner America: Reducing Global Warming Pollution, Cutting Air Pollution, and Saving Water, and touting wind energy’s environmental benefits to date, as well as future benefits if wind power continues to grow. Environment America urged Congress to extend critical federal incentives for wind power—the renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) and the offshore wind investment tax credit (ITC)—before they expire at the end of the Special to the Journal As the widespread and severe drought prompts more North Dakotans to call for action to tackle global warming and the rise in extreme weather, Environment America released a new Environment America Research and Policy Center report Thursday that shows that North Dakota’s current power generation from wind energy displaces as much global warming pollution as taking 571,000 cars off the road per year. The Environment America report also shows that wind power saves enough water to meet the needs of 33,700 people. Environment America was joined by farmer Gene Wirtz and Jay Johnson of Lake Region State College in releasing the Environment America Research and Policy Center report, Wind Power for a Cleaner America: Reducing Global Warming Pollution, Cutting Air Pollution, and Saving Water, and touting wind energy’s environmental benefits to date, as well as future benefits if wind power continues to grow. Environment America urged Congress to extend critical federal incentives for wind power—the renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) and the offshore wind investment tax credit (ITC)—before they expire at the end of the year. “Wind power is already replacing the dirty and dangerous energy sources of the past and creating a cleaner, healthier future for North Dakotans,” said Michelle Hesterberg, Plains Federal Field Associate for Environment America. “We can continue on this path of cutting dangerous pollution and saving water if Congress acts now to extend critical wind incentives. Our message to Congress is clear: Don’t throw wind power off the fiscal cliff. Our clean air, water, and children’s future are too important to blow it now.” Wind energy now provides nearly 15 percent of North Dakota’s electricity, making North Dakota the 8th highest wind producer in the country. If wind development continues at a pace comparable to that of recent years through 2016, North Dakota would reduce global warming pollution by as much as taking an additional 342,000 cars off the road, and would save enough water to meet the needs of an additional 20,200 North Dakotans. “We need to increase the important environmental benefits of wind energy by increasing wind power in our state,” said Gene Wirtz, a farmer and Dakota Resource Council member from Underwood, North Dakota. "Global warming is happening, and it's making storms, heat waves, droughts and floods more frequent and more severe. In North Dakota, we know the devastation caused by droughts and floods far too well. Now more than ever, North Dakota needs to move away from burning dirty and dangerous fossil fuels and towards clean, renewable energy sources like wind power.” Furthermore, Wirtz added, “In this year of significant drought, the water savings secured by increased wind power are critical to farmers and to our local environment and our economy.” The report also outlined that today’s wind energy in North Dakota is delivering results for public health, by avoiding 35,050 tons of smog-causing pollution and 5,750 tons of soot pollution. North Dakota’s successful development of wind energy results largely from the federal renewable energy Production Tax Credit. Wind energy now powers nearly 13 million homes across the country and is on its way to being cost-competitive with traditional fossil fuels. But the two key federal wind power incentives—the production tax credit and the offshore wind investment tax credit —expire at the end of the year. Without these credits, many planned wind farms will not be built, leaving health and environmental benefits for North Dakotans on the table. “It’s clear that North Dakotans would benefit from federal policy that promotes growth in the industry," said Jay Johnson, Program Coordinator and Instructor at Lake Region State College’s Wind Energy Technician Program. "Wind power provides good jobs for our students in Lake Region's Wind Energy Technician Program, and it creates renewable power opportunities, which in turn protects public health and the environment. Federal incentives are critical to ensure that the industry can continue to grow,” added Johnson. Despite the benefits of wind energy and widespread public support for federal policies to promote renewable energy, fossil fuel interests and their allies in Congress are vigorously opposing the PTC and ITC. “As our state is still healing from the severe drought, we must invest wisely in a future with cleaner air, fewer extreme weather events, and smart use of our water resources,” said Michelle Hesterberg of Environment America. “Time is running out. We thank Senator Kent Conrad, Senator John Hoeven and Congressman Rick Berg for supporting clean, renewable energy and urge them to do everything they can to extend the renewable energy production tax credit and offshore wind investment tax credit before the end of the year. Our clean air, water, and children’s future depend on it.”

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