- Records for wind energy productivity were set across the country in late February. On Feb. 18, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) obtained a record 14,023 MW of wind-generated electricity and a record 45.14% of wind penetration on its grid.
- On Feb. 19, the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), which serves all or part of 15 states from Minnesota to Louisiana, obtained a record 13,084 MW from wind. The same day, the Southwest Power Pool (SPP), which serves the lower Midwest, got a record 43.9% wind penetration.
- These records are expected to be surpassed as stronger spring winds pick up because the U.S. wind energy reached record levels of new capacity installation in 2015, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) 2015 Market Report.
ERCOT reported setting wind output records eight times in 2015. MISO reported new highs twice in 2015 and a 2016 record of 12,720 MW on Jan. 28. SPP set six new records for penetration and nine new output records in 2015. It reached a previous record 43.3% penetration a day before reaching the 43.9% mark.
The U.S. wind industry built 8,598 MW of new capacity in 2015, has a cumulative installed capacity of nearly 74.5 GW, and has reduced wind’s installed cost 66% since 2008, according to AWEA.
Wind energy now provides about 4.9% U.S. electricity and policies are in place that should make it possible for the industry to meet the U.S. Department of Energy forecast that it will supply 20% of the country’s electricity by 2030.
The recent extension of the $0.023/kWh production tax credit should support industry growth into the early 2020s, according to AWEA Government and Public Affairs VP Rob Gramlich. Over 4,000 MWs of power purchase agreements for wind were completed in 2015, with 52% from non-utility offtakers.