The mid-20th century discovery of oil and gas fields in central Texas changed the trajectory of several small towns in decline. But the boom bypassed the town of Roscoe.

(Video: Nacho Corbella/Powering a Nation)

From his nearby cotton farm, Cliff Etheredge watched the other towns grow. “To me, the hungriest man is the one who has to sit and watch somebody else eat,” he said. “That’s what we did here.”

Then, in 2004, Etheredge saw a chance to cash in on the emerging west Texas wind boom. As chairman of Wind Works, a wind farm development company, he introduced wind energy to Roscoe. Landowners earn income for each turbine placed on their property and a percentage of the profits from the energy each turbine produces.

Nacho Corbella/Powering a Nation

Learn more:

Voices of Roscoe: Six representatives of Roscoe, Texas, explain how the town has benefited from allowing wind turbines to be installed on its land.

• Information graphic: Wind turbines: inside and out


Powering a Nation is a News21 project by students of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The project was conceived, reported and produced entirely by the student journalists.

More Powering a Nation stories on MNN:

Mountaintop removal: Battle for the mountains

Climate refugees: Alaskan villagers move to higher ground

More Texas stories on MNN:

Pickens Plan in a pickle

Texas cleaning up oil blobs on South Padre Island

U.S. "dead zone" smaller but more severe

Wind turbines: Roping the wind in Texas
A rural town creates its own luck when it decides to embrace wind energy.