March 31, 2021 Read More →

Wind generation sets record in U.S.’ Southwest Power Pool

S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):

The Southwest Power Pool set four renewable energy records on March 29, including a wind penetration level surpassing 80% for the first time in the grid operator’s history. The surge in renewables caused wholesale power prices to plunge into negative territory.

SPP wind penetration set a record of 81.85% at 4:33 a.m. CT on March 29 and caused renewable resource penetration to reach a record of 84.2%, according to the grid operator. In addition, SPP wind generation set a peak record of 21,133 MW at 7:35 a.m. CT on March 29 and caused renewable generation to reach a peak record of 22,685 MW. In addition to wind, renewables included hydro and waste.

“We expect this trend to continue as we see more and more renewables come online,” SPP spokeswoman Meghan Sever said March 30. “With the continued growth of renewable generation in SPP’s footprint and our proven ability to reliability integrate it, we will continue to set subsequent records. We are confident in our ability to use these resources to reliably meet the needs of the bulk electric system.”

SPP has more than 78 GW of renewables in its generator interconnection queue, and in 2020 was the first regional transmission organization in the U.S. to serve the majority of its load with wind, at 32% of the total fuel mix, Sever added.

SPP is on pace to continue that trend in 2021 as wind output has averaged 36% of the region’s fuel mix so far this year, an increase from 32.7% during the same time frame in 2020, according to SPP data. For comparison, coal-fired generation has averaged 35% of the total fuel mix year-to-date, up from 27.5% a year ago, while natural gas-fired generation has averaged 19% in 2021, down from 27.8% last year.

[Kassia Micek and Daryna Kotenko]

More ($): SPP sees highest wind penetration levels, causing power prices to dip negative

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