Wind power in Texas
Wind power in Texas consists of many wind farms with a total installed nameplate capacity of 17,713 MW from over 40 different projects. Texas produces the most wind power of any U.S. state. Wind power accounted for 11.7% of the electricity generated in Texas during 2015.
The wind resource in many parts of Texas is very large. Farmers may lease their land to wind developers, creating a new revenue stream for the farm. The wind power industry is also creating thousands of jobs for local communities and for the state. Texas is seen as a profit-driven leader of renewable energy commercialization in the United States. The wind boom in Texas was assisted by expansion of the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, use of designated Competitive Renewable Energy Zones, expedited transmission construction, and the necessary Public Utility Commission rule-making.
The Roscoe Wind Farm (781 MW) is the state's largest wind farm. Other large wind farms in Texas include: Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center, Sherbino Wind Farm, Capricorn Ridge Wind Farm, Sweetwater Wind Farm, Buffalo Gap Wind Farm, King Mountain Wind Farm, Desert Sky Wind Farm, Wildorado Wind Ranch, and the Brazos Wind Farm.
Wind power has a long history in Texas. West Texas State University began wind energy research in 1970 and led to the formation of the Alternative Energy Institute (AEI) in 1977. AEI has been a major information resource about wind energy for Texas. The first 80-meter tower was erected at Big Spring, Texas in 1999.
The expanding wind power market will help Texas meet its 2015 renewable energy goal of 5,000 new megawatts of power from renewable sources.
Several forces are driving the growth of wind power in Texas: the wind resource in many areas of the state is very large, large projects are relatively easy to site, and the market price for electricity is set by natural gas prices which was relatively high for some time. The broad scope and geographical extent of wind farms in Texas is considerable:
Wind resource areas lie in the Texas Panhandle, along the Gulf coast south of Galveston, and in the mountain passes and ridge tops of the Trans-Pecos in the western tip of Texas. There are still 80,000 windmills operating in Texas, used to pump water.
Texas farmers may lease their land to wind developers for either a set rental per turbine or for a small percentage of gross annual revenue from the project. This offers farmers a fresh revenue stream without impacting traditional farming and grazing practices. Although leasing arrangements vary widely, the U. S. Government Accountability Office reported in 2004 that a farmer who leases land to a wind project developer can generally obtain royalties of $3,000 to $5,000 per turbine per year in lease payments. These figures are rising as larger wind turbines are being produced and installed.
The wind power industry is also creating thousands of jobs for communities and for the state. Increases in the deployment of wind technology and the various aspects of producing electricity from wind power may help to offset lost jobs in Texas if oil drilling activity on land and in the Gulf of Mexico subsides.
Sabotage and industrial accidents can be potential threats to the large, centrally located, power plants that provide most of Texas’ electricity. Should one of these plants be damaged, repairs could take more than a year, possibly creating power shortages on a scale that Texans have never experienced before. Coal trains and gas pipelines are also vulnerable to disruption. However, wind power plants are quickly installed and repaired. The modular structure of a wind farm also means that if one turbine is damaged, the overall output of the plant is not significantly affected.
Wind is a highly variable resource. With proper understanding it can be incorporated into an electric utility's generation mix. When providing for the generating capacity to meet the peak demand in summer, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages the Texas power grid, counted wind at 8.7% of nameplate capacity in 2008. Many areas in Texas have wind conditions allowing for development of wind power generation. The number of commercially attractive sites will expand as wind turbine technology improves and development costs continue to drop.
The wind power boom in Texas outstripped the capacity of the transmission systems in place, and predicted shortages in transmission capability could have dampened the growth of the industry. Until 2008, the growth in wind power "piggybacked" on existing lines, but had almost depleted spare capacity. As a result, in winter the west Texas grid often has such a local surplus of power that the price falls below zero. According to Michael Goggin, electric industry analyst at AWEA, "Prices fell below US −$30/MWh (megawatt-hour) on 63% of days during the first half of 2008, compared to 10% for the same period in 2007 and 5% in 2006."
In July 2008, utility officials gave preliminary approval to a $4.9 billion plan to build new transmission lines to carry wind-generated electricity from West Texas to urban areas such as Dallas. The new plan would be the biggest investment in renewable energy in U.S. history, and would add transmission lines capable of moving about 18,000 megawatts. ERCOT curtailed 17% (3.8 TWh) in 2009, but only 0.5% in 2014, as transmission improved, particularly the Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) in 2013. However the CREZ lines are sometimes maxed out, and in November 2015, prices were negative for 50 hours. Wind power in Texas receives subsidies regardless of whether power prices are positive or negative. Wind power has occasionally supplied 14 GW in Texas, about half the consumption in the somewhat islanded state.
List of large wind farms in Texas
The table below lists the larger wind farms in Texas, currently operating or under construction. Wind farms which are smaller than 140 MW in capacity are not shown.
|Brazos Wind Ranch (Green Mt. Energy Wind Farm)||160||Mitsubishi||Scurry/ Borden|
|Buffalo Gap Wind Farm||523||Vestas||Taylor/ Nolan|
|Bull Creek Wind Farm||180||Mitsubishi||Borden|
|Capricorn Ridge Wind Farm||662||GE Energy/ Siemens||Sterling/ Coke|
|Desert Sky Wind Farm||160||GE Energy||Pecos|
|Goat Mountain Wind Ranch||150||Mitsubishi (80 MWT-62/1.0 and 29 MWT-95/2.4||Coke/ Sterling|
|Gulf Wind Farm||283||Mitsubishi||Kenedy|
|Hackberry Wind Project||165||Siemens||Shackelford|
|Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center||735||GE Energy/ Siemens||Taylor/ Nolan|
|Inadale Wind Farm||197||Mitsubishi||Scurry/ Nolan|
|King Mountain Wind Farm||278.5||Bonus/ GE Energy||Upton|
|Langford Wind Farm||150||GE Energy||Tom Green/ Schleicher/ Irion|
|Lone Star Wind Farm||400||Gamesa||Shackelford/ Callahan|
|McAdoo Wind Farm||150||GE Energy||Dickens|
|Notrees Windpower||150||Ector/ Winkler|
|Panther Creek Wind Farm||458||GE Energy||Howard/ ...|
|Papalote Creek Wind Farm||380||Siemens||San Patricio|
|Peñascal Wind Farm||404||Mitsubishi||Kenedy|
|Pyron Wind Farm||249||GE Energy||Scurry/ Fisher/ Nolan|
|Roscoe Wind Farm||781||Mitsubishi||Nolan|
|Sherbino Wind Farm||300||Vestas||Pecos|
|Sweetwater Wind Farm||585||GE Energy/ Siemens/ Mitsubishi||Nolan|
|Trent Wind Farm||150||GE Energy||Taylor|
|Turkey Track Energy Center||169.5||Nolan/ Coke/ Runnels|
|Wildorado Wind Ranch||161||Siemens||Oldham/ Potter/ Randall|
|Woodward Mountain Wind Ranch||159||Vestas||Pecos|
Renewable Portfolio Standard
The Texas Renewable Portfolio Standard was originally created by Senate Bill 7 and signed by Governor Bush in 1999, which helped Texas eventually become the leading producer of wind powered electricity in the U.S. The RPS was part of new laws that restructured the electricity industry. The Texas RPS mandated that utility companies jointly create 2000 new MWs of renewable energy by 2009 based on their market share. In 2005, Senate Bill 20, increased the state’s RPS requirement to 5,880 MW by 2015, of which, 500 MW must come from non-wind resources. The bill set a goal of 10,000 MW of renewable energy capacity for 2025, which was achieved 15 years early, in 2010.
According to DSIRE.org, "In 1999 the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) adopted rules for the state's Renewable Energy Mandate, establishing a renewable portfolio standard (RPS), a renewable-energy credit (REC) trading program, and renewable-energy purchase requirements for competitive retailers in Texas. The 1999 standard called for 2,000 megawatts (MW) of new renewables to be installed in Texas by 2009, in addition to the 880 MW of existing renewables generation at the time. In August 2005, S.B. 20 increased the renewable-energy mandate to 5,880 MW by 2015 (about 5% of the state's electricity demand), including a target of 500 MW of renewable-energy capacity from resources other than wind. Wind accounts for nearly all of the current renewable-energy generation in Texas. The 2005 legislation also set a target of reaching 10,000 MW of renewable energy capacity by 2025.
The schedule of renewable energy capacity required and the corresponding compliance dates are as follows:
- 2,280 MW by 1/1/2007
- 3,272 MW by 1/1/2009
- 4,264 MW by 1/1/2011
- 5,256 MW by 1/1/2013
- 5,880 MW by 1/1/2015
Qualifying renewable energy sources include solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric, wave or tidal energy, biomass, or biomass-based waste products, including landfill gas. Qualifying systems are those installed after September 1999. The RPS applies to all investor-owned utilities. Municipal and cooperative utilities may voluntarily elect to offer customer choice.
The PUCT established a renewable-energy credit (REC) trading program that began in July 2001 and will continue through 2019. Under PUCT rules, one REC represents one megawatt-hour (MWh) of qualified renewable energy that is generated and metered in Texas. A capacity conversion factor (CCF) is used to convert MW goals into MWh requirements for each retailer in the competitive market. The CCF was originally administratively set at 35% for the first two compliance years, but is now based on the actual performance of the resources in the REC-trading program for the previous two years. For the 2010 and 2011 the CCF will be 30.5%." Each retailer in Texas is allocated a share of the mandate based on that retailer’s pro rata share of statewide retail energy sales. The program administrator maintains a REC account for program participants to track the production, sale, transfer, purchase, and retirement of RECs. Credits can be banked for three years, and all renewable additions have a minimum of 10 years of credits to recover over-market costs. An administrative penalty of $50 per MWh has been established for providers that do not meet the RPS requirements.
An energy storage system is being developed for West Texas. The system allows excess wind energy to be stored, making wind energy more predictable and less variable. This 36 MW battery facility became operational in December 2012.
A 300 MW offshore wind farm is planned for Galveston, and 2,100 MW for the Gulf Coast of Texas. Making turbines that are able to yaw quickly will make them more likely to be able to survive a hurricane.
|Texas Wind Generation (GWh, Million kWh)|
- Deregulation of the Texas electricity market
- Electricity sector of the United States
- Electric Reliability Council of Texas or ERCOT
- List of large wind farms
- List of wind farms in the United States
- Pickens Plan
- Public Utility Commission of Texas
- Renewable energy commercialization in the United States
- Renewable Portfolio Standard
- Texas Interconnection
- Wind farm
- Wind power in California
- Wind power in Kansas
- Wind power in the United States
- AWEA Texas Fact Sheet
- AWEA Third Quarter 2012 Market Report
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- Roping the Breezes
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- West Texas Project Could Change Future of Wind Power
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- Tres Amigas
- Texas Offshore Wind Project Eyes Test Turbine by End of 2011
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- Head, Christopher (February 9, 2011). "The Curious Case of the Texas Wind Industry". The Energy Collective. Retrieved 2011-02-10.
- Every wind farm of Texas @The Wind Power
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