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A remarkable wind power milestone for the Lone Star State

Wind energy output hits new highs.
A remarkable wind power milestone for the Lone Star State
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It didn’t take long for the Lone Star State to set a new wind energy high water mark.

Less than two weeks ago, we reported on new wind power records in Texas and the Midwest, and on Monday records were shattered again.

For the first time, ERCOT, the main grid operator for most of Texas, exceeded 15,000 megawatts of instantaneous wind output. On average for the entire day, wind satisfied just under 41 percent of the state’s electricity demand.

Not to be outdone, the Midcontinent Independent Systems Operator (MISO), grid manager for a number of Midwestern states, set new marks too. MISO’s wind output cleared 10,000 MW for over 24 hours, reaching a high of 13,300. At one point, wind energy satisfied just shy of 22 percent of the system’s electricity demand.

America’s wind energy leader

Today, Texas leads the U.S. with over 18,000 MW of installed wind capacity, with another 5,000 MW currently under construction. As Texas continues adding more wind, the share of its electricity created by wind power is growing. Last year, it was one of a dozen states to generate at least 10 percent of its electricity using wind, and Texas should near 15 percent when 2016 comes to a close. That’s a particularly impressive achievement, considering Texas uses more electricity than any other state.

Texas’s wind growth has led to 25,000 in-state jobs, over $32.5 billion invested in its economy and more than $50 million in lease payments every year for farmers and ranchers who host turbines on their land.

Transmission makes it all possible

Besides having some of America’s best wind resources, Texas has become the country’s wind energy leader through advanced transmission planning. By having the foresight to build transmission lines carrying wind-generated electricity from the panhandle to cities like Dallas and Houston, Texas ensured more of its families and business would have access to low-cost wind power. The rest of the U.S. can learn from Texas’s example by updating America’s electricity infrastructure for 21st century needs with more transmission, a process that more than pays for itself.

Check out this video to learn more about how wind helps keep this lights on in Texas:

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Greg is the Writer and Content Manager for AWEA. He is the head editor and writer for Into the Wind, and oversees AWEA's online content and opinion writing. Greg holds a Master's degree in Global Environmental Policy from American University's School of International Service. He also holds a Bachelor's degree in International Relations and Journalism from Lehigh University.

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