Posted by: greeningwashington | April 14, 2009

Wind Energy, The Texan Way

 Everything is bigger in Texas — even wind energy production.

Texas leads the nation in wind energy production and it has since 2006 when it surpassed California. Wind farms in Texas now generate three percent of the State’s electricity, enough to supply electricity to nearly one million homes.

What once was a marginal source of electricity, wind power has grown steadily in the United States throughout the past decade, showing with no signs of slowing down. In fact, according to a recent study by Emerging Energy Research, a consulting firm in Cambridge, Mass., the United States will have invested an estimated $65 billion in wind energy production between the years 2007 to 2015 — no small price tag for an energy source that supplies only one percent of the nation’s electricity. Moreover, in certain areas wind power can be unpredictable. Turbine blades can kills birds and bats and interfere with wildlife. Additionally, litigation has ensued regarding large wind farms that are considered eyesores.

But naysayers don’t speak too soon, wind energy has the potential to provide clean alternative energy while stimulating local economies as the video suggested. Wind energy is inexhaustible and with the proliferation of the turbine technology the costs associated with wind energy production should fall.

According to the Texas State Energy Conservation Office (SECO),

wind resource areas in the Texas Panhandle, along the Gulf Coast south of Galveston, and in the mountain passes and ridge tops of the Trans-Pecos offer Texas some of the greatest wind power potential in the United States, with consistently high wind speeds capable of sustaining a productive wind farm.

Texas is also home to the largest wind farm in the world. Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center in Texas has the generating capacity of 735 megawatts (MW) spread across approximately 47,000 acres in Taylor and Nolan counties near Abilene in west central Texas. According to the SECO One MW of electricity can serve 230 Texas homes on average each day.

The Obama Administration’s focus on clean energy, coupled with the clean energy tax incentives in the stimulus bill, has provided the wind industry the boost it needs.

Texas has already taken steps to update its electricity grid to provide for wind energy in addition to back-up sources of energy when there is a wind black-out.

I am betting that if we play our cards right, Texas wind energy will not only help provide renewable energy but help the Texas economy in the process.

Until next time.


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