Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Answer My Friend, Is Blowing In The ...

It's been a long while since I tossed out a My Town Monday post and I sorely regret that fact. Once upon a time I started and hosted a weekly feature which I'm proud to say a lot of GREAT bloggers participated in. These days Clair and Barrie have been running the My Town Monday show over at a blog dedicated solely to the weekly postings. Anytime any of you would like to jump aboard by blogging about your town just let it be known at the MTM blog.

Now a bit about my town, Amarillo, Texas.

The landscape around Amarillo has long been dotted with these ...

But these days a new energy source is towering above these familiar icons.

It is hard to covey to size of these new wind turbines in a picture, but trust me they are huge, reaching far into the sky. I will admit to having mixed emotions about the proliferation of the giant white towers in the panhandle landscape. On one hand they scar the horizon and take away from the sensation that you can see forever, but on the other wind is one thing this area is not shy on and sometimes you have to harvest your bounty.

According to the National Climatic Data Center's list of annual average wind speeds, the windiest U.S. city is Dodge City, Kansas, with an average speed of 13.9 mph. Amarillo is close behind at 13.5 mph. The windy city of Chicago has average annual wind speed of only 10.3 mph.

Those are merely average speeds. It is routine for us to have gusts above 50 mph and at times even higher.
So as the future looms above the past, a new source of economy has blown into the area.

But there is one major problem. Wind energy is not something that can be stored and the population in the windiest areas of Texas is sparse enough that production overshadows need. And as of yet there are not enough transmission lines connected to the larger grids to send this energy where it is needed.
Currently there is a lot of political bickering and vying for position. Some one to spend the money to build these lines and the necessary substation while others are skeptical, or have their own reason not to buy into the wind energy hype.
T Boone Pickens is heavily involved in the wind energy business and as always people in the Panhandle get antsy at the mention of his name as Mr. Pickens has a long history of threatening pump the water beneath our ground and sale it to south Texas. Some fear legislation opening up transmission of of wind energy will open the door to make those threat a reality and while the Texas Panhandle has plenty of wind, we do not share that same abundance of H2O.Only time will tell if wind truly will be the energy source of the future, but for now that hope is enough to keep the local economy soaring with optimism.

Here is a shot of yet another wind turbine, but I thought it was unique since that is an oil refinery sitting in the background. I found the proximity of the two sort of ironic.

To find out what is blowing around in other parts of the world, please visit the My Town Monday site.


Monnik said...

We have several windmill areas popping up in Iowa too. I see the semis carrying the pieces on the Interstate all the time. They are ginormous.

Great post, Travis. Love the shot of the windmill by the refinery.

Barrie said...

Hi Travis!! So good to see a MTM post by you again.

We have a lot of wind turbines by Palm Springs. I keep meaning to stop for a tour.

debra said...

Hey---it must be old home week for MTM Marauders. I've got one, too.
There's been talk about wind power up here for a long time. People say they don't like how the turbines look. But no one seems to care about nuclear reactors.

Terrie Farley Moran said...


This is fascinating. Please keep us informed.


Clare2e said...

I agree! Very interesting times, indeed!

Alyssa Goodnight said...

In my trips through the panhandle and through west Texas, I always love to see the wind turbines turning in the distance... I can see how they might be a little irksome up close though.

T. Anne said...

That was fun. I read the wind stats out loud to the kids, they got a kick out of that.

Mary said...

Great post. I enjoy information like this.

DrillerAA09 said...

I really like the irony of the last photo.
I don't know if I'm a wind energy fan or not. Now if we could just harness all of the hot air coming from Washington and each of the state capitols, we solve some of the transmission problems.
Stop by, I got some fishin' lures to show ya.

alex keto said...

I thought they were giant food processors. Thanks for straightening me out.

pattinase (abbott) said...

That is a priceless picture. Both are ugly but one doesn't pollute and we can more easily control.
I wonder if we will ever see them blocking the view of the rich folks in Hyannisport, MA.

Dizzy Ms. Lizzy said...

Our College received a donation tht was earmarked to be used for training in renewable energy, and a wind turbine was built on our Campus last year. You're right, they are huge! But I love to see it when I drive up to work in the mornings.

Lyn said...

I love the wind, don't even mind driving in it. There have been times when it buckled my hood and side panels. But I do hate those wind farms. Always have to look away when we go through--dang things make me dizzy! And you know they're all made in China, right?

But it's good old American wind, for sure! And glad to see the MTM post. I miss them, didn't know where they went.

Cloudia said...

Cool (and windy :)

Aloha from Hawaii Trav

Comfort Spiral

lyzzydee said...

The wind turbines are HUGE we have more and more here in the UK. In fact I did a MTM post sometime ago about them!! I think its the way to go and I wish that I could afford one in my garden to supply my own needs. (small garden, and the set up costs are stupid at the moment)