When you think of Texas and energy, green alternatives are probably the last thing that comes to mind. But the land of big trucks and big oil is emerging as the leader in wind energy, an alternative technology that could become an important power source. Last week, the state awarded a Louisiana company the right to build large wind farms in the Gulf of Mexico through what was the nation's first competitive lease auction for the generation of offshore wind energy. The company, Wind Energy Systems Technology, or WEST, will pay Texas a minimum of $132 million over 30 years for the rights to four tracts totaling more than 73,000 acres. In a best-case scenario, Texas could get as much as $433 million during that time. The leases stipulate that the wind farms will ultimately produce at least 250 megawatts of power per tract, according to Jim Suydam, press secretary for the Texas General Land Office. That's enough to supply 300,000 homes with electricity. Texas is proving to be a welcoming partner for proposed wind energy projects, with 367 miles of coastline open for possible development. "The Texas wind rush is on, and pioneers are staking their claims," said Jerry Patterson, Commissioner of the Texas General Land Office, in a statement. According to Susan Sloan, communications specialist at the American Wind Energy Association, Texas has more wind power than any other state. "The political leadership has made Texas friendly for wind power, and an open and competitive marketplace there allows wind generators easy access to the power grid," she says. Why Texas?