Texas

Texas city one of first to be powered solely by wind and solar energy

Wind turbines north of Roscoe, Texas, are part of one of the largest wind farms in North America.
Wind turbines north of Roscoe, Texas, are part of one of the largest wind farms in North America. Star-Telegram

Who would have thought that Georgetown in conservative red state Texas would be one of the first cities in America to be powered entirely by renewable energy?

It’s true, according to this report on NPR.

But it’s all about the Benjamins, Georgetown Mayor Dale Ross told NPR.

“It’s our love of green — green rectangles and green energy,” he said, the rectangles signifying dollars. “First and foremost it was a business decision.”

There was never any talk of global warming or climate change during the city’s deliberations in 2012 about its power source going forward.

“I don’t think they’re ever going to accuse Georgetown of being the next Berkeley,” Ross told NPR’s Ari Shapiro.

The city realized that there was enough wind and solar power available, that it was fairly predictable and that the prices wouldn’t fluctuate as much as oil and gas prices.

Texas has led the nation in wind energy for the past decade while under then-Gov. Rick Perry, now the nation’s energy secretary.

But Perry didn’t promote the industry because he was any kind of tree-hugger. As Texas Tribune reporter and former Star-Telegram Austin bureau chief Jay Root told NPR: “I don't think anyone would call Rick Perry an environmentalist, including Rick Perry. ... But the guy knows how to sniff out a dollar. Here's a guy from West Texas who saw that you can make money off of the wind blowing. Like, that's a no brainer."

Tom Kiernan, chief executive of the American Wind Energy Association, told the Star-Telegram last month that the outlook for wind energy under the Trump administration looks promising, largely because it doesn’t cost much, adds jobs and is already being used by major companies such as GM in Arlington, Facebook, which is building a data center in north Fort Worth, Apple, Google, Amazon, Netflix and others.

How will wind energy fare with the Trump administration? Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, shares his answer.

Tom Uhler: 817-390-7832, @tomuh

Texas is the nation's top wind energy producer, with at least 125 wind farms and more than 11,500 turbines. We look at how tall the towers are built and how the energy is produced.

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