By Velda Addison, Hart Energy

Texas may be known for being the top oil-producing state in the U.S. and being home to the Permian Basin, the most prolific play today.

But in addition to being at the forefront of oil and natural gas production, Texas is also the leader in wind energy.

The Lone Star State has 17,710 MW of installed wind capacity with another 5,486 MW of wind capacity under construction, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). In addition, Texas has 116 wind projects online and 10,390 wind turbines.

But don’t expect wind generation to overtake more common forms of energy anytime soon. Wind generation accounts for only 10% of the in-state energy production, according to the AWEA. That percentage, however, is likely to grow in the future as more focus is put on renewables as part of the state’s diverse energy supply mix.

The field of wind energy players grew this month with news that Goldwind Americas, a subsidiary of Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co. Ltd., agreed to buy the 160 MW Rattlesnake Wind Project in McCulloch, Texas, from Renewable Energy Systems Americas (RES). In a news release the company said the project, which is about 125 miles northwest of Austin, will use 64 Goldwind 2.5 MW permanent magnet direct-drive wind turbines. Project plans include a second phase, which would double its size.

“The Rattlesnake Wind Project will be a valuable asset benefitting Texas’ electricity consumers, further evidence that the state’s encouragement of diverse generation resources is succeeding,” stated Glen Davis, RES’ president and CEO, Americas. “RES looks forward to working alongside Goldwind Americas and contributing additional renewable electricity to the ERCOT grid.”

As noted by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), Texas is rich in not only wind energy but also solar, biomass and biofuel, the latter two courtesy of the agricultural and forestry sectors.

“Texas has a unique untapped geothermal resource: its large network of crude oil and natural gas wells. Existing wells connect to deeper geothermal resources,” according to the EIA. “More than 12 billion barrels of non-potable water are produced annually as a byproduct from the state’s crude oil and natural gas wells, and heat from that water could be used to generate electricity.”

There’s also nuclear, hydroelectric and coal-fired electricity generation.

Anyone searching for an all-of-the-above energy approach should look no further than Texas. It’s a good example of how a diverse set of energy providers are collectively working to meet growing energy needs.

Velda Addison can be reached at