Although we spend a lot of cycles debating climate change, some have placed economic development above ideology. You wouldn’t expect a state tied economically and in the American imagination to oil, gas and coal, to lead the U.S. in wind power generation. Less restrictive zoning, taxation systems that encourage building, and robust transmission lines can enable this type of progress.
Texas has in recent years become the biggest generator of wind power in the U.S. By next year, Texas is poised to get more of its electricity from wind than coal. This was highlighted in a recent Article that describes the energy journey that the state has been on in the past two decades. In all, Texas has 14,720 wind turbines operating in the state, according to the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. Blessed with a swath of land that sits right in the wind belt, Texas would rank fifth in the world for wind power capacity if it were a country.
That same wind belt continues straight up the middle of the country to Canada and includes Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and the Dakotas. The article states that there is significant wind in portions of Minnesota, Iowa, Wyoming and Montana as well. Most have been building out their wind energy installations. Iowa gets 34% of its energy from wind power and in Michigan some townships are using taxes from wind turbines to pay down their pension liabilities, said Mills.
In addition to the low cost of wind energy, wind produces a substantial number of jobs in the state. More than 25,000 Texans work in the industry. To maintain the turbines, teams of technicians constantly visit the structures, inspecting gears or conducting pre-planned maintenance.
Energy is one of the three pillars of the foundation for society: the general purpose technology Platform of Energy, Transport, and Communications. Each of these pillars is undergoing a paradigm shift – the first time since the Second Industrial Revolution. When all three shift together, it signals Massive Change on the horizon. I explore the energy transition in several Energy Posts.