By Wyatt Goolsby
MIDLAND - In a region where oil and gas is king, another kind of energy is making a push in West Texas: Wind. A Texas company will soon set up shop in the Basin, and provide millions of dollars to our area. On Thursday, that company, Wind Energy Transmission Texas, unveiled their long-term plans in Midland.
"We'll be operating as high as Dickens County, and coming down as far south as Midland, little bit of Odessa, over to Glasscock, a lot of areas in between," Chad Wilbanks, with WETT, explained. "So, we're really excited to be out here."
On Thursday, there were plenty of new faces in downtown at the Midland Center. However, employees with WETT are making plans for their company to be around permanetly. For them, it's all about moving wind energy from turbines to the rest of the state.
"Texas is number one in wind energy development, but we have no way to transport clean, renewable energy throughout the state, and that's part of what we are doing out here in Midland," Wilbanks added.
The company won't build the turbines, but has millions in state money to create more than two thousand miles worth of transmission lines in Texas. Officials said they're not in competition with the Basin's oil and gas, but said they're goal is to make sure wind energy is an option.
"It provides clean, renewable energy across the state for everyone," Wilbanks said. "You're seeing right now, in Midland, you're seeing how hot it is. With the high energy demand that is across the state, new clean, renewable energy will allow for a relief of that high energy demand."
So, what makes West Texas such a great spot for wind? Chief Meterologist Tom Tefertiller said there's a number of factors.
"The big thing is it's flat out here," Tefertiller said. "And we're backed up against mountains quite a bit to our west. So occassionally we will get good winds off of those mountains, moving from west to east. Also we're in a part of Texas where we are at a crossroads where all the weather systems are in place, so we get a good southeast winds sometimes, and we get a lot of fronts move off to our north and across."
In addition, he said wind turbines work well in parts of our region.
"We have a lot of raised flat areas like mesas, plateaus, and you can put a lot of windmills on those things and they can get you up higher where there's less affect of the drag, friction along the ground, so you get better wind if you go up about a hundred feet," Tefertiller said.
Company officials said it makes sense to set up shop in the Basin. While they're only in the early planning stages, they said they'll be doing business here for years to come.