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Wind picks up natural gas' share of ERCOT energy supply in October

Wind power filled in the gap left behind by the decline in natural gas-fired power's share in the October fuel mix for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, while coal saw small gains and nuclear power eased slightly, according to ERCOT's 2016 Demand and Energy Report.

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ERCOT also set a new October monthly peak record of 59,848 MW on October 5, which was down 10.5% from 66,853 MW in September but up 1.1% from 59,187 MW in October 2015, ERCOT said in its monthly usage report released late Thursday.

National Weather Service data showed that Austin, which lies near the center of ERCOT's footprint, had 32.37% more cooling degree days in October than normal and 19.65% more than from 2015.

Total natural gas usage across ERCOT fell over 26% month on month for October as gas-fired generators supplied 36.7% of ERCOT's energy, the lowest level since March 2014, compared with 44.4% in September and 47.9% in October 2015.

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Wind farms supplied 17% of ERCOT's power needs in October, up from 11% in September and 12.3% in October 2015, the highest share of the fuel mix since April.

Coal plants supplied 35.7% of electricity generation during October, up from 33.7% in September and 30.4% in October 2015, making it the highest level since September 2014.

Nuclear reactors supplied 10.3% this October, compared with 10.9% in September and 8.9% in October 2015.

Consumers across the grid operator's footprint used 29.23 million MWh in October, up from 27.5 million MWh in October 2015 -- a 6.3% year-on-year increase, according to the report. Usage fell roughly 11% from 32.94 million MWh in September.

--Jeff Zhou,
--Edited by Annie Siebert,