Climate and air quality benefits of wind and solar generation in the United States from 2019 to 2022

Publication Type

Journal Article

Date Published





Wind and solar electricity generation are critical for global decarbonization. Government support for wind and solar generators is often compared with their climate and air quality benefits. To accurately assess these benefits, assessments must be updated to reflect changes to the electricity system and to incorporate the newest research assessing the costs of emissions. For example, recent research finds much higher (>3×) societal costs to carbon emissions compared with commonly used metrics even just a few years ago, and important advances within air pollution epidemiology research have occurred in that time frame as well.
We develop a new and reproducible approach to estimate wind and solar climate and air quality benefits in the US using relatively simple and publicly available data and incorporating the recent advances described above. We find benefits are larger than most prior estimates, and they are larger than generation costs, subsidies, and electricity market value.


Cell Reports Sustainability

Year of Publication




An open-access version of this article published in Cell Reports Sustainability can be downloaded here. A brief overview of this study can be found here


Research Areas