Quantifying the Health and Environmental Benefits of Wind Power to Natural Gas

Energy Policy 53 (2013) 429-441

Vermont Law School Research Paper No. 03-13

15 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2013

See all articles by Donald R. McCubbin

Donald R. McCubbin

United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Benjamin K. Sovacool

Science Policy Research Unit; Department of Business Technology & Development

Date Written: August 31, 2011

Abstract

How tangible are the costs of natural gas compared to the benefits of one of the fastest growing sources of electricity – wind energy – in the United States? To answer this question, this article calculates the benefits of wind energy derived from two locations: the 580 MW wind farm at Altamont Pass, CA, and the 22 MW wind farm in Sawtooth, ID. Both wind farms have environmental and economic benefits that should be considered when evaluating the comparative costs of natural gas and wind energy. Though there are uncertainties within the data collected, for the period 2012-2031, the turbines at Altamont Pass will likely avoid anywhere from $560 million to $4.38 billion in human health and climate related externalities, and the turbines at Sawtooth will likely avoid $18 million to $104 million of human health and climate-related externalities. Translating these negative externalities into a cost per kWh of electricity, we estimate that Altamont will avoid costs of 1.8-11.8 cents/kWh and Sawtooth will avoid costs of 1.5-8.2 cents/kWh.

Suggested Citation

McCubbin, Donald R. and Sovacool, Benjamin K., Quantifying the Health and Environmental Benefits of Wind Power to Natural Gas (August 31, 2011). Energy Policy 53 (2013) 429-441; Vermont Law School Research Paper No. 03-13. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2198013

Donald R. McCubbin

United States Agency for International Development (USAID) ( email )

1300 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20577
United States

Benjamin K. Sovacool (Contact Author)

Science Policy Research Unit ( email )

Falmer, Brighton BN1 9SL
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/profiles/373957

Department of Business Technology & Development ( email )

Nordre Ringgade 1
Aarhus C, DK-8000
Denmark

HOME PAGE: http://pure.au.dk/portal/en/persons/id(fca10105-c4eb-4f0f-99a7-a354a8a8a47a).html

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