From the category archives:

Energy

  • SARITA — On the 400,000-acre Kenedy Ranch along the southern Gulf Coast, the wind coming off the water nearly flattops the clusters of oak trees. Towering above the trees, above the long grasses, sand dunes, grazing cattle and the occasional antelope, are scores of wind turbines, each about as tall as a football field is long.

    “It’s always nice to be cranking,” said Daniel Pitts, who manages the wind plant for its owner, Iberdrola Renewables, as the machines spun in the breeze.

    The wind farm, which began operating in 2009 and doubled in size last year, reflects the new geography of wind power in Texas, the country’s leading wind state. The vast majority of Texas turbines have gone up in the west, harnessing fierce winds that sweep southward from the plains. But the West Texas projects have been hindered by a lack of transmission lines to carry the power. Meanwhile, several big wind farms have begun operating in the general vicinity of Corpus Christi in the past few years, and it is likely that more coastal projects are on the way.

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    In case you missed President Obama’s State of the Union address, NPR.org reporters analyzed what the president said (and didn’t) about the issues they cover. Here are some of the highlights from their coverage. You can read the full article here.

    • Jobs: Facing slow job growth rate and a 9.4 percent unemployment, Obama focused on the need for job creation through clean energy, a cut in the corporate tax rate and the need to cut government spending.
    • Health Care: While Obama said that he was willing to work on legislation that would improve the new health care bill, he also said “What I’m not willing to do is go back to the days when insurance companies could deny someone coverage because of a pre-existing condition.”
    • Earmarks: “And because the American people deserve to know that special interests aren’t larding up legislation with pet projects, both parties in Congress should know this: If a bill comes to my desk with earmarks inside, I will veto it,” President Obama said.
    • Iraq and Afghanistan: While most of Obama’s speech focused on domestic issues, Obama was brief about Iraq and Afghanistan and reiterated the goal of American troop withdrawal.
    • Clean Energy: Obama set a new goal for America, stating that he hopes to have 80 percent of America’s electricity from clean energy by 2035
    • Transportation: Obama also stated a new goal for high speed railways,  saying that he wants 80 percent of the population to have access to high speed rail within 25 years
    • Education: While calling for more science and math education to compete with China and India, Obama also challenged states for ideas on how to improve education. “That’s why instead of just pouring money into a system that’s not working, we launched a competition called Race to the Top,” the president said. “To all 50 states, we said, ‘If you show us the most innovative plans to improve teacher quality and student achievement, we’ll show you the money.’”
    • Immigration: Obama challenged congress to “take on, once and for all, the issue of illegal immigration”
    • Competitiveness: “This is our generation’s Sputnik moment,” said Obama while still stressing the need for innovation in industry and job creation.
    • Electric Cars: Another goal: a million electric cars on the road by 2015