The wind blew strong on the plains of Texas last week. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) announced that wind turbines in Texas broke an electricity generation record, on Wednesday, March 26. Wind turbines were producing 10,296 megawatts of electricity, or 29 percent of the total electricity generated in ERCOT, at 8:48 pm. This beat the previous instantaneous output record by more than 600 MW. In sum, ERCOT has 11,000 MW of installed commercial wind power – when the record was broken, 94 percent of the state’s total wind power capacity was being tapped.
Don’t expect that record to last for long. Just this week Vestas Wind Systems announced that it would provide 97 V100-2.0 MW wind turbines for Texas wind. This would add 194 MW of wind capacity to the Texas market. Vestas also announced that it would be providing turbines with a capacity of 98 MW to another North American wind project, though it declined to name the location or the developer.
This “hot streak” for Vestas, as the Denver Business Journal calls it, is indicative of an industry-wide growth. Citigroup declared that solar and wind are successfully “competing on costs” with fossil fuels in the U.S. In the analysis released last week, Citi says that industry leaders are focused on low-cost power and portfolio diversity, which increasingly leads them to invest in solar and wind energy infrastructure. “We predict that solar, wind, and biomass continue to gain market share” from more traditional forms of electricity generation, Citi analysts wrote.
In the world of advanced vehicles, Tesla Motors announced the company is giving extra protection to the vehicles’ battery pack by adding a triple-layer metal shield made of titanium and aluminum to the undercarriage of all new manufactured vehicles. Tesla says any vehicles made before March 6 can be retrofitted with the shield free of charge upon request. This serves to improve Tesla’s safety rating, which is already one of the highest in the industry. Last year, two Tesla owners experienced fires when an object penetrated the battery pack.
Speaking of Tesla, the company gained an unexpected mouthpiece this week—Bill O’Reilly. On Monday’s episode of The O’Reilly Factor, O’Reilly closed the show by pronouncing that, “everyone on the planet should be rooting for Tesla,” calling the advanced vehicle a “game changer” that in the next few years “could be available to millions at a cheaper price.” He expanded that statement to include all advanced energy: “We would all be better off if clean, cheap energy becomes the norm. And that’s the truth.”
We couldn’t agree more, Bill.
Finally, a new floating wind turbine has been delighting advanced energy insiders and the general public alike. The Altaeros Energies BAT-Bouyant Airborne Turbine looks more like a blimp than a wind turbine: it is filled with helium and tethered to the ground. It can reach altitudes of several thousand feet to take advantage of strong high-altitude wind currents, and can generate more electricity than a standard turbine. The company intends to test the turbines in remote communities in Alaska that exist more or less off the grid. Not content to merely bring electricity to these communities, the floating turbine can also act as a cell tower and WiFi hotspot.
AEE's Advanced Energy Now 2014 Market Report, prepared by Navigant Research, has the most comprehensive revenue data and trend analysis on the $169 billion U.S. advanced energy market ever assembled. Click the button below to download it.