Low-cost wind energy can play key role in California’s renewable energy future

Today, California Jerry Brown signed landmark legislation to get 50 percent of the state’s electricity from zero-carbon renewable sources within 15 years. American wind power applauded the governor and the bill’s author, Senate leader Kevin De Leon, saying wind can help California meet these goals cost-effectively and reliably.


Not only will wind help protect consumers from energy price spikes, a more diverse energy supply for the world’s eighth largest economy will also improve air quality, conserve water, and address the risk of rising fuel prices.

Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, issued the following statement:

“We applaud Gov. Brown and Sen. De Leon for keeping more money in the pockets of California consumers with this landmark legislation. American wind power is one of the biggest, fastest, cheapest ways states can cut carbon pollution while protecting consumers with low prices locked in for 20 years or more. While the state’s renewable portfolio standard has already benefited California households and businesses by diversifying the state’s energy mix, SB 350 is a giant step forward. The wind energy industry looks forward to helping California and the rest of the nation cut carbon while cutting costs.”

Importantly, SB 350 contains a strong directive for California to continue promoting regional cooperation with neighboring states and utilities – providing California customers access to broader regional energy markets that will help lower prices.

“We fully support a more efficient energy market in the West,” said Kiernan. “This would let California trade energy surpluses and deficits with its neighbors in a way that maximizes wind energy’s low cost benefits for California consumers.”



 ·      Leadership. With 6,018 megawatts of installed capacity across 123 projects throughout the state, California is the second-largest producer of wind energy in the nation.
·      Capacity. Wind energy provided nearly 7 percent of all in-state electricity in 2013 — the equivalent of over 1.2 million homes.
·       Local jobs. Fifteen wind-related factories and over 120 wind projects across the state create have created more than 2,000 well-paying jobs in operations and maintenance, manufacturing, construction and other employment in California.
·       County taxes. Wind power generates revenue for California communities, especially rural and farming communities that have suffered disproportionately from the economic crisis and ongoing drought. Wind projects in California generate $70 million in county property tax revenues each year, which is critical to new infrastructure investments and providing essential local services such as fire, police, and emergency response.
·       Landowner payments. Wind project developers pay $27 million each year in lease payments to farmers, ranchers and other landowners.
·       Billions of dollars invested. California’s RPS encourages clean technology investment and innovation by ensuring a market for renewables in the state will continue to grow. To date, $11.7 billion has been invested in California wind farms.
·       Location matters. Wind and other California renewable energy projects tend to occur where they are most needed: almost three-quarters of new renewable generation projects in the past 10 years were built in counties with unemployment levels of 10 percent or higher.
·       Clean energy. Generating wind power creates no emissions and uses virtually no water. California’s wind generation saves the equivalent of nearly 7.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide and 3.4 billion gallons of water each year.