Carnegie Mellon researchers find wind and solar power have greatest health and climate benefits in Eastern States
Wednesday, Jun 26, 2013
PITTSBURGH, June 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- You may think the best place to build a wind farm would be on the Great Plains, and the prime spot for a solar plant would be in the Southwest. But that's not the case according to Carnegie Mellon University researchers.
The main reason to build wind and solar plants is to reduce air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions, therefore the Southwest and California are about the last place in the U.S. where plants should be built. Building new wind and solar plants in Ohio, West Virginia and western Pennsylvania is a much better bet.
This is the conclusion of a paper, titled "Regional Variations in the Health, Environment and Climate Benefits of Wind and Solar Generation," authored by four CMU experts from the Center for Climate and Energy Decision Making. The paper by Kyle Siler-Evans, Ines Lima Azevedo, M. Granger Morgan and Jay Apt will appear this week in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
Wind and solar achieve greater health and climate benefits in Ohio, West Virginia and western Pennsylvania because in those locations they replace electricity generated by coal plants, the researchers report.
"A wind turbine in West Virginia displaces twice as much carbon dioxide and seven times as much health damage as the same turbine in California," said Siler Evans, a Ph.D. researcher in CMU's Department of Engineering and Public Policy from Santa Fe, N.M. "The benefits of solar plants are greatest in the cloudy East as opposed to the sunny Southwest."
About Carnegie Mellon University: Carnegie Mellon (www.cmu.edu) is a private, internationally ranked research university with programs in areas ranging from science, technology and business, to public policy, the humanities and the arts. More than 12,000 students in the university's seven schools and colleges benefit from a small student-to-faculty ratio and an education characterized by its focus on creating and implementing solutions for real problems, interdisciplinary collaboration and innovation. A global university, Carnegie Mellon's main campus in the United States is in Pittsburgh, Pa. It has campuses in California's Silicon Valley and Qatar, and programs in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe and Mexico. The university has exceeded its $1 billion campaign titled "Inspire Innovation: The Campaign for Carnegie Mellon University," which aims to build its endowment, support faculty, students and innovative research, and enhance the physical campus with equipment and facility improvements. The campaign closes June 30, 2013.
SOURCE Carnegie Mellon University