HOUSTON Feb 13 Texas posted another record for
wind-power output earlier this month, the state grid operator
said on Wednesday.
The amount of electricity produced from wind on the evening
of Feb. 9 reached 9,481 megawatts, up 814 MW from the previous
record of 8,667 MW set in late January, the Electric Reliability
Council of Texas (ERCOT) said in a release.
"As wind generation capacity continues to be added in ERCOT
and additional transmission lines are being completed to
accommodate that generation, we continue to set new records,"
said Kent Saathoff, ERCOT's vice president of grid operations
and system planning.
With 10,400 MW, Texas leads the nation in carbon-free
electric capacity from wind turbines, most of which has been
built 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.
Electricity was being produced by 91 percent of the
installed wind capacity in ERCOT, well above the average 30
percent to 40 percent of nameplate electric capacity that wind
turbines typically produce on an annual basis.
At the time, wind was supplying nearly 28 percent of the
ERCOT demand, the grid agency said.
Wind accounted for 9.2 percent of the power consumed in
Texas in 2012, up from 8.5 percent in 2011, ERCOT said.
"While wind generation over the course of a day can change
very quickly, improved tools help us predict those patterns and
enable us to reliably use this resource to its fullest
potential," Saathoff said.
One megawatt can supply about 200 Texas homes during hot
summer days and about 500 homes during other weather periods.
Wind farms expanded rapidly in Texas until 2009, when
production began to overwhelm the existing transmission capacity
available to move the power from remote areas of west Texas to
large cities - such as Dallas and San Antonio - that consume
Construction should wrap up this year on more than 3,600
miles (5,800 km) of high-voltage transmission lines in a $6.87
billion plan to expand the grid to eventually accommodate up to
18,500 MW of wind generation.
NextEra Energy and Duke Energy are among
wind-farm owners in Texas.