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Global Wind Day: Five wind facts

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is highlighting “Five Wind Facts,” a guide to the benefits of wind energy, as one effort to mark Global Wind Day, on June 15. AWEA also plans to announce the winner of its Twitter background photo contest via Facebook and Twitter on Global Wind Day.

Per AWEA, the Five Wind Facts are as follows.

“1. Wind works by creating jobs. Currently the wind industry employs 85,000 people, including 18,500 in the manufacturing sector alone. According to a recent study from Navigant Consulting, a 25 percent national renewable electricity standard (RES) would result in some 274,000 renewable energy jobs. And there are 14,000 manufacturing jobs ready to come online once a strong, stable policy (such as an RES) is enacted. Many of the jobs that would be created would be located in areas that boast manufacturing expertise but may have been hard hit in recent years as jobs were moved offshore.

2. Wind works for America’s rural communities. Wind farm development puts money in the pockets of America’s farmers via lease payments, allowing them to continue to farm their land while the wind turbines that they host harvest a new, inexhaustible kind of “crop.” A single wind turbine can provide $3,000-$7,000/year or more in farm income even though only 2-5 percent of the land within wind farm boundary is used for turbines and access roads. Wind farms also pump millions of dollars in tax revenue into rural communities.

3. Wind works for consumers. Wind is a free and renewable resource providing long-term stable energy prices for American families and protecting them when they need it the most: when fuel prices go up. A 2007 study by global energy consulting firm Wood MacKenzie on a 15 percent RES by 2020 found that electricity prices would decrease by 7-11 percent. Wind power already protects consumers against the recent price volatility that has characterized natural gas.

4. Wind works because it is inexhaustible and reliable. Studies and reports continue to pile up confirming wind power as a reliable generation source. A study released by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) earlier this year found that there are no fundamental technical barriers to reaching 30 percent wind in the Eastern Interconnection, which comprises 70 percent of the U.S. population. Another study funded by NREL found that wind-rich Nebraska and other states in the Southwest Power Pool region can reliably obtain 40 percent of their electricity from wind energy. Iowa generated over 14 percent of its electricity from wind in 2009.

5. Wind works by protecting the environment. The use of wind power reduces mining and drilling activity for fuel, hazardous waste (e.g., coal ash), and water use. And, of course, wind power avoids emissions that contribute to smog and still impose tremendous health and environmental costs. (The National Academy of Sciences has estimated that fossil fuels cost the U.S. $120 billion a year in health costs alone, including $62 billion from coal plants.) America’s current wind power fleet of 35,000 MW will avoid an estimated 62 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, equivalent to taking 10.5 million cars off the road. America’s wind turbines also conserve approximately 20 billion gallons of water annually.”

Other U.S. activities to mark the day includes a roundtable hosted by manufacturer Cardinal Fastener at its headquarters in Bedford Heights, Ohio. The conference will feature national and local wind and clean energy leaders who will highlight the jobs and other benefits that clean energy policies could bring to Ohio and the nation. To attend the 1 p.m. event, which will also include a tour of the facility on a first come, first-serve basis, RSVP at http://www2.repoweramerica.org/page/event/detail/4jjjx.

Boston-based Second Wind will celebrate Global Wind Day by sponsoring its second annual “Chirps to Tweets” Tweet-Up for environmentally conscious Twitter followers at the Blue Shirt Café in Davis Square, Somerville, Mass. on June 15. To attend the Tweet-Up or for more information please e-mail at Naomi Pierce.

For more information on Global Wind Day’s international activities, visit www.globalwindday.org.