… fights climate change
The wind is an abundant energy resource. Wind energyhas become a real alternative to emission producing fossil fuels and, crucially, can be deployed and begin reducing CO2 emissions immediately. Wind energy is already fighting climate change – According to the estimations of European Wind Energy Association wind energy avoided the emission of 140 million tonnes of CO2 in 2011 in the EU (in 2008 this figure was 91 million tonnes), equivalent to taking 33% of cars in the EU – 71 million vehicles – off the road. This avoided CO2 costs of around €1.4 billion
… pushes polluting electricity producers out of the market
Wind power replaces fossil fuels and their sizeable CO2 emissions, and therefore helps combat climate change. Because wind turbines do not consume fuel and their operation and maintenance expenses are low, the marginal cost of wind power is minimal. Therefore, an increase in the amount of wind power in the electricity mix means that more expensive and polluting technologies (oil, coal, oil shale and gas) are pushed out of the market.
… has the lowest lifecycle emissions of all power plants
As soon as you turn the lights on you need a power plant, and all power plants have a CO2 impact during their construction. Lifecycle emissions include the building of the plant, fuel extraction and transport, operation and maintenance. A turbine reimburses the energy and CO2 it cost to build it in three to six months. Wind energy has the lowest lifecycle emissions of all energy production technologies.
…avoids climate change costs
The EU’s Emissions Trading System puts a cost on emitting CO2. By auctioning permits to the power sector for emitting CO2, major polluters have to pay for releasing greenhouse gases. It sends a clear message to investors: the cost of climate change, currently borne by society, will be increasingly shifted towards the polluter.
…has many environmental benefits
Wind power offers additional environmental benefits, compared to conventional plants, such as:
• No NOx emissions (precursors for ground level ozone causing health impacts and GHG warming).
• No other air pollutants like sulphur dioxide (causing acid rain) or particles which have carcinogenic effects and severely affect human health.
• No water use during operation – Wind energy avoids the use of 1.2 billion m³ of water per year representing savings of €2.4 billion.
• Zero fuel extraction.
Text by EWEA “Harness the wind to tackle climate change”