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Clean Power wind turbines set new electricity generation record in texas

Published on October 20th, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan

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New Wind Energy Record Set in Texas



wind turbines set new electricity generation record in texas

Wind turbines in Texas, in the service territory of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) — which is the main Texas electric grid — set a new electricity output record on October 7, it was reported this week.

The record? 15.2% of ERCOT’s electricity demand was supplied by wind on the afternoon of the 7th — 7,400 megawatts (MW).

“This new record set by wind on the main Texas grid is good news for consumers,” Michael Goggin, the America Wind Energy Association’s (or AWEA’s) Manager of Transmission Policy, said.”Wind generation offsets the use of expensive fossil fuels, is pollution-free, and uses virtually no water, unlike other sources of electricity.”

Wind’s tremendous water advantages (especially important with record-breaking heat and droughts hitting Texas and the Southwest, and stronger droughts projected in the coming decades, one of the long-predicted effects of global warming), is something we’ve covered a few times on CleanTechnica.

Wind energy being the cheapest option for new electricity in most regions of the world is another.

Clearly, this is not just us clean-energy lovers noticing these advantages, but the conservative state of Texas is, as well. ERCOT reports that wind energy “represents nearly 58 percent of all new generation seen in planning stages over the next few years” in Texas. Wow.

More from AWEA’s Goggin:

“…this is yet another case showing that large amounts of wind energy can be integrated into existing utility systems reliably.

“Texas is already the national leader in wind power. The number of wind turbines and wind farms there and in other windy states across America is continuing to grow and shows the success of stable federal tax policies, starting with the Production Tax Credit for renewable energy.

“Wind power is delivering cheap electricity to ratepayers in hard economic times, and it’s hard to overstate the benefits of that far-sighted tax policy.”

I imagine it won’t be too long before we see this record broken again.

Photo Credit: AttributionNoncommercial Some rights reserved by danishwindindustryassociation

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy for the past four years or so. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the Network Manager for their parent organization – Important Media – and he's the Owner/Founder of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



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  • Anonymous

    This peak just underscores the fickle nature of wind. It suggests the opposite of “reliability”.

    • Anonymous

      All forms of generation are unreliable. Coal plants shut down due to equipment failure, dams run out of water.

      Two nuclear reactors in Virginia shut down over two months ago because of an earthquake and still aren’t back on line.

      Utility operators know how to deal with issues of reliability.

    • Anonymous

      I guess that’s why utilities across the world are installing it so fast. I guess that’s why it’s the #1 choice for new electricity in many places.
      Too bad the utilities don’t know how to run their businesses and are wasting money on wind.

      • Rednest1

        Do you also support wars of choice, invasions, occupations, terrorism, etc? After all, that’s seen a great increase in recent years, too.

        • Anonymous

          rucio’s argument: wind isn’t a good option for utilities.

          my reply: utilities disagree

          your reply: you must also support wars.

          off topic?

          (also note that farmers are happy to lease their land and make money on these wind power projects — no one is being invaded)

          • Ergonef

            Your defense: “I guess that’s why utilities across the world are installing it so fast.” Mass adoption is not a sign of inherent value. It is perhaps more often a sign of group madness.

            This article actually suggests the latter, since, as Rucio notes, it only describes a peak, not the low points, not even the average, let alone how this peak actually matched up with demand and the operation of other generators. In other words, it is not an analysis, but a puff piece and therefore suspect.

            As is your predilection to ban people like Rucio as soon as they hold their own against you.

          • Anonymous

            Every single method of generation has low points. Nuclear and coal plants go down for maintenance and repair. Dams run out of water.

            Utility grid operators deal with variable input 24/7/365.

            Texas currently gets 8.25% of its power from wind. When the wind is up grid operators turn gas and coal down, saving fuel.

            Now, I’ve seen nothing about banning rucio even thou he/she has been posting crap here for a long time. If Zach got tired of whacking moles I can understand. Someone who brings nothing to the discussion but largely unsupported negativity can bring a site down.

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  • Anonymous

    Power lines can very easily be put underground these days — think they are most places. That’s a separate issue.

    I understand that some don’t like the look of wind turbines. I, however, love it, and I know I’m not alone (they’re a tourist attraction some places! :D)

    Especially nice with white snow on the ground net to them :D

    But even for folks who don’t like them, do they think a big coal power plant would be nicer? (or no electricity at all?)

  • Anonymous

    “…this is yet another case showing that large amounts of wind energy can be integrated into existing utility systems reliably”

    what this author fails to do is, properly apply the facts about a quote like this, in relations to where it is true. The illusion is that this quote refers to anywhere in the nation. This is a mischaracterization. Not every region is like west Texas, or Nebraska or the Dakotas. These wind farms can be intregrated in the existing utility system reliably but no one ever suggested it could not be. But in regions were the wind capacity is less, there is a serious problem. That problem is known as the lack of reliability. This leads to incredible costs. Research the downside of this looking into this problem in the Netherlands and in the UK. They both need to expand their backup infrastructure because they are relying on wind resources, which are not 100% reliable.

    • Anonymous

      Oops, didn’t mean to ‘Like’ – sloppy trackballing.

      No source of electricity is 100% reliable. Utilities use a variety of inputs along with storage and backup to deal with variation in supply. Dealing with the intermittent nature of wind and solar is simply an engineering problem that is solvable.

      Right now we have far more natural gas and hydro generation on the gird than wind and solar. Both NG and (most) hydro are dispatchable. When the wind or sun are cranking out power we can throttle back on gas, saving fuel cost, or cut back on hydro output, saving the water for other times.

      Later we’ll start building more storage as storage will be cheaper than burning gas and won’t bring the methane/CO 2 problems created by gas extraction/use.

      Less windy places are being serviced by a new generation of turbines which are designed to harvest energy where the wind does not blow as strong.

  • Anonymous

    Great news, but we knew it already and that’s why places like west Texas and the upper plains states have all the wind farms, the resources is at a higher capacity which is more reliable. Bottom-line is we should seek to expand the wind capactiy in similar areas if the market demands it and the landowners allow it. To force renewables, therefore, on other states where wind reliability is marginable, is to expsensive and premature. In those areas, the power grid needs to be upgraded with smarter T&D equipment, and demand response and load mgmt programs need to be in place as well. Natural gas infrastructure will also need to be expanded. What the public does not realize, is renewable resources like wind, outside of their higher capacity zones like west Texas and the Upper Plains states, are unreliable. If such electricity is not “firmed” by back up resources made possible by the smart grid, EEC and natural gas, the renewable resources is not market-sustaining. This would hurt the perception of renewable power. In such areas, the public must support the utilities efforts to hold back on expanding renewable resources, while the grid, T&D and natural gas infrastructure is improved. Until that time, renewables in high capacity areas should be subsidized to strengthen national production and to reduce cost when expansion to lower capacity regions become possible.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ken-Mills/100000810600941 Ken Mills

    Another beautiful thing about wind turbines is that they are placed in areas such as West Texas where the land is not useful for anything because it is virtually in desert areas. The Wind Turbine industry creates many jobs for engineers, designers, production workers, installers, and land owners. The initial cost is pretty high, but otherwise, wind energy is clean, replaceable, and helps the economy. I don’t see many downsides to electricity from wind. And, besides they present a beautiful picture perched on top of tall hillsides and mountains.

    • Anonymous

      I agree with all that :D

      I’m really shocked when people want to block wind farms bcs they ‘ruin’ the view.

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