Near Lubbock, Texas, one can find the American Wind Power Center and Museum, a small barn-like building surrounded by windmills of varying vintage.
There’s a reason the museum is in Texas. Farms on the plains used wind energy to pump water into their fields. Windmills are what green-jobs pioneer Van Jones likes to call “cowboy power.”
It’s fitting, then, that the state should also increasingly be using wind power at a much, much larger scale. Last Saturday morning, it set a new record. From the Star-Telegram:
The state’s biggest power grid says electricity provided by wind farms hit a record at 10:21 a.m. Nov. 10, when 8,521 megawatts made it to transmission lines. …
According to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which serves most of the state, wind power at its peak on Nov. 10, a Saturday, accounted for 25.9 percent of all electricity demand, which was at a relatively low 36,423 megawatts. The Wind Coalition, an industry group, also notes that wind power topped 6,800 megawatts the entire day and capped a three-day run that saw wind power remain near or above 5,000 megawatts.
This was one weekend day, during low demand, to be sure. But using wind to generate one-quarter of the power for a state as big — and as oil-loving — as Texas is a significant milestone.
But in another sense, it’s also perfectly fitting. In Texas, coal power is the newcomer that challenged wind’s ad hoc dominance. Now, wind is back in the fight.