Reuters reports that “a drop in wind generation late on Tuesday, coupled with colder weather, triggered an electric emergency that caused the Texas grid operator to cut service to some large customers.” ERCOT, which operates the state’s power grid, moved directly to a stage 2 emergency.

Over the course of three hours, the megawatts of electricity coming from West Texas wind farms dropped from 1700 to 300. Other power suppliers fell short of their scheduled production.

Texas is now the nation’s leading generator of electricity from wind power, and the amount of wind generation is increasing. Consider what a problem this would be the next time if it were to happen on a hot summer evening when electricity use hits its peak. The more wind energy on the power grid, the more unreliability becomes a problem.

The cost of building those lines so far away from where the electricity is needed will almost certainly be borne by Texas consumers, while the wind energy investors, landowners, and West Texas taxing entities reap the financial benefits.

Wind energy has its place in the generation mix, but there is a problem with the state mandating the use of an unreliable resource and forcing consumers to subsidize it.

– Bill Peacock