Contributing Monkie Sarah Backhouse
Published on August 8, 2008
The TV show “Dallas” is looking pretty dated these days, and it’s got nothing to do with Victoria Principal’s wardrobe or whatever you call that hairstyle worn by Patrick Duffy. Actually it’s the premise – the affairs of an oil magnate – that makes it look so 30 years ago.
Once the oil capital of America, Texas is fast becoming the epicenter of wind-power, and this clean energy source is proving a money-spinner to boot.
Erase the visual of a quaint Dutch windmill — like everything in Texas, these wind turbines are big: “twice as high as the Statue of Liberty, with blades that span as wide as the wingspan of a jumbo jet”. Texas is currently ranked number one in the country for megawatts of wind power. Wind turbines currently provide 3 percent of the state’s electricity (enough to power one million homes) and 1 percent of the electricity in America (the equivalent of 4.5 million homes).
And that’s just the beginning. While “environmental advocates contend it could eventually hit 20 percent, as has already happened in Denmark,” energy consultants would put that figure at 5 to 7 percent. Not surprisingly, the recent boom in this clean, alternative energy source in Bush’s home turf is coming from Europe. In fact, foreign companies “own two-thirds of the wind projects under construction in Texas.”
Despite the enormous benefits of “a nearly pollution-free power source”, wind power still faces many challenges: electricity from wind is more expensive than fossil fuels; federal clean energy credits are about to expire; wind power is unpredictable (hot days when you most need air conditioning are often still); and finally the building of a new series of transmission lines across the country from States like Texas to dense, urban centers like NYC will be costly.
However, none of this is dampening the enthusiasm of Texas wind farmers like Boone Pickens, a former oilman who’s deep into alternative energy. “I like wind because it’s renewable and it’s clean and you know you are not going to be dealing with a production decline curve. Decline curves finally wore me out in the oil business.” Indeed.
Perhaps we can revive “Dallas” the series – this time with the plot centering around a good, clean energy source. Or is TV not ready for clean energy?
(via New York Times)