Wind Energy - New Texas Gold?

By Jerry Dyess

The benefits of wind energy are something we've all been hearing a lot about lately and in some parts of the US, this renewable energy technology may be able to meet a significant portion of the demand. Other than the obvious good that using wind power can do for the environment, there are a lot of Texan oil companies which are beginning to diversify into wind. Keep reading for a look at the rise of wind energy in Texas and elsewhere across the country.

T. Boone Pickens made his fortune in oil, but this Texas oilman is now throwing his backing to using wind power in Texas. There are also wind farms showing up in Midwestern states and in Oregon, General Electric has just signed a $1.5 billion, ten year contract to supply a wind farm with turbines and maintenance services. When wind gets this kind of attention from the likes of GE and Pickens, it means there's money to be made in wind.

The US imports around 70% of the oil we use; and many argue that we need to become independent of foreign suppliers. Combined with the public awareness of the negative effects of burning fossil fuels, wind power has been getting more and more interest. Natural gas, a fossil fuel the US has larger reserves of is being examined as an alternative to foreign energy supplies along with an assist from renewable energies like wind power.

In some areas of Texas, it's possible to drive for nearly 150 miles and see turbines all over the place. While not everyone loves how wind turbines look, there are just as many who look at these structures and see a future where the US can be energy independent. In Nolan County, Texas there are 1,500 wind generators in operation (which is approximately $5 billion worth of renewable energy technology). In this county alone, more energy is generated per year using wind power than is produced in the entire state of California.

This isn't the only area of Texas which is experiencing a boom in wind power. The Rolling Plains near Abilene has 2,000 turbines in use; the Permian Basin area close to Midland and Odessa is home to 3,000 turbines with a generation capacity of 6,000 megawatts. Turbines are being built all over the state, with as many as four per day going up in some parts of Texas.

Wind power offers a renewable, clean alternative to natural gas and other fossil fuels as a means of producing electrical power. It produces no pollutants and with even oilmen like Pickens lining up alongside environmentalists to help reduce the environmental impact of energy production and reduce US dependence on foreign energy suppliers, it's a technology with a bright future. Alongside solar energy systems, wind energy has the potential to meet a large portion of the country's energy needs.

Is wind a viable alternative for all our energy needs? It depends on who you talk to. However, one thing is sure. Wind is booming all over the country, and producing a lot of energy. It's definitely worth a look! - 30558

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