When representatives of a renewable energy company first approached Concho County residents about building a wind farm on their sloping terrain in Central Texas, landowners weren’t sold.
Wind was still building its reputation as a reliable energy source back in 2007, and West Texas and the Panhandle claimed most projects. The Great Recession hit a few months later, and plans for the project were shelved.
But a series of nearby wind developments in recent years helped get locals on board, reviving plans for the site 2 miles northwest of Eden, Texas. Construction of a wind farm called Maverick Creek is set to begin in September, with annual wind energy production in the state on track to surpass coal energy for the first time.
“It’s a continuation of what we’ve been seeing, which is a robust wind buildout in Texas,” said Joshua Rhodes, a research associate at the University of Texas at Austin’s Energy Institute.
Texas accounts for a quarter of wind-powered energy in the U.S. Wind eclipsed coal as the state’s leading energy source through the first six months of 2019, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages electric power flow in the state.