Wind is outpacing coal as a power source in Texas for the first time

Natural gas still provides most energy in state

By Ryan Prior, CNN
Paul Harris/Archive photos/Getty via CNN

Windmills spin near Adrian, Texas, next to Interstate 40.

(CNN) - Wind power has surpassed coal for the first time in Texas, according to a new report.

The numbers cap an enormous rise in wind power in the nation's top energy-producing state over the past decades.

Wind has generated 22 percent of the state's electrical needs this year. It just edged out coal, which provided 21 percent of the Lone Star State's power, according to the Electrical Reliability Council of Texas, which manages electrical flow on about 90 percent of the Texan grid.

Sixteen years ago, in 2003, wind made up just 0.8 percent of the state's power, and coal satisfied 40 percent of electrical needs, the council documents show.

By 2010, wind accounted for 8% of the state's energy, and it steadily inched forward to 19 percent last year and now 22 percent in the first half of 2019.

At the same time, coal's portion of the energy mix has declined over the past several years, from 37 percent in 2013 to 24 percent last year and just 21 percent this year.

Yet while wind has soared and coal-generated power has cooled, natural gas still accounts for the largest share of the state's energy mix, generating 46 percent of its power in 2003 and staying strong at 44 percent last year.

Winds of change blow across the country

Texas produces and consumes more electricity overall than any other state. Its power production doubled that of Florida, the next closest state, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

It follows that Texas also leads the nation in wind energy production and generated fully a quarter of all wind energy in the United States in 2017.

Nationally, wind is just 6.6 percent of American energy production, the Energy Information Administration says.

In January, the agency forecast that renewables like wind and solar power will be the fastest-growing source of power for at least the next two years.

The wind is in the sails for the renewable industry in other parts of the county, as well.

New Jersey's largest and oldest power company, PSEG, announced Thursday that it's pledging to go carbon-free by 2050.

"We believe climate change is real. There is this crescendo that's building," CEO Ralph Izzo told CNN Business.

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