Wind and solar power generation hit a record high in Texas in May


Last month, wind turbines and solar panels combined provided nearly 39% of the electricity generated on the state grid, which is operated by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. Solar power generated 2,390 gigawatt hours of electricity last month, up 70% from the same period a year ago. The state’s solar output in May alone exceeded the total amount of solar power generated in Texas in 2017.

Wind turbines generated about a third of the state’s electricity last month. The wind hit a record high of more than 12,000 gigawatt hours, according to ERCOT data. It was 37% more than a year ago.

Nuclear power plants generated 8% of Texas’ electricity in May.

Despite the increases, natural gas generation remained the primary energy source at ERCOT. Gas-fired power plants provided 39% of electricity in Texas last month, up from 36% a year earlier. Coal plants generated 13%, compared to almost 19% last May.

Natural gas prices have skyrocketed this year, making it a major driver of higher utility bills in San Antonio and throughout Texas. The US natural gas benchmark price has almost tripled last yearfrom less than $3 per unit a year ago to almost $8.50 last week.

As a result, the average CPS residential customer’s bill for gas and electric service topped $136 in April, up nearly 20% from the same month a year ago. The more expensive bills are partly due to the higher fares CPS started charging in March, but about 70% of the increase is tied to rising natural gas prices, the municipal utility said.

But CPS is gradually turning to more renewable energy sources. Last month, the utility signed an agreement to buy power from a 300-megawatt solar farm that energy developer Consolidated Edison will build in Goliad County over the next two to three years.

CPS is also expected to contract for an additional 600 megawatts of solar generation in the coming months, likely with developers other than Consolidated Edison.

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