What Types of Electricity are Generated in Texas?

By Ebony Porter, August 6, 2018, Green

Tacos and Friday Night Football aren’t the only things fueling Texas. The Lone Star State is a resource for many types of energy production. With wind and solar energy alone contributing to 18 percent of Texas’ energy in 2017, the state stands as a leader of renewable energy commercialization.

Texas produces six major types of electricity:

  • Wind
  • Solar
  • Natural Gas
  • Coal
  • Nuclear
  • Hydro

There are four electricity grids in Texas. The main grid, operated by the Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), serves 75 percent of the state and stands isolated from the interconnected power systems that serve the eastern and western United States. Because of this, the grid is not subjected to federal oversight and is the only one among the 48 contiguous states that has a stand-alone electricity grid.

At the current rate, Texas’ production of clean renewable energy and big profits are not slowing down any time soon. That’s good news for us because rapid population growth means the demand for electricity, especially in the hotter months, is higher than ever.

Let’s take a look at the types of electricity we are generating in Texas.

What Types of Electricity are Generated in Texas? | Bounce Energy Blog

1. Wind Power

Producing more wind power than any other state in the country, Texas generated 14.8 percent of its 2017 electricity from wind.

The “wind boom” of recent years was noted in the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard. A Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) requires energy companies such as Bounce Energy to provide a specific amount of electricity they sell from renewable resources.

Where there’s no oil and no water, there is wind, and the expansiveness of Texas’ landscape offers the space and speed of wind needed to start up these machines. The Roscoe Wind Farm, located in Roscoe, TX, is the world’s largest wind farm with 627 wind turbines and the capacity to power 265,000 Texan homes.

While companies continue to invest in building wind farms in Texas, farmers can also lease their land to install turbines and garner an average of $8,000 per turbine each year.

How do wind turbines work?

Wind turbines produce energy when wind turns its massive blades around a rotor connected to a main shaft, which spins a generator to create electricity.

Texas may be the top producer of wind power in the entire nation, but it’s not just our farm winds making energy.

2. Solar Power

Texas’ solar power capacity is expected to double this year, making this the largest increase for this renewable resource in the state’s history.

High levels of direct solar radiation in West Texas and wind power’s unreliability make solar power a more reliable source for meeting peak electricity demand during those warm summer months.

While solar energy only represents less than one percent of our state’s electricity production, Texas was ranked 7th in the nation for cumulative solar capacity in 2017. Texas’ large solar capacity combined with rapid growth in production creates the potential for solar energy to catch up to traditional power generation.

Texas’ solar power is expected to reach 2,000 megawatts by the end of 2018, and expand to 3,000 megawatts by the end of 2020. To gauge exactly what this means, one megawatt is enough to generate power to 300 Texas homes on an average day.

What Types of Electricity are Generated in Texas? | Bounce Energy Blog

3. Natural Gas

Natural gas is one of Texas’ geothermal superstars, and the state holds 25 percent of the nation’s natural gas reserves. Used for heating and generating electricity, the natural gas industry is also an important contributor to Texas’ economy, employing more than 218,000 people.

These natural gas reserves are predominately found in the Permian Basin of west Texas, in north east Texas, and in the south-central part of the state.

Up to 36 percent of the United States natural gas consumption is used for electrical power alone, and Texas is consuming 14.7 percent of the national average.

How do natural gas generators work?

The natural gas-fired electric generators include a steam generation unit, where water is heated to produce steam that turns a turbine to create electricity. Natural gas is also used in gas turbines and combustion engines, where hot gases are used to turn the turbines to generate electricity.

4. Coal Power

As the nations largest producer of lignite coal, 40 percent of Texas’ electricity is generated by these coal-fired power plants. Lignite coal is a soft brown sedimentary rock made from naturally compressed peat, and is found in narrow bands predominately near the Texas Gulf Coast region.

These lignite-fueled power plants are generally located at the site of a surface mine. But the rising concerns of health and environmental pollution that surrounds the coal mining industry coupled with competitive prices of other energy resources such as natural gas and renewable energy is causing coal mines across the state to close down.

What Types of Electricity are Generated in Texas? | Bounce Energy Blog

5. Nuclear Power

Texas has two nuclear power plants located in Bay City near the coast and in Glen Rose, 40 miles from Fort Worth. These two plants supply about ten percent of the state’s electricity. These two reactors generate 2,700 megawatts of electricity, delivering clean energy to over two million Texas homes.

Generating electricity with nuclear energy prevents the emission of pollutants like sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and greenhouse gases that are associated with burning fossil fuels.

6. Hydropower

With less than two dozen generating units, hydroelectric power makes up less than one percent of Texas electricity production. While this power source does contribute to the Texas grid, it does so on a low scale due to our vastly dry climate and lack of rainfall.

Be Sociable, Share!

Related Posts

About 

Born in Australia, Ebony has been in Texas long enough to consider herself a Texan-Aussie. Ebony has been writing for magazines, newspapers, and blogs, for more than 10 years. When she's not writing she's building quilts, growing her own food, or camping with her family somewhere far from the sounds of the city.

Tags: ,








Comments are closed.