Reliable Unreliables

We look at plant level reliability for Texas wind farms

Reliable Unreliables
Photo by Appolinary Kalashnikova / Unsplash
It is true, the wind doesn't blow all the time

Intermittency of wind & solar makes renewables less reliable and creates challenges in managing power grids

While unreliable over short periods of time, wind generation sited in the right place and with the right turbines appears to be extremely reliable over longer periods of time

We pulled data for the top-15 wind farms in Texas by generation

Four plants had sufficient data to look at generation over the last four years

Over longer periods of time, specific wind plants appear to be very reliable

We pulled monthly data from the top-15 wind farms shown above.  Only four had sufficient data to look at annual production over four years, ie there were no partial years.  Those are highlighted.  

Generation, difference from four-year average and capacity factors for those four plants are shown from 2018-2021.

Although surely unreliable at any moment in time, the data highlights these plants are indeed fairly reliable.  Combined production has been between 6.8 and 7.3 million megawatthours, with 2021 the biggest difference versus the 4-year average at 5%.

The Bethel Wind Farm capacity factors stand out at over 50% 3 of 4 years.