- Wind energy-generated electricity provided 10.6% of Texas power in 2015, the first time it has reached double digits in the state’s power mix, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. The increase was largely in generation from growing Panhandle and West Texas capacity and due to delivery by the new Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) transmission lines serving it.
- Texas wind set a state record in March 2014, when it provided 39% of ERCOT’s electricity during one night. Installed wind capacity tops all other states, according to the American Wind Energy Association, and was 20% of U.S wind output through 2014's first 10 months, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
- Natural gas plants topped the Texas generation mix in 2014, generating 41% of the state's electricity. Coal was second at 36%, and nuclear was third at 12%, with less than 0.5% coming from other resources.
Wind energy is on the rise in Texas, and the Houston Chronicle reports that critical transmission projects are partly thank for the resource topping 10% of the state's generation last year.
The $7 billion, 3,500 mile CREZ transmission project, undertaken in 2005 under Governor Rick Perry, was completed in 2013. The new lines are widely seen as key to Texas wind growth. The PUC of Texas was charged with identifying Competitive Renewable Energy Zones, geographic areas where wind would be constructed. In 2008, The PUCT designated five CREZs and planned transmission upgrades to deliver the wind-generated electricity that would come from them.
Ultimately, the CREZ lines will grow Texas wind capacity to 18,456 MW. The benefits intended from the CREZ projects were, from the beginning, to deliver more renewables to Texas population centers and to improve Texas air quality.
Texas wind generated 36.1 million megawatt-hours of electricity for ERCOT in 2014. A megawatt-hour is approximately the one-hour demand of 500 typical Texas residences.