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Episode #13 – How oil-pumping Texas became the leader in wind power
Path to Zero

 
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Wind energy offers many advantages, which explains why it’s the fastest-growing energy source in the world.

In this episode of Path to Zero, Tucker talks to Asher Price, a journalist and author who has reported on the rapid rise of wind in the state that is one of the largest wind generators in the world. In Texas, wind accounts for about 20 percent of the state’s electricity.

Asher has been an environmental reporter at the Austin American-Statesman since 2006. He teamed up with fellow journalist Kate Galbraith to write The Great Texas Wind Rush. The book has one of the longest subtitles you’ll ever see, How George Bush, Ann Richards, and a Bunch of Tinkerers Helped the Oil and Gas State Win the Race to Wind Power.

show notes

Advantages and challenges of wind energy
The benefits of wind energy are clear. Electricity generated by wind turbines is sustainable and renewable. In addition to talking to us about the Texas wind power story, we also get Asher’s views on the potential for wind energy to overcome some limitations, including the fact that electricity isn’t generated when the wind isn’t blowing.

What Texas got right
Texas leads the nation in wind power, but it was not always so.

One of the reasons why The Great Texas Wind Rush is such a good read is how it chronicles some of the early pioneers in Texas wind power. Asher tells us about a Catholic priest who installed some of the state’s first wind turbines in the 1970s to help power his Lubbock church.

The Texas wind industry really took off in the 1990s under Governor George W. Bush and today $7 Billion worth of transmission lines transport the wind power generated in rural West Texas to the population centers.

This episode of Path to Zero is a fascinating discussion that gets to the irony of how an oil and gas state came to be the nation’s leader in wind power.

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