News Release
May 16, 2013

Renewable energy generation in Texas continues to grow, up 7 percent from 2011

Wind power continues to lead, with notable gains in solar generation

May 16, 2013, AUSTIN, TX -- Electric generation from renewable resources in Texas increased 7 percent in 2012, compared to 2011, with capacity up by about 16 percent.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) provided these updates to the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) this week in the 2012 Annual Report on the Renewable Energy Credit Trading Program.

Generators participating in the state’s renewable energy credit trading program reported 33.9 million megawatt-hours (MWh) of renewable generation in 2012, compared to 31.7 million MWh in 2011 — a 7 percent overall increase. At more than 32.5 million MWh in total generation, wind power continued to lead the pack, with solar generation representing the largest rate of growth, nearly quadrupling last year’s output, and energy from biomass sources more than doubling the 2011 total.  

Renewable energy reported

Fuel Type

2012 (MWh)

2011 (MWh)

Increase (%)

Biomass

288,988

137,004

110

Hydro

389,196

267,113

45

Landfill gas

537,966

497,645

8

Solar

133,642

36,580

265

Wind

32,566,009

30,769,674

5

Total

33,915,802

31,708,016

7


A renewable energy credit (REC) is a tradable instrument that represents one megawatt-hour, or MWh, of renewable energy produced. That is roughly the amount of power consumed by an average home in a month. Competitive retail electric providers must acquire and retire renewable energy credits annually based on their load-ratio share of the state’s renewable portfolio standard mandate. Any electric provider may voluntarily retire renewable energy credits to substantiate claims that power they are selling comes from renewable resources.  

The Texas Legislature established the renewable portfolio standard as part of the restructuring of the state’s electricity market in 1999 to increase incentives for renewable energy production. The PUC implemented the REC program in 2001 and established ERCOT as the administrator.  

The amount of capacity reported in the REC report typically exceeds the total renewable resources reported by ERCOT because the program includes renewable generation throughout Texas, not just the ERCOT region. Additionally, the program is voluntary and only tracks renewable resource generation registered in the program.

Capacity registered in Texas REC program*

Fuel Type

2012 (MW)*

2011 (MW)

2010 (MW)

2009 (MW)

Biomass

232

132

108

40

Hydro

33

33

33

33

Landfill gas

95

92

88

80

Solar

81

70

21

1

Wind

12,667

10,961

10,265

9,915

Total

13,108*

11,288

10,515

10,069

*Does not include generation in service prior to September 1999. Totals differ due to rounding.

The program currently includes 136 generation accounts representing 13,108 MW of new renewable generation added in Texas since 1999. An additional 291 MW of renewable generation comes from five resources that were in service prior to September 1999, for a total of 13,399 MW. With more than 10,000 MW of renewable capacity on-line by 2009, the state actually achieved the 10,000 MW goal set by the Texas Legislature more than 15 years ahead of its 2025 target.

In 2012, voluntary REC retirements decreased from 2011. That decrease accompanied increases in the number of RECs that were retired to fulfill mandates in the state’s renewable portfolio standard.

Renewable energy credit retirements

 

2012 (millions)

2011 (millions)

2010 (millions)

2009 (millions)

Retired for mandate

12.1

9.03

9.03

6.79

Voluntary retirements

9.5

15.29

11.83

8.94

Total

21.6

24.32

20.86

15.73

*Includes adjustments for previous years’ true-ups.

Since 2008, the program also has awarded compliance premiums for certain RECs that are generated by non-wind renewable energy sources. One compliance premium is equal to one REC. Last year, 23 companies received 676,480 compliance premiums. A total of 404,636 compliance premiums were retired: 278,279 for the mandate and 126,357 in the voluntary market.

Compliance premiums for non-wind renewable sources

 

2012

2011

2010

2009

Number of companies

23

16

11

10

Compliance premiums awarded

676,480

367,513

275,910

200,570

 ###

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) manages the flow of electric power to 24 million Texas customers -- representing 85 percent of the state's electric load. As the independent system operator for the region, ERCOT schedules power on an electric grid that connects more than 41,500 miles of transmission lines and 550 generation units. ERCOT also performs financial settlement for the competitive wholesale bulk-power market and administers retail switching for 6.7 million premises in competitive choice areas. ERCOT is a membership-based 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation, governed by a board of directors and subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature. ERCOT's members include consumers, cooperatives, generators, power marketers, retail electric providers, investor-owned electric utilities (transmission and distribution providers), and municipal-owned electric utilities.

Contact
Robbie Searcy (512) 225-7213
rsearcy@ercot.com