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Texas ranks among the leading states for projected wind power capacity

Texas gets a gold star when it comes to projected wind power capacity. Photo via Getty Images

A new report ranks Texas in the top three states that are blowing away nationwide wind power capacity projections.

Texas, Wyoming, and Iowa are standing out in terms of wind power capacity, according to a report from Texas Real Estate Source, a Texas real estate, travel, and lifestyle website, that analyzed all 50 states and ranked them by total projected capacity, capacity per capita, and capacity per square mile.

Nationwide wind power capacity is projected to grow exponentially in the coming years, with Texas, Wyoming, and Iowa leading the charge. With 44,974 megawatts of projected wind power capacity, Texas leads the country in terms of volume. Wyoming, meanwhile, leads the nation in projected wind power capacity per capita with 6,679 MW serving a population of 581,381, and Iowa takes first place in projected wind power capacity per square mile.

"As renewable energy continues to command center-stage attention and massive financial investment, wind power has proven to be an indispensable tool in the clean energy toolbox," reads the report.

In its top spot, Texas' projected wind power capacity is more than triple the capacity of second place, Oklahoma, but the Lone Star State falls to ninth place in the ranking of capacity per capita with 1.5 kilowatts.

“It’s no surprise to see Texas significantly outpacing the nation in installed and projected wind power capacity," says a spokesperson from Texas Real Estate Source. "The combination of boundless land, favorable wind patterns, and highly-respected research institutions has made it the perfect place for wind power adoption. It’s revealing, however, to see the per capita and per square mile rankings: they give us a more complete picture of which states are at the forefront of wind power development.”

A few other states to take note of in the report are California and Arkansas. California ranks No. 7 when it comes to total projected wind power capacity but only is No. 24 in the per capita ranking. And, considering the state has only 104 MW currently under construction, California doesn't seem to be keeping up with its population.

Arkansas, meanwhile, has 180 MW currently under construction — previously having a projected zero MW of wind power capacity. Once this is done, Arkansas will outperform 17 other states.

When it comes to wind power jobs, the Lone Star State is making some moves on that front too, according to another report. The SmartAsset study found that 2.23 percent of workers in the Houston area hold down jobs classified as “green.” Per the Department of Energy, Texas tallied almost 25,500 wind energy jobs in 2021.

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A View From HETI

A View From UH

A Rice University professor studied the Earth's carbon cycle in the Rio Madre de Dios to shed light on current climate conditions. Photo courtesy of Mark Torres/Rice University

Carbon cycles through Earth, its inhabitants, and its atmosphere on a regular basis, but not much research has been done on that process and qualifying it — until now.

In a recent study of a river system extending from the Peruvian Andes to the Amazon floodplains, Rice University’s Mark Torres and collaborators from five institutions proved that that high rates of carbon breakdown persist from mountaintop to floodplain.

“The purpose of this research was to quantify the rate at which Earth naturally releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and find out whether this process varies across different geographic locations,” Torres says in a news release.

Torres published his findings in a study published in PNAS, explaining how they used rhenium — a silvery-gray, heavy transition metal — as a proxy for carbon. The research into the Earth’s natural, pre-anthropogenic carbon cycle stands to benefit humanity by providing valuable insight to current climate challenges.

“This research used a newly-developed technique pioneered by Robert Hilton and Mathieu Dellinger that relies on a trace element — rhenium — that’s incorporated in fossil organic matter,” Torres says. “As plankton die and sink to the bottom of the ocean, that dead carbon becomes chemically reactive in a way that adds rhenium to it.”

The research was done in the Rio Madre de Dios basin and supported by funding from a European Research Council Starting Grant, the European Union COFUND/Durham Junior Research Fellowship, and the National Science Foundation.

“I’m very excited about this tool,” Torres said. “Rice students have deployed this same method in our lab here, so now we can make this kind of measurement and apply it at other sites. In fact, as part of current research funded by the National Science Foundation, we are applying this technique in Southern California to learn how tectonics and climate influence the breakdown of fossil carbon.”

Torres also received a three-year grant from the Department of Energy to study soil for carbon storage earlier this year.

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