Thursday, April 1, 2010

CASE STUDY: Texas Leads the Pack in Wind Energy Production‏

by Ryan Lynch

The American Wind Energy Association released a report in January revealing that the state of Texas installed more wind power than any other state in the union last year.

On the whole, the country installed more wind power last year than any other year. In Texas alone, enough new windmills were erected last year to create nearly 10,000 megawatts of new generating capacity. In all, this is enough to power more than 2.4 million homes. In fact, Texas alone added 9,410 megawatts of wind generating capacity, putting the state far ahead of every other state. Second place Iowa added just 3,670 megawatts of wind energy, while California added 2,794 and Washington added 1,980.

According to Denise Bode, who is the CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, this is largely due to funding provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Ironically, wind manufacturing actually dropped with one-third less manufacturing facilities opening their doors over the past year. Although new installations were high during the fourth quarter of 2009, the number of new facilities being opened fell behind the number that were opened during the fourth quarter of 2008.

The fact that Texas is ahead of the curve in terms of wind energy doesn't come as too much of a surprise to residents of the state. After all, Texas has long been at the forefront of eco-friendly activity. This is particularly true of the capital city of Austin, which has implemented new legislation to significantly reduce the city's reliance upon electricity generated from coal. In fact, the city is working toward increasing its wind power by 35% by 2020 and plans to ultimately switch completely over to wind power during the nighttime.

"We think this plan strikes the right balance between affordability, reliability and environmental stewardship," said Roger Duncan, who is the general manager of Austin Energy. Although experts predict the change will increase energy bills by 20% over the next decade, Duncan is certain the eco-friendly switchover will ultimately be a more affordable change.

"My usual response when people ask what's affordable is, 'affordable when?'" Duncan said. "What's affordable now may not be in 2020, and what's affordable then may not be in 2030. What we're recommending raises prices a little in the short term but we think better prepares us for the long term."

It's just one example of a long list of green initiatives taking place throughout the city of Austin as well as the rest of the state.

Ryan Lynch is part of the marketing team for an Austin Real Estate Company:
They specialize in River Place: and Steiner Ranch:

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