Texas wind oversupply leads to free nighttime electricity


Wind turbines in New Hampton, Iowa (Theodore Scott/Flickr)
Wind turbines in New Hampton, Iowa (Theodore Scott/Flickr)
KC McGinnis | November 10, 2015

The high volume of of wind energy in Texas is leading utilities to give away electricity at night.

According to a report in The New York Times, Texas utility TXE Energy’s wind farms are producing so much energy that they’re offering customers free electricity use between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., when winds are strongest. It’s in an attempt to reduce the burden on the Texas power grid during the day by encouraging additional use at night.

In a competitive energy market Texas utilities are adopting aggressive strategies to hold customers like “time of use” plans. These plans could become applicable in Iowa, where a quarter of the state’s energy comes from wind. Texas generates the most wind energy in the country, just ahead of Iowa – but wind only accounts for 10% of the state’s total energy.

It is yet to be seen what kind of environmental implications “time of use” plans could hold. The Times has already reported customers who say they’ve become more wasteful at night, even as their energy bills drop.

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