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Record-setting Wind Energy Production in Texas

3/5/10—Already the nation’s leader in wind energy production, Texas set, broke, and re-set records for itself in early March. Early morning on March 5, about 19% of the electricity in Texas’ main grid was supplied by turbines. Interestingly, this 6,272-megawatt peak does not even include turbines in the windy Panhandle, because this region is on a different grid.

The record-setting day surpassed the long-standing record that was set…a week earlier. These peaks are certainly promising news, though it they do represent abnormalities compared to the state’s average: Texas got just 6.2% of its electricity from wind in 2008. The nation as a whole has less than 2% of wind energy supplying its grid.

It is safe to say, however, that Texas’ total would be far greater if the trouble of transmission is solved. On many of the windiest days, turbines are slowed or shut down due to the lack of transmission ability to move the power from the remote, West Texas turbines to cities like Houston and Dallas that could desperately use it. Thankfully, Texas is spending $5 billion to fix the problem, and could serve as a model for other states to learn from its innovations.

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