This is from a recent greenwire report — once the three Austin Energy contracts make it in, that total should be even higher next year.. read below
RENEWABLE ENERGY: Wind supplies record 15% of Texas power supply (Wednesday, October 19, 2011)
Nathanial Gronewold, E&E reporter
Wind is providing more power than ever to Texas’ main power grid.
Wind farms generated a record 15.18 percent of the grid’s total power demand on the afternoon of Oct. 7, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said yesterday.
From more than 10,000 megawatts of installed wind capacity, the council said, Texas’ turbines fed 7,400 MW of electricity to the grid at just past 3:06 p.m., when the total peak load was 49,000 MW.
The total wind generation beat the previous record set June 19, when turbine output totaled 7,355 MW, or 14.6 percent of total power load, ERCOT said.
The acceleration of new tower and turbine construction in the past year has seen wind’s share of Texas’ power supply grow from around 8 percent to 10 percent of total energy generating capacity, industry experts estimate.
The rise in wind energy is tied to a new focus on building turbines along the Gulf of Mexico, rather than inland where most of the state’s wind farms are found (ClimateWire, Aug. 23, 2011).
ERCOT spokeswoman Dottie Roark said grid operators noticed last month that coastal projects were delivering between 50 and 70 percent of the state’s total wind power supply on some days. This despite the fact that coastal projects constitute 13 percent of Texas’ installed wind capacity, she said.
“The operators in our control room noticed that [coastal wind] was actually picking up around the time that our load was picking up,” Roark said.
Boosters of coastal projects say building Gulf of Mexico turbines makes sense since the wind blows stronger there during the daytime, when supplies are needed most, rather than at night when most inland generating areas see their highest wind speeds.
Results from coastal projects are also fueling a push for offshore wind development as Texas races to become the first state in the nation to generate power from wind towers installed in the ocean.
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) celebrated Texas’ new wind power generation milestone.
“Wind generation offsets the use of expensive fossil fuels, is pollution-free and uses virtually no water, unlike other sources of electricity,” said AWEA transmission policy manager Michael Goggin in a release. “This is yet another case showing that large amounts of wind energy can be integrated into existing utility systems reliably.”