Wind generates less greenhouse gas emission than burning fossil fuels and is claiming an increasing share of the energy production portfolio in the United States. But there are concerns about wind’s economic impact when compared to fossil fuels.
A Purdue University study that models increased wind production in 10 states shows the significant economic impact in those states, as well as billions of dollars spread over the rest of the country. The study was led by Shweta Singh, an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering and in Environmental and Ecological Engineering, along with colleagues at the University of Sydney; and the results were published in the March issue of the journal “Applied Energy.”
“While the impacts are directly felt in the state experiencing the increase in economic activities due to installation of new wind energy generation capacity, the positive economic effects also spill over as shown by the MRIO calculations,” the authors wrote.
The analysis considers the effects of adding 500 MW of wind power to 10 different states that produce the most wind energy in the United States: Texas, Iowa, Oklahoma, California, Kansas, Illinois, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington and Colorado. The result would be almost $24 billion in economic impact in those states, as well as an additional $3 billion throughout the rest of the United States, according to the study.
“In states that get new wind energy capacity, we see significant economic impact, but there is also $3 billion that spills over into the other states because there is so much interdependency on products being manufactured there,” Singh said.
The United States has more than 100,000 MW of operating wind capacity, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Adding 500 MW in 10 states would be only a 5% increase but would have significant economic benefits.
The sectors that would see the most economic benefit would be manufacturing, construction, finance and insurance, transportation and warehousing and public administration, according to the study.
“We are so dependent on coal energy because the infrastructure has been built and it’s so cheap,” Singh said. “But this study shows that there is significant economic opportunity from increasing wind energy production, as well as spillover that touches every state and many employment sectors along with long-term impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”
News item from Purdue University
Filed Under: News