Renewable generation across the U.S. was up 30% for the week ending Feb. 20, according to recent estimates from Genscape's Generation Fuel Monitor Report. The company says the total weekly generation of 11,982 GWh was the second-highest weekly number in the past five years.
Genscape notes that wind generation in the Midwest appears to be a significant driver of the increase week-over-week. According to the report, wind power in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator region was up 31% (+220 GWh), Southwest Power Pool wind was up 117% (+299 GWh), and Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) wind was up 129% (+469 GWh). Genscape's monitored hydro generation in the Pacific Northwest was also up 39% (612 GWh), despite ongoing drought conditions.
As a result of the increase in renewables and weaker power demand, Genscape says gas consumption plummeted 35% (-7,847 GWh). This drop was particularly evident in Texas and the surrounding states. After strong output in recent weeks, many units in ERCOT, such as Midlothian, Freestone and Kiamichi, did not run.
Genscape says the additional culprits appeared to be a combination of weaker demand (ERCOT was down 25% week-over-week), higher gas prices, and gas units on outage. For much of the week, the ERCOT day-ahead markets were trading below an 8,000 BTU/kWh heat rate, which was likely not enough to clear this generation, Genscape adds. ERCOT was also reporting ~16 GW of generation on outage. Genscape says it monitors the vast majority of coal and nuclear generation in this region, which appeared to be running, leaving the bulk of this outage number to the remaining gas-fired units.