Already a national leader in wind power, renewable energy generation in Texas increased 7% between 2011 and 2012, according to a recent report by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).
Renewable capacity was up 16%, ERCOT said in its 2012 Annual Report on the Renewable Energy Credit Trading Program. The 29-page report was announced May 16.
Generators participating in the state’s renewable energy credit trading program reported 33.9 million megawatt-hours (MWh) of renewable generation in 2012, compared to 31.7 million MWh in 2011 — a 7% overall increase.
At more than 32.5 million MWh in total generation, wind power continued to lead the pack, with solar generation representing the largest rate of growth, nearly quadrupling last year’s output, and energy from biomass sources more than doubling the 2011 total.
The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) notes that Texas had more than 12,000 MW of total installed wind capacity at the end of 2012. By comparison, No. 2 California and No. 3 Iowa had less than 11,000 MW installed capacity between them.
The renewable energy capacity in Texas already exceeds the 2025 target of 10,000 MW of installed capacity, according to the ERCOT report.
A renewable energy credit (REC) is a tradable instrument that represents one megawatt-hour, or MWh, of renewable energy produced. Competitive retail electric providers must acquire and retire renewable energy credits annually based on their load-ratio share of the state’s renewable portfolio standard mandate. Any electric provider may voluntarily retire renewable energy credits to substantiate claims that power they are selling comes from renewable resources.
The amount of capacity reported in the REC report typically exceeds the total renewable resources reported by ERCOT because the program includes renewable generation throughout Texas, not just the ERCOT region. Additionally, the program is voluntary and only tracks renewable resource generation registered in the program.
Since 2008, the program also has awarded compliance premiums for certain RECs that are generated by non-wind renewable energy sources. One compliance premium is equal to one REC. Last year, 23 companies received 676,480 compliance premiums. A total of 404,636 compliance premiums were retired: 278,279 for the mandate and 126,357 in the voluntary market.