American wind power: Leading the way to a cleaner future

Americans take pride in our nation’s ability to continually produce technological innovations that improve our living standards.

That’s probably why polls consistently demonstrate that Americans want more investment in clean energy technologies. We all know that “cleaning” our energy production keeps our country economically competitive, and protects our local communities from pollution.

As a result, it’s no surprise that all energy industries have tried to lay claim to the “clean” label. While most can take credit for making significant strides in reducing their health and environmental impacts, clearly all sources are not equal.

Our best science consistently demonstrates that greenhouse gas emissions from our energy usage pose the largest environmental threat to both humans and wildlife. Of course, once built, wind energy provides an emissions-free source of electricity. But the most widely accepted measure of determining the impact of energy production is tracking the “lifecycle,” or “cradle-to-grave,” environmental impacts.

To definitively determine which energy production method has the least lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions, the National Renewable Energy Lab recently completed a comprehensive review of all the literature on the topic. The results were clear: wind energy‘s lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions are a few percent of those of fossil fuels, lower than nuclear, and even lower than nearly all other renewable energy resources.

















Also, by typically offsetting energy production from the most expensive, least efficient energy source on the utility grid–usually a fossil fuel source–wind power reduces other harmful air pollutants such as mercury and the precursors to smog and acid rain.

Even better, wind energy also has by far the lowest impact on wildlife and their habitats when compared to traditional energy sources, according to an exhaustive cradle-to-grave analysis conducted on behalf of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. And since there is no need to use water to generate electricity from wind, wind power helps the arid regions of our country conserve their water supplies.










Clean is a popular label for good reason. But as the facts show, wind power can deservedly stake its claim as the most readily-scalable source of clean energy available today. And by reducing pollution, lowering consumer energy costs, and revitalizing American manufacturing, wind power is truly clean, affordable, and homegrown.

Related articles:

Wind power does not strongly affect greater prairie chickens, seven-year study finds, July 12, 2013
American Wind Wildlife Institute database project moves ahead, July 10, 2013
In face of changing climate, major wildlife group calls for renewable energy, June 20, 2013
Fact check: 5 things the AP missed in its recent coverage of wind energy, May 14, 2013
Fact check: More misinformation from Bryce on wind and birds, March 25, 2013
Fact check: Spectator (U.K.) overlooks facts on wind power and wildlife, January 15, 2013
Fact check: FOX News article fails to put wind development in context, January 2, 2013
Fact check: CFACT's Driessen wildly off base on bird claims, December 24, 2012
118 sportsmen's and conservation groups urge Congress to extend wind tax credits, December 6, 2012
Wind-wildlife meeting highlights wind industry's proactive approach, December 3, 2012
Fact check: Voice of America article on wind and birds lacks context, November 2, 2012
Sage-grouse collaborative to fund two wind-related studies, August 13, 2012
Fact check: Wired story bypasses wind industry's efforts on bats, July 10, 2012
Opinion: Wind energy threat to eagles relatively low, June 26, 2012
Fact check: Bond bashes wind, mangles facts [UPDATED], June 19, 2012
American Wind Wildlife Institute releases white paper on eagles and wind power, May 25, 2012
Already following federal bird guidelines, wind co. says, March 29, 2012
Fact check: Bryce missteps on wind and birds, March 8, 2012
Colorado collaboration: Wind companies, conservation groups agree on wildlife best practices, February 6, 2012
The Fish & Wildlife Eagle Permit Rule: Our perspective, January 10, 2012
Wind power's impact on birds: modest, December 15, 2011
Bird fatalities at Laurel Mountain substation, November 9, 2011
Birds and wind: Bad news leads, good news in weeds, August 29, 2011
Fact check: Fox News off base on bird collisions, August 19, 2011
News story draws questionable conclusions from eagle collisions with old turbines, June 6, 2011
WINDPOWER report: Whooping cranes may avoid wind farms, more research ahead, May 25, 2011
Wind developer launches intensive avian monitoring program, May 23, 2011
AWEA files comments on "unworkable" U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service guidelines, May 19, 2011
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, AWEA, wind developers sign agreement to promote endangered species conservation, April 20, 2011
Wind industry backs research on bat concerns including White-Nose Syndrome, April 1, 2011
Wind turbine bird threat modest, January 18, 2011
Editorial: How serious is threat to birds?, January 5, 2011
Wind energy and birds: No double standard, September 9, 2009
Wind-wildlife group names first president, February 24, 2009

Stay informed

Take Action

Subscribe to the American Clean Power blog and receive the latest renewable energy news, policy updates, and opportunities to get involved.