More wind generation records have fallen in recent days, reflecting growing use around the world of this clean, reliable energy source.
This week, top billing goes to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the utility system serving most of the Lone Star State and saw a record January 29, when at one point wind generated a new high of 32.1 percent of electricity supply on the system. The hourly wind generation peak for the day was 8,667 megawatts (MW) (8.667 GW), setting a new record as well.
CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Co.) News quoted the Spanish wind energy association as saying wind generated 6 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) during the month, or approximately 25 percent of the country’s electricity. The association also commented that the Spanish economy has “gained 3 euros for every 1 euro invested in incentives for wind farms” and that using fossil fuels to generate the same amount of electricity would have cost $406 million, the article said.
Finally, there is the UK, where wind generation on Sunday peaked at a new high of 5 GW, according to an article on the Commodities Now website. That amount of power was 12 percent of the country’s instantaneous demand, or enough to power 10 million homes. The article quoted RenewableUK Deputy Chief Executive Mat Smith: “This new record proves that Britain is generating an increasingly significant amount of clean electricity from wind. The quantity of low-carbon energy that wind is feeding into the grid is continuing to surge upwards. We’re set to generate 15 to 20% of the UK’s electricity from wind by 2020.
“As well as creating tens of thousands of green-collar jobs, and the wider environmental benefits, wind gives us another very important advantage – energy security. The UK can take control of the way we generate our power by using a secure, natural, local source of energy rather than relying on imports of expensive fossil fuels from unstable parts of the world.”
It’s worth noting that these wind generation records are being set without the utility systems involved experiencing reliability problems, thus making it clear that wind’s variable generation can easily be accommodated on systems that already balance electricity supply with changing demand throughout the day and year.
Bonneville reaches new peak for wind generation: 4,344 MW, January 31, 2013
ERCOT sets wind generation record on Christmas Day, January 14, 2013
Southwest Power Pool achieves wind penetration record, December 20, 2012
ERCOT, SPP systems see record wind generation levels, November 21, 2012
Texas system operator tallies new record: 8,368 MW, June 21, 2012
Wind generation sets new records in Texas, Spain, May 22, 2012
Across the U.S., wind power sets new generation records, February 13, 2012
Xcel sets world record with 55.6% wind penetration, November 28, 2011
After a scorching week, wind power lessons from the Texas heat wave, August 11, 2011
Wind energy integration: Some fundamental facts, June 23, 2011
Tom Gray, http://www.awea.org/blog