Why Ecomodernists Should Embrace Wind Power

A Response from Jesse Jenkins and Robert Wilson, both of whom are researchers and contribute to The Energy Collective

"Indeed, wind energy must play a key role in fighting climate change. There is little choice.

In many parts of the world, wind farms are now cost-competitive with or cheaper than nuclear power plants. They are also increasingly competitive with fossil fuels.

Rejecting wind farms will almost certainly increase the costs of reducing carbon emissions. This is already happening in Britain and New England, where we each live, and where rejection of wind farms is resulting in the expansion of more expensive forms of low carbon energy.

Furthermore, unavoidable political realities must be recognized, especially by anyone who claims to be an ecopragmatist. All of Europe, most of the United States, as well as China, Brazil, and several other emerging powers have firmly embraced wind and other renewable energy sources.

At the same time, several nations have cooled to nuclear power, or outright banned it. Consider Germany. We fundamentally disagree with that nation’s decision to phase out nuclear power plants while building new coal power plants. This was an undeniable mistake. But this mistake will not be undone any time soon, and even if it is, there is no reason to expect Germany’s support for wind and solar energy to end with it.

Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, and it appears Sweden and France, have also effectively banned any future expansion of nuclear energy. New nuclear reactor construction in the United States has stalled and virtually the entirety of the existing American, Japanese, and European reactor fleets will have be retired over the next thirty years.

Nuclear power can and should play a central role in global decarbonization, but it is just as foolish to think nuclear alone (or nuclear and solar alone) will power the planet any time soon."

Read the full response here.