Years of Living Dangerously

Texan sees 'oil wells in the sky'

Monday, April 14th, 2014 

Ken Starcher is the associate director of the Alternative Energy Institute in Canyon, Texas, at West Texas A&M University. The institute primarily focuses on wind energy research and education but also works with solar energy. Starcher's time at the institute began in 1976, as an undergraduate assistant, and he's worked there ever since.

Texas' main power grid broke a wind energy record on March 26. It became the first U.S. power system to have 10,296 milliwatts of the energy on its grid come from wind power, according to the American Wind Energy Association. This was nearly 30 percent of the power on the state's main grid. 

Starcher said state tax credits and and investments in research and technology have made Texas a leader in wind energy. He expects to see wind power expand in Texas and across the country. 

"If a hick Texan can do it, anybody can," he said in a recent interview. 

Learn more about wind energy in Texas in this video, shot on location by graduate student Merri Lisa Trigilio and edited by Kelly Thomas.