According to a report from Scientific American, wind generators provided 40 percent of the electricity on the state’s main power grid for 17 straight hours during a single day in December.
And at its peak that day — Dec. 20th — wind provided 45 percent of the power. Writing for the magazine, Robert Fares put that wind burst at 13.9 gigawatts, or “enough electricity to power over 230 million conventional 60 watt incandescent light bulbs.”
Fares credited sustained winds of 20-30 mile-per-hour for what he described as a new milestone. Two other important factors? The recent extension of generous tax subsidies for the wind industry and the recent completion of expensive new transmission lines built for Texas wind generators.
The state’s primary grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, also reports that wind energy during 2015 surpassed nuclear power to become the third greatest source of electricity in its operating region.
The dominant fuel source, however, remains natural gas — with 48.3 percent. That’s followed by coal, at 28.1 percent. Wind provided about 40.8 million mWh during 2015, or 11.7 percent. Nuclear provided 11.3 percent.
In 2014, when wind was the fourth greatest electricity source, it provided 10.6 percent of the power.
You can read more in this blog post from Scientific American, and this article from the North American Wind Power Association. And for information about other wind records broken during 2015, check out my earlier blog post. You can read it here.
Is a policy analyst consultant for TCAP, a coalition of political subdivisions in Texas that purchase electricity in the deregulated market for their own governmental use. Because energy costs are typically a significant budget item to our members, TCAP is consistently looking for ways to save our members money, through cost-saving contracts, energy efficiency or demand response programs.