Winds of Change: The Environmental Movement and the Global Development of the Wind Energy Industry

By Ion Bogdan Vasi | Go to book overview

3
Environmental Campaigns and the Adoption
and Implementation of Renewable Portfolio
Standards

All I say is “Give us a small fraction of the subsidy that the fossil fuel and
nuclear industries are getting and we’ll solve the electricity and environ-
mental problems of the world!” The technology is working, the prices are
coming down; we are going to have more wind and solar. The question is,
in the next five years, do we throw the dollars down the toilet in outdated
coal plants, or do we right now act like we can see the future? So far, pol-
iticians voted badly. We will probably waste several more billion dollars;
they will blame environmentalists for the cost of dealing with global
warming. The truth is that wind power is barely more expensive now than
coal power. Why build plants that you are going to have to retrofit or
retire in a few years?

—Environmental Defense organizer, December 2007


Modest Results: Renewable Portfolio Standards and
other Policies in the United Kingdom, United States,
and Canada

The United States started developing a wind energy industry relatively early but failed to achieve sustained growth. In 1990 the total installed nominal capacity from wind power in the United States was 1.485 GW, significantly higher than in all European countries combined. By 1997, however, the United States had installed only 1.611 GW and was falling behind Germany.1 In 2007, despite a record growth of 5.244 GW, the total installed nominal capacity from wind power was 16.818 GW, representing almost 1 percent of the national electricity supply.2 In the same year, in the United Kingdom wind energy supplied slightly more than 1 percent, while in Canada it supplied slightly less than 1 percent of the electricity demand.

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