The Future Of Wind Energy In Texas

West Texas has been experiencing the boom of the shale oil industry over the past few years. Midland/Odessa in particular is feeling the boom in their economy from the fossil fuel sector of the energy business, increasing jobs and local revenues across the board. New shale wells and pipelines are being dug in the Sweetwater, Snyder and areas west of Abilene.

Yet the wind energy revolution of 2005, that put giant wind turbines along Interstate 20 on both sides of the highway, and encompassed thousands of acres of West Texas made headlines when billionaire T Boone Pickens invested millions in the burgeoning green energy endeavor. What has happened to that investment? Is wind energy in trouble with shale oil once again bringing Texas oil back?

On the contrary, Texas is in the process of starting a $7 billion wind energy project that will provide over 18,000 megawatts of energy power to West Texas towns in the DFW area and Austin. CREZ (Competitive Renewable Energy Zone) will provide enough energy to power 60,000 homes when the project is completed. The project is set to coincide with the large shale oil push in West Texas to make the Lone Star state the energy capital of the US. GE is one of the funders for this project, which will provide new job opportunities for the economy as well (more info at http://cleantechnica.com/2013/10/18/texas-wind-power-gets-boost-from-new-crez-lines/)

The corporations backing green energy technology are not stopping there. Microsoft recently signed a 20 year agreement with the state of Texas as part of its promise to become carbon neutral. The success of this endeavor rides on an internal fee for operational use of carbon charged to each department and group for the amount of carbon emissions. This endeavor was more signified with the agreement to construct a wind farm in Jack County, Texas, north of Fort Worth. Comprised of 55 wind turbines, the Keechi Wind Project will provide power to the existing grid that stretches into San Antonio, where one of Microsoft’s data centers resides. As cloud based services increase including Bing, Office 365, and Xbox Live, the investment in the Keechi Wind Project allows for the broadening of Microsoft’s data based infrastructure. (http://www.triplepundit.com/2013/11/microsoft-signs-twenty-year-wind-power-agreement-texas/)

Microsoft and the CREZ project highlight an expanding interest in Texas’s quest for energy. With non-renewable energy operations making a more prominent foothold in parts of West Texas, the expansion of green energy and renewable energy endeavors strengthens the state’s ability to provide power to the grids that both business and residential entities are needing.