Graph of the Day: In Texas, 22 percent of electricity from Wind

March 12, 2012

Reuters, via NewEnergyNews:

“Texas set new records for wind-power output…using a new transmission analysis tool that allows more wind to flow on power lines from west Texas to power-consuming cities hundreds of miles away…The amount of electricity produced from wind on [Wednesday night, March 7] set a record at 7,599 megawatts, up 196 MW from the previous day, which eked past a 7,400-MW record set last October, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said…

“…Electricity was being produced by more than 77 percent of the 9,838 MW of ERCOT’s installed wind capacity, well above the average 30 to 40 percent of nameplate electric capacity that wind farms typically produce…[and ERCOT had just begun using] a new tool…to calculate day-ahead and real-time limits on power lines from west Texas to the Dallas-Fort Worth area…[and analyze] real-time conditions every 30 minutes…”

“With more than 9,800 MW, Texas leads the nation in carbon-free electric capacity from wind turbines. More than 7,500 MW are located in west Texas, where the wind generally blows the strongest during the evening hours and in the spring and fall months when power demand is low…Recent wind-farm additions, now totaling nearly 2,100 MW, or 21 percent, have been built closer to the Texas coast…where wind patterns differ from west Texas…About 13 percent of the record 7,599 MW produced March 7 came from the coastal wind farms…

“At the time of the latest record, wind generation accounted for 22 percent of the power demand of 34,318 MW…Wind farms expanded rapidly in Texas until 2009 when production began to overwhelm the existing transmission capacity…Texas is building more than 2,300 miles (3,700 km) of high-voltage transmission in a $6.5 billion plan to expand the grid by late 2013 to accommodate wind-farm growth of up to 18,500 MW…Current wind-farm construction has slowed…[but developers] are studying the addition of 18,000 MW…down from 34,000 MW of wind last fall.”

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