Environmental Science

Renewable Benefits

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Science  02 Aug 2013:
Vol. 341, Issue 6145, pp. 436
DOI: 10.1126/science.341.6145.436-a
CREDIT: THINKSTOCK

Few would doubt the proposition that wind and solar power provide health and environmental benefits by reducing emissions of carbon dioxide and other air pollutants, although few have considered in depth how the advantages of those renewable energy technologies might differ regionally. The variability of the advantages of renewable power is largely a function of the type of power generation that it displaces. Siler-Evans et al. look at how existing power generation facilities are distributed across the United States and analyze the impacts of replacing those facilities with wind or solar installations. They find uneven but significant—and in some regions, very large—social and environmental benefits resulting from the adoption of those technologies. They also discuss the value of the Production Tax Credit Subsidy for wind energy generation, how its effectiveness could be improved by regional differentiation of the policy, and how the large-scale adoption of wind or solar energy production might affect their more site-specific analysis.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 110, 11768 (2013).

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