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Clean Power WindEnergyGeneration_RTORecords_4.3.2014

Published on April 3rd, 2014 | by AWEA

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US Wind Energy Is Breaking Records

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April 3rd, 2014 by  

Originally published on AWEA.

Washington, D.C., — Wind energy is breaking records across the U.S., thanks to long-needed transmission upgrades that are relieving congestion on the power grid and allowing more clean energy to reach consumers. Last week, a new record was set on the main Texas grid, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), reaching over 10,000 MW of wind. This was the most ever for a U.S. power system, the equivalent of powering more than five million average Texas homes. In two previously unreported records, wind energy supplied a record 39.7% of total ERCOT electricity demand this past Monday, March 31, and two weeks ago the Southwest Power Pool region just to the north of Texas set a new wind record with 7,202 MW of wind production.

Nationwide, AWEA’s forthcoming U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report Year Ending 2013 finds up to 60,000 MW of new wind energy development would be enabled by major transmission projects that are in advanced stages of development. Texas is the national leader in wind energy in part because it has been a leader in creating policies that enable private sector investment in and open access to an expanded transmission grid. Michael Goggin, Senior Electric Industry Analyst for AWEA, explained “broadly allocating the cost of transmission is key, as the large reliability and economic benefits of a strong transmission grid are broadly spread and a strong grid is essential for maintaining a competitive electricity market.”

Texas’s recent wind records were made possible by the completion of the Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) transmission lines earlier this year, which connect world-class wind energy resource areas in West Texas and the Texas Panhandle to electricity demand centers. The lines are allowing ERCOT to nearly double its use of wind energy. The latest ERCOT planning report indicates that 8,413 MW of new wind projects have signed agreements to connect to the grid, which if all built as expected would bring around $15 billion in additional investment to the state and take ERCOT’s total wind capacity to 19,478 MW. More than 7,000 MW of wind capacity are currently under construction in Texas alone.

Other regions are following Texas’s lead in adopting policies that will enable long-needed grid upgrades. The Midwest grid operator, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), has adopted similar cost allocation policies for a set of transmission lines called the Multi-Value Projects. These projects will potentially integrate nearly 14,000 MW of new wind capacity. Similarly, the Southwest Power Pool has adopted a Highway/Byway transmission cost allocation policy and is making progress towards building a set of lines called the Priority Projects, which are expected to serve more than 3,000 MW of new wind capacity.

“It may have taken a few years, but in many parts of the country the grid is finally catching up with wind energy’s rapid growth. These recent wind energy records, and the tens of billions of dollars of new wind energy investment in the pipeline, are a product of those transmission success stories,” continued AWEA’s Goggin.

To summarize the recent wind energy generation records:

  • The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) set a national record on March 26, with 10,296 MW of wind output, enough to power 5 million typical Texas homes. On Monday of this week, wind output provided 39.7 percent of total electricity demand, breaking the previous record of 38.4 percent that was just set last Friday. This is a major accomplishment as ERCOT operates the power grid for around 85% of the state, and Texas alone accounts for about 10% of U.S. electricity demand. ERCOT’s previous record for wind output had been 9,674 MW, set in May 2013, and in April 2013 wind output had provided 35 percent of electricity demand. Jeff Clark, Executive Director of The Wind Coalition, noted “Texas has made visionary investments in its electricity infrastructure. These investments are paying off for Texas consumers as record levels of inexpensive wind power is lowering electric bills with power that is truly ‘Made in Texas.’  Wind energy is a home grown success story that is demonstrating that Texas energy can power Texas.”
  • On March 18, wind energy output set a new record of 7,202 MW in the Southwest Power Pool region just to the north of Texas. Wind output exceeded 6,000 MW on each of March 16, 17, and 18, including setting a record on March 17 that was then broken the next day. Before that, SPP’s record output had been 6,816 MW on October 10, 2013, and on April 6, 2013, SPP wind output provided a record 33.4% of electricity demand.

Further details on wind energy generation datastate-level wind energy statistics will be released in the forthcoming AWEA U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report Year Ending 2013, to bereleased on April 10, 2014.  This 100-page report will provide a comprehensive look at the U.S. wind energy industry, project activity by state and region, market rankings and key industry players, wind turbine characteristics, status of power offtake and electric utilities, component manufacturing, and impact of the U.S. wind energy industry.  Get a glimpse through the table of contents and summary from the 2012 report.

In just over a months’ time, the entire wind industry will gather in Las Vegas, Nevada for AWEA WINDPOWER 2014 Conference & Exhibition on May 5-8. Attendees of WINDPOWER  can attend market sessions at the AWEA booth and hear directly from experts’ market insights, upcoming activity and industry trends.

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About the Author

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is the voice of wind energy in the U.S., promoting renewable energy to power a cleaner, stronger America. Keep up with all the latest wind industry news at: http://www.aweablog.org/blog/



  • Pascale1

    Without wishing to sound cynical but it doesn’t matter how much wind / solar etc improves in efficiency / distribution etc it will always get a negative report in the popular media due to the good folks who own the popular media also own the oil and fracking industries which provide bumper profits that wind etc never will.

    • Bob_Wallace

      While that may be true for Murdoch and Forbes owned media it’s not true for other publications/outlets.

      Renewables, efficiency and electric vehicles are getting some good press and it’s going to increase. Clean solutions are becoming big business and are starting to have the resources to push back. Plus good jobs are being created, taxes are flowing into small towns that were hurting, conservative states are feeling the economic impact.

  • Will E

    Good story
    How much record money is made with all this record Windpower.
    Can you translate this story in Dollars.

  • wattleberry

    OK, it’s reassuring to see these stats but, given the continuing installation of wind power, what else can it do but set new records?

  • JamesWimberley

    However, the Tres Amigas interconnect on the New Mexico – Texas border that will for the first time link the US’ three grid regions is still making very slow progress. Construction hasn’t yet started.

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