Sunday, February 24, 2008

A big new wind blowing out of Texas

We all know they like 'em big in Texas.

Big ranches. Big boots. Big hats. Big ole nasty bulls. Big Cadillacs (some with big ole nasty bull horns on the grill). Big bar-b-que.

And, of course, Big Oil.

Well, move over boys, there's a new sheriff in town - Big Wind.

The New York Times reports that:

"Texas, once the oil capital of North America, is rapidly turning into the capital of wind power. After breakneck growth the last three years, Texas has reached the point that more than 3 percent of its electricity, enough to supply power to one million homes, comes from wind turbines."

Texas surpassed California as the top wind farm state in 2006. In January alone, new wind farms representing $700 million of investment went into operation in Texas, supplying power sufficient for 100,000 homes.

Even legendary oilman Boone Pickens is fixin to get into the alternative energy business. Not surprisingly, the quintessential Texan plans to erect the biggest wind farm in the world, a $10 billion behemoth that could power a city by itself.

" I like wind because it's renewable and it's clean and you know you are not going to be dealing with a production decline curve, " Mr. Pickens said. "Decline curves finally wore me out in the oil business."

And it turns out there are big profits to be earned, too. Just ask Louis Brooks who fetches $500 a head for each wind turbine he allows to be placed on his ranch in Sweetwater. There are 78 of them so far, 76 more on the way.

How does he like the sound of the blades, each as wide as the wingspan of a jumbo jet, whirling and humming overhead?

"That’s just money you’re hearing,” drawls Mr. Brooks.

Enjoy the entire story here

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