On our second day attending the WINDPOWER convention, Ed took a shuttle bus to McCormick Place along with a representative from one of the north Texas groups exhibiting at the show, and had promised her that we’d come by and do interviews. I, of course, asked “Why TEXAS?”, as we’d made a rather concerted effort to just connect with Chicago-based exhibitors.
It turns out that he had a line of reasoning for this, as Texas governor (and former presidential hopeful) Rick Perry had recently swung through Illinois in an attempt to lure away businesses. It’s easy to see the essence of his pitch … why stay in a cesspool of corruption where the politicians have left you holding the bag for out-of-control entitlement programs that are bankrupting the state, when you can relocate to a place that values business, and runs a tight fiscal ship? I guess Ed wanted to get some sense of how alternative energy looked like on their side of that divide.
There was a recent piece in TIME magazine which pointed out that Illinois ranks 48th out of 50 states in being good for business, has the worst credit rating in the country, is $100 billion in the hole on funding grossly inflated government pensions, and is running close to a 10% unemployment rate, contrasted with Texas’ 6% unemployment rate and nearly $9 billion budget surplus. No wonder Perry feels pretty confident that he’ll get a fair hearing when pitching relocation around here.
We ended up doing two interviews, one with Mike Running, of the Dumas Economic Development Corporation, and another with Sheryl Hardy and Hope Reese of The High Ground of Texas organization, both of which are combined in the following video:
Their sites, unfortunately, were heavy on small-town “rah-rah” and not very deep on alternative energy info, but here’s an interesting bit from an archived press release:
[Dumas was] named an Expansion Solutions Magazine “Top Five” location for wind energy business … Located in the northern Texas Panhandle, Dumas has attracted wind energy firms to their community because of their proximity to class 4+ winds and numerous wind farms. Now, they are preparing for an even larger influx of new businesses because of the opportunities created by three large electrical transmission projects that surround their community:
- The Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) project is installing new wind transmission facilities for the state’s ERCOT grid south of Dumas;
- The Southwest Power Pool new transmission project upgrades are located north and east of Dumas, and;
- The High Plains Express Transmission (HPX)/ Tres Amigas project is a plan for the expansion of the grid in four states to enhance access to renewable resources west of Dumas.
Dumas is location to 200 megawatts of energy generating wind turbines. Exelon Energy and Valero, both new entries into the industry, and the Little Pringle sites just east of Dumas, surround the community. … According to Running, 9,500 megawatts of installed capacity are located within a couple hours’ drive of Dumas.
So, that “officially” brings our coverage of the wind show to a close.
I say “officially” as I have another video “in the can” along with its accompanying blog post, but was asked, right after we shot it, to send it to the company’s B2B Marketing rep “for approval” … which is why there’s been a LONG gap between these posts as I waited for that to come in.
I should have known better, but I’ve spent too much time on the PR side of the equation, and so got suckered into something that “the press” would have likely flatly refused. If I ever hear from them (I’ve had no response to several queries!), there may be a “coda” to the WINDPOWER coverage appearing at some point (the interview was interesting enough that I’d run it “late”) … possibly with me indulging the rant on the subject that’s currently churning around in my head!
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Filed under: Green Tech Events