Of the 6,000 expected megawatts from wind, 4,000 megawatts were actually available this week to reap insanely high wholesale prices. (One facilities operator noted that prices this week repaid a large portion of the entire capital costs of their entire wind farm project. This is akin to purchasing an expensive automobile and winning the lottery the next day to pay it off. Perhaps cool but nonetheless unusual.)
Bottom line: did wind underperform the expectations of planners? Yes by about 2,000 megawatts. Was this a big deal in terms of the Texas outages? No, because the total power system shortfall approximated over 30,000 megawatts. Wind was only responsible for 2,000 megawatts of that deficit.
Together with wind, ERCOT, at the height of their weather emergency, could only cobble together about 40,000 megawatts vs approximately 70,000+ megawatts of system demand. This extreme level of supply/demand mismatch is why there was a near total system blackout. The gas and coal plants failed and even one unit at the South Texas Nuclear Project Unit tripped offline due to a cold weather-related instrumentation malfunction.Who’s to Blame for the Texas Power Crisis? | Wolf Street