Land Of The Giants

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by Brule Eagan

(Los Fresnos, Texas) Now that I’ve lived in the country for a while, I can’t imagine living in the city again.

I love it when I’m there, but I quickly tire of all the concrete and the noise. No knock on city dwellers.

City dwellers are on the leading edge of most everything. Arts and culture, style, food…and I enjoy all of it when I’m there.

But in my town of 5,544 people, the future is visible and tangible. I see it during my daily walk.

See for yourself.

photo one

Okay, they’re a little hard to photograph from five miles away. Let’s get as close as we can:

photo two

And I’m still a couple of miles from them.

These behemoths are as tall as a 30-story building, and there are hundreds of them in this vicinity just a few miles inland from the Gulf. They spin lazily but relentlessly, and they do not make a sound.

One of these wind farms is the newly-completed San Roman Wind Farm, home of 31 turbines. That’s enough to provide power to 30,000 homes.

It’s the only practical solution in an area where the population is booming. The nearest power plant is in Corpus Christi, and that’s 130 miles away. It’s coal-fired.

No one’s going to build a new coal-fueled power plant now or ever, no matter what the president wants you to believe, and a nuclear power plant’s a non-starter because it takes so long and costs so much to build, and because it’s more than a little dangerous. Plus, the wind farms have already brought about cheaper consumer rates (the competition between providers here is fierce).

The newest of these wind farms, the nearby San Roman Wind Farm, is expected to pay more than 30-million dollars in local taxes over it’s projected 25-year lifespan, and to pay local landowners lease payments exceeding 25-million dollars. And this is just one wind farm. There are many in south Texas. Passengers aboard flights arriving here can’t count all the turbines along the way.

It makes me snort to think of Fort Worth Tea Party Congressman Joe Barton, who stood by someone’s quote that wind was a “finite resource”. He was ridiculed by constituents and opponents, and certainly by wind farm investors.

There’s money in progress, and since politicians cannot stop the money, they cannot stop the progress. I’m sure that’s the fifth law of thermodynamics.

By the way, it is a sight to see a big rig hauling the turbine blades. Those one-piece things are over a hundred feet long. It takes an accomplished driver to navigate some of the back roads around here with those in tow.

photo three

Speaking of progress, construction on the nearby SpaceX Brownsville facility proceeds apace. Hidden among the turbine blades being trucked in were the satellite dishes that’ll be used to track upcoming launches. They are in place, and SpaceX is planning to be fully online and sending payloads aloft by late 2018. They’ve just received a two-and-a-half million dollar grant from the Cameron County (Texas) Spaceport Development Corporation. The money comes from the State Spaceport Trust Fund account, and it’s the first installment of a 13-million dollar allocation.

So, small-town life for a city kid may be quiet and slow-paced, but it ain’t dull. It’s fun to watch the future grow around me.

I can’t wait for the flying car that folds up into a briefcase. I know it’s coming, because I’ve seen the artist’s conception:

photo four

 

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