In a historic first, wind power generated more energy for the state of Texas than coal, according to a new report from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).
Electricity generated from wind power has been steadily blowing upwards. In the first half of 2019, Texas produced 22% of its energy needs using wind power. Meanwhile, coal provided 21% of the state’s energy, according to the ERCOT report, which manages about 90% of the Texas electric grid.
This is a huge change from over a decade ago. In 2003, wind met only 0.8% of Texas’ total energy needs, while coal met 40%, according to an article from CNN.
Recent coal generation retirements in the east and southeast of the state have boosted the region’s reliance on wind generated in the northwest, ERCOT said. Electricity generated from coal has been on the decline in Texas for the last few years: coal met 37% of the state’s energy needs in 2013, declining to 24% in 2018 and 21% in 2019.
While wind power has grown steadily in Texas, natural gas maintains the largest share of the state’s energy generation. Natural gas generated 46% of Texas’ power in 2003 and still generated 44% in 2018, according to ERCOT.
Despite natural gas’ holdout, “Texas leads the nation in wind-powered generation,” the EIA said.
Texas produces more electricity than any other state and twice as much as Florida the second-highest producing state, according to the EIA. Texas, alone, has produced over 25% of the country’s electricity generated from wind power in the past three years.
In 2005, the Public Utility Commission of Texas amended its renewable energy mandate, requiring the state to generate 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2025. In 2009, the state blew past this goal primarily with its wind capacity, according to the EIA.
The trend is clear. With wind power edging coal out of Texas’ electricity mix, it seems that the answer really is blowing in the wind.