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Mainstreaming Wind Power in the Lone Star State

If Texas were a nation, it would rank sixth in the world as a wind power producer.  Today the Lone Star State has 10,400 megawatts of installed wind capacity, generating about 7 percent of its total power needs.  Within the region controlled by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which supplies 85 percent of the state's electricity, 8.5 percent of overall power generation comes from wind. 

Somewhat paradoxically, Texas began gearing up to deliver wind power on a major scale under George W. Bush in the late 1990s.  As Texas governor, "W" presided over the adoption of the state's first renewable portfolio standard, setting a minimum threshold for electricity from renewable energy.  Wind power, in Bush's view, was a potential boon to the Texas economy, along with the state's super-abundant oil and gas resources.  It was only later that he, as president, frustrated clean energy advocates with his unwillingness to acknowledge global warming as a human-caused problem and his refusal to make a national commitment to curbing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

In an interview on Texas Public Radio, I recently had the chance to discuss wind power's rapid ascent in Texas and beyond with the host of TPR's "Living Green," Dan Skinner.