By Houston Business Journal

A report released this week by the stateâ¿¿s primary electricity grid operator found total electricity use in Texas increased in 2010, and that an increasing though still small chunk of that electricity came from wind power, with coal inching ahead of natural gas as the primary source of electric power.

According to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages 85 percent of electricity load in the state including most of the Houston area, net energy load in ERCOTâ¿¿s grid area was about 319,000 in 2010. That marks a 3.5 increase from the 2009 total of about 308,300 GWh.

The report found that wind power supplied about 7.8 percent of the energy load, compared with about 6.2 percent in 2009 and 4.9 percent in 2008.

After years as the primary supplier of electric power, natural gas was edged out by coal in the top spot, though the two remain close. Coal was the source of 39.5 percent of electric power in 2010, up from 36.6 percent in 2009.

The percentage from natural gas fell to 38.2 percent from 42.1 percent in 2009 and from 45.5 percent in 2007. Nuclear power has supplied roughly the same share â¿¿about 13 percent â¿¿ over the same period. The remaining 1.5 percent has been supplied by other sources such as solar and water.

ERCOT also said that 2010 marked the highest recorded electricity use for a single day in both the summer and winter. The ⿿winter peak record⿝ was set Jan. 8, and the ⿿summer peak record⿝ came on Aug. 23. The report said those dates corresponded to the coldest and hottest periods, respectively.

Copyright 2011 American City Business Journals

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