The Southwest Power Pool reports that a large swathe of central USA set a North American wind penetration record of 52.1% early in the morning on 12 February.
The regional transmission organisation, whose region covers 550 000 square miles from the Canadian border to parts of New Mexico, Texas, and Louisiana in the south, has seen a surge of installed wind capacity in recent times. In 2016 alone, it increased its capacity by 30%, from 12 GW to more than 16 GW. The RTO said that its wind generation peak also rose, from 9948 MW in 2015 to 12 336 MW in early 2016.
The record is significant for SPP, which is now the first RTO in North America to serve more than 50% of its load at any given time with wind energy.
SPP was able to manage the wind generation more effectively than smaller systems because it has a huge pool of resources to draw from. “With a footprint as broad as ours, even if the wind stops blowing in the upper Great Plains, we can deploy resources waiting in the Midwest and Southwest to make up any sudden deficits,” commented SPP vp of operations Bruce Rew.