Cash Crops, Energy Landscapes
By Jason Sowell
A leading producer and consumer of electricity in the United States, Texas is poised to initiate some of the largest energy projects in the world. Overlaid onto traditional agricultural land, these new energy landscapes conflate crop production, livestock grazing, and wind harvesting, with the land set up as a source of, if not a support for, energy stores. This transition to a renewable fuel, however, occurs simultaneous to the continued extraction of nonrenewable resources, chiefly natural gas and sweet light crude, such that the planning, construction, and management of both wind farms and gas fields remain inextricably linked to, if not accelerated by, concurrent shifts in energy costs, eminent domain, development rights, or recovery technologies.
Jason Sowell is an Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture.
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