Wind generation officially set a new record on Sunday afternoon, accounting for more than 15,000 MW of the electricity used in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) region for the first time ever.
Specifically, the ERCOT system used a whopping 15,033 MW of electricity from wind at 12:35 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 27, representing about 45% of total demand for electric power at the time.
Of the total, more than 8,800 MW was produced from wind generation facilities in west and north Texas, while nearly 3,800 MW came from the south region, mostly the Gulf Coast area, and about 2,300 MW came from the Panhandle region.
“We saw high wind output throughout the day, ranging from just over 10,000 MW during the late-night hours to this peak output during the noon hour,” says Dan Woodfin, senior director of system operations for ERCOT. “Over the years, ERCOT has taken a number of steps, such as improving renewable generation forecasts, to allow us to operate the grid reliably on days like this.”
ERCOT says the portion of load served by wind ranged from about 35% to more than 46%, averaging nearly 41% throughout the day.
For comparison, the group notes that 1 MW is enough electricity to serve about 200 homes during peak demand and 500 homes during milder conditions. There is more than 17,000 MW of installed wind generation capacity serving the ERCOT system, and that total is expected to top 19,000 MW by the end of 2016.
This total supersedes the previous wind generation output record of 14,122 MW that was set on Nov. 17. The current record for percentage of load served – 48.28% – was set on March 23, 2016, at 1:10 a.m.
In 2015, wind generation provided 11.7% of the energy used in the ERCOT region. As of the end of October, wind had served 14.7% of the region’s energy needs so far in 2016.
ERCOT, a membership-based 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation, governed by a board of directors and subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas legislature, manages the flow of electric power to nearly 24 million Texas customers, representing about 90% of the state’s electric load. As the independent system operator for the region, ERCOT schedules power on an electric grid that connects more than 46,500 miles of transmission lines and 550 generating units.