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Wind Energy Continues Expansion


Wind turbines in Texas
The Horse Hollow wind farm in Nolan and Taylor counties. Photo by Robert Plocheck.

 

 Wind Energy Continues Expansion

Texas continues to lead the nation in installed wind capacity and generation. In 2015, Texas had 21 percent of the nation’s installed wind capacity, reaching 14,208 megawatts. California was second in installed wind capacity, at 5,829 megawatts.

With Texas’ significant increase in wind energy, all renewable generation in the state was responsible for 9.0 percent of total electricity generation in 2013, the latest data available.

Installed Wind Capacity in megawatts (MW)

 

Year Texas U.S.
2015 14,208 66,008
2014 14,098 65,879
2013 12,354 61,110
2012 10,648 49,802
2011 10,394 46,919
2010 10,089 40,267
2009 9,403 34,863
2008 7,427 24,651
2007 4,296 16,596
2006 2,739 11,575
2005 1,995 9,149
2000 181 2,566

By the middle of 2015, U.S. installed wind capacity had grown to 66,008 MW.

The Texas plains continues to see rapid growth in wind farms, while more recently expansion has began offshore on the Gulf Coast. In all, Texas has six of the ten largest wind generation projects in the country. Roscoe Wind Farm, which stretches across Nolan, Mitchell, Scurry and Fisher counties, is the largest in the state, with a capacity of 782 MW. 

Wind power is variable and ERCOT historical wind generation data reveals that there is often less wind blowing on summer afternoons that coincide with peak electrical demand. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages the state’s largest power grid, is responsible for ensuring the reliability and adequacy of the electric grid, it makes capacity calculations to determine if it will have sufficient generating capacity on the grid.

For planning purposes, ERCOT determined that in the future, it can count on just 8.7 percent of its installed wind capacity to alleviate Texas’ peak summer demand. It also notes that conventional generation must be available to meet forecast load and reserve requirements.

Sources: U.S. Department of Energy, the Office of Governor/Economic Development & Tourism, the State Energy Conservation Office, 2015, and other sources.

 

 

Texas Almanac

Texas Almanac