Texas is among the leading producers of wind energy. But with the size of the Lone Star State, wind energy still needs to be moved from where it is captured to where it is most needed. Through the Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ), the state invested $7 billion in the erection of 3,600 miles of transmission lines to bring wind energy from West Texas to the eastern half of the state, where much of the population resides.
Beginning in the 1990s, a coalition of wind planners and developers worked to educate about the need for wind energy and transmission, make the case with elected officials and regulators, and reform transmission financing and planning rules. Sustaining support from the state through the 2008 recession to become a reality in 2014, CREZ is now moving 18.5 GW of West Texas wind to Fort Worth, Austin, Houston, and San Antonio, and serving as a model for other states and regions looking to transmit wind energy long distances.