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North American Windpower Guest Article: Market Headwinds Persist For U.S. Wind Capital
07/26/2011
Diana Liebmann

Texas is the wind energy capital of the U.S., with more than 10 GW of installed wind capacity. Following the implementation of the Competitive Renewable Energy Zone (CREZ) process, additional transmission capacity will be available to support another 8 GW of generation. All of this has been beneficial to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), with wind generation driving down the cost of electricity.

However, corporations representing rival generation sources that are displaced by low-cost wind generation have organized to change the rules on competing wind generation operating in the ERCOT market with expensive retrofits to new and existing wind turbines.

The development of wind energy has slowed significantly over the last year in Texas and in the rest of the U.S. One of the key reasons is the decline in natural-gas prices and, as a result, corresponding power prices. Natural gas is the marginal fuel and sets the price in the ERCOT market.

There are still plans for the development and siting of new wind generation, though the opportunities for such generation and the locations with the best capacity factors are along the CREZ transmission lines. Each transmission service provider that is building one or more segments of CREZ transmission was required, for certain segments, to obtain a certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) from the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) for the routing of those CREZ segments.

Excerpted from North American Windpower. To view full article, click the PDF linked below.

PDF - NAW_Diana_Liebmann