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Report: Wind Power Connected to Big Water Savings

PHOTO: The wind energy industry has been growing consistently in Montana, and a new report from Environment Montana shows the benefits go beyond energy production. Photo credit: Deborah Smith
PHOTO: The wind energy industry has been growing consistently in Montana, and a new report from Environment Montana shows the benefits go beyond energy production. Photo credit: Deborah Smith
November 21, 2013

HELENA, Mont. - Wind receives more marks in the "plus" column in a report released today by Environment Montana. The report calculated benefits in addition to the energy generated, said Kyla Maki, Clean Energy Program director, Montana Environmental Information Center.

"We already know it benefits our economy, but wind energy can and already does keep Montana's air clean and our water pure, and in addition helps reduce climate-altering carbon pollution," Maki said.

According to the report, wind energy saves the state more than 330 million gallons of water a year and is credited with keeping more than 758,000 metric tons of carbon pollution out of the air. To calculate the savings, the wind energy produced was compared to the equivalent of energy produced in a coal-burning plant.

Maki said Montana's progress in developing wind facilities is connected to the state's renewable energy standard and federal incentives for wind.

"The potential to save even more water is out there, if we develop more of our wind resources. The water savings is something that is often overlooked," she noted.

Some of those federal incentives - the investment tax credit and the production tax credit - are set to expire at the end of the year, she warned.

The full report, "Wind Energy for a Cleaner America," is available at www.environmentamerica.org.

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - MT