As our nation is facing a financial crisis, we must invest wisely in a future with cleaner air and smart use of our water resources. The two key federal wind power incentives, the production tax credit and the offshore wind investment tax credit, expire at the end of the year. If Congress does not act now to extend these policies, many proposed wind farms will simply not be built and we'll be throwing cleaner air, a more secure future and water savings to the wind.
California's wind power currently saves enough water to meet the needs of 38,900 people, according to a new Environment California report, "Wind Power for a Cleaner America." Power plants require vast amounts of water for cooling, reducing the amount of water available for irrigation, wildlife, recreation or domestic use, now and in the future -- while wind power requires none of this. Across the country, more water is withdrawn from lakes, rivers, streams and aquifers for the purpose of cooling power plants than for any other purpose.
Wind power is at a critical time in its growth -- now powering nearly 1.2 million homes across California. In 2011, California installed more new wind capacity than any other state in the nation.
We thank Rep. Kevin McCarty for supporting wind power in the past and urge him to do all he can to renew the wind tax credits -- our clean air, water and the future of the wind industry depend on it.