Wind energy was responsible for 20% of the electricity consumed in Texas in 2019, just 0.3% behind coal, according to data from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages the state’s power grid.
Whilst coal generation fulfilled almost 25% of the state’s power needs in 2018, this dropped by 4.7% in under a year, to just 20.3% of total consumption in 2019.
Coal is set to decline even further as gas prices stay low, and wind grows according to energy economist Ed Hirs at the University of Houston.
The key, said Hirs, is for wind to build sufficient capacity to meet peak demand, particularly along Texas’ coastline where wind gusts during the afternoon – coincidentally aligned to the period of greatest demand.
“Then we can see wind finish the job and push coal off the grid,” Hirs tol local newspaper The Houston Chronicle.
Projects currently under construction or in the pipeline are expected to boost the state’s wind capacity to almost 112,000 MW, according to ERCOT, and though its possible many of the projects will never make it to construction, ERCOT’s report has found the 27% of power development projects in the state are wind-related, and none are for coal.
Interestingly solar power, which provided just 1% of Texas energy use is set to grow, with 61% of new project expansions representing a total of approximately 68,000MW of new capacity for the state.