Friday, December 18, 2009

Wind Energy - Is This New Texas Gold?

We've heard a lot about the environmental benefits of wind energy. In windy areas of the country, this untapped power source has the potential to produce a lot of electricity. But who else is benefiting? In Texas, a surprising number of oil companies are starting to get into wind. Here's a look at Texas's wind energy boom, and the increase in wind power that's happening in other states.

GE has a one and a half billion dollar contract to supply turbines and maintenance for an Oregon wind farm over the next decade, a project expected to create about four hundred and fifty jobs. T. Boone Pickens, Texas oilman, is getting behind wind power in his state, and wind farms are popping up all over in the American Midwest. That's because wind is worth a lot of money right now.

Currently, US residents import a little under seventy percent of their oil. That worries a lot of people who don't want the country to be reliant on foreign companies. This energy problem is becoming just as big a boost to wind energy enterprises as environmental concerns. Natural gas plans are also being proposed, either instead of wind power, or alongside it.

In some areas in Texas, you can drive a hundred and fifty miles and see a wind turbine wherever you go. Some people think of these huge turbines as eyesores, while others see them as the means to free the US from foreign oil dependency. In Nolan County, Texas, for instance, there are five billion dollars worth of turbines - fifteen hundred individual wind generators. Right now, that area produces more wind power in a year than the entire state of California.

Other areas in the state of Texas are having similar wind booms. The Rolling Plains region has two thousand turbines in operation, and Midland and Odessa's Permian Basin region produces about six thousand megawatts of electricity from three thousand turbines. New towers in some areas are going up at the rate of three to four a day.

Wind makes an excellent substitute for natural gas in Texas electricity production, and is renewable, unlike fossil fuels. It also produces no pollution while generating that electricity, though the turbines themselves are still made by industrial processes. Oil barons and environmentalists alike are supporting these plans, in an attempt to reduce environmental damage from fossil fuel burning and decrease dependence on foreign oil. Add in solar energy, for when the wind's not blowing, and the nation's power requirements will be increased even more.
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!

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