June 29, 2014 – A combination of sunny days and windy weather contributed to three energy record setting days recently in the United Kingdom, Germany and the State of Texas.
On June 21 the United Kingdom with 4.7 Gigawatts of installed solar farms, solar panels on buildings, and solar on residential homes, generated 8% of total electricity demand in a 24 hour period. That represented a new record for the country. The UK is on course to double solar capacity over the next year and then again with a goal to achieve between 30 and 40% of total electricity generated during peak summer months.
Meanwhile in Germany, with over 1.4 million solar installations across the country, a peak of 23.1 Gigawatts of power was generated during the noon hour on June 9. This represented 50.6% of the total demand. Germany continues to invest heavily in solar with growth of 34% in capacity through the first half of 2014.
Meanwhile the Lone Star state of Texas during the month of March of this year generated almost 10,300 Megawatts of electricity through wind turbines, supplying 29% of the load on the grid. Texas operates a self-contained power grid to provide power to about 85% of the state’s customers. Texas has the largest installed based of wind turbines in the United States with over 12,000 Megawatts of capacity with plans to add 7,000 Megawatts currently under construction. A Megawatt is enough power to provide light and heat to 300 homes. So at 10,300 Megawatts we are talking about power to only 3,090,000 homes out of a total of more than 8.8 million. That’s twice the wind capacity of California, currently considered the greenest U.S. state in terms of policies related to carbon reduction. And when you consider that Texas is also the “Big Oil” state, the attention to wind power seems incongruous but very much welcome.