Skip to Navigation
Skip to Content
Share this page

Support PSR!

Make a difference in the challenge to confront global warming and prevent nuclear war and the development and use of nuclear weapons.

Donate Now »

Take Action

Please ask your senators to cosponsor Sen. Franken's bill to challenge the trillion dollar nuclear weapons buildup.

Wind Blows Coal Away

March 25, 2011

Kristen Welker-Hood, ScD MSN, Director of Environmental Health Programs provided expert testimony at the Maryland House of Delegates and the Senate this month.  She presented in support of offshore wind energy by detailing the public health impacts of coal-fired power plants. PSR strongly supports clean, renewable energy policies, which improve air quality and displace dirty electric generation.

Background:

The Maryland Offshore Wind Energy Act of 2011 (House Bill 1054 and Senate Bill 861) will create between 80 and 200 wind turbines 10 nautical miles off the coast of Maryland to produce 400 to 600 MW of energy.  This act is projected to produce 2.5% of energy for the state of Maryland which is about 10 to 15% of Maryland’s renewable energy when completed helping to achieve the Maryland Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) of having 22% of Maryland’s energy come from renewable sources.  Currently, Maryland gets 30% of its energy from sources outside of the state; the 500 MW offshore wind farm project, when fully up and running, can produce enough energy to power 79% of the coastal homes or about half the homes in Baltimore City.  Commercial scale facilities have been operating in Europe since 1991, and in the US, states are progressively looking towards renewable energy sources.  Delaware and Massachusetts have passed legislation for building off-shore wind farms, New Jersey is considering implementing a similar act and Rhode Island has a pilot project in place. 

Air pollutants such as sulfur dioxide (SO2), oxides of nitrogen (NOx), and particulates cause various health problems including but not limited to asthma and chronic respiratory illnesses, which result in hospitalizations, premature death, and loss in productivity due to sick days.   In 2005 National Academy of Science estimated that the US suffered $62 billion in health damages due to coal-fired power plants, or an average of $156 million per coal plant. Since emissions from wind power are close to zero (emissions from wind manufacturing and operations are less than 2% those of coal combustion per MWh), their benefits can be approximated by the health impact of the power displaced. Operations of wind energy facility will greatly reduce Maryland citizens’ exposure to dangerous air pollutants.

Read Kristen Welker-Hood’s, ScD MSN WrittenTestimony

Action Alerts

More action alerts»

Resources

  • Health Impacts of Natural Gas Infrastructure

    Fracked natural gas contaminates air and water where it is extracted, then pipelines transport gas-related pollutants for hundreds of miles. Distant communities may be exposed to toxic air pollutants, dangerous particulates, and radioactive materials. All of us are endangered as methane leaks into the atmosphere. Read more »

  • Natural Gas: Not a healthy or climate-protective solution for the Clean Power Plan

    Building natural gas plants to replace coal-fired power is not a solution to the climate crisis; it merely replaces one fossil fuel with another. Read more »

  • Death by Degrees

    The sign of Global Warming are already here. “Death by Degrees” is a series of reports looking at the damaging health effects of global warming by states or regions within the United States. We encourage you to learn about the public health threats global warming poses in your state/ region and contact your elected officials to support climate policies that reduce our reliance on dirty fossil fuels and supports energy efficiency, conservation and clean renewable energy production. Read more »

In the Spotlight

  • November 30, 2016
    Eating for Climate and Health
    PSR's new PowerPoint presentation on how climate change impacts food production, and agriculture's contribution to climate change.