Much of the attention on renewable energies like solar and wind power is directed to the environmental benefits. For some, those benefits are hard to appreciate. A more economic benefit has arisen. The reduction in pollution is saving so many lives that the health cost savings exceed the subsidies paid to renewable energy providers.
“… between 3,000 and 12,700 premature deaths have been averted because of air quality benefits over the last decade or so, creating a total economic benefit between $30 billion and $113 billion. The benefits from wind work out to be more than 7¢ per kilowatt-hour, which is more than unsubsidized wind energy generally costs.” – Ars Technica
That estimate is probably low considering that;
“In the US, air pollution is responsible for an estimated 200,000 premature deaths a year.” – Ars Technica
The price of renewable energy continues to fall. The efficiency of renewable energy continues to improve. The percentage of power generated by renewable energy continues to rise. And now it is becoming apparent that the systemic benefits of renewable energy can save lives, lower health care costs, improve economic efficiency, and lower our impact on the planet. As those trends continue, renewable energy’s benefits may become more pervasive and persuasive than many imagined. They’re already paying for themselves.