Energy curtailments likely to rise as Texas wind and solar capacity increases, EIA says

Source: By Rahul Paswan, Utility Dive • Posted: Sunday, July 16, 2023

Wind turbines generate power on a farm near Throckmorton
Wind turbines generate power on a farm near Throckmorton, Texas U.S. August 24, 2018. Picture taken August 24, 2018. REUTERS/Nick Oxford/File Photo

July 13 (Reuters) – The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday said that combined wind and solar generating capacity in Texas’s power market will double by 2035, but without upgrades to the transmission system the output will increasingly be curtailed.

If more wind and solar power is available for production than the grid can use, the grid operators have to curtail wind and solar generation to keep the grid balanced, the EIA said.

In 2022, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the grid manager for most of Texas, curtailed 5% of its total available wind generation and 9% of total available utility-scale solar generation.

EIA projects wind curtailments in ERCOT could increase to 13% of total available wind generation, and solar curtailments could reach 19% by 2035.

“We assume that no significant upgrades will be made to the ERCOT transmission grid so that we could isolate how the existing transmission system affects future renewable generation,” the EIA said.

“Our analysis shows that on days with more wind and solar generation and strong system electricity demand, limited transmission line capacity restricted wind and solar generation flows, and curtailments occurred.”

These types of curtailments account for 36% of the projected curtailments in 2035, the EIA said.

Reporting by Rahul Paswan in Bengaluru; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama

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