Wind Energy Investment Can Provide Jobs and Energy Security for the Cost of Four Months in Iraq

Wind can provide 20% of America's energy needs by 2030A press release this week from the American Wind Energy Association announced a recent study from the Department of Energy concluding that, for an investment of about $43 billion, wind energy could provide 20 percent of America’s electrical energy needs by 2030.

The 248 page analysis (pdf) from the DOE says that even though such a feat will require massive industry growth (16,000 megawatts per year by 2018, sustained from then through 2030) the technical hurdles can all be overcome.

For the alarmists that claim rising to the challenge of climate change with an aggressive approach toward renewable energy would devastate the economy, consider what happens with “massive industrial growth” – jobs. Lot’s of ‘em. Up to half a million according to the report.

That $43 billion investment would be spread out over many years. $12 billion dollars is spent on the war in Iraq every month. For an investment costing less than four months in Iraq wind energy could:

  • Reduce carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation by 25 percent in 2030.
  • Reduce natural gas use by 11%
  • Reduce water consumption associated with electricity generation by 4 trillion gallons by 2030
  • Increase annual revenues to local communities to more than $1.5 billion by 2030; and
  • Support roughly 500,000 jobs in the U.S., with an average of more than 150,000 workers directly employed by the wind industry

I wonder which investment – the war in Iraq or development of wind and other alternative sources of energy – will make America safer, provide more jobs, create sustainable economic growth,  reduce our dependence on energy sources in unstable regions of the world, and lead to a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

I wonder.

It’s a matter of priorities I guess.

Something to think about.

Sources and Further Reading
Huffington Post

Thomas Schueneman
Thomas Schueneman
Tom is the founder and managing editor of and the PlanetWatch Group. His work appears in Triple Pundit, Slate, Cleantechnia, Planetsave, Earth911, and several other sustainability-focused publications. Tom is a member of the Society of Environmental Journalists.

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