Tuesday, January 11, 2005

West Texas Wind Coalitions

West Texas wind energy interests form coalitions
With West Texas emerging as a world leader in wind energy generation, regional leaders are forming a series of locally based coalitions, beginning with a conference in Sweetwater on Jan. 28.
The inaugural meeting of the West Texas Wind Energy Consortium and the Rolling Plains Wind Energy Coalition will be held at noon Friday, Jan. 28, at The Center on the campus of Texas State Technical College West Texas. First National Bank of Sweetwater will host the luncheon.
"We are inviting West Texans with a present or future interest in the rapidly developing wind energy sector to join us in these regional coalitions," said Homer Taylor, chairman of the Consortium, Vice Chancellor of TSTC and former President of TSTC-West Texas. "The wind energy industry carries strong promise for West Texas, and we aim to maximize joint action to capitalize on the value of wind energy to our region."
Only four foreign countries produce more wind energy than West Texas, and the region is projected to contain more than 25 percent of U.S. wind energy production by year-end 2005. This rapidly expanding industry provides substantial job creation and tax base growth for West Texas, and the outlook is strong into coming decades.
The Jan. 28 event is open to landowners, utilities, wind energy developers, cities, counties, chambers of commerce, school districts, and other businesses that participate in the wind energy industry now or intend to in the future. Many West Texas businesses are actively involved in the wind energy sector, including trucking companies, cement suppliers, contractors, attorneys, accountants, motels, restaurants and others.
In addition to the Rolling Plains coalition, the West Texas Wind Energy Consortium will also develop locally based efforts in the Permian Basin, Texas Panhandle and Texas Mountains regions. Together, the combined resources will provide West Texas with a stronger voice in Austin and Washington as policy decisions are made that can further benefit West Texas.
In cooperation with existing institutions and resources throughout West Texas, the objectives of the regional wind energy efforts will include regional economic development, education, job training and legislative action. The Consortium will also coordinate an annual West Texas Wind Energy Trade Fair.
"Now is the time for West Texans to join together to maximize our common economic interests in this important industry," said Greg Wortham, executive director of the West Texas Wind Energy Consortium. "There are many crucial legislative issues and business opportunities for the region in the immediate future, and we are confident that these coalitions will serve as effective forums for concerted action."
For further information, interested persons may call Wortham at (325) 236-9499.