ERCOT: Wind energy climbs, but February demand drops

Dive Brief:

  • Electricity demand in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) fell February, but wind energy increased to supply nearly one out of every 5 MW of energy, Platts reports. 
  •  Compared to February 2015, the ERCOT system used nearly 4.7 TWh of wind energy February, 14.3% more than the amount of wind energy generated at the same period last year, according to according to ERCOT's monthly Demand and Energy report.
  • Wind composed 19.9% of total energy on ERCOT’s grid in February, behind natural gas, which led with 43.2% of February demand, and coal, which supplied 21.2%.  

Dive Insight:

Wind knocked out nuclear to take third place as one of the major sources of energy in ERCOT's system this year. Nuclear power met 15.1% of demand last month, coming in fourth behind natural gas, wind and coal. 

In February 2015, wind supplied only 11.8% of ERCOT’s demand, behind natural gas at 47.6%, coal at 26.5%, and nuclear energy at 13.7%. 

Led by Texas, the U.S. wind industry is booming and is expected to continue record expansion into the early 2020s due to the recent 5 year extension and phase out of its $0.023/kWh production tax credit.

Texas added 3,615 MW of new capacity in 2015, more than twice of Oklahoma's total of 1,402 MW, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Texas now has an installed capacity of more than 17,713 MW, more than twice of Iowa's 6,212 MW. Texas also had 53% of all U.S. wind capacity under construction at the end of 2015.

But despite wind's victory, demand declined in February. 

ERCOT's system demand peaked on February 4 at 47,397 MW, down from the previous month’s demand peak of 49,250 MW on January 11 and  the demand peak around same time last year at 54,539 MW.

Top image credit: Depositphotos