George W. Bush: Wind Power Champion?

George W. Bush: Wind Power Champion?

President George W. Bush hasn't made many public appearances since departing Washington last year. He hit the motivational speaker circuit last fall, and spoke at the Safari Club International Annual Hunters' Convention in Reno, Nevada in January.

But next month, he is slated to address the 2010 national conference of the wind power industry in Dallas. And no, this isn't an April Fool's joke. The Texas native--reviled by enviros as president--will apparently be espousing the virtues of wind power at the meeting, sponsored by the American Wind Energy Association. From AWEA's blog:

The former president will talk about his experience as Texas's governor, and as President, in advancing the wind energy agenda. (Texas is the number one wind state in the United States and, though most people don't realize it, it was President Bush who first raised the prospect of getting 20% of U.S. electricity from wind.)

"Raised the prospect" is an interesting choice of words. Bush did sign into law a strong renewable energy standard in Texas 1999 as governor, which the state quickly surpassed. Texas now has more installed wind capacity than any other state. As president he did say in 2007 that the country could draw 20 percent of its power from wind by 2030, but he never actually took the steps needed to make that happen.

Bush reportedly charges $150,000 for his appearances, though he gives home-town events like this one at a discount--just $100,000. So wind advocates are probably paying a pretty penny to have his star power at this year's event. The conference also features Jason Alexander--a.k.a George Costanza of Seinfeld fame. I can't decide which speaker is the more bizarre selection.

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  • Kate Sheppard covers energy and environmental politics in Mother Jones' Washington bureau. For more of her stories, click here. She Tweets here.

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