Clean Renewable Energy: Just Blowin’ In the Wind

Southfork Ranch, filming location for the 1970s and early 1980s television series Dallas, is probably one of the more interesting “things to do” in the Dallas/Forth Worth Metroplex in the big state of Texas. And here’s a little bit of entertainment trivia: the iconic mansion of the wheeling-and-dealing J.R. Ewing oil family in the Northeast Dallas town of Parker is actually far smaller than it appears on TV. It was some amazing photography and special effects that made that house look so huge on TV.

Hollywood special effects aside, Texas oil families did indeed rule up until the great Texas oil bust of the 1980s. At that time, an oil glut due to overproduction significantly lowered the price per barrel of that black gold that has driven our world economy for over 100 years and counting.

Today, Texas is experiencing yet another energy boom; but this time, the energy is not derived from the fossil fuel that truly defined its character for so many years, but from the air. The Lone Star State is on track to become the nation’s largest producer of renewable wind energy.

Roscoe, Texas was one of the many Lone Star towns caught up in oil boom euphoria prior to the 1980s. Roughly situated between Dallas and El Paso, this West Texas town is now on the map not for its rough-and-tumble wild-west history, but rather its expansive wind energy farms that have given the town the new nickname of Wind City, USA. In fact, so many spinning, whirring wind turbines have set up shop in Roscoe that it has become home to one of the largest wind farms in the world.

According to the American Wind Energy Association , “Wind energy system operations do not generate air or water emissions and do not produce hazardous waste. Nor do they deplete natural resources such as coal, oil, or gas, or cause environmental damage through resource extraction and transportation, or require significant amounts of water during operation. Wind’s pollution-free electricity can help reduce the environmental damage caused by power generation in the U.S. and worldwide.”

Indeed, wind energy sounds like a perfect source of renewable energy. But as in all forms of energy production, fossil fuel or renewable, some impact on the environment is felt. The American Wind Energy Association cites mainly local impacts including avian (bird and bat) deaths and erosion. However, with careful planning these impacts can be minimized.

Wind farms are excellent sources for environmentally safe energy. The ecological impact on surrounding areas is minimal, and adding this important renewable to our current energy mix will help America decrease reliance on finite, often volatile, energy derived from fossil fuels.