Wind Energy Records Fall in Wash., Texas, Colorado

Exactly 16,593 megawatt-hours, that’s how much electricity flowed from three Puget Sound Energy wind farms in Eastern Washington from midnight Monday to midnight Tuesday to the company’s 1.1 million customers on the west side of the Cascade Range.

That was 23.5 percent of the electricity used that day, the company said, and it was a record – another in a spate of wind-power records set in recent weeks across the country.

Wild Horse Wind & Solar Facility

Wild Horse wind farm, Eastern Washington (image via Puget Sound Energy)

“Wind is now a key resource for providing our customers’ with reliable, affordable electricity,” David Mills, PSE vice president of energy supply operations, said in a statement. “And when combined with our hydro, natural gas and coal power plants, wind gives us flexible, cost-effective options for serving local homes and businesses.”

While wind power rises and falls with the varying wind speed – obviously – Puget Sound said its three wind farms are providing at least some power two-thirds of the time and on average are supplying about 10 percent of the power its customers use.

Meanwhile, Texas was up to record-setting tricks – again – as well.

On Feb. 9 at 7:08 p.m. CST, the state’s U.S.-leading wind fleet was pumping out 9,481 megawatts, blowing away the record of 8,667 MW by nearly 10 percent and providing 28 percent of the system load at the time. But the wind actually blew strong throughout the day, and wind power’s contribution to load was always at least 25 percent.

Ercot, the Texas grid operator, said a megawatt can power about 200 homes when conditions drive up use to high levels, and around 500 homes otherwise. But enough about Texas, which we knew was a wind superstar. Let’s talk about Colorado.

There, Xcel reported that wind generated 16 percent of the 35.9 million MWh sold during the year, a record for the company.

In addition, on Jan. 16, Xcel said, it set a record for peak wind production, with 1,960 MW online for an hour. The company said the recent addition of the 400-MW NextEra Energy Resources Limon Wind Energy Center paved the way for that new record.

Sports columnist, newspaper desk guy, website managing editor, wine-industry PR specialist, freelance writer—Pete Danko’s career in media has covered a lot of terrain. The constant along the way has been a fierce dedication to knowing the story and getting it right. Danko's work has appeared in Wired, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

  • bluethunb

    Eastern Washington has a beautiful crop iron trees to gaze upon while western a Washington is free from the bird choppers.

    • http://www.myelectricfly.com/ Robert (Electricman) Weekley

      Then again – a Solar Farm is much more Boring – just sits there and makes electricity quietly – while the boastful wind turbines say – Look at me!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lisa-Linowes/100000367106491 Lisa Linowes

    Such “records” are fleeting and silly. Imagine the same story covering reliable generation. It would be a disaster if the Pacific Northwest’s hydroelectric dams provided “at least some” power two-thirds of the time. This is what you get when a self-described sports columnist and wine-industry PR specialist opines about the energy market.

    • http://www.facebook.com/petedanko Pete Danko

      And this is what we get from the executive director of Industrial Wind Action Group — an ad hominem attack.

  • http://www.myelectricfly.com/ Robert (Electricman) Weekley

    A heck of a lot better energy production than the two days of sunny weather warm enough to grow hot weather crops in 1964 – That summer was so cold our farm nearly went bankrupt because we expanded our Hot weather crops to more than double from the previous year, but were lucky to have saved the day -with Cucumbers and a contract for them!

    It also could be compared with Ontario’s wind energy – that we often have to PAY New York State to take our EXCESS Wind Generated Electricity! (Not enough Electric Vehicles yet plugging in at night!)

    • http://www.facebook.com/petedanko Pete Danko

      As I understand it Robert, it’s much more frequently the case that Ontario is selling power to neighboring provinces and states.