Texas has vastly more installed wind power than other states, routinely getting 9% of its energy from wind. On some days it’s 20%, with more and bigger wind farms being built. California isn’t even close. Yes, this gives traditional environmentalists fits. But Texas has always been a leader on energy.
WaPo reviews the ‘The Great Texas Wind Rush’ which chronicles how Texas became a powerhouse of wind. A big reason was that Texas focused on how wind power could be profitable and downplayed environmental reasons.
The tale begins in the late 1970s when a father-and-son team began to build new turbines, and by 1981, the second wind farm in the nation went up in northwest Texas. Thirty years and various disasters, backroom deals and fits of inspiration later, Texas had eclipsed California and every other state to become by far the biggest wind energy producer.
Former Enron CEO Kenneth Lay and then Texas Gov. George Bush play roles in committing the state to renewable energy. In 1996, Bush told a top staff member, “By the way, we like wind,” and when the dumbfounded aide starts to ask a question, Bush simply replies, “Go get smart on wind.”
They do things different in Texas. Heh.
When a national environmental group asked about the risks that turbines might pose to coastal migratory birds, one wind booster replied that the birds would get smarter over time and that the giant blades could also be “the first line of defense against avian flu.” The environmentalists reportedly were not amused.