Elected largely by voters in America’s deep red heartland, U.S. President Trump may be all about an improbable fossil fuel renaissance. But more than a dozen of those heartland states hit a new record for renewable energy penetration on the weekend, when wind provided more than 52% of their electrical power.
As turbines spun in the dark over states from Montana to the Texas Panhandle, the grid operated by the Southwest Power Pool Inc. reached 52.1% wind power at about 4:30 AM Sunday, Bloomberg reports.
“Ten years ago, we thought hitting even a 25% wind penetration level would be extremely challenging, and any more than that would pose serious threats to reliability,” Bruce Row, Southwest Power Pool’s vice president of operations, said in a statement. “Now we have the ability to reliably manage greater than 50%. It’s not even our ceiling.”
“Texas leads the U.S. wind industry, with more than 20 gigawatts installed,” Bloomberg notes, citing data from the American Wind Energy Association, “followed by Iowa, Oklahoma, California, and Kansas.” Wyoming is an anomaly in the region: It hosts one of America’s biggest wind farms, but bans utilities from selling the power it generates inside the coal mining state.