Wind to Generate 15% of Texas Electricity Demand in 2016

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On Sunday, November 27, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) announced a new record for wind generation of electricity on a single day in the state: 15,000 megawatts. The record represented about 45% of the state’s total demand for electricity at the time.

According to the ERCOT press announcement, the previous wind generation output record of 14,122 MW was set on November 17, and the current record for percentage of load served — 48.3 — was set on March 23, 2016, at 1:10 a.m. The new record was set at 12:35 p.m. when demand would likely have been much higher than in the middle of the night.

The state of Texas leads the nation in wind power generation with more than 18,000 installed megawatts and another 5,000 megawatts under construction, according to a report at Greentech Media. Wind generated about 11.7% of Texas’ demand for electricity in 2015 and is on track to meet 14.7% of the state’s demand in 2016.

Wind’s share of power generation in Texas is about half that of either coal or natural gas, and solar generation is barely on the radar screen. But the state has invested some $7 billion in transmission lines to carry wind-generated electricity from west Texas and the Panhandle region to where it is needed.

ERCOT reported that about 685 megawatts of solar power generation will be onlined in 2016, more than double the total of less than 300 in 2015. By 2020, ERCOT estimates that solar generation in Texas will total 2,500 megawatts, compared with 28,000 megawatts of wind generation capacity.

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