Texas leads the way in wind energy, but for some reason this is not common knowledge, nor is broadcast. First, a few statistics from the US Energy Information Administration.
“Texas produces more electricity than any other state, generating nearly twice as much as second-place Florida. In 2021, Texas accounted for about 12% of the nation’s total electricity net generation.
The share of electricity generated from wind in Texas has shot up from zero to 24 percent between 2001 and 2023.
In 2021, Texas produced about 26% of all U.S. wind-powered electricity generation, leading the nation for the 16th year in a row. Wind power surpassed the state’s nuclear generation for the first time in 2014 and exceeded coal-fired generation for the first time in 2019.”
Just picking the numbers 24% and 26%, the oil rich state of Texas gets about 1/4 of its electricity from wind energy and it provides about 1/4 of the wind powered electricity in the country.
Why? Four main reasons.
1)Texas provided powerlines to rural areas starting back at the turn of the century to harness electricity from such sources to meet a renewable energy goal of 15%.
2)Texas wind energy developers pay an annual rent to ranchers and farmers to put wind mills on their property. The number I recall is $5,000 per annum per windmill. One ranchers said he gets $55,000 per year for his eleven windmills which is huge supplement to his income.
3)Per now-deceased oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens, he said on “60 Minutes” about ten years ago that wind is the future of energy in the middle of America; natural gas is just buying us time. Iowa gets about 43% of its electricity from wind energy with several other states getting over 1/3 of theirs.
4)The production of wind energy has dropped in cost to be as cost-effective, if not moreso, than coal energy. Natural gas put the first nail in coal’s coffin, with wind and solar energy adding two more nails.
The reason I love this story is it surprises people. But, it also shows how an oil rich Texas planned ahead and now is seeing the dividends. It should be noted because of these four reasons, other utilities not based in Texas have wind farms in that state. Not only is wind renewable, it is not a zero-sum provider of electricity. My wind energy does not affect yours.