New plan could use renewable resources for nearly half of all energy in Texas and New Mexico

New plan could use renewable resources for nearly half of all energy in Texas and New Mexico
Wind energy (Source: KFDA)
Solar energy (Source: KFDA)
Solar energy (Source: KFDA)

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - For much of our history, energy has come in the form of natural gas and coal.

"Our generation mix is primarily over the years has been made up of coal-fired energy and natural gas-fired energy, for many, many years," said Wes Reeves with Xcel Energy.

Get the latest Amarillo news straight to your phone! Apple | Android

With renewable energy on the rise, natural low-cost resources like wind are used more often, with many wind farms rising in the region in areas like Plainview and Portales.

"In the past 10 to 15 years, we began to add wind energy and it's really picked up over the years," said Reeves.

In a new energy plan, Xcel hopes to increase renewable resources in Texas and New Mexico by 2022, making up almost 50 percent of all energy resources in the area.

"Currently, we're around 24 percent. We're now proposing to install another 1,240 megawatts of wind generation," said David Hudson, president of Xcel Energy in Texas and New Mexico. "So once we add all of those, we'll be pushing our percentage of annual energy up to 48 percent."

With an increase in wind resources and the small addition of solar power, Xcel will be able to scale back on using higher-costing energy sources like coal and natural gas.

"If we're getting too much wind or if we're bringing wind on, we can back off some of our natural gas plants or some of our coal plants," said Reeves. "Generally, it's natural gas plants that we back off from because they're easier to ramp up and down than coal plants."

With any excess energy produced through the different systems, the energy could also be sent along the grid to neighboring states like Oklahoma, saving energy costs for them, as well.

"We're tied in with our neighbors through the power grid," said Reeves. "If we've got a power plant that is able to produce power at a lower price than they are in Oklahoma, we can probably export that power, and same with wind energy, as well."

As for the effect on the average customer, the increase in renewable energy may leave a little extra change in your pocketbook.

"We will be backing off more expensive natural gas and coal generation in hours when the wind is blowing, and this will be saving customers money," said Hudson.

Over the next four years, Xcel projects wind energy will make up about 46 percent of renewable resources, while solar power should bring in about two percent.

Copyright 2018 KFDA. All rights reserved.