Everyone knows that Texas loves setting records. It’s a big state with a big view of itself. When it comes to wind power, Texas does certainly set its fair share of records. From wind power generation records to wind energy storage records to wind farm size records to more wind power generation records, Texas is no stranger to wind records. Continuing the trend, news is that Texas set another wind power record in February — 9,481 megawatts of power from wind at 7:08pm February 9. This accounted for 28% of total electricity across the state’s main grid.
The previous record — 8,667 MW — was just set January 9. The percentage of supply that one accounted for was 32.5%.
Before anyone jumps on me, lets be clear that this wind power generation record is simply for the main Texas grid, ERCOT. I imagine Denmark has far exceeded this a number of times, as well as other locations. But a true Texan will acknowledge it’s a record worth lauding nonetheless.
Reporter News, which is where we got the news, notes that one megawatt of electricity is enough to power about 200 homes at peak electricity use, while it could power about 500 homes during times of low electricity use.
Another notable fact from this story is that, since Texas has just a bit more than 10,400 MW of installed wind power capacity, about 90% of Texas wind power capacity was pumping out electricity at 7:00pm on February 9.
And another noteworthy point is that 7:00pm is still a time of high electricity demand, so counter to what is often considered common knowledge, wind power does actually provide a lot of electricity during times of great need.
ERCOT, which has about 23 million customers, saw wind power account for about 8.5% of electricity demand in 2011, and then about 9.2% in 2012. As with other locations the world over, wind power installations have been growing strong there. But more wind power capacity isn’t the main thing Texas needs in order to get more electricity from wind.
Texas has about 2,000 commercial wind turbines installed to date. Unfortunately, due to a less than perfect transmission network, a lot of wind power has to be dropped (not used at all) at times of high generation and low demand. However, in order to solve that problem and make more use of the wind turbines it has installed, Texas has embarked on massive transmission development.
We’ll see what 2013 brings, but my guess is that Texas will hit 10% of electricity from wind this year (or at least something close to it).