Taking Steps toward Harnessing Wind Power

Both our economy and our environment will benefit from generating more electricity from renewable sources like wind. At present, power plants are our nation’s largest emitters of carbon dioxide, and the specter of climate change raises serious questions about making fossil fuels the foundation of our future economic growth. Meanwhile, the technology to generate electricity from wind is reliable, dependable, and cost-effective.

That explains why wind, in particular, has been one of our nation’s fastest growing energy sources over the last five years. Wind is safe and 100 percent clean. It’s a free and inexhaustible energy source, and it’s in abundant supply throughout much of the country. Wind provided one of the largest sources of NEW power generation in the country -- second only to natural gas -- in 2005 and 2006. America’s need for electricity is growing, and wind power is a vital part of a clean, cost-effective and secure energy portfolio.

It’s essential that we take steps to combat global warming and ensure our economic security, and Rep. Tom Udall’s (D-N.M.) bill to implement a nationwide renewable portfolio standard (H.R. 969) is a significant step in the right direction. It would ensure the continued growth of alternatives like wind and puts in place a single, coherent national approach to renewable energy. By doing so, it will help keep energy bills low and stable and foster continued economic growth and job creation, especially in rural areas, as more wind farms and other facilities are built to meet demand.

It’s also essential that we improve and expand regional transmission capacity to ensure that electricity generated by new sources like wind can be most effectively integrated into our nation’s power grid.

These two steps, together with a long-term extension of the production tax credit for wind and other renewable energy sources, such as the one proposed by Rep. Earl Pomeroy (H.R. 197), will offer real progress on global warming and power economic growth.