Southwest Power Pool Hits New Peak for Wind Power in December

The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) set a new wind power peak of 9,948 MW on Dec. 19, which represented a penetration level of 33.5 percent, SPP said in a Twitter posting early Dec. 21.

Southwest Power Pool is a regional transmission organization (RTO) with headquarters in Little Rock, Ark.

It has members in a 575,000 square-mile service territory that includes parts of 14 states (Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming).

SPP has a generating capacity of almost 79,000 MW; 825 generating plants and roughly 56,000 miles of transmission line, according to its website.

SPP’s energy consumption during 2014 was fueled chiefly by coal at almost 59 percent; natural gas (19 percent); followed by wind (12 percent) and nuclear (8 percent). Hydroelectric accounted for more than 2 percent and the rest was split among fuel oil, solar and biomass.

According to the generation mix tracker on the SPP website, the RTO was getting more than 54 percent of its power from coal at roughly 12:55 p.m. CT on Dec. 21. Natural gas was second at that moment with more than 28 percent. Wind power had dipped to below 4 percent.

Lead image: Macho Springs. Credit: Vestas.

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Wayne Barber, Chief Analyst for the GenerationHub, has been covering power generation, energy and natural resources issues at national publications for more than 20 years. Prior to joining PennWell he was editor of Generation Markets Week at SNL Financial for nine years. He has also worked as a business journalist at both McGraw-Hill and Financial Times Energy. Wayne also worked as a newspaper reporter for several years. During his career has visited nuclear reactors and coal mines as well as coal and natural gas power plants. Wayne can be reached at wayneb@pennwell.com.

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