ERCOT harnessing every MW of wind

The winter winds are blowing, especially in Texas where El Paso is predicted to get five inches of snow.

No one is more thankful for the power of these winds than ERCOT, which set a new wind power generation record at the end of December.

On December 25, 2013, wind generation provided 8,638 MW of power, representing nearly 26 percent of system load. This tops the last record, set on November 10, by 117 MW.

Wind farms in West Texas contributed more than 6,600 MW with more than 1,600 MW coming from wind farms along the Texas Coast.

"Unlike traditional power plants, wind power output can vary dramatically over the course of a single day, and even more so over time," said Kent Saathoff, ERCOT's vice president of grid operations and system planning. "With new tools and experience, our operators have learned how to harness every megawatt of power they can when the wind is blowing at high levels like this."

Harnessing this power is increasingly important as ERCOT begins to move wind power via high-voltage transmission in Competitive Renewable Energy Zones from West Texas to metropolitan areas where grid demand is highest. These transmission projects will be done by the end of 2013.

ERCOT is reviewing an additional 20,000 MW of wind power capacity which it will add to the more than 10,000 MW it already has (the most in the nation). The completion of high-voltage transmission projects in Competitive Renewable Energy Zones by the end of 2013 will improve ERCOT's ability to move wind power from West Texas to the metropolitan areas where demand on the grid is highest.

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