What Texas renewable energy projects will come online in 2020?
Texas has become a hotbed for solar farms and wind farms with energy companies investing big money into massive renewable energy projects. Many huge projects are on schedule to begin producing green energy for Texas homes and businesses. More utility scale battery storage facilities should bolster the effectiveness of green energy production facilities.
As these projects finish, they benefit Texas power consumers. The projects increase supply, lower electricity rates, and contribute to a cleaner natural environment. 2020 will be a big year for Texas renewable energy.
Renewable energy projects add generation capacity
Under construction since February 2019, Enel Green Power North America’s Roadrunner solar project will add about 497 MW to the Texas power grid. The project’s completion should happen in late 2020. The plan is anticipated to produce 1,200 GWh annually upon completion. It will be the largest solar plant in Texas.
Last month, a different Enel renewable energy plant came online. The High Lonesome wind farm in Upton and Crockett counties began energy production last month. Construction is underway to expand the 450 MW plant with an additional 50 MW capacity in the first three months of 2020. The plan is expected to produce 1.9 TWh annually.
On New Year’s Eve, a 200 MW wind farm began commercial production in Star County. The Mesteño Windpower project is Duke Energy’s eleventh Texas wind generation facility. The farm’s tall turbines stretch higher than most others. This height increases energy production compared to shorter turbines. The plant’s 200 MW production can power roughly 60,000 homes.
Utility scale batteries store power for later
Utility scale batteries are critical to the success of renewable energy as this emerging technology stores energy for later consumption. Though the capacity is small, Texas has the fourth most installed battery capacity among US states. That capacity should triple to 360 MW in 2020 and will grow even faster in the next few years.
As is the case with most new technology, regulatory language does not address utility scale batteries in a clear way. The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) and the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) are grappling with regulatory questions on how these batteries connect to the electricity grid.
Implications for the ERCOT summer reserve margin
More green power plants and more battery storage capacity lead to a safer and more reliable ERCOT summer reserve margin. This margin is the difference between what generation ERCOT will have available to meet peak demand and what the peak demand actually is. More generation is great. Combining more generation with capacity to store it is even greater. This is especially important as Texas coal plants come offline.
Switch to a renewable Texas electricity plan
Even though these renewable energy projects will benefit consumers, not all Texas retail electricity plans take advantage of use green energy. Using the search parameters at https://www.texaselectricityratings.com, you can find green energy plans to power your home.