How Students are Helping Power the Region


Texas has long been the country’s capital for oil and gas. However, the state is experiencing a different kind of energy boom that has nothing to do with oil.

“People think Texas is all about oil and gas and ‘drill, baby, drill,’” says Michael Slattery, director of the Institute for Environmental Studies at Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth in a TCU publication. “But we now lead the country in wind energy by a long way.”

In 2019, Texas had the most installed wind power capacity in the United States with more than 27 gigawatts — far more than second-place Oklahoma and third-place Kansas, which have between six and eight gigawatts combined, according to the American Wind Energy Association Market Report.

With the growth in wind energy, TCU began a partnership with NextEra Energy Resources and Oxford University to study the social and economic impacts of wind farms. The researchers focused on how wind farms could be integrated into the existing power grid and how the turbines themselves impact the environment, including animal fatalities and aesthetics.

The chance for TCU students to conduct hands-on research in the field and work with scientists from all over the world melds perfectly with the university’s goals, says Chancellor Victor Boschini in TCU Magazine. “Our mission for students is to educate ethical leaders ideally suited for an interconnected, rapidly evolving, post 9-11 world, and this will help us do that,” he says.

This article is part of the 2020 Higher Education Review Magazine.