Saturday, February 23, 2008

Lone Star Wind

Today’s New York Times has a nice front-page story on the wind-energy boom in Texas. Polprint knows a thing about this, since she has visited wind farms in a couple of west Texas towns. Lucky they have wind, because there isn’t much else out there (besides dying oil wells). The turbines are enormous. When Polprint first saw a blade lying on a flatbed truck, she mistook it for an airplane wing.

Strange as it sounds, George Bush helped start the wind rush. When he was governor of Texas, he signed a bill requiring that a certain amount of the state’s electricity be generated from renewables. In Texas that has generally come to mean wind.

But Bush has refused to back similar incentives at a national level. Last year the House passed a version of the energy bill that included a “renewable electricity standard”. This required that by 2020, 15 percent of utilities’ power be derived from sources like wind or solar. The White House, and its Senate allies, successfully blocked this provision. (Apparently utilities in Southern states were worried that didn't have enough wind....though surely Sun Belt states have ample sun?)

Readers interested in finding out how much power from renewables their state requires can click here. (Texas is far from alone; more than half of the states have such goals, which are called renewable portfolio standards.)

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