The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the state grid operator and manager of the wholesale electric market, hit a new wind record of 7,599 MW on Wednesday, exceeding the previous record set the previous day by almost 200 megawatts (MW).
At the time of Wednesday’s record, wind was supplying 22 percent of the 34,318 MW total system load for the state.
Coastal wind farms supplied 1,018 MW of the new record, along with 6,581 MW from the west and north zones. ERCOT currently has 9,838 MW of installed wind capacity – the highest of any state in the US – including 7,531 MW in the western part of the state, 232 MW in the north, and 2,075 MW in the coastal region.
March is typically a high wind month for Texas, but these new records are also due in part to a new transmission analysis tool that allows the grid operator to move more wind energy from the west zone.
The installed wind capacity that feeds into the Texas grid increased last month by 9 MW with the addition of Harbor Wind in Nueces County. More than 18,000 MW of wind generation projects are currently under review, according to ERCOT’s February system planning update.
And now, the first interconnection agreement for a CREZ (Competitive Renewable Energy Zone – transmission lines that bring renewable energy to the rest of the Texas Grid) substation was completed March 27, 2012, between Wind Energy Transmission Texas and Stephens Ranch Wind Energy. The Interconnection point is the Long Draw Substation in Borden County. This wind farm will include 233 turbines for total of 377 MW that is scheduled for commercial operations to begin in November 2013.
As new wind projects come online and transmission lines to bring their electricity to the grid are completed, we can expect to see more wind energy records broken.