The wind industry is growing and growing and the wind keeps blowing and blowing. Texas is on a path of tripling the installed capacity in the next few years from a current installed capacity of 12,000 MW to about 30,000 MW. The last quarter of 2014 saw the start of 7,000 MW in new construction projects. All this is the result of the expansion of the transmission lines to West Texas and the Panhandle to connect the wind-rich counties to the people-rich cities of Dallas, Austin, Houston and San Antonio. This additional capacity will bring the total wind generation to over 25% of all energy generated in the state. Sounds like the market has decided that wind has a role to play, what do you say?
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And wind is not just booming in Texas. North Dakota just announced new transmission lines that will connect it to hydropower reservoirs in Canada that are underserved at the moment. By pumping upwater uphill with wind power that is low in value at moments where demand is low, up to 4,500 MW can be stored and called upon at a later time when prices and demand are high. This opens up new options for wind generation and will help in providing a dispatchable source of wind energy. This means we can store it and use it when we need it the most. “With expansion, the Manitoba Hydro system is like a 4,500 MW battery that you can draw on in the day during the day and recharge at night,” says Cormie. “With the new line, the potential is there to purchase up to 1,500 MW at night and return 3,000 MW during the day, so there’s a huge potential to move energy in and out.
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And then the wind champion of the world: Denmark. In December, wind power provided the country of Denmark with about 55% of its electricity. This is the first time that the wind-leading country (or any major country) has received over 50% of its electricity from wind power in an entire month. Of course, wind power provided well over 55% of the country’s electricity during certain periods throughout the month. On December 1, it provided ~136% of the country’s electricity needs. During the week of Christmas, it provided 68.5%. Denmark has a target of receiving 50% of its electricity from wind power on an annual basis by 2020. It looks like the country is well on its way to achieving that. The country also has a 2050 target of getting 100% of its energy from renewable resources.