By February 14, 2017 Read More →

Wind power briefly sets record as source for electricity in U.S.

wind power

Wind power in the Southwest Power Pool has grown significantly since the early 2000’s. 

Wind power briefly reached 52.1 per cent on Sunday

By Scott DiSavino

Feb 14 (Reuters) – On Sunday, wind power briefly supplied over 50 per cent of electric demand in the 14-state Southwest Power Pool (SPP), the first time that has happened on any portion of the North American power grid.

SPP coordinates the flow of electricity on the high voltage power lines from Montana and North Dakota to New Mexico, Texas and Louisiana.

Wind power in the SPP region has grown significantly to over 16,000 MW currently from less than 400 megawatts in the early 2000s and is expected to continue growing. One megawatt can power about 1,000 homes.

“Ten years ago, we thought hitting even a 25 per cent wind-penetration level would be extremely challenging, and any more than that would pose serious threats to reliability,” SPP Vice President of Operations Bruce Rew said in a statement.

“Now we have the ability to reliably manage greater than 50 per cent wind penetration. It’s not even our ceiling,” Rew said.

Wind power briefly reached 52.1 per cent at 4:30 a.m. local time on Sunday, SPP said on Monday, beating the previous penetration milestone of 49.2 per cent. Wind penetration is a measure of the amount of total load served by wind at a given time.

Currently, wind is the third biggest source of generation in the SPP region, making up about 15 per cent of capacity in 2016 behind natural gas and coal. This is the first time that wind was even briefly more than 50 per cent of the source of electric power at any U.S. grid, according to SPP.

“With a (generation) footprint as broad as ours, even if the wind stops blowing in the upper Great Plains, we can deploy resources waiting in the Midwest and Southwest to make up any sudden deficits,” Rew said.

Of the 11 states that received more than 10 per cent of their power from wind in 2015, the top five are Iowa at 31 per cent, South Dakota at 25 per cent, Kansas at 24 per cent, Oklahoma at 18 per cent and North Dakota at 18 per cent, all at least partially located in the SPP grid, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

Some of the biggest wind farms in the grid are operated by units of Sempra Energy, BP Plc, EDP Energias de Portugal SA, Southern Co and NextEra Energy Inc .

(Reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bangaluru and Scott DiSavino in New York; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)

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