How Much Of Texas Is Powered By Wind?

How much of Texas is powered by wind?

Texas has become a major player in wind energy production in the United States. The Lone Star State generates more electricity from wind than any other state, accounting for about 30% of all wind power capacity in the country. With its vast open spaces and consistent wind patterns, Texas offers optimal conditions for harnessing wind power. Understanding the growth, economic impacts, and future potential of wind energy in Texas provides key insights into the changing energy landscape and transition towards renewable sources.

This article will examine how much of Texas’ electricity generation comes from wind power. We’ll look at wind energy capacity over time, how Texas compares to other states, the economic benefits, environmental upside, and remaining potential for future wind farm development. The information provided comes from reports by the Texas Comptroller’s Office as well as other energy and environmental organizations.

Current Wind Energy Capacity in Texas

As of 2021, Texas had the largest installed wind power capacity of any U.S. state, with over 33,000 megawatts (MW) of wind power capacity installed as of year-end 2021 according to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration. This accounts for approximately 30% of all wind power capacity in the United States.

In 2021, wind generation provided about 28% of all electricity generated in Texas according to EIA data. As a percentage of total electricity generation from all sources, this makes Texas the top state for wind power generation. Texas produces more wind energy than the next three wind energy producing states combined.

Growth of Wind Power in Texas Over Time

Wind power generation in Texas has grown substantially over the past decade. According to the Texas Comptroller, Texas generated over 28,000 megawatts of electricity from wind power in 2023, up from just 2,736 megawatts in 2010 (Texas Comptroller). This represents a more than tenfold increase in wind power capacity over the past 13 years.

Some key milestones in the growth of wind power in Texas include:

  • In 2005, Texas surpassed California to become the top wind power producing state in the nation (Wikipedia).
  • In 2008, Texas generated over 7,000 megawatts of electricity from wind power for the first time (Texas Comptroller).
  • By 2014, wind power accounted for over 10% of Texas’ electricity generation for the first time (Texas Comptroller).
  • In 2020, wind surpassed coal to become the second largest source of electricity generation in Texas behind natural gas (Wikipedia).

This rapid growth can be attributed to supportive policies, ample wind resources, and low natural gas prices making wind competitive. Texas is now a leader in wind energy nationwide.

Comparison to Other States

Texas leads the nation in wind energy production. According to the American Wind Energy Association, Texas has over 35,000 MW of installed wind capacity, more than double the capacity of the state with the next highest wind capacity, Iowa, which has just under 11,000 MW. This means Texas produces over 25% of the nation’s total wind power.

The huge investment in wind farms across Texas has helped make it the top state for wind energy generation. Texas produces more wind power than the next three states – Iowa, Oklahoma, and Kansas – combined. In 2021 alone, Texas added over 2,500 new MW of wind capacity while no other state added more than 825 MW.

Texas also leads in other measurements of wind energy usage. The percentage of electricity generated from wind in Texas is over 25%, while the next highest state, Iowa, is at 57%. And Texas consumes more wind energy than any other state, with over 125 million MWh used in 2021. The investment in Texas wind infrastructure has made it the clear national leader.

Economic Impact

Wind energy has had a significant positive economic impact in Texas. According to research from the Texas Comptroller’s office, wind energy supported over 25,000 jobs in Texas in 2020, adding over $4 billion in capital investment and over $100 million in tax revenue to local economies (source). Many of these jobs are in rural parts of the state that have benefited greatly from the wind energy boom.

Wind projects also generate lease payments to landowners who host turbines on their properties. According to the American Wind Energy Association, annual lease payments ranged from $3,000 to $7,000 per megawatt of capacity in 2019, providing farmers and ranchers with a drought-resistant cash crop (source).

The growth of wind power has also spurred economic development in manufacturing and supply chain industries related to wind turbine components. Major wind companies like Vestas, Siemens Gamesa, and GE have located manufacturing facilities in Texas, creating skilled jobs and bringing investment to the state (source).

Environmental Benefits

Wind energy provides significant environmental benefits for Texas by avoiding major emissions from fossil fuel-based power plants. According to a fact sheet from Environment America, wind energy reduces Texas’ dependence on fossil fuels like natural gas and coal, which produce carbon emissions and require extracting and transporting fuel (Environment America). The Comptroller of Texas also notes that wind farms do not produce carbon emissions like natural gas and coal plants (Comptroller of Texas). One report estimates that wind energy avoided over 28 million metric tons of CO2 emissions in Texas in 2020 alone. This is equivalent to taking over 6 million cars off the road. By avoiding major emissions, wind power provides cleaner air and reduces Texas’ carbon footprint.

Wind Energy Potential

Texas has massive remaining potential for expanding wind energy production. The state currently ranks first in the nation for wind power capacity, with over 40,000 megawatts installed as of 2023. However, analysis shows Texas could support over 500,000 megawatts of wind capacity, more than 10 times the current level. Much of the prime locations with strong wind resources remain untapped, especially in the western and panhandle regions. According to a wind potential map from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), areas like the High Plains and Trans-Pecos offer wind power density ratings up to 10,000 watts per square meter at 80 meter hub heights. With ample open lands and consistent wind patterns, Texas can continue building out its wind farms for decades to come. One estimate suggests Texas could generate over 1,200 terawatt hours per year from wind alone by 2050, meeting 90% of its electric needs.


While Texas leads the nation in wind energy capacity, the state faces some challenges in continuing to grow its wind power. Two major challenges are grid constraints and land use conflicts.

One challenge is that the existing transmission infrastructure in Texas often cannot handle the amount of wind energy being produced, especially from windy rural areas like the Texas Panhandle where much of the wind capacity is located. As reported by the Texas Tribune, wind turbines in the Panhandle and other West Texas regions at times have to be shut down because there are not enough power lines to move their plentiful electricity to large metro areas (1). Billions of dollars in transmission improvements will likely be needed for Texas to keep expanding its use of wind power.

Another obstacle is local opposition and permit issues for proposed wind projects, due to concerns about noise, views, wildlife impacts and other land use conflicts. As wind turbines are sited closer to suburban and urban areas to connect to load centers, permitting battles have increased. This “NIMBY” (Not In My Backyard) response will need to be addressed through improved community outreach and siting guidelines.

Future Outlook

Texas is projected to continue rapidly expanding its wind energy capacity over the next 5-10 years. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Texas’s wind capacity is forecast to grow from over 33 GW in 2021 to 52 GW by 2030 and up to 73 GW by 2050 (EIA). This growth will be driven by declining wind technology costs, federal tax incentives, state policies, and transmission expansion. Texas currently leads the nation in installed wind capacity and will likely maintain that status through 2030. With its vast wind resources and pro-renewables policies, Texas is poised to generate over 25% of its electricity from wind within the next decade.

Major transmission projects underway, such as the $1.6 billion Plains & Eastern Clean Line, will enable remote high-quality wind resources to be transported to population centers. Wind’s proportion of ERCOT’s capacity is projected to rise from 25% today to 35% by 2030 according to ERCOT’s Long-Term System Assessment. This growth will allow Texas to capitalize on its low-cost wind resources while meeting rising electricity demand.


In summary, wind power has become an important source of renewable energy in Texas over the past couple of decades. The state now leads the nation in wind energy capacity, providing over 20% of its electricity from wind. This growth has brought economic benefits to rural communities, created jobs, and helped Texas diversify its energy portfolio. Wind power has also significantly reduced air pollution and carbon emissions from fossil fuels in the state.

Looking ahead, Texas has the potential to further expand its wind energy production with its vast wind resources. However, challenges remain in terms of transmitting the electricity from wind farms to major cities, load balancing, and maintaining grid reliability as intermittent wind generation increases. Continued innovation and investment will be needed to allow Texas to fully realize the environmental and economic promise of its abundant wind. With the right policies and infrastructure upgrades, Texas can solidify its position as a national clean energy leader while meeting its rising electricity demands with affordable and sustainable wind power.

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