Since 2007, solar and wind power have prevented the premature deaths of up to 12,700 people in the US.
That’s according to a study into the health benefits of renewables on the American energy sector, published in Nature Energy.
Solar and wind power provide air quality and climate benefits by reducing the need to generate electricity through fossil fuels.
The rapid expansion of these clean technologies has led to steep cuts in harmful air pollutants and carbon emissions.
Wind and solar capacity in the US grew from 10 GW in 2007 to 100 GW in 2015, resulting in health savings of USD $29.7 – 112 billion.
Conversely, carbon dioxide (CO2) fell by 20 per cent; sulphur dioxide (SO2) by 72 per cent; nitrogen oxide (NOx) by 50 per cent; and harmful particulate matter (PM2) by 46 per cent.
These emissions reductions helped avoid the premature deaths of between 7,000 and 12,700 people since 2007. This saved the American health system $56 -113 billion, the study found.
In addition, solar and wind power saved the economy up to $107 billion in avoided CO2 emissions over the reporting period.