Texas Bids on Wind Facility

Texas is making a bid to bring a wind energy testing facility to the Texas coast. As Houston Public Radio's Laurie Johnson reports, the facility could end up along the Houston ship channel.

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Right now, wind turbines are tested at the Department of Energy's facility in Boulder, Colorado. But new, giant wind blades measuring at least 230 feet long are too large for the DOE's Colorado testing site. In May, the DOE announced the hunt for a new testing site for the giant blades. Texas General Land Office Commission Jerry Patterson says the state has decided to bid for the rights to build the facility.

"Renewable, clean energy is a source of power but it's also a source of jobs; it's a vehicle to reduce emissions; and it also is a tremendous boost for some parts of Texas."

Although the turbine-testing site could go up at any Texas port, there's a good chance the Houston Ship Channel would be selected. The bid will be submitted by the University of Houston with help from the Houston Advanced Research Center, UT Austin, Texas Tech and several state government offices. And Patterson says this facility could bring millions of dollars into the state.

"Texas is a place to manufacture blades; to manufacture turbines; to assemble those; to export those and so this is part of attracting that business to Texas."

Texas will compete against Ohio, Massachusets and Virginia for the facility. The DOE estimates wind turbine research and production will be an $80 billion business by the year 2020. Laurie Johnson, Houston Public Radio News.

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