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Texas peaks at 29% of electricity from Wind

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/wind-power-production-record-broken-in-texas/

Wind Power Production Record Broken in Texas

The Lone Star State might have set a national record for a state's wind power production, too.  June 26, 2014 |By Bobby Magill and Climate Central

Texas, the nation’s largest wind power producer, hit a major milestone in March when it produced more wind power in a given moment than ever before, according to a new Energy Information Administration report.

It may have set a national record for a state’s wind power production, too.

The Lone Star State hit “peak wind” at 8:48 p.m. on March 26, when the state’s wind farms produced 10,296 megawatts of electricity. At that moment, wind turbines provided enough electricity to supply power for 29 percent of the total electricity load of the state’s main power grid.  

Texas’ self-contained power grid, operated by ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, supplies power to all the state’s major cities — about 85 percent of the state’s electric power customers — except El Paso, Amarillo, Lubbock and those along Texas' eastern border. 

Though the March 26 wind power output record supplied 29 percent of ERCOT’s load at that moment, wind power has provided for a larger share — up to 38.43 percent — of the load at times of low demand, EIA industry economist April Lee said.

“Texas leads the nation in wind capacity, more than double the next state (California), so it’s safe to say that no other state has come close so far,” Lee said via email. “The recent peak is generally indicative of the increasing amount of wind capacity across the United States and the need for grid operators to manage growing volumes of wind power on their systems.”

Texas has more than 12,000 megawatts of total wind power capacity, but its turbines have never produced that much electricity at any given moment. The March 26 output record beat a record set the previous week by a about 600 megawatts. Both of those blew past the state’s previous wind power record set in May 2013, when output reached 9,674 megawatts (one megawatt of wind power is enough energy to provide electricity to roughly 300 homes).

Lee said she does not have information about any nationwide wind power output record because many electric regions do not publish wind generation data publicly.

Though Texas is the nation’s largest wind power producer, it’s also the nation’s largest producer of crude oil and biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, mainly from power plants. Renewables rank third for electric power generation in Texas behind natural gas and coal, but ahead of nuclear.

One of the reasons Texas is seeing growth in consumption of wind power is the completion of major renewable energy transmission line projects in 2013.

Since 2008, when the Texas Legislature named 10 companies to complete the transmission projects by the end of last year as part of the creation of competitive renewable energy zones, approximately 3,600 miles of 345 kilovolt power lines were built connecting West Texas renewable power source with eastern Texas cities, said Robbie Searcy, spokeswoman for ERCOT.

Wind power production in Texas is expected to increase as new wind farms come online. More than 7,000 megawatts of wind capacity were under construction at the end of 2013, and many of those wind farms are expected to be completed by the end of 2015.

Within ERCOT’s region alone, more than 26,000 megawatts of potential wind power generation capacity are under study, Searcy said. 


Frank Haggerty July 02, 2014 at 12:31 PM
Texas spent 17 billion on commercial wind turbines in the past few years. During the recent heat wave the wind speed slowed down so much Texas ran out of electricity. This is an expensive way to learn a lesson. Public officials have been warned for years this could happen. We need to hold our elected officials responsible for the mismanagement of the power grid. The bottom line here is 17 billion dollars worth of turbines are useless when the wind stops blowing. The summer months have the slowest wind speeds
Brian Elder July 02, 2014 at 01:13 PM
ifishy. error --" tan"
ifish02719 July 02, 2014 at 02:10 PM
Thanks for catching that Brian. I wish it was easier to edit posts here.
Charles Ochs July 02, 2014 at 02:53 PM
Those who have never lived in Texas could be excused for thinking that the population there consists of mostly right wing morons who love their oil and would execute you for stealing a chicken.It is an interesting fact--one that you will NEVER see talked about on Fox non-News, but Texas leads the country in megawatts of wind energy!Could it be that the right wing morons down there know more than the right wing morons who post to Falmouth Patch?
NortheasternEE July 02, 2014 at 03:24 PM
From My Texas File: - http://www.chron.com/news/article/Texas-heat-brings-power-plants-out-of-mothballs-2132630.php

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