June 1, 2009

A WIND RUNS THROUGH IT:

Ranchers driving wind revolution (Roger Harrabin, 6/01/09, BBC News)

Texan cattle rancher Mike Baca seems an unlikely evangelist for the American green revolution.

When he voices a visceral dislike of the "Washington liberals" there seems to be little hint of the environmentalist beneath the cowboy hat and saucer-sized belt-buckle.

But Mike is proof that renewable energy now unites the partisan debate on climate change. [...]

The aquifer is running dry but engineers have again harnessed the wind to bring income to the relatively small number of people who own these vast empty spaces.

Mike is one of them. His nearest neighbours are miles away.

From the porch of his ranch-house - Tuscan with a Texan twist - at the floor of a verdant canyon he can sip bourbon and watch the giant blades turning a perpetual profit.

"I like them. And I like the cheque that comes with them," he says.

"I could do with a few more of them. We have to be concerned about what the world will be like for our grandchildren. If the turbines get noisy I can just switch on the fountain."

Texas utilities are planning a high voltage loop around the Panhandle to carry the power to the population centres of Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston.

Donny Allred, the local county judge, is lobbying to lure the power lines to Amarillo.

"This is the most perfect marriage of two industries - wind and cattle ranching," he says.

"They were made for each other."

Posted by Orrin Judd at June 1, 2009 7:16 AM
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