Powering a Nation

A Project of the UNC School of Media and Journalism

ROPING THE WIND: Roping the Wind in Texas

The mid-20th century discovery of oil and gas fields in central Texas changed the trajectory of several small towns in decline. But the boom bypassed the town of Roscoe.

From his nearby cotton farm, Cliff Etheredge watched the other towns grow. “To me, the hungriest man is the one who has to sit and watch somebody else eat,” he said. “That’s what we did here.”

Then, in 2004, Etheredge saw a chance to cash in on the emerging west Texas wind boom. As chairman of Wind Works, a wind farm development company, he introduced wind energy to Roscoe. Landowners earn income for each turbine placed on their property and a percentage of the profits from the energy each turbine produces.

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