Nov 28 Wind power output in the U.S. Midwest electrical grid surpassed 10,000 megawatts (MW) for the first time on Nov. 23, representing more than 25 percent of the generation being used at that time.
"Wind represents one of the fuel choices that helps us manage congestion on the system and ultimately helps keep prices low for our customers," Joe Gardner, executive director of real-time operations at the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator (MISO), said in a release.
"When we have significant quantities of wind being generated, we use less of other, more expensive, generation types to keep the system in balance," he said.
MISO manages more than 11,000 MW of installed wind generation in service, with more than 7,000 MW of projects under construction or development.
One megawatt can power about 1,000 homes, but because wind farms produce energy only when the wind blows, experts say a megawatt of wind usually powers about 300 homes.
Wind capacity in the MISO footprint has grown dramatically since 2006, when the grid began integrating wind into its market operations.
MISO said utilities are buying more wind to meet consumer demand for cleaner energy and because several states require power companies to acquire some of their energy from renewable sources.
MISO serves 11 U.S. Midwest states and the province of Manitoba in Canada.
The biggest power companies in MISO include units of Duke Energy Corp, Xcel Energy Inc, Ameren Corp , Berkshire Hathaway Inc's MidAmerican Energy, DTE Energy Co and CMS Energy Corp.