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Wind's Wild Ride: Clean Power and Peak Energy Week

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Wind's Wild Ride: Clean Power and Peak Energy Week

August 2, 2019

The hottest week of summer 2019 recently occurred (so far, anyway). Looking back at the generation sources that provided energy on that week of high demand, we can see how wind is an unpredictable and variable source of power.

According to the grid data, the amount of energy to come from wind-based generation varied:

  • The least: 2.7 MW at 10 a.m. on July 15, 2019

  • The most: 1,100 MW at 2 p.m. on July 20, 2019 and 4 p.m. on July 21, 2019

The latter days were two of the hottest of the year, with temperatures in the high 90s throughout much of New York.

What is the significance of this? It shows that, while New York State seeks to move to 100% renewable power by 2040, there are limits to what we can expect from these variable sources. How much can you rely on a power source that is based on weather? The answer is literally blowing in the wind.

For instance, from July 15 to 21, there was a 36-hour period where, on average, wind produced only about 4% of its potential (or what we call 4% “capacity factor;” see sidebar for details).       

There is currently nearly 2,000 MW of installed wind capacity around the state. During this 36-hour period, wind produced less than 200 MW while our overall demand ranged from 18,747 to 29,381 MW.

      Wind performed better from July 19 to 21, three of the hottest days we experienced this summer, but still only served a small portion of demand. For instance, the peak demand reached 30,397 MW at 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 20. At this time, wind was producing 694 MW.

   

GRAPHIC: This real-time fuel mix graph illustrates the energy generated within New York State between Monday, July 15, 2019 and Sunday, July 21, 2019. Source: NYISO Real-Time Dashboard.

Wind resources play an important part in delivering power to New York State and in addressing its environmental goals. Despite plans for growth in offshore wind and solar power, plus the increased use of energy storage, more flexible and controllable generation will continue to be vital to maintaining a reliable energy grid.

    

Visit the Power Trends 2019: Reliability and a Greener Grid web page for more information on the state of the grid.

NYISO
About NYISO Author
We are an independent, not-for-profit corporation responsible for operating the state’s bulk electricity grid, administering New York’s competitive wholesale electricity markets, conducting comprehensive long-term planning for the state’s electric power system, and advancing the technological infrastructure of the electric system serving the Empire State.

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