United States

United States

AWEA responds to Trump wind comments

UNITED STATES: The American Wind Energy Assocation (AWEA) has hit back at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump following the billionaire's speech on energy in North Dakota.

Trump is 'ill-informed' on wind energy - AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan (pic: Michael Vadon)
Trump is 'ill-informed' on wind energy - AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan (pic: Michael Vadon)

During a press conference before his speech at the North Dakota Petroleum Council, Trump said: "Wind is expensive. Without subsidy, wind doesn't work. You need massive subsidies for wind."

In a blog post after the speech, AWEA vice president of public affairs Peter Kelley rebuffed some of Trump's claims.

Kelley cited a November 2015 report by asset management firm Lazard on the levelised cost of energy, which stated: "Over the last six years, wind and solar PV have become increasingly cost-competitive with conventional generation technologies, on an unsubsidised basis."

On subsidies, Kelley wrote: "Actually, all forms of energy have incentives, most of them permanent in the tax code. The only ones preparing to phase out their incentives are wind and the other renewable industries. The wind production tax credit is set to phase out, starting next year."

Trump also attacked the wind industry's records on bird kills. "There are places maybe for wind, but if you go to various places in California, wind is killing all of the eagles," Trump said. Later, in his speech to the council, Trump said: "Wind projects kill more than a million birds a year."

In his response, Kelley said: "Trump's numbers are off by orders of magnitude. Wind power has among the lowest impacts on wildlife of any way to make electricity. Leading wildlife groups like the Audubon Society, the National Wildlife Federation, and the WWF support responsibly sited wind turbines. Wind energy is the low-cost solution to carbon pollution in particular which threatens all wildlife.

"Publicly available data of all known eagle fatalities shows collisions with wind turbines at modern wind farms are responsible for less than 5% of all documented human-caused golden eagle deaths," added Kelley.

AWEA CEO Tom Kiernan tweeted his response to the speech: "Trump is ill-informed on wind energy. Wind is saving consumers money per the utilities and companies buying it.

"Trump neglected to say that the [ten] states with the most renewable energy have lower electric rates than the [ten] states with the least," Kiernan added.

Trump also said he would "cancel the Paris Climate Agreement" in the speech.

"Despite that, I am into all types of energy," Trump concluded.

Here's how the delegates at AWEA Windpower 2016 voted in a poll run by the association's political action committee:

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