Texas wind sets new records as gas, coal, nuclear generation shares decline
- Wind energy provided a record share of electricity generation to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) in November, supplying 18.4% of the grid’s total load, well over the 15.2% high set in March 2013 and November 2014’s 15.1%.
- Generation produced by strong winds and increased installed capacity, along with low natural gas prices, drove the day-ahead on-peak wholesale electricity price for the ERCOT North Hub to an average $21.90/MWh in November, 6.7% below October and 43.6% below November 2014.
- Day-ahead natural gas prices at the Houston Ship Channel, used for ERCOT’s cost estimate benchmark, averaged $2.051/MMBtu in November, down from October’s $2.352/MMBtu and November 2014’s $4.006/MMBtu.
Natural gas and wind energy increased in significance for the Texas grid operator in 2015 as coal's share of the generation mix continued to decline.
The natural gas share of ERCOT’s electricity generation fell to 44.5% in November from 47.9% in October. It was 48.4% of ERCOT’s generation for the first eleven months of 2015, up from 41.1% for that period in 2014.
Coal’s share of ERCOT generation fell to 27.2% from October’s 30.4%. It dropped from 36.3% of the grid’s supply in the first eleven months of 2014 to 28.5% for the same period this year.
Wind has also gained on nuclear power in ERCOT. Both are at about 11.3% of the grid operator’s generation for the first eleven months of 2015, but in that period last year, nuclear power provided 11.3% of ERCOT's electricity while wind was at 10.6%.
Demand on the ERCOT system in November was 23.9 TWh, nearly 13% below October’s 27.5 TWh and 2.9% below the 24.7 TWh in November 2014.
U.S. wind and solar were “47% of all new generation capacity in 2014 and nearly 70% in the first half of 2015,” according to a recently published report from Clean Edge.
The ERCOT generation numbers come from the grid operator's 2015 Demand and Energy Report. Wholesale electricity and natural gas prices come from Platts.