Texas Continues To Set Wind Generation Records

Texas Continues To Set Wind Generation Records

Its not just about oil or natural gas anymore in Texas.

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They say everything is bigger in Texas. Well, apparently you can add wind generation to cattle, cowboys, catfish and tall tales, because according to the Energy Information Administration, Texas is the hands-down leader in wind generation in the U.S. today.

Texas on a wind generation roll

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A November 4th report from the EIA highlights that the Texas electric system recently hit several all-time highs in terms of wind generation. The most recent all-time instantaneous peak of 12,238 megawatts reached on October 22 topped the records of 11,467 MW on September 13 and 11,950 MW on October 21, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).

A good bit of new wind generating capacity recently coming on line, together with strong wind conditions and warm early fall temperatures led to the new wind generation records.

The wind generators in ERCOT were running at an overall 75% to 81% utilization of total generating capacity over the last couple of months, just a whit less than the 83% capacity factor recorded during a generation peak on February 2015 of 11,154 MW. The addition of new wind capacity led to higher output overall in September and October, despite the slightly lower capacity factors.

That said, due to seasonal wind patterns — spring and fall usually see the greatest amounts of wind generation in Texas and across most of the country — and more capacity coming on line, the October 22 record will almost certainly be overtaken in the near future.

Texas Wind Generation

In ERCOT and the U.S. more generally, the addition of wind capacity began bouncing back in mid-2014, and this has continued through 2015. Wind additions had slowed down dramatically in 2013 following the expiration, delayed renewal and then modification of the federal renewable energy production tax credit.

Keep in mind that less than 100 MW of wind capacity was installed in Texas from January 2013 through May 2014, but over 4,000 MW came on line in the 16 months from June 2014 through September 2015. An additional 1,000-2,000 MW is planned to be installed by the end of 2015.

Wind generation installations across the country followed a similar pattern in that close to 1,500 MW of wind capacity was installed in 2013 through May 2014, and over 7,700 MW was brought on line from June 2014 through August 2015. Another 4,600 MW is projected to come on line by the end of this year.

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