Texas Landowners are Blowing in the Wind
Texas farmers and other landowners are taking a bit less of a chance these days with the wind at their backs.
I grew up in North Dakota during the Cold War. It was common knowledge that if we were to break away from the United States, we would've been the 3rd most powerful nuclear power on the planet. Now I live in Texas, where if we were to break away from the United States, we'd be the 6th largest wind power country in the world.
Before wind power, farmers in West Texas had to have faith that the weather would co-operate to make sure they'd make a profit off their crops. These days, they still have to have faith in the weather, but they've hedged their bets a bit with the wind at their backs.
It's called "leasing fees". It's what power companies pay land owners to allow them to build gigantic wind turbines on their land. Each turbine can pay around $7500 dollars a year to the land owner. The leasing fees came in handy back in 2011 during the drought. It saved plenty of farmers from filing for bankruptcy.
It's a good future investment because a report in 2015 from the U.S. Department of Energy, called "Wind Vision", set a goal of getting 35 percent of all electricity in the country from the wind by 2050.