Border state officials from both Mexico and the United States will visit the Big Country next week to look over the nation’s greatest concentration of wind energy production.
Representatives of the Border Governors Energy Forum were invited to attend the event Tuesday through Thursday. Greg Wortham, executive director of the West Texas Wind Energy Consortium, said he expects about 15 officials from the border states to attend. University scholars are also expected, he said.
The highlight of the conference will be tours of Taylor and Nolan County wind farms Wednesday morning and afternoon, sandwiched around a three-hour luncheon-seminar session in the downtown Sweetwater offices of the wind energy consortium.
Texas Railroad Commissioner Victor Carrillo, who is a former Taylor County judge and Abilene city councilman, will lead the Texas delegation. Other states in the Border Governors Energy Forum are California, Arizona, and New Mexico. Mexican border states are Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Nuevo Leon, Coahuila, and Tamaulipas.
The conference should help the Abilene-Sweetwater area enhance its reputation as the wind energy center of North America, Wortham said. ABC-TV’s ”Good Morning America,” the Weather Channel and PBS’s ”This Old House” have all aired footage featuring wind farms in the two counties in recent months.
Also, presidential candidate Bill Richardson, New Mexico’s current governor, toured area wind projects last month, Wortham said.
If the Texas presidential primary gets moved up to February 2008, the area wind industry should gain even more attention from other candidates, Wortham said. With energy a major issue in the 2008 election, where better to talk about it, he said.
A ”West Texas Welcome Dinner” at Abilene’s Frontier Texas! Tuesday evening will kick off events.
Wednesday night, delegates will gather at the 69 Ranch near Maryneal in central Nolan County for a steak dinner. The family of the late Temple Dickson, owner of the ranch, will host the affair. Dickson was a former state senator, a lawyer and a rancher.
On Thursday, the delegates are scheduled to hold a business session at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene.
By Jerry Daniel Reed
23 April 2007
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