Report: Wind Power Growing in Ohio
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Wind power capacity has quadrupled in the last five years nationwide, and a new report says it's growing in Ohio as well.
The research from Environment Ohio finds the state is already avoiding almost 600,000 metric tons of carbon pollution – the equivalent of taking 124,000 cars off the road.
Eric Ritter, communications and strategy manager for the Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo), says it's also providing an economic boost.
"There's some pretty good wind in the western part of the state, and we have already a really well-developed supply chain,” he explains. “The state of Ohio is number four for jobs in the wind industry, already."
Ritter says continued support for local projects will help solidify Ohio's leading role in the global wind turbine supply chain.
According to the report, if onshore wind capacity was added at the same pace it was from 2007 to 2012, the nation could avert 157 million metric tons of carbon dioxide pollution annually by 2018.
Ritter adds there is also great potential in Ohio for offshore wind, which is stronger and more consistent, and large-scale projects can be placed close to large population centers.
"The state of Ohio is pretty uniquely situated to take advantage of this, because we have all of these power plants along the lake, where there is a lot of grid capacity," he points out.
Ritter says as old plants retire, there is opportunity to plug into that lost capacity and develop wind on a true utility-sized scale.
The report says thanks to wind energy, America uses less water for power plants and produces less climate-altering carbon pollution.
And with the nation’s environmental and economic advantages, Ritter thinks political leaders should renew their commitment to policies that encourage cleaner energy sources.
"Until we really do a true accounting of the costs of our different energy sources and the benefits, it will be hard for truly clean, sustainable energy sources to compete," he says.
Federal incentives for wind, known as the Investment Tax Credit and Production Tax Credit, are set to expire at the end of this month.