October 17, 2013

Texas increases wind power distribution

Texas is not only a leader in oil production, but leads the United States in wind power production.

Texas is not only a leader in oil production, but leads the United States in wind power production. Texas has more than three times as much wind power as any other state in the nation, according to the Texas Tribune, and it continues to add more.

By the end of the year, Texas will complete the final electrical transmission project under the state's Competitive Renewable Energy Zone initiation, which is an effort to connect wind power generated in West Texas to other cities with growing power demands, the source said.

The project was approved by the Public Utility Commission in 2008 and has since spurred investment in further wind energy development in Texas, as energy companies can be assured there is a market for the energy their turbines create.

The CREZ effort cost about $7 billion, Amarillo, Texas, CBS affiliate KFDA reported. The transmission line will stretch nearly 3,600 miles and distribute 18,000 megawatts of wind power.

Future wind power growth in Texas
Texas wind power is expected to expand even more in the next two years. Wind projects along the Gulf Coast alone will double wind power generation in the state, providing enough power for 650,000 homes, KVUE, and ABC affiliate in Austin, reported.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) recently released data showing wind power in Texas grew nearly 20 percent in the first eight months of 2013 compared to the same time period last year. Between January and August, the amount of power generated by wind farms reached above 23 million MW, Dallas News reported.

The CREZ project and other distribution lines are beginning to transport wind energy throughout the state more easily than ever before, which is expanding the states wind market.

“People are buying this wind and using this wind because it's the cheapest available power, and the net effect is reduced cost for the provider,” Jeff Clark, executive director of the industry group the Wind Coalition, told the source.

Utilities are also increasing the amount of wind energy they generate or purchase.

“Utilities like wind because the cost is predictable,” said Tom Carbone, president of Tri Global Energy in Dallas, according to Dallas News. “You've removed the volatility of the fuel price. Before they were buying it to meet the various state goals, but most of those have been met or are almost met. Now they're buying it because it's cheap.”

Growth in Texas' wind industry is only expected to grow, according to Dallas News. Within the ERCOT grid, there is 10,570 MW of wind capacity. But that amount will increase to an estimated 14,000 MW by the end of 2014, the agency said. Many wind farms are popping up in the Panhandle, the source said.

As the United States' fleet of wind turbine infrastructure ages, wind farm owners can turn to Broadwind Energy when wind turbine repair is needed. Wind farm owners spend a significant amount of operating costs on unplanned maintenance. Broadwind's uptower wind turbine gearbox repair services enable wind farm owners to maximize profitability by offering in-field engineered solutions when profits are on the line.