AMARILLO (KSMX)- Wind energy accounted for a record amount of Xcel Energy’s regional electricity supply over the spring months, boosting the supply of clean energy and saving money on monthly bills.
“Area wind plants not only have helped us meet the high demand on hot days, but they’re saving customers money because we don’t have to purchase fuel to operate the turbines – we simply take the energy from the region’s abundant supply of wind,” said David Hudson, president, Xcel Energy – New Mexico, Texas.
Per the press release, in April, almost 40% of the electricity supply was made up of power generated at area wind farms, boosted in large part by the addition of Xcel Energy’s Hale Wind Project in June 2019. On April 12, wind energy set a daily record when it accounted for more than 64% of that day’s electricity supply. And on the morning of May 8, Xcel Energy set a new hourly peak when 76% of the region’s electricity needs were met by wind energy.
Continued strong wind energy production in June helped meet higher electricity demand driven by increased use of air conditioning, Hudson pointed out, further amplifying the savings from wind energy investments.
Hale alone accounted for more than $80 million in fuel cost savings in 2019, and additional savings will be realized when Xcel Energy’s Sagamore Wind Project comes online at the end of 2020 near Portales, New Mexico. In fact, the annual fuel cost savings each new wind farm generates more than offsets the added capital costs of building the wind facilities.
The addition of more low-cost wind energy combined with historically low natural gas prices has led to an almost 10% reduction in residential bills since 2019. On top of this reduction, Xcel Energy has refunded a total of $78 million in fuel costs to Texas customers over the past 18 months.
In 2019, wind energy accounted for 26% of the electricity generated for customers in Xcel Energy’s Texas-New Mexico service area. Natural gas-fueled generation supplied 47% and coal-fueled generation made up 25% of the mix. About 2% of region’s electricity came from solar energy sources.