Wind Power Generation Surpassing Coal Firing for the First time in Texas during 2020 Signals Transformation in Strategic US Petrochemical Location

published: 2021-01-26 18:30 | editor: | category: News

Texas, US, is not only a strategic location of petroleum and natural gas, but also the development core of wind power, and the latest data indicates that the wind power generation had surpassed that of coal firing for the first time in 2020.

In addition to being the primary force in US power generation, Texas also has the second largest population in the country, with numerous petrochemical plants as well as 4 of the 10 largest refineries, though the state is also the center of wind farm devices in the US, which generated tens of billions of dollars in investment, where an increasing number of wind farms has been completed that eventually created a sizeable amount of job opportunities.

The data of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) indicates that wind power occupied nearly 1/4 of the total power generation in 2020, which had exceeded the 18% of coal firing, making it the second largest power source after natural gas. ERCOT also commented that 95% of the future energy development projects will comprise of renewable energy such as wind power, solar energy, and cells.

However, Texas remains the leader in the source of power by sitting at 40% of natural gas power generation, and it still has a long way ahead to achieve the target of zero carbon emission by 2035 promised by Joe Biden. Curt Morgan, CEO of Texas-based energy company Vistra Energy, commented last month that a substantial cost will be required to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy prior to 2035.

Coal-fired power generation has been diminishing in Texas in recent years from 40% a decade ago to now 18%, which can also been seen from the entire country. As pointed out by the report released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) on December 23rd last year, the energy consumption in hydropower, solar energy, and wind power for the US was 8.73 quadrillion Btu during the first 9 months of 2020, and coal-firing had occupied 6.85 quadrillion Btu, which indicates that the consumption of renewable energy had surpassed that of coal-firing back in 2019, though the difference between the two was still insignificant at the time.

Such monumental alteration has derived not only because of the cost reduction of green energy and the rigorous environmental regulations, but also the impact from the affordable natural gas. The 2020 report of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) had pointed out that the continuous entries of renewable energy into the energy market, especially with the aggressive solar energy that is in the midst of a rapid growth, will result in bankruptcy of additional coal-firing businesses in the next several years.

 (Cover photo source: Flickr/Andrew CC BY 2.0)

Note: Quadrillion is 1000 to the power of 5; Btu is the unit used to calculate coldness and hotness, and equals approximately 1,055J.

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