Texas' expansive wind energy industry is doing more than providing clean power; it's also keeping the cost of electricity affordable during summer months. While the spot price for wholesale electricity doubled in some places in the U.S., wind energy kept the Texas market going strong.
Higher-than-average temperatures caused the spot price of electricity on the PJM Interconnection to spike significantly on June 17. The PJM Interconnection is a regional transmission organization that handles the movement of wholesale electricity in 13 eastern states and the District of Columbia, a total area that includes 51 million consumers.
The PJM Eastern hub, which includes New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia among others, saw prices rise $44.27 per megawatt-hour to $84.82. The Western hub, between Washington and Erie, Pennsylvania, didn't fare much better, jumping up to $79.86 per megawatt-hour, an increase of $26.64.
It's normal for the wholesale price of electricity to increase during the summer. In hotter months, people use more energy running their air conditioners to keep cool. The extra energy makes electricity an in-demand commodity, which increases the price. It's the same with any product—prices go up when there's less of it to go around.
But that's not the case in Texas, at least not yet. The price of wholesale electricity has actually declined in the Lone Star State. Energy companies in Texas could buy power for $46.09 per megawatt-hour on June 17, a $0.48 decline from the previous day.
Wind energy production surpassed industry forecasts by 77 percent, generating 7,447 megawatts of renewable energy. It's certainly not record breaking for the state's 12,300 megawatt capacity wind industry, but the added wind power kept energy prices in Texas stable despite climbing temperatures.