It’s not just any old wind that blows in Texas. Instead it is a wind that has brought change over the past few decades making Texas stand out as a super power when it comes to wind energy production. Standing out so much in fact, that Texas is actually the largest wind producer in the United States.
An important part of the story begins in the 1990s when wind was not considered the commodity it is today. A bill was passed in the Texas state legislature encouraging businesses to invest in renewable and lower carbon emissions.
Now as the national leader in the wind energy industry, The American Wind Energy Association website reports that Texas ranks first in the country for both installed and under construction wind capacity with over 24,000 wind-related jobs and a nearly $33 billion capital investment.
All that is due in part to the Competitive Renewable Energy Zones, but there is also the fact that Texas has around 40 manufacturing facilities in the state too.
Texas established a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) in 1999 and it was amended in 2005 with a targeted goal of 10,000 MW of renewable capacity by 2025.
As for the future, some folks at DOE Wind Vision Scenario projects believe that Texas has the ability to produce enough wind energy by 2030 to power up to 15.4 million average homes in the United States.
All this wind energy however, does not come without someone standing behind it and spearheading its success.
One such individual is Breeze Energy co-founder Walter Hornaday who makes his living selling the power of wind to folks in Texas, including in the Dallas area. Hornaday is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with an engineering degree and he originally founded Cielo Wind Power in the late 1998 with an idea that there had to be a more efficient way to make electricity.
While Hornaday was not available for comment, his company is reportedly one of the few locally that offers wind energy to customers.
It’s a cleaner way overall, but definitely still seems to be in the early stages for customers.
At TXU’s website that company touts an environmental commitment that involves wind energy use in some way, but a media contact there said they do not provide this sort of customer-specific or market-specific information as to the number of wind energy customers.
Another company that stands out on the Texas landscape for wind energy is Exelon Generation with a portfolio of 45 wind projects located in 10 states that in total are capable of generating nearly 1,400 megawatts (MW). In Texas, Exelon has 13 wind projects.
Bill Harris, Communications Senior Manager for the South/West Region for Exelon said “The 13 wind projects currently operational in Texas are capable of producing a total of 281.8 MW of clean electricity. Renewables have grown quickly in the last decade and are now a mature business. We believe renewables are an important part of our national transition to a clean energy future.”
Earth Day Texas, a non-profit organization focused on environmental education and awareness did not comment on any particular company offering wind energy to residents in the Dallas area, but a representative for the group said “Earth Day Texas supports sustainable technology around the Metroplex and companies that are utilizing wind energy to lead the way for a more environmentally friendly future.”
From the Dallas area to the Texas Panhandle and the Gulf Coast south of Galveston, the wind is definitely blowing and folks locally should begin to ask the question themselves “how can I more efficiently enjoy the breeze?”