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ARS Home » Plains Area » Bushland, Texas » Conservation and Production Research Laboratory » Livestock Nutrient Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #182728


item Vick, Brian
item Clark, Ray

Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/1/2004
Publication Date: 7/1/2004
Citation: Vick, B.D., Starcher, K., Clark, R.N., Traurig, J. 2004. Matching wind resource in the Southern Great Plains with utility electrical loading. In: American Wind Energy Association: Global Windpower 2004, March 28-31, 2004, Chicago, Illinois. p. 20. 2004 CDROM.

Interpretive Summary: Many surveys have been conducted by electric utilities on whether their customers believe more clean renewable energy electricity like wind or solar energy should be incorporated in the utility’s electrical grid system and the overwhelming opinion they receive is that consumers want more renewable energy to be added. The major disadvantage of using wind or solar generated electricity from a utility company perspective is they have the conception that renewable energy is not very dependable since renewable power is only generated when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining. This paper discusses how well the wind and solar resources in the Southwestern Public Service (SPS) XCEL utility region match the utility electrical loading on a daily and monthly basis. The service area of the SPS XCEL utility region is mainly the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles, but there are also a few counties in eastern New Mexico and southwestern Kansas included. One conclusion from this paper was that even assuming a high average annual wind power generation of 30% of the total utility electrical power generation, the utility could still provide dependable power to its customers if they lowered their base load generation (e.g. having more of the utility’s coal and natural gas power plants vary their power generation according to wind speed fluctuation). A second conclusion was that combining solar thermal power plants with wind farms (including a way of storing excess renewable energy) resulted in a very good match to utility loading and no change in current utility operations would be necessary. Increasing the utility’s percentage of wind generated electricity will help in several ways: 1. the farmer’s or rancher’s income will increase via lucrative royalty payments ($3500 - $5000/wind turbine MW/year) paid out to the land owner for the installation of wind turbines on his or her land (due to spacing of wind turbines, usually only 5% of land required for wind farm installations, rest can be used for farming or ranching) 2. lessen the utility’s dependence on the decreasing supply of fossil fuels – especially for natural gas which has tripled in price in the past decade due to decreased supply 3. improve the environment by decreasing the burning of fossil fuels – no emissions from wind or solar energy 4. improve homeland security by lessening our dependence on foreign-owned fossil fuels 5. generate jobs and income in the local community during construction and maintenance of wind farms

Technical Abstract: A study was conducted to see how well wind generated electricity in the Southern Great Plains matched the utility electrical loading and whether there were ways to improve this match so that renewable energy could make up a more significant portion (10-30%) of the utility’s total generation. Wind generated electricity is a maximum during April and wind generated electricity is a minimum in August when the utility loading is highest; therefore, these two months were analyzed. Adding as much as 1500 MW of wind generated electricity -- average utility load for Xcel Energy (SPS region) was 2700 MW -- appeared feasible even without the utility grid absorbing excess wind generated electricity if the utility could lower its base load generation. Combining solar energy with wind energy and adding a storage facility resulted in a very good match to the utility loading and resulted in little change to the utility’s current operations.