Why is West Texas so popular for wind farms? Wide open spaces, for one, allow for unobstructed wind flow. On a flat site with a single prevailing wind, each turbine would need 26.7 acres of land space. Also, wind farms operate best in places where the wind consistently averages a speed of at least 12 mph at 33 feet above the ground. The Panhandle currently is the largest region in Texas with quality winds but wind farms in mountainous regions of West Texas provide the highest average wind speeds.
Wind farms use massive turbines, which “harvest” wind energy and convert it into electricity. With more than 40 wind farms statewide, including the Roscoe Wind Farm, one of the world’s largest, Texas lassoes more of this renewable energy source than any other state. See animated map on growth of wind power capacity by state.
Wind energy is measured in megawatts (MW), and West Texas wind farms currently have the capacity to produce over 10,000 MW annually. Roscoe Wind Farm alone has the potential – dependent on a good steady wind – to provide close to 800 MW of this total, which is enough to power a quarter-million homes for an entire year.
That’s pretty impressive when you think about it – the same sort of energy you use to blow out birthday candles can be harnessed by West Texas wind farms to light up your house. This new spin on a renewable energy source that’s been used for centuries to power sailboats, grain mills, and wells holds great promise for the future of green energy. With new wind farm installations underway, some experts predict that over the next two decades, wind farms across the country could collectively provide 20% of U.S. electricity needs.
Solar power panels for homes may be a familiar product, but did you know you can get wind turbines for your home as well? Consumers can receive various tax credits and incentives for moving towards greater energy efficiency. Businesses also have a lot to benefit from going “green”. See a complete list of Texas renewable incentives.
What are you doing in your home to go green? Please share your ideas and feedback about greener living below.