Will building wind turbines help prevent global warming?
Yes.. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the most important of the greenhouse gases which are changing our climate. Electricity generation was responsible for about 23 % of the 29.8 million tonnes of CO2 emitted from energy sources in New Zealand in 2001.(1) This is set to rise as coal-fired power stations are proposed around the country.

Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel, producing 72% more CO2 when burnt than gas. If we are to avoid dangerous levels of climate change, a phase out of fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) is necessary. That means switching to forms of energy generation that do not produce CO2.

Wind power is a clean, renewable form of energy which, during operation, produces no carbon dioxide. While some emissions of these gases will take place during the design, manufacture, transport and erection of wind turbines, enough electricity is generated from a wind farm within a few months to totally compensate for these emissions. When wind farms are dismantled (usually after 20-25 years of operation) they leave no legacy of pollution for future generation.

Given the scale of the CO2 cuts needed, wind power - as the cheapest, most developed renewable energy technology, and the fastest to build - is the best placed renewable technology to deliver carbon cuts on a large scale, quickly.

Notes:
(1) www.pce.govt.nz/reports/allreports/1_877274_14_3.pdf

 
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