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The State of Texas Wind Power Generation Can Be a ‘Wind-Wind’ Situation

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As a state, Texas is the leader of the pack in terms of producing wind energy in America, and many believe this is due in large part to former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is now the head of the U.S. Department of Energy. In 2005, Perry signed a bill into law that would see the construction of transmission lines connecting the state’s towering wind turbines to large population centers in Texas such as Austin, Dallas, San Antonio, and Houston.

The State of Texas Wind Power Generation Can Be a ‘Wind’-‘Wind’ Situation

Photo: Flickr/Roy Luck

And at the heart of the concept was the unique position in which the state found itself in whereby Texas’ electrical grid is independent of others in the United States. Therefore, wind energy didn’t cross state lines and wasn’t subject to federal regulations to the extent other power projects would be. Couple that with a governor that saw an opportunity to invest in a natural resource that Texas had plenty of, and you have a basic recipe for wind power success.

The State of Texas Wind Power Generation Can Be a ‘Wind’-‘Wind’ Situation

Photo: Wikimedia

The fastest-growing American job has since proven to be that of wind turbine technician, which has grown at more than double the rate of the next closest profession in terms of numbers. This couldn’t be more apparent than in Sweetwater, Texas, where row after row of 300-foot-tall wind turbines stretch as far as the eye can see, creating an entirely new industry in the area for construction and maintenance – a physically demanding job on the most temperate of days, never mind working in sweltering Texas heat or freezing winter temperatures.

The State of Texas Wind Power Generation Can Be a ‘Wind’-‘Wind’ Situation

Photo: Wikimedia

And despite such conditions, the training program for these jobs at Texas State Technical College has great intake, and even better hiring opportunities. Students can go to work on turbine construction and manufacturing, power distribution and generation, or even at utility companies, in both small towns and large cities, often finishing their programs onsite. And at median salaries of $51,000, it’s a profession well worth considering. Similarly, the rental income derived from a single turbine can be quite reasonable, with some ranchers in Texas averaging $10,000 per turbine per year. Either way, it’s hard not to see the state’s efforts in renewable energy as a “wind-wind” situation (wink, wink).