Becoming Part of a Carbon Nation
by: Cliff Etheredge, Guest Blogger
My story begins in the spring of 2004. I had been a cotton farmer in the Roscoe area for almost forty years. The land I worked was all family land acquired since the 1920s.
I lost my right arm in a farming accident in 1972. Although this was a traumatic and life-changing experience, I continued farming because I was devoted to the land and my family’s legacy of farming.
I was one of the lucky ones in that our son Scott decided to come home after graduation from college and become involved in our farming operation. His participation enabled me to study a couple of other interests, one being the building of wind farms on some of the ranch land in our county.
Since our land is all farmland located on a geographic region that has traditionally been plowed, and ranchland being the accepted area for wind farm development, I had to confront issues that had not been entertained before. Two of these issues were the large number of landowners and the small tracts of land. Much discussion and a savvy attorney helped satisfy the investor that these and other questions could be handled.
After holding many informational meetings we organized a landowners association. I then found a developer and attended a Finance and Investment workshop in New York City that resulted in contact with a potential wind farm partner in Chicago. A few months later our association was presented with a contract offer that, after negotiation, was accepted.
Construction of the Roscoe Wind Farm began in 2006 and was completed in 2009 with over six hundred windmills capable of supplying electricity to 265,000 homes. On June 15 of 2009 the Roscoe Wind Farm became the largest on the planet.
The benefits of the wind industry in our rural community spill into four counties and four school districts. Towns and cities for hundreds of miles in every direction feel the economic impact of these giant three-winged birds flying into the wind.
The publicity we have received from being the number one wind park in the world has given us the opportunity to contribute to the renewable energy industry in many ways. The most significant and far-reaching media event has been being included in the film Carbon Nation. This message to the American people is certainly timely and relevant in that the focus of the film is to provide a few solutions to the problems and answers to the questions plaguing our environment.
I strongly feel that as long as the general public is receiving correct information as in the form of Carbon Nation, we will be competent in guiding our leaders in protecting our planet.
Cliff Etheredge is a wind farmer in Roscoe, Texas. He is featured in the documentary CARBON NATION, which will open in theatres in New York on February 11 and in Los Angeles on February 18. For more opening cities and dates, visit www.carbonnationmovie.com