Strong winds blow away records across the U.S.
Fall is in full swing, and that’s great news for wind power. Over the past two weeks, wind farms harnessed strong seasonal winds to deliver new wind-energy generation and penetration records across the U.S.
These new records are not just a testament to the strong growth of wind power in recent years – they also demonstrate that wind plays an integral part of today’s electricity mix, successfully providing reliable electricity at ever-increasing levels.
Let’s start with ERCOT, the main grid operator in Texas. Wind provided a record 54.22% of the grid operator’s electricity at one point on October 27, building on the previous 50% record set on March 23 of this year. This is an impressive accomplishment because ERCOT operates the power grid for approximately 85% of the state, and Texas alone accounts for nearly 10% of U.S. electricity demand.
Texas invested early in the CREZ transmission lines to bring low-cost wind energy to population centers, and as a result, Texas is now a national leader in wind. The Lone Star state hosts approximately one-quarter of the nation’s wind fleet.
Next, let’s move north to the Midwest ISO (MISO), a major grid operator for all or part of 15 Midwest states. Wind power provided a record 14,327 MW to MISO at one point on October 30, surpassing a previous peak output of 13,599 MW on December 7, 2016. On the same day that MISO reached record wind generation levels, NYISO did the same.
The New York grid operator reported 1,622 MW of simultaneous wind output, exceeding its previous 1,574 MW record set on March 2nd, 2017. Finally, the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) also set records earlier in October, when wind energy provided 44.2% of BPA’s electricity mix at one point on October 11.