Unstoppable. The More People see Wind Energy, the More they Like it
September 7, 2016
Michigan’s “Thumb” area is deeply conservative, and the 10th Congressional District (see map) is listed as a safe Republican stronghold. The Thumb is also home to a high concentration of Michigan’s wind turbines, as the flat farmland, bounded by Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron, is swept by steady winds throughout the year.
What do these folks think of Wind energy?
Michigan is a wind manufacturing heavyweight. 26 factories employ well-paid workers and build wind turbine parts and supplies, which are delivered to U.S. wind farms across the region. Apparently Michigan voters have noticed that the added benefit of growing wind power in the U.S. means good news for the Michigan economy. A poll released by American Wind Action just last week finds support for wind among 81 percent of Michigan’s Tenth Congressional District. That includes broad support across party lines, with at least three-quarters of Republicans, Independents and Democrats having a favorable impression of wind.
Iowa obtained nearly one-third, 31 percent, of its electricity from wind energy last year. And Iowa’s Third District ranks in the top 20 U.S. Congressional districts for the most wind capacity, a new drought-resistant cash crop for the state’s farmers. The Third District also happens to be the home to the tallest operating U.S. wind turbine in the country. All of this simply means, out of the more than $11 billion in capital investment that wind power has attracted to local economies in Iowa so far, the Third District has seen some great benefits. That’s why it’s not surprising that a recent poll found 91 percent of respondents in that District support wind energy.
All of this data continues support strong polling results found elsewhere this year. Lazard, a highly reputable financial advisory and asset management firm, found bipartisan support for clean energy policies has increased among U.S. voters, with 91 percent of likely voters and over 80 percent of self-described conservatives supporting wind energy growth. According to North American Windpower, 70 percent of likely voters in 2016 support legislation that requires energy companies to generate 15 percent of their power from alternative energy sources over the next several years, up from 60 percent of voters in 2012.
Below, David Jenkins, president, Conservatives for Responsible Stewardship in the Knoxville News-Sentinel.
As a long-time conservative who loves wildlife, enjoys the great outdoors and strongly advocates for responsible environmental stewardship, I believe some of your readers aren’t being told about the significant economic and environmental benefits of using more wind energy to power our homes and our lives.
Studies show that wind energy has the lowest impact on wildlife and its habitat of any energy source. It emits no air or water pollution, requires no fuel, uses virtually no water, creates no hazardous waste, and a typical wind project repays its carbon footprint in six months or less, providing zero-emission energy and reducing the need to burn fossil fuels.
That’s why Audubon, a group dedicated specifically to bird conservation, “strongly supports properly sited wind power as an energy source” because it “helps reduce the threats posed to birds and people by climate change.”
In 2015 alone, the use of wind energy prevented more than 28 million cars’ worth of carbon pollution, and over the last decade it has accounted for 77 percent of U.S. growth in non-polluting power generation.
That’s just on the environmental side. There are a tremendous number of economic benefits, too.
Because wind power’s costs have dropped by two-thirds over just six years, wind energy has become the cheapest source of electricity in some parts of the country. And the U.S. Department of Energy says growing wind power in Tennessee could result in $4.4 billion in cumulative savings by 2050, with an additional $3.55 billion in savings from wind’s impact on natural gas prices.
Grassley, running for re-election in the nation’s leading wind power state, told Yahoo News, “If he wants to do away with it, he’ll have to get a bill through Congress, and he’ll do it over my dead body.”
Grassley authored the original wind energy production tax credit in the 1990s and he’s been one of its biggest defenders in the Senate, which last year reauthorized the credit.
Trump, though, has long been hostile to wind energy, saying turbines are ugly — he once lost a legal battle to block an offshore wind farm near a golf course he owns in Scotland — and a threat to birds in the United States.
“The wind kills all your birds,” Trump said at an August rally. “All your birds, killed. You know, the environmentalists never talk about that.”
Wind turbines kill about 500,000 birds annually, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a figure lower than bird deaths from cats or buildings.
Grassley told Yahoo that the tax credit for wind has been a boon to the economy in Iowa, which produces nearly one-third of its electricity from wind. y