ERCOT Natural Gas & Wind Correlation

Natural Gas vs Wind Generation Over Time

ERCOT Natural Gas & Wind Correlation
Photo by James Wainscoat / Unsplash
ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) operates an electricity grid that comprises 90% of the state of Texas and serves more than 26 million customers

The significant growth of renewable power in Texas - in particular wind - has made the state a petrie dish of data of a fast transitioning and large energy system

Wind & solar represent approximately 27% of Texas power generation

Wind generation is up 18% versus last year in Texas, solar is up 60%

We take a look at the changing correlation between natural gas and wind generation
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Data Dump

The chart below shows daily ERCOT natural gas and wind generation in 2022 (December data missing), 2017 and 2012.  A few things should visually stand out:

  • Wind generation has grown substantially over the last decade
  • Peak and average natural gas generation have grown considerably in the last five years
  • The correlation of natural gas generation to wind power has increased, said differently and intuitively, the more wind the less natural gas generation is needed
  • 2022 average natural gas generation is 504,000 MWHrs compared with 381,000 MWHrs in 2017, a 32% increase.
  • 2022 average wind generation is 295,000 MWHrs compared with 170,000 MWHrs in 2017, a 74% increase.
  • Highlighting the recent growth of natural gas demand alongside renewable growth, ERCOT natural gas generation exceeded 700,000 MWHrs 17% of 2022 compared with just 0.3% of the days in 2017 and 0% in 2012.  

Capacity Factors

Looking at the same data broken down by year and shown by capacity factors highlights the increasingly negative correlation of natural gas and wind power generation in Texas.

We took historical monthly generation capacity in Texas and adjusted for ERCOT's 90%, using the adjusted monthly number for each day of the respective month to calculate daily capacity factors.

Admittedly, they are modest visual moves, but the dispersion is tighter and regression line steeper in 2022 versus 2012 indicating increased reliance of natural gas generation on wind generation and presumably wind itself.


Unlike wind, solar and natural gas generation are currently positively correlated in ERCOT.  More solar means more natural gas generation, which makes sense with summer seasonality.