The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) on Feb. 9 released its State of the Grid Report for 2015, which highlights achievements and accomplishments in the past year.
“From setting a new all-time peak demand record to the integration of record amounts of renewable wind generation resources into our system, ERCOT continues to evolve to meet the demands of the region,” said ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness. “I’m immensely proud of the work our team did to fulfill our promise to people within the ERCOT region.”
Also summarized in the 2015 report is the successful transition to a new CEO and other changes within the ERCOT leadership team. That includes the hiring of Magness to succeed Trip Doggett, who retired as the longest-serving CEO in ERCOT’s history, and the announcement of Cheryl Mele as Chief Operating Officer (beginning Jan. 18, 2016).
Additionally, the report provides updates on a number of ERCOT initiatives and milestones, which included setting new wind generation records on eight different occasions.
Although utility-scale solar generation has played a very small role in the ERCOT system so far, reduced costs and access to the recently improved transmission system in some very sunny areas of ERCOT have positioned this resource to play a growing role in the coming years, the report noted. In 2015, installed solar capacity in ERCOT grew by nearly half, from 193 MW to 288 MW, which is still a small part of the overall fuel mix. Current projections in the 10-year outlook anticipate this resource to grow to more than 1,000 MW by summer 2016. Meanwhile, more than 6,700 MW of new solar capacity is under study for possible addition in the future. Solar projects at year’s end accounted for about 14% of new projects being developed, planned or studied in the ERCOT system.
Texas leads the nation in wind generation capacity, with more than twice the amount found in Iowa, the next closest state, the report pointed out. Throughout 2015, ERCOT set new wind records on eight different occasions. Ultimately, the output record of 13,883 MW, established on Dec. 20, would set the bar for 2016. That day, wind generation output reached nearly 88% of the system’s installed capacity. Wind penetration went as high as 44.7% of load, and wind provided 38.4% of the energy used in the ERCOT region that day.