Wind Industry, Environmental Leaders, Policymakers Discuss Economic, Environmental Benefits
Wind energy industry leaders, environmental advocates and policymakers gathered at Duquesne University today to announce the launch of ChoosePAWind and the coalition’s new website—www. choosepawind.com—which touts the economic and environmental benefits of wind power for Pennsylvania.
“We are proud to be part of this initiative and a purchaser of Pennsylvania wind,” said Stephen Schillo, vice president for management and business at Duquesne University. “The operation of Duquesne University has been green for years because of our commitment to environmental responsibility. But we’ve taken it a step beyond, with the purchase of all PA-generated wind power. Wind energy contributes to sustainability efforts and has played a role in creating jobs and boosting the local economy.”
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald noted Duquesne’s leadership in maximizing this form of energy and the importance of wind as a key part of Pennsylvania’s energy solution. “From natural gas to solar and wind energy, Pennsylvania has the ability to generate energy from a variety of local resources. A commitment to wind energy is another great example of how Pennsylvania is becoming a leader in producing more domestic energy.”
The website, which offers options for several operators and energy suppliers, also shows Pennsylvania energy consumers how to “ChoosePAWind.” Individual consumers can select suppliers that feature 100 percent PA wind, and large energy users can work with a number of PA wind producers on renewable energy credits supporting only in-state wind projects.
More than 17 wind farms operate in Pennsylvania, with 23 more in development, generating jobs, property taxes and revenue for communities across the state. Besides providers, the PA wind energy industry encompasses a strong manufacturing presence and many other industry suppliers across the state.
Between 3,000 and 4,000 people were employed directly or indirectly in wind energy industry jobs in 2010, the latest year for which figures are available. PA wind energy producers pay millions of dollars in land leases and property taxes. While these economic figures are impressive, the long-term environmental gains are also significant: Wind turbines cause no emissions and use virtually no water.
“Businesses and consumers are continuously becoming more conscientious about their energy choices,” says Katie Bellezza, marketing manager for EverPower, a Lawrenceville-based wind farm developer and operator that helped conceive and launch the coalition. “Through the purchase of Pennsylvania wind energy, consumers can see how they directly influence their local communities and environment.”
Wind has the potential to provide 6.4 percent of Pennsylvania’s energy needs, powering more than a million homes. If the state’s wind industry grew to its full potential, wind turbines could prevent over 6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. It would take 1,100 acres of forest to remove that amount of carbon dioxide.
What is ChoosePAWind?
The mission of ChoosePAWind is to educate consumers about the environmental and economic benefits of powering your home or business with local, Pennsylvania-sourced wind energy. More support means more wind farms in PA, bringing more jobs, investment dollars, and economic stimulus to local communities while producing zero emissions. For more information, visit www.choosepawind.com.