drought

Texas Breaks the Mold and the Record with Wind Power

(3BL Media/Justmeans) — Check out any old western movie and you’re bound to see tumbleweeds rolling across the open prairie. One thing we learned from those old films that beside cowboys and Indians, outlaws and sheriffs, two other things that Texas had, and still has a lot of, is open space and wind.

The open space gave rise to a booming cattle ranching industry long ago, though it has been suffering recently from a drought that has cost farmers and ranchers billions. The move to exploit the state’s abundant wind resource came more recently.

They did that through the construction of massive wind farms. We tend to associate renewable power with liberals and environmentalists, not something you’d expect to see a lot of in oil and gas-rich Texas. But it happened anyway. It didn’t just happen, of course. There were strong state government incentives that somehow survived administration changes that went from the liberal Ann Richards, to conservatives like George W. Bush and Rick Perry. It’s a model that few other states have followed, though many more could benefit from.

In fact, it’s the drought, which scientists agree is at least indirectly caused by climate change (since warmer temperatures increase the likelihood of drought), that, having brought those farmers and ranchers to the brink of disaster, has also led to their enthusiastic embrace of wind power. Many farmers now say it's the only way they've been able to hold onto their land.

“We rarely talked about the environment,” recalls Michael Osborne, co-founder of the Texas Renewable Energy Industries Alliance (TREIA) and developer of the state’s first wind farm in the early 1990s. “We talked about farmers and ranchers getting rich on windmills.”

The regular income generated by wind turbines keeps the lights on in ranchers’ homes, regardless of how their herds might be faring.  Annual land lease payments last year, which went mostly to farmers and ranchers were in excess of $60 million.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Association (EIA), Texas has six of the ten largest wind farms in the nation. The largest is the Roscoe Wind Farm, some 220 miles west of Dallas which also happens to be the largest in the world. It consists of 627 turbines, spread across 100,000 acres that produce 781.5 MW. That’s enough electricity to power 265,000 homes.

But Roscoe is one of many wind farms. Altogether, there are 11,592 wind turbines currently installed (likely more by the time you read this) in Texas with a combined capacity of 20,321 MW. In the year ending last October, wind power was responsible for 12.68% of the total electricity production in the state. That’s a new record.

Drought Coalition Will Collaborate to Protect California’s Water Future

California is in its sixth year of drought, and a swath of the state is in the worst category, "exceptional." One of its reservoirs, Lake Cachuma has nearly disappeared, with only seven percent capacity. 

Yum! Brands Means Business About Saving Water

Despite more rain thanks to the El Nino weather phenomenon, nearly all of California remains under drought conditions, after four years of scarce rainfall. And a big swath of the state is still experiencing exceptional drought, the worst category. While reservoirs in the northern part of the state are filling up, the Central Valley and Southern California haven’t had as much rain, so reservoir levels are still low. 

How Companies Manage Water Risk

Water is necessary for life and it is necessary for business. The World Economic Forum Global Risks 2015 list ranked water crises, including drought, as the number one risk facing humanity. 

Big Food And Beverage Brands to Openly Disclose Global Water Risks

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – It is clear that water currently poses a large global risk to business, particularly to the food and beverage industry that strongly relies on this natural resource.

Californians Reduced Water Use In June By 27.3 Percent

California is in the midst of its fourth straight year of drought, the worst one on record. The majority of the state is in exceptional drought, the worst category. Reservoirs are dangerously low and the dry conditions are causing wildfires across the state. 

How a Startup Helps Put a Value on Water

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - California is in the fourth year of the worst drought in the state’s recorded history. A good part of the state is in “exceptional drought,” the worst category. Water conservation is a much talked about topic of conservation among Californians, and is even mandated by the state.

U.S. Mayors Ask Residents To Participate In Challenge for Water Conservation

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - Since April 1, mayors across the U.S. have been asking their residents to commit to conserving water and reducing pollution by participating in a national contest. The focus of the Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation is reducing water and energy use. Participants have a chance to win prizes, including a Toyota Prius Plug-In. The contest lasts through the month.

The Real Economic Value of California Agriculture

California is experiencing one of its worst droughts. This year marks the fourth year of the drought, and people all over the state are talking about water conservation. One industry is vilified over and over. It’s the industry that uses 80 percent of the state’s water supply. It is also the industry that supplies the nation with food. 

Investment Impacts of Climate Change

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - We’ve all heard a lot about what we can expect from a changing climate. There will be increased droughts and flooding, food prices will likely rise, as will the level of the ocean. Growing seasons will shift as will the migration patterns of animals. Some species will move into areas where they had not previously been found.

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