ERCOT breaks wind energy record, but don’t expect it to lower energy costs

A blustery Sunday across Texas broke the record for wind generation, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which oversees electricity for 90 percent of the state.

Just after noon, gusts along the Gulf Coast, the Texas Panhandle and in West Texas generated 15,033 megawatts of wind energy at once, a first for ERCOT’s system. That accounted for more than 45 percent of the state’s energy at the time, said Robbie Searcy, a spokeswoman for ERCOT. One megawatt of electricity serves about 200 homes during peak demand, and 500 homes during milder weather.

Wind turbines on the ERCOT system have had two windy weeks — on Nov. 17, wind gusts pushed the turbines to break an earlier record and generate 14,100 megawatts.

While wind energy is not as reliable as a coal-fired power plant, it’s cheaper and can generate great bursts of energy. But, Monday’s burst is unlikely to have much impact on customers’ bills,.

Cheap wind energy is often touted as a boon for customers, but distribution charges, retail mark-ups, and taxes and fees could  offset any savings.

So, will a customer see the benefit of this record-breaking  windy day on a bill? The answer is maybe. But probably not.

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