Wind Powered Electricity In Texas

Everything's bigger in Texas, and true to form, when Texans decided to harness the power of the wind, they went big. Over 40 different projects in Texas with a total capacity of 10,929 megawatts of electricity dot the countryside, mostly in the Texas Panhandle, along the Gulf Coast and along various ridgelines and mountain passes in West Texas.

As the largest wind power producer of any state in the country, Texas has nearly three times the wind capacity as Iowa, the next closest competitor in the wind industry, and wind-generated electricity provided 7.8 percent of the power to Texas' electric grid last year.

There's Plenty of Wind in Texas

One reason for Texas' booming wind industry is that it is such a plentiful resource in the state, with lots of open land in which to site large wind projects. Add to that, wind power is highly companionable to natural gas, one of the state's major sources of power. Natural gas supplies are easy to turn off whenever wind power gets turned on.

Wind power is not only beneficial to the environment, but it's a boon for Texas ranchers, who can increase their revenue stream by leasing their land to wind developers in exchange for either a set rate per wind turbine or a percentage of the project's annual revenue. Cattle can still graze on the land unaffected by the wind turbines, making wind-generated electricity and Texas a win-win combination for everyone.

Wind Power Creates Jobs

The wind power industry has also created thousands of jobs throughout the state, and may help to offset jobs that may eventually be lost due to decreases of oil drilling activity in the state and the Gulf of Mexico.

The wind power boom in Texas has actually outpaced the development of the transmission infrastructure, and many wind turbines often have to be shut down, as there are insufficient transmission lines to carry the electricity to the big cities where it is needed. Currently, new transmission lines are under construction to carry wind power from the Western parts of Texas all the way to more urban areas like Dallas-Fort Worth.

With improvements in technology, construction of wind turbines is becoming less and less expensive. And with plenty of open space for wind farms, a plentiful, renewable resource, and a source of extra revenue to help support farmers, wind-powered electricity and Texas is looking like a really good combination.

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