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Wind records fall again in November as race to the top continues

WInd energy output is setting new records.
Wind records fall again in November as race to the top continues

And we thought October was impressive; turns out things have been even better this month.

Grid operators in Texas (ERCOT) and the Midwest (MISO) continued jockeying for the wind output record in November, with ERCOT coming out in front this time. It hit a record high of 12,641 megawatts (MW) on November 16, which bested MISO’s 12,383 MW from October 28, for the highest output on a U.S. power system.

Other grid operators hit high water-marks in recent weeks as well.

PJM, which operates the power system for the Mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes states, reached a record output of 5,648 MW on November 1, while the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) cleared 9,000 MW on November 15.

Regional Wind Records 11.19.2015

Wind outputs records across the country

Wind has reliably contributed a large share of total electricity supply across the U.S. in recent weeks:

  • Just this morning, MISO set a new hourly wind output record, reaching an hourly average of 12,295 MW, exceeding the previous mark of 12,194 MW set on October 28. While minute-by-minute wind output data from MISO is not yet available, it is possible that at some point this morning MISO wind energy output exceeded its previous instantaneous record of 12,383 MW.
  • For a combined nine hours on November 10 and 11, wind was the number one electricity generation source in SPP, averaging about 35 percent of the total energy mix. Impressively, the output averaged over this period neared SPP’s instantaneous output record of 36.8 percent, further proof that wind can contribute a significant amount to the electricity mix for a sustained period of time.
  • PJM, one of the largest power systems in the world, obtained more than 9 percent of its electricity from wind when it set its wind record on November 1.
  • Earlier this year, ERCOT obtained more than 40 percent of its electricity from wind
  • The main Colorado power system has previously gone higher than 60 percent.

As we previously explained, these record outputs provide concrete evidence that wind can reliably constitute a significant portion of our electricity mix. As Robbie Searcy of ERCOT notes, “We’ve really gotten very effective at integrating a large amount of wind into the power grid.”

The record outputs we’ve seen throughout the fall are the result of a broader “wind rush.” New wind project development, technological advances, and long-needed grid upgrades are making low-cost wind energy available to new customers across the country, resulting in a more reliable, affordable, and balanced energy mix.

This is a trend we expect to continue in the coming years, and it will help businesses and consumers keep their lights on and extra money in their pockets.

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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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