Wind_turbine Commons

Texas wind energy kept breaking records during 2015. According to a report from Scientific American, wind generators provided 40 percent of the electricity needed 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 power burst at 13.9 gigawatts, or “enough electricity to power over 230 million conventional 60 watt incandescent light bulbs.”

Scientific American credited sustained winds of 20-30 mile-per-hour for the broken records. Two other important factors? The recent extension of generous tax subsidies for the wind industry and the recent completion of expensive new transmission lines that serve wind generators in West Texas and the Panhandle.

The state’s primary grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, also has reported 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 a quick primer on wind power in Texas, check out this 2012 report from TCAP, found here.