ERCOT sets new wind record two consecutive days

March 8, 2012, AUSTIN – The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the state grid operator and manager of the wholesale electric market, hit a new wind record Wednesday, exceeding the previous record by almost 200 megawatts (MW).

Wind output reached 7,599 MW at 8:41 p.m., Wednesday, March 7, exceeding the 7,403 MW record from the previous day, March 6, by 196 MW.    Prior to March 6, the record for wind output in ERCOT was 7,400 MW, recorded on Oct. 7, 2011.

At the time of Wednesday’s record, wind was supplying 22 percent of the total system load, 34,318 MW.

Coastal wind farms supplied 1,018 MW of the new record, along with 6,581 MW from the west and north zones.   ERCOT currently has 9,838 MW of installed wind capacity – the highest of any state in the US – including 7,531 MW in the western part of the state, 232 MW in the north, and 2,075 MW in the coastal region.

“March is typically a high wind month for ERCOT, but these new records are also due in part to a new transmission analysis tool we started using this week that allows us to move more wind energy from the west zone,” said Kent Saathoff, director of grid operations and system planning.

“The transient security assessment tool improves the accuracy of our transmission limits by improving our ability to establish the limits with the most current conditions available,” Saathoff said.

ERCOT began using the new tool March 6 to calculate day-ahead and real-time west to north stability limits.

“In the past, we’ve had some slack built into some of our transmission limits because these limits had to be set well in advance,” Saathoff said.  “The new tool runs an analysis on real-time conditions every 30 minutes so it gives us a more fine-tuned analysis.”

ERCOT increased its installed wind capacity last month by 9 MW with the addition of Harbor Wind* in Nueces County.  More than 18,000 MW of wind generation projects are currently under review, according to the February system planning update.