In the late 1990s, West Texas was full of rundown towns and pumpjacks, aging reminders of the oil rush of an earlier era. Today, the towns are thriving as 300-foot-tall wind turbines tower above those pumpjacks. Wind energy has become Texas's latest boom, with the Lone Star State now leading the nation. How did this dramatic transformation happen in a place that fights federal environmental policies at every turn?
In The Great Texas Wind Rush, environmental reporters Kate Galbraith and Asher Price tell the compelling story of a group of unlikely dreamers and innovators, politicos and profiteers. The tale spans a generation and more, and it begins with the early wind pioneers, precocious idealists who saw opportunity after the 1970s oil crisis. Operating in an economy accustomed to exploiting natural resources and always looking for the next big thing, their ideas eventually led to surprising partnerships between entrepreneurs and environmentalists, as everyone from Enron executives to T. Boone Pickens, as well as Ann Richards, George W. Bush and Rick Perry, ended up backing the new technology.
In this down-to-earth account, the authors explain the policies and science that propelled the "windcatters" to reap the great harvest of Texas wind. The Great Texas Wind Rush also explores what the future holds for this relentless resource that is changing the face of Texas energy.
1. Following a Glider
2. The Tinkerers
3. The Oil Embargo
4. The 1980s: Boom--Then Bust
5. Ann Richards--and a Big Wind Farm at Last
7. A Wind Requirement
8. The Next Decade: Takeoff
9. The Future
10. The Lessons of Texas Wind Postscript Notes
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Kate Galbraith is a reporter for the Texas Tribune, covering energy and the environment.
Asher Price reports on the environment for the Austin American-Statesman.