Deeper Into Jeopardy! XIII: An Eco-Category – $200

Back to regular play again this past week, now that the finalists for the Battle of the Decades. Going by my highly unscientific calculations, it’s been precisely “a while” since we did some science. So to remedy that, enjoy five pleasant, green, socially conscious clues with this week’s category, An Eco-Category.

Jeopardy! category: AN ECO-CATEGORY (10-04-2014)

$200 clue: The 100,000-acre Roscoe farm spreading over 4 Texas counties produces electricity from this source

Correct response

The gist: Texas, with its oil barons in ten-gallon hats and bolo ties and its conservative reputation, is probably not the first state that comes to mind when one thinks of alternative energy. It does, however, have the advantage of being both really big and pretty flat, two features that make the state a centre of wind power in the United States. The state has 23 of the U.S.’s 119 wind farms with capacities above 160 megawatts (Iowa comes in second with 11). According to the Wind Energy Foundation, the state has an installed wind capacity of 12,354 MW, and produces 1.9 million MW a year – enough to power 3.3 million homes.

The Roscoe Wind Farm can be found, naturally, around the town of Roscoe, about three and a half hours east of Dallas. It’s the state’s largest wind farm, with a total capacity of 781.5 megawatts, and was the largest in the world at its completion in 2009 – since then it’s been overtaken by the Alta Wind Energy Centre in California (1020 MW) and the Shepherds Flat Wind Farm in Oregon (845) n the U.S., and the Jaisalmer Wind Park in India (1064 MW).* Around 400 landowners on whose property turbines have been built will receive royalties from the energy produced by the Farm – according to NPR, between five and fifteen thousand dollars a year per turbine, a tidy sum on top of the highly unreliable cotton farming that used to be the region’s main industry.

“Greetings from Roscoe,” a lithograph by artist Julia Samuels

The clue: The way I saw this one, if you don’t know about Roscoe itself, you have two choices: wind or solar. Sadly, I went with the wrong one – when I think of Texas, I think of heat before I think of wind. But, in hindsight, 100,000 acres seems too big for a solar farm, where panels tend to be relatively close to one another. Wind farms benefit for big spaces because it gives room for the moving air to get back up to speed after a turbine takes a bit of its energy.

In Jeopardy!: Well, searching “wind” returns 1626 clues and 58 FJ!s, and I just don’t have time to go through those. “Wind farm,” on the other hand, returns a much more manageable 5 clues about the energy source, while “wind power” gives another nine. Not much in terms of a discernible pattern to them, though. Texas shows up in four of them, and beyond that there’s “offshore” and “onshore” and a few cheeky puns by the writers.

*Upon its completition, the massive Gansu Wind Farm (which is really a collection of several smaller, but still pretty huge, farms) in China will have a 5160 MW capacity.

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