Wind_turbine CommonsWind generators pumped out 13,883 megawatts of power in Texas on Dec. 20th. That’s a ton of power — enough, in fact, to set a new statewide record.

But plenty of other wind power records fell during 2015 — thanks in part to expensive new power lines. The U.S. Congress also has renewed an important tax credit for the wind industry.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the broken records this year. As you read through, keep in mind that a megawatt of power is enough to supply about 200 homes on a hot summer day.

  • The 13,883 megawatts on Sunday comprised 42 percent of all the energy on the state’s main power grid at 11:07 a.m..  However, a slightly smaller burst of wind power that same day — it came at 3:05 a.m. — accounted for 44.7 percent of the overall power at that time. This overnight burst of wind power set a new record for percentage of load, according to the operator of the state’s main power grid.
  • Wind farms supplied a record amount of power in Texas during the month of November. According to the grid operator, wind farms supplied about 18.4 percent of the electricity on its system that month, compared to the 15.1 percent during November 2014. The previous record high for a single month was 15.2 percent, set in March 2013, according to Platts.
  • On November 25, wind generators pumped out 12,971 megawatts of power, a new statewide record. This represented 36.9 percent of the load at that time.
  • On October 22, wind generators produced 12,238 MW, a new record.
  • On September 13, wind generators produced 11,467 MW of wind power, a new record.

Texas recently completed construction of $7 billion in power lines. These new lines help transport electricity generated from wind turbines in the Panhandle and West Texas into central areas of the state and contributed to the increasing penetration of wind power on the state’s electric grid. However, the lines cost about $2 billion more than original estimates and also have contributed to higher transmission system charges.

— R.A. Dyer

What is the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power?

R.A. Dyer is a policy analyst for TCAP, a coalition of more than 160 cities and other political subdivisions that purchase electricity in the deregulated market for their own governmental use. Because high energy costs can impact municipal budgets and the ability to fund essential services, TCAP, as part of its mission, actively promotes affordable energy policies. High energy prices also place a burden on local businesses and home consumers.

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