Texas renewables sport 13% increase

Texas posted a 13% increase in energy generated by renewable sources in 2011 over 2010, with wind and solar showing the greatest increases.

That’s according to the state’s renewable energy credits registry administered by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) grid operator.

Wind energy’s gain was slightly greater than the overall average, at 15%. Solar generation more than doubled year-over-year, while hydropower fell by one-half, due to effects of the ongoing drought.

According to the American Wind Energy Association, Texas now has 10.6 GW of capacity, the largest of all in the U.S.  

The state’s renewable energy credit (REC) program registered 31.7 mn MWh in 2011, compared to 28 mn MWh in 2010, as filed with the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC). 

Wind generation represented the largest share at nearly 30.8 mn MWh.  Due to the ongoing drought in most of the state, generation of hydroelectric power decreased by more than half, while solar power generation more than doubled.

In 2010, solar generation topped 14,449 MWh and increased 153% in 2011 to reach 36,580 MWh.

For the fourth consecutive year, the RECs retired in the voluntary market exceeded the mandatory retirements:

  • Voluntary: 15.29 mn RECs were retired in the voluntary market — a 29 percent increase over 2010’s record of 11.83 mn;
  • Mandatory: 9 mn RECs were retired by the state’s 177 competitive retail electricity providers in compliance with the state renewable portfolio standard;
  • Total: 24.32 mn total RECs were retired in 2011, compared to 20.86 mn in 2010, 15.73 mn in 2009 and 13.5 mn in 2008.

Since 2008, the program also has awarded compliance premiums for certain RECs that are generated by non-wind renewable energy sources.  For the purpose of the renewable portfolio standard requirements, one compliance premium is equal to one REC.  Last year, 16 companies received a total of 367,513 compliance premiums.

The program currently includes 118 generation accounts representing a total of 11,287.8 MW of new renewable generation added in Texas since 1999. Texas exceeded 10,000 MW of renewable capacity in 2009, achieving — more than 15 years early — the Texas Legislature’s goal of 10,000 MW of renewable generation by 2025