Wind energy is on the rise in Texas, and the Houston Chronicle reports that critical transmission projects are partly thank for the resource topping 10% of the state's generation last year.
The $7 billion, 3,500 mile CREZ transmission project, undertaken in 2005 under Governor Rick Perry, was completed in 2013. The new lines are widely seen as key to Texas wind growth. The PUC of Texas was charged with identifying Competitive Renewable Energy Zones, geographic areas where wind would be constructed. In 2008, The PUCT designated five CREZs and planned transmission upgrades to deliver the wind-generated electricity that would come from them.
Ultimately, the CREZ lines will grow Texas wind capacity to 18,456 MW. The benefits intended from the CREZ projects were, from the beginning, to deliver more renewables to Texas population centers and to improve Texas air quality.
Texas wind generated 36.1 million megawatt-hours of electricity for ERCOT in 2014. A megawatt-hour is approximately the one-hour demand of 500 typical Texas residences.
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