- Texas wind power reached a new instantaneous peak output of 10,296 megawatts March 26 at 8:48 p.m., with wind supplying 29% of total electricity, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the grid's operator.
- The new record, which beat two marks set the previous week and far surpassed the 2013 high of 9,674 megawatts set in May, is expected to be topped again soon as Texas’s 12,000-plus megawatt wind capacity continues to grow.
- The record-setting performance by Texas wind is attributed to (1) the completion of its Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ), a state-directed transmission expansion program, and (2) the restructuring of wind’s vital federal production tax credit (PTC) in 2013.
Texas's record-setting hour’s average wind output was 10,120 megawatts. The CREZ program was specifically designed to allow West Texas and Panhandle winds to reach ERCOT grid load centers in Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, and San Antonio and to reduce wind curtailments.
Because the PTC expired at the end of 2012, Texas added only 150 megawatts of wind in 2013, less than 10% of the 1,600 megawatts it added in 2012.
The PTC was restructured last year to allow eligibility for projects that commenced construction during the year and this resulted in more than 7,000 megawatts of wind projects now being built with 2014-2015 completion dates. The federal PTC provides $0.023 per kilowatt-hour to developers for the first 10 years of a wind project’s production.