Wind Farms Popping Up in the Panhandle

More wind power was installed in Texas in the last year than all other kinds of power plants combined in the state.
   Wind power researchers say that's a sign of what we in the panhandle can expect for the future.
    Newschannel 10's Marissa Bagg explains what the potential is for more wind farms over the next 20 years in our area.
  Researchers with Virtus energy say by 2027 there could be a wind farm in every county across the panhandle.
   There is definitely enough wind, and enough room to make that happen.
   Wind farms like this one are popping up all over the panhandle.
    The wind farm in White Deer has been in use since 2001, and construction is underway in the Wildorado area for a second.
   Plans are calling for another north of Dumas, and there is potential they could pop up all over in the coming decades.
   It's a big change since the mid-90's.
"In 1995 Texas had zero wind power. Today we've passed California and today we are #1 in wind power production," says Mike Sloan, with Virtus Energy. 
   In the long run wind power could save the area billions when compared to oil and natural gas.
"Oil is $60 per barrel and wind power in the Texas panhandle is producing energy equivalent to $40 per barrel to make electricity," says Sloan.
   So why has it taken a while to catch on?
"You have such a small population in energy consumption, it isn't enough to utilize all the wind potential in the area so if you'll have major industry there it has to make it out to other places."
   Places like Dallas, Houston and other Texas cities.
   Right now about 2-3% of Texas' energy comes from wind.
   That number should at least double by 2017, and triple by 2027.

Companies that build wind farms say they enjoy working in the panhandle because there is a lot of support for wind power in the area.