Texas Breaks Wind Energy Record

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Photo By fieldsbh/Courtesy Flickr
Wind turbines in West Texas produce 89 percent of the state's wind energy. A lack of transmission lines between West Texas and urban centers such as Dallas and Houston limit the amount of wind energy Texas can produce.

Texas set a new record for wind power generation in the U.S. on March 5. At 6:37 a.m., 19 percent of the state’s electricity mix–6,272 megawatts–came from energy generated by wind turbines.

This new record marks great progress for the Lone Star state; last year, Texas received only 6 percent of its electricity from wind. Now the leader in wind energy in the U.S., Texas is well on its way to meeting its goal of generating 20 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030.

To help meet this goal, Texas plans to invest about $5 billion on its wind farms, mainly on transmission lines. Transmission lines transport wind energy to urban centers such as Dallas and Houston from West Texas, where 89 percent of the state’s wind turbines are located. Because of a lack of transmission lines, the state frequently has to shut down its wind turbines on particularly windy days.

According to a report from the American Wind Energy Association, Texas has the greatest capacity for wind power generation at 9,410 megawatts. Iowa comes in at second place with a potential to generate 3,670 megawatts, followed by California with a potential capacity 2,794 megawatts. The numbers are calculated based on the number of wind projects in each state.

More about wind power

• Wind energy is growing in popularity–despite tough economic times.

• Read about why an engineer at Cleveland State University thinks wind power can be produced in cities.

• Want to know more about wind power? Check out our guide to alternative energy sources.