In 2014 Texas completed their massive $5-billion, cross-state, electricity transmission project (CREZ) which unleashed a major surge in wind construction. The scale of this surge is illustrated by the latest estimates from ERCOT (the Texas electricity system operator) of the amount of new capacity expected online by 2017.

 

Source: ERCOT via Brattle Group - 'Integrating Renewable Energy into the Electricity Grid'. June 2015

 

Of arguably greater interest is the amount of total electricity needs which that wind capacity will supply. This is shown, relative to the same metric for Saskatchewan, in the following;

 
Source: US EIA: Electric Power Monthly.  Brattle Group: Integrating Renewable Energy into the Electricity Grid. SaskPower Annual Reports

Source: US EIA: Electric Power Monthly.  Brattle Group: Integrating Renewable Energy into the Electricity Grid. SaskPower Annual Reports

 

In other words Texas, despite having a strong oil and gas economy (or maybe because of??) is well on the way to generating 20 percent of its electricity from wind energy. It has done this by careful planning: the aforementioned CREZ transmission upgrades are the result of a consultation and construction program which has extended over more than 10 years. 

Saskatchewan can and should learn from Texas: rapid wind energy development is possible and economically attractive but it will only happen as a result of careful market design and comprehensive infrastructure planning.


 
Posted
AuthorJames Glennie