In 1901, a field to the south of Beaumont, Texas erupted with the largest oil gusher known at the time. It took nine days to cap the outburst, but once it was under control, Beaumont shot to the front page of every newspaper across the state. As Texas’ first boomtown, Beaumont became a hot destination for aspiring entrepreneurs looking to gain a foothold in the oil industry. Ever since, Texas has been well-known for its oil production, with companies such as Exxon-Mobil and Marathon taking up residence in the region. Even the gone-but-not-forgotten NFL team the Houston Oilers took a cue from the state’s most popular industry.
These days, a similar story is unfolding in the Lone Star State: the development of wind power. Much like oil, wind is harnessed to power homes and businesses all across Texas, but there’s a key difference: Wind power doesn’t come with the burden of all the toxic emissions you hear about with fossil fuels. Wind farms have the capability to take kinetic energy and convert it into mechanical energy with hardly any pollution at all.
Another cool thing about wind energy in Texas is that there’s no centralized location for collection and production. Wind farms – from massive, public operations to small, private fields – stretch across most areas of the state. A lot of the strongest gusts and greatest energy potential exist around the Panhandle, but that’s far from the only region Texas has capitalized on. It’s this holistic mentality that allows Texas to excel as a leader in the industry.
Texas nearly doubles the next closest state in terms of wind power production. If every one of its wind farms were to operate at full capacity, Texas would be able to generate more than 10,000 megawatts. Iowa, which dons the silver medal, would only be able to produce around 4,300 megawatts. The largest wind farm in Texas is the Roscoe Wind Farm, located in west central Texas. It has 627 wind turbines and the capability to power more than 250,000 average homes in Texas.
With the way our society is moving, it seems only logical that Texas will be an integral part in transitioning our large-scale energy production to a more sustainable model. In addition to all the wind power opportunities that Texas provides, it’s also a prime candidate to house the expansion of solar energy. In any case, Texans should be proud of the way their state is headlining the boom of renewable energy.