From the pages of the MIT Technology Review comes this article on wind power in Texas.
A few takeaways:
• With nearly 18,000 megawatts of capacity, Texas, if it were a country, would be the sixth-largest generator of wind power in the world, right behind Spain. Now Texas is preparing to add several thousand megawatts more—roughly equal to the wind capacity that can be found in all of California.
• Overall, wind still represents less than 20 percent of the state’s generation capacity—a number that dips into the low single digits on calm, hot summer days.
• Unlike deregulation in California, which led to a near-collapse of the grid and a series of major blackouts in 2000 and 2001, the policy in Texas has mostly worked as planned, thanks to efficient grid operations and the abundance of transmission lines in the CREZ network. “There’s no regulatory agency, no permitting, no wind laws,” says Rod Wetsel, an attorney in Sweetwater who specializes in wind leases and who cowrote Wind Law, the definitive text on the legalities of wind power.
• The thing that made this possible was the creation of Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ), a massive infrastructure investment Texas made under Governor Rick Perry that strung transmission lines from the barren windy plains, making connection of windmills to the grid easier.
• Texas is the only state with its own independent power grid. Because of this "...It can invest in and build long-distance transmission lines as it, lawmakers, and state regulators see fit, without the interstate political wrangling that has blocked other ambitious long-distance transmission projects planned across state lines."
Anyway, an interesting read.