Continuing their weeklong series on the future of solar power in West Texas, Marfa Public Radio takes a look at small-scale solar projects around the Big Bend region:
Bennett Jones points to the solar panels he helped design for Alpine Public Library.
The Big Bend region is ranching country. Miles of barbed-wire fences, cows clustered in the distance, and windmills on the horizon. Those windmills, of course, draw well-water from the ground. It’s alternative energy, but it’s old technology.
Preston Fowlkes and his family has been in ranching for generations. For the past five years, he’s been replacing his old windmills with solar panels for his water wells, especially in remote locations.
“We’ve used windmills in the past, but were just not reliable. In my opinion it’s become the best alternative., versus a generator or a windmill or an engine which requires fuel,” Fowlkes says. Continue Reading
Heavier truck traffic in the booming Permian Basin has authorities looking for solutions to keep the roads safe
If you follow local headlines in Midland-Odessa, it seems like there’s a fatal car crash every couple of days.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, the oil-booming Permian Basin saw a 13 percent increase in roadside deaths from 2012-2013. Last week, a victims’ rights coalition in Midland held a panel discussion on how to deal with the region’s increasingly dangerous roads.
Organizers of the event say most of those wrecks stem from the “3 D’s” – drugs, drinking and distracted driving. But the oil and gas boom in the Basin is compounding those dangers: simply put, there’s just more traffic and bigger trucks on the road than before.
TxDOT’s been trying to tackle the problem with radio and TV ads like this one, but education only goes so far. Continue Reading