Wind power increases with higher temperatures, solar not so much

Fuel Fix:
Hotter weather may be conducive to more wind in West Texas, a good sign for the part of the state that produces the most wind energy.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which oversees power for 90 percent of the state, is experimenting with long-term wind forecasts that extend beyond a week. In an analysis of the past decade, ERCOT's senior meteorologist Chris Coleman found that hotter temperatures, backed by cooler air in the northwest and high pressure in the east, bring wind to West Texas.

"More times than not, if it's really hot, we have a lot of wind," Coleman said.

If Coleman's research holds up, it could be good news for Texas, which is most desperate for power when temperatures peak in the summer months. Power prices are typically at their highest during

Texas' sweltering summer, and wind power is the cheapest resource available. (In fact, wind power is basically free energy.)
Wind power may be cheap but it is far from free.  The transmission cost has been significant and because it can't be generated near where it is used.  Texas has spent billions on getting it to market and that is a cost that is built into your electric bill.  Like solar, its supply of electricity is intermittent and it lacks the ability to modulate the flow to increase energy when there is higher demand.

Recent studies have also shown that solar energy becomes even less efficient as the temperature increases.  Production actually begins to drop in higher temperatures.  This is probably a bigger problem for places like Arizona but it is something that needs to be factored into investing in solar as a resource.


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