When most people, particularly out-of-staters, think of energy production and Texas they conjure up mental pictures of oil derricks, pumping jacks and “Texas Tea.” A barrel of the world’s best crude.
Actually, that is not incorrect, but it is not the whole picture, either.
Texas is not all about oil. Texas is all about finding the best, most efficient ways to produce energy. This state has proved it time and again and, well, it is time to sing another verse.
You may not know that Texas is No. 1 in wind power already and our lead over others is about to grow geometrically. In just weeks the Texas electrical grid will get another 18,500 megawatts, all from wind power farms in West Texas as part of the Competitive Renewable Energy Zone, or CREZ.
That power is not just going to stay out west. It is going to be shipped to the Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin urban centers using 3,600 miles of transmission lines. The system also utilizes the best electrical storage technology, too, so that the power will be a constant and not just be present when the wind happens to be blowing.
That is enough power for 60,000 homes and the ultimate cost of the power is no more than other forms of power. It is a real coup to get this done.
The more sources of renewable energy that we use the better it will be even if that doesn’t save money at the beginning. Almost all sources of renewable energy have much lower levels of pollution and that means we will reap the savings in the long run.
Still, as good as this is, the reality is that wind power is not going to overtake traditional fossil fuels as a primary source of power production. The state cannot, and has not, sunk all its hopes in that direction.
Rather, we are moving in many different directions at once. Again, this is just how it should be. The energy industry is changing just about as fast as all other forms of technological advancements. We don’t see an end to it, either.
We have problems to solve in energy production, both in generating enough to meet growing demands and in finding ways to do that slow down the accumulation of pollution. These are challenges not simply solved. No form of energy, not solar, wind or geothermal, is without a pollution component.
But with Texas’ open approach to energy, it would not surprise us if our state weren’t leading the way at finding ever-better solutions. That’s just the way we roll.