Just as I was feeling down about the probable destruction of our forests , I was given reason to be hopeful: Texas utilities are set to invest $4.93 billion in building new transmission lines for wind farms there. What's more, the news came with virtually no opposition - not from utilities, not from Democrats or Republicans, and not for rate payers.
Why? Because it's going to save money for everybody. Initially, rate payers will help utilities pay for the investment with an increase of roughly $4 a month (how much did you spend on your last Starbucks run?) to their electricity bill, but the head of a Texas consumer advocacy organization said they expect customers will save $8 for every $3 invested in the project in the form of saved natural gas expenses.
Meanwhile, Al Gore was on Meet the Press yesterday pushing his ambitious goal of transferring completely to zero-carbon electricity sources within 10 years. Tom Brokaw asked him if that was really possible, to which Gore replied yes - wind power is already cost-competitive with dirty energy sources.
Wind is cost-competitive for a few reasons, and Carbonfund.org's role as a provider of carbon offsets - driving support toward wind projects in Iowa, Texas, and Kansas - is certainly one of them. Other drivers include government subsidies for wind and the rising cost of dirty energy sources like coal, gas and oil.
In any case, I'm feeling hopeful. As our executive director, Eric Carlson, just said at a staff meeting: "We may actually be able to solve this thing."
That's good news. Wind is proven to be a better source of power plus, it's not dangerous to the environment. If only the government funds the building of
residential wind turbines, everything will be settled with respect to our environmental and energy source problems.