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Don’t Mess with Texas green energy

Texas is the biggest carbon polluter among states in the U.S., thanks to its oil refineries, sprawling cities and coal-burning power plants.

But here are a few stats that will shake up some stereotypes about the Lone Star state.

Texas has embraced renewable energy, predominantly wind power, and that has propelled three of its cities into the top rankings of local governments using green power.

According to the EPA’s Green Power Partnership program, the top three U.S. local governments using green power are:
1. Houston (34 percent of its municipal power use is supplied by wind)
2. Austin (100 percent of the city’s power is supplied by wind)
3. Dallas (40 percent of the city’s power is supplied by wind)

Why Texas? The state enjoys a confluence of factors that make wind power viable.

First, West Texas winds are among the strongest in the nation, and a lot of those farmers and communities where the oil derricks don’t produce as much these days, have welcomed this industry. The state leads the nation in wind production.

Next, you’ve got municipalities that need that power close enough to take advantage of it, though new power lines are being constructed to improve and extend connections.

Third, everyone’s on the same grid, lessening the red tape.

Austin, in fact, takes extra advantage of these factors. Its school system ranks 11 on the list, getting 42 percent of its energy from wind and biogas sources.

Number 4 and 5 on the EPA list, by the way, are Washington D.C. (it didn’t require Congress) and Chicago.

11/29/2011

 

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