- Wind power keeps our air cleaner compared to generating electricity using fossil fuels. Wind turbines are powered by wind, producing no greenhouse gasses or air pollution as they generate electricity.
- Wind power preserves clean water. Wind energy is an environmentally-preferred choice, generating electricity without polluting water resources. Wind energy also conserves water resources – helping to reduce our growing thirst for fresh water in the energy business.
- Wind farms and the agricultural community are productive partners. As little as one per cent of total acreage is needed for turbines and access roads. The remaining acreage is free for other uses, such as farming or ranching.
Wind energy is helping Alberta create local green jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and fight climate change
- Wind energy can provide substantial amounts of new clean electricity to Albertans while at the same time helping to address health concerns about air quality and increases in greenhouse gas emissions.
- Wind turbines generate electricity without consuming or contaminating water or emitting air pollutants or greenhouse gases.
- The largest wind farm in Western Canada was built near Lethbridge in 2014. At 300 MW, a wind farm this size will:
- Reduce Alberta’s greenhouse gas emissions by 600,000 tonnes a year – that’s the equivalent of taking 120,000 cars off the road.
- Reduce water consumption by 960 million litres a year, relative to natural gas generation – equivalent to the volume of 320 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Wind energy is helping to preserve our increasingly precious water resources and fight climate change
Over its lifetime, a wind farm requires significantly lower water use compared to all traditional forms of electricity generation. In fact, wind energy is actually helping to preserve our increasingly precious water resources and to fight climate change.
- The power sector is one of the world’s biggest consumers of water, but wind energy uses virtually no water to produce electricity, except for minimal and occasional use for washing turbine blades or keeping dust down on access roads.
- Shifting from conventional forms of electricity production – such as natural gas, coal or nuclear power to renewable technologies such as wind energy – will reduce impacts on water resources by slowing the effects of climate change, and reducing overall water consumption in the electricity sector.
- A 150 megawatt wind farm uses 480 million litres less water each year than a natural gas facility of the same size. That’s equivalent to saving as much water as it would take to fill 160 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
- The International Energy Agency has stated that worldwide, the energy system uses a great deal of water: in 2010, 66 billion cubic meters of water were consumed by the energy industry, and this water consumption is projected to increase by 85 per cent by 2035. Increased use of wind energy will help to reduce our growing thirst for fresh water in the energy sector.
- In the U.S. alone, the Department of Energy estimates that with a 20 per cent share of wind energy in the power system by 2030, as much as 15 trillion litres of water could be saved. That’s as much water as about 9 million U.S. citizens would consume annually.
- A 2011 report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, ‘Freshwater Use by U.S. Power Plants’, found that “On average in 2008, plants in the U.S. nuclear fleet withdrew nearly eight times more freshwater than natural gas plants per unit of electricity generated…” and that “wind farms use essentially no water.” The report also states that a nuclear plant with re-circulating cooling water withdraws 800 to 2,600 gallons per megawatt-hour but consumes 600 to 800 gallons – roughly half the amount withdrawn (Macknick et al. 2011). Recirculation cooling systems result in consumption of water through evaporation, which takes water away from its original source, and is therefore unavailable for other uses.