Wind energy quadruples health benefits

Approximately only 10% electric from the United States (USA) comes from wind power, a renewable energy source that benefits the climate, air quality and the environment. public healthBecause it is one of the main features change the polluted air. Indeed, a study published Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the health benefits associated with aerothermal energy quaternary if operators give priority reduce the production of power plants relying on more polluting fossil fuels rather than relying on wind power.

To do this, the researchers compared two historical datasets from that period. between 2011 and 2017: Hourly log of power output from wind turbines nationwide and detailed log of emissions measurements from all fossil fuel power plants in the US. seven main regional electricity markets, each powered one or more states. They also tracked emissions across the country and allocated pollutants to affected demographic populations. They then calculated regional air quality and associated health costs for each community.

“We found it was a great way to prioritize health. maximize profit Across the US, this is very positive. But it suggests will not address inequalities” indicates Noelle SelinHe is a professor at MIT’s Institute for Data, Systems, and Society and in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, and co-author and professor of the study.

Communities of color and low-income communities continued to receive less health benefits than wealthier communities.

The first finding was made in 2014, when they discovered that wind power associated with government policies improves air quality in general. $2 billion in healthcare across the country. But just around 30% Many of these health benefits have reached disadvantaged communities.

On the other hand, the team concluded that the overall benefits for health would decrease if the energy industry reduced production of the most polluting fossil fuel-based power plants, rather than the most economical ones, when wind-generated power was available. quadrupled to 8.4 billion Nationwide dollars. Even so, the results will have a similar demographic breakdown.


Researchers a advanced atmospheric chemistry model two known pollutants to simulate wind patterns and chemical transport of emissions across the country and to determine where and at what concentrations the emissions produce fine particulate matter and ozone. to harm air quality and human health.

Next, the researchers mapped the overall demographic populations of the entire country. US census dataand applied a standard epidemiological approach to calculating the health cost as a result of exposure of a population to contamination.

Next, the researchers examined How would the emission pattern change? and the associated health benefits if priority is given to closure of various fossil fuel plants when wind power is booming. Tailored to reflect emissions data several alternative scenarios: the scenario where the most polluting and harmful power plants are shut down first and the other two scenarios where the power plants producing the most sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide are shut down respectively first to reduce production.

Global health benefits could quadruple nationwide to $8.4 billion

Although each scenario can increase the overall health benefits, and the first in particular can quadruple the health benefits, original inequality: communities of color and low-income communities continued to experience minor health benefits than wealthier communities.

“We’ve come to the end of the road and have been smarter when it comes to saying there’s no way to fix this inequality. deciding which plants to movesays Selin. However, the work improve the health of the general populationspecifies Julian MarshallProfessor of environmental engineering at the University of Washington.

“The detailed information provided by the scenarios in this document can provide a roadmap for power plant operators and government air quality regulators on which power plants work. very harmful to human health and is also likely to significantly reduce emissions If the electricity produced by the wind increasessays Marshall, who was not involved in the research.

Because we all need health…

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