Texas needs reliable sources of electrical generation. Texas needs power sources that meet our energy demands, that can be integrated into the current electrical system, and that are cost-competitive and can quickly respond to a growing population. Texas wind power meets all of these challenges.
Most wind generation occurs during peak consumption and can be integrated using ERCOT’s current power system technologies. Wind generates 58.6% of its power during times of highest demand. ERCOT 2007 aggregated wind power data summary. While traditional fossil fuels are finite in nature, wind is an infinite source of power. Though wind is variable, forecasting techniques in use today allow the grid enough time to change the fuel mix in order to maintain enough power in the system. ERCOT keeps enough reserves to respond to the sudden unpredictable failure of two conventional thermal generators, accounting for 2300MW of power. A thermal generator can unexpectedly shut down in 1/60 second. Whereas, large wind events take hours to unfold. GE Energy, Analysis of Wind Generation Impact on ERCOT Ancillary Services Requirements, March 28, 2008.
The 11,553MW of wind power that will be added under the Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) can be integrated to ERCOT without any power system interruptions. ERCOT can actually integrate 15,000MW with little to no systems modifications. The application of wind makes the electrical system both more reliable and economic. GE Energy, Analysis of Wind Generation Impact on ERCOT Ancillary Services Requirements, March 28, 2008.
The cost of wind power is independent of fuel cost and the volatile energy market, and wind farms can respond to the demands of a rapidly growing population by bringing energy to market faster than traditional generators. In recent years the fuel cost of coal has increased from $1,200 per kW to $3,000 per kW and natural gas, Texas’ main fuel source for electrical generation, has seen more than a 1000%* fuel cost increase in the last decade. With enough wind energy in the marketplace spot bids are affected, meaning customers get a lower price than if wind had not been in the mix. This is evident today in West Texas, where wind has lowered local prices. When transmission capacity is added, wind will have the same impact in large urban areas.
The Texas urban population is projected to grow exponentially. In the next 30 years the population and electrical demand in the ten major urban areas are expected to double. Wind energy is the quickest form of generation to market. Since wind doesn’t pollute the air or use vast amounts of water, much less time is needed to meet the regulatory requirements.
The wind industry does not seek to have a dominant market share, but to simply be a piece of the puzzle. The best way to keep prices under control long-term is to have a viable, diversified energy mix. Wind power can be relied upon to help meet Texas’ energy demands. Texas is in a position to lead on national energy policy, due to its unique experience in conventional energy technology, its vibrant research community, and it vast reserves of energy resources. Breakthroughs made in Texas can have an enormous economic impact on the state – and the world