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The winds of change blew in Dallas

Like many of our readers, PES has recently returned from the Windpower 2010 convention in Dallas, Texas, full of optimism for the coming year. It proved to be a watershed event, and one that we very much enjoyed – not least because we got to meet so many of you.

What was particularly illuminating about the event was the appearance of former US President George W Bush. Perceived as a dyed-in-the-wool oil man, Bush touted his wind-power legacy at Windpower 2010 and explained that the renewable-resource push he helped usher in as governor of Texas and later as president will result in “a day when my grandkids will be driving electric cars” that use electricity from wind and other sources as the nation moves away from its oil addiction.

“There’s a big difference [between] the talkers and the doers,” Bush told the attendees. “Here in Texas, we’re the doers.” Texas generates nearly 10,000 megawatts of wind power – an impressive figure that’s set to double in coming years as more transmission lines link the State to the nation. “I am not saying we’re perfect, but I’m just saying that we’re in the lead,” he said.

And while this may come as a revelation to many – given Bush’s infamous reluctance to embrace renewable energy and his apparent lack of concern over global warming – he also asserted that he and his wife Laura are environmentally conscious in their daily life. His ranch in Crawford, Texas, uses geothermal energy, and he collects and reuses rainwater.

“We’re not thumping our chest,” he said. “We just do it. Not for political purpose; that’s just how we want to live our life.”

Bush’s speech contained several humorous moments – some scripted, some not. At one point, the former president’s microphone cut out. He banged it against his hand, shook his head and said, “Conventional energy.”