LM Otero/AP
Wind turbines are seen at the Horse Hollow Wind Energy Project in Wingate, Texas. (AP)

Houston Turns to Wind for Power, Savings

July 03, 2008 06:02 AM
by Lindsey Chapman
In a city dominated by oil, wind power looks to be more economical.

30-Second Summary

On July 1, 2008, Houston, Texas, began receiving about 25 percent of its electricity from wind energy.

West Texas wind farms will help provide Houston with the energy it needs, and at a savings to consumers. A kilowatt hour of wind-generated electricity costs 7.5 cents, compared with 9.5 cents for a kilowatt hour of conventional power.

Hurricane Katrina prompted Houston’s move to wind power. The storm damaged oil and gas infrastructure, and increased the price of natural gas, which Houston relies on heavily for electricity.

“We begin taking this wind power today as a benefit for both the environment and the taxpayer,” said Houston Mayor Bill White. “As the energy capital of the world, Houston is committed to becoming the clean, sustainable energy capital of the world as well.”

Other cities and states around the country are taking up the same challenge to rely on cleaner, cheaper energy, but the movement has sparked a heated clean energy debate.

Wind turbines may be environmentally friendly but many people find them visually unappealing, and there is some noise pollution produced when the turbines are moving.

In the Bisbee, Arizona and St. Lucie County, Florida, for example, residents are torn over whether they want wind turbines on their hillsides and coastlines.

John Dorschner of the Miami Herald noted that people generally critical of wind projects “think wind is find—as long as the tall turbines are somewhere else.”

Wind power presently accounts for just one percent of U.S. electricity, but federal estimates indicate that wind power could supply 20 percent of national energy needs by 2030.

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