Wind leads growth in Texas power generation
Wind power dominates new power generation projects planned in Texas, and solar growth is expected to exceed new natural gas construction in terms of generation added to the grid, according to a report from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas.
The capacity, demand and reserves report from ERCOT, which manages nearly 90 percent of the state’s grid load, shows that renewable power is contributing a growing proportion of the state’s electricity, and that growth of solar farms will begin to pick up next year in the state. No new coal plants have received permits, and ERCOT expects companies will retire more coal-fired power plants in coming years.
Still, natural gas and coal remain by far the top two sources of Texas power, accounting for about 77 percent of the state’s electricity, although coal generation is declining. Wind and nuclear power each contribute about 10 percent, with solar and other power sources making up the rest.
Since May, the grid has added nearly 3,000 megawatts of power capacity — about two-thirds from new wind farms and the remainder from two new natural-gas-fired power plants. In 2016, ERCOT anticipates adding more than 4,200 megawatts of new power capacity, including nearly 2,800 megawatts of wind power, more than 1,000 megawatts from solar farms and the rest from a new natural gas plant.