wind turbineWith its massive fleet of turbines, Texas leads the nation for wind power production.

Those bragging rights continued late last month when the wind industry blew past even more milestones.

On March 26th, precisely at 8:48 p.m., Texas wind turbines pumped out a record 10,296 megawatts — or enough electricity to power more than 5 million homes. This is the most power from wind ever seen on any major grid in the United States … ever. It also beat the previous Texas record by more than 600 megawatts.

The very next morning Texas wind turbines broke another record when they produced more than 38.4 percent of all power on the grid. It happened at 3:18 a.m., when wind energy production topped Inset Quoteout at 9,868 megawatts.

This growth is good news, especially given the massive amount of money Texas ratepayers are pouring into transmission lines to connect West Texas wind turbines with the rest of the state. These lines were recently completed at a cost of about $7 billion, an expense to be borne by most ratepayers. That final price tag was about $2 billion over original estimates.

To put these numbers in perspective, consider that The Dallas Morning News has estimated that $7 billion would be enough to pay the electric bills for every household in Texas for about 7 months. It’s also enough to pay for 175 million fluorescent light bulbs with LED lights, which could provide enough energy savings to shut down 10 coal plants, according to the paper.

But these new renewable energy milestones likely would not have been possible without the new lines. So yes, this news should be welcomed by ratepayers. Far worse would be underutilizing the state’s growing fleet of wind turbines, while footing the bill for the expensive transmission lines that serve them.

For more about Texas wind energy, check out the policy primer from the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power. The primer can be found here.