Inter-Annual Variability of Wind and Solar Electricity Generation and Capacity Values in Texas

Andrew Kumler, Ignacio Losada Carreño, Michael T. Craig, Bri Mathias Hodge, Wesley Cole, Carlo Brancucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus Citations


As power systems shift towards increasing wind and solar electricity generation, inter-annual variability (IAV) of wind and solar resource and generation will pose increasing challenges to power system planning and operations. To help gauge these challenges to the power system, we quantify IAV of wind and solar resource and electricity generation across the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) power system, then assess the IAV of wind and solar electricity generation during peak-load hours (i.e. IAV of wind and solar capacity values) for the current ERCOT wind and solar generator fleet. To do so, we leverage the long timespan of four reanalysis datasets with the high resolution of grid integration datasets. We find the IAV (quantified as the coefficient of variation) of wind generation ranges from 2.3%-11% across ERCOT, while the IAV of solar generation ranges from 1.7%-5% across ERCOT. We also find significant seasonal and regional variability in the IAV of wind and solar generation, highlighting the importance of considering multiple temporal and spatial scales when planning and operating the power system. In addition, the IAV of the current wind and solar fleets' capacity values (defined as generation during peak-load hours) are larger than the IAV of the same fleets' capacity factors. IAV of annual generation and capacity values of wind and solar could impact operations and planning in several ways, e.g. through annual emissions, meeting emission reduction targets, and investment needs to maintain capacity adequacy.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numberArticle No. 044032
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Research Letters
Issue number4
StatePublished - 16 Apr 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s). Published by IOP Publishing Ltd.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5D00-72414


  • Electric Reliability Council of Texas
  • electricity
  • generation
  • IAV
  • inter-annual variability
  • solar
  • wind


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