Texas is on the brink of a major milestone for wind energy in the U.S.
In 2013, wind accounted for 9.9 percent of the state’s generated electricity, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the state’s grid operator. That mark has nearly doubled in just five years. Wind came in at 4.9 percent in 2008.
The rise in wind energy accompanies an increase in overall electricity consumption by Texas residents. They used about 2.1 percent more power in 2013 than in 2012. ERCOT carries about 85 percent of the state’s energy demand, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
“Texas has added coal- and natural gas-fired capacity since 2011,” according to the Energy Information Agency, “however, the largest share of capacity growth has been from wind generators, mostly located in western Texas. Texas leads the nation in wind power generation and was the first state to reach 10,000 megawatts of wind power generating capacity.”
The most recent figures from the American Wind Energy Association back that up. While Texas ranked first in total megawatts installed, it finished second in amount of utility-scale turbines—7,690—only to California.
Additionally, six of the 10 largest wind farms in the U.S. are in Texas.
Texas is the site of a study where researchers are exploring if micro-windmills could power small electronics like smart phones. The state is also part of a strong month of wind-related developments for Google, which announced that it will invest $75 million in the Panhandle 2 wind farm project near Amarillo, TX.
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