The Day After Tomorrow: Renewables Fail Edition

Guest “The best laid plans of mice and men…” by David Middleton

Note: I had originally titled this post, The Day After Tomorrow: ERCOT Fail Edition, and ERCOT did fail. But I changed the title because, even though the failure was system-wide, wind power totally failed, solar never showed up, while natural gas, coal and nuclear power were all that prevented the entire State of Texas from freezing in the dark. Despite these facts, some in the media are reporting that wind power saved the day, while fossil fuels and nuclear power failed.

Reporting from Ice Station Dallas

Current weather conditions at 0630: 21 °F (-6 °) with about 3-6 inches of snow on the ground. The normal low temperature on 17 February is 40 °F (4 °C)… It’s now ~10 °C below normal. This is a huge improvement over my previous report. Both the weather and the power situations seem to be improving. The weather situation was unavoidable, however the the power situation was inexcusable. Almost all of the electrical grid in Texas is overseen by ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas and ERCOT utterly failed in the “reliability” department.

Many on the right have been somewhat unfairly placing all of the blame on frozen wind turbines, many on the left have been idiotically placing the blame on natural gas & coal, and retardedly on nuclear power plants. The failures to deal with freezing weather were system-wide.

The power situation is disastrous, and it likely won’t be fixed tonight
February 15, 2021 at 2:50 pm by Eric Berger

Millions of customers in the greater Houston region continue to experience some of our coldest weather in decades without the benefit of electricity to heat their homes. (Full disclosure, I am one of them, and have been since 2 am CT. I am typing this from my office, wearing a winter jacket).

To understand what is going on, and when the power might return, I spoke this afternoon with Kenny Mercado, CenterPoint Energy’s Executive Vice President for Electric Utility.

First, it is important to understand how power generation works in Texas. Power plants across the state generate electricity from natural gas, coal, wind, solar, and other sources. This is all put onto the grid, which is managed by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. Then it is up to companies like CenterPoint to deliver electricity to your home through its network of lines and poles. (Reliant, the sponsor of Space City Weather, markets and sells electricity to the customer. They are not directly responsible for generation or delivery).

What happened
As of 2 pm on Monday, about 1.1 million of CenterPoint’s 2.6 million customers are without power in the greater Houston area. Mercado said customers without power are unlikely to get electricity back today, and quite possibly not tonight—when temperatures are forecast to reach near all-time record lows.

Two things happened last night to contribute to these outages. First, demand was extraordinarily high across the state, Mercado said. And then, beginning at about 1 am, generating units started to shut down. This is almost certainly due to extremely cold conditions. Eventually about one-third of the anticipated capacity went offline. This included a handful of freezing wind turbines, but the majority of the volume losses were due to coal and natural gas plants going offline.

[…]

Space City Weather

This remark is moronic:

Eventually about one-third of the anticipated capacity went offline. This included a handful of freezing wind turbines, but the majority of the volume losses were due to coal and natural gas plants going offline.

Eric Berger, Space City Weather

“A handful of freezing wind turbines”? At least half of the wind generation capacity has been knocked offline since Sunday. It’s only a “handful” in the sense that wind power only accounts for 20-25% of Texas electricity generation. When you start with only two hands full of wind turbines and you lose one hand to frostbite, I suppose you’ve only lost a handful… [/SARC]

“The majority of the volume losses were due to coal and natural gas plants going offline”? Well, no schist Sherlock. About 70% of ERCOT’s generating capacity is comprised of natural gas and coal-fired power plants… So, of course, the majority of the volume losses have been among natural gas power plants. However, coal-fired and nuclear power plants (all two of them) have been relatively unaffected.

The fact is that almost all of the electricity currently being delivered to the ERCOT grid is coming from natural gas, coal-fired and nuclear power plants.

Ryan Zom, Clear Creek Resource Partners

Here is the latest daily ERCOT capacity mix:

EIA

The breakdown for 16 February 2021:

MWh%
Wind Generation          73,3956%
Solar Generation          20,1342%
Hydro Generation            3,8330%
Other Generation               6820%
Natural gas Generation        759,70865%
Coal Generation        204,65518%
Nuclear Generation          98,3948%
Total    1,160,801100%
EIA

Fossil fuels accounted for 83% of our electricity generation yesterday. Fossil fuels + nuclear accounted for 92%.

While there is plenty of blame to go around, ERCOT had a “dress rehearsal” for this in 2011. At least back then, they successfully employed rotating outages. We haven’t lost power, while many of our friends have been without power since early Monday morning.

Texas has more wind power capacity and natural gas production than many, if not most, nations. This cluster frack is inexcusable and an embarrassment to the Great State of Texas. We now know that President Donald Trump and Energy Secretary Rick Perry were 100% correct when they asked FERC to ensure that our coal-fired and nuclear power plant fleets be kept in service.

Oct 2, 2017,05:11am EDT

Rick Perry Directs FERC To Complete Final Action On Resiliency Pricing Rule In 60 Days

Rod Adams Contributor
Energy

[…]

Eligible grid reliability and resiliency resource is any resource that:

1. is an electric generation resource physically located within a Commission-approved independent system operator or regional transmission organization;
2. is able to provide essential energy and ancillary reliability services, including but not limited to voltage support, frequency services, operating reserves, and reactive power;
3. has a 90-day fuel supply on site enabling it to operate during an emergency, extreme weather conditions, or a natural or man-made disaster;
4. is compliant with all applicable federal, state, and local environmental laws, rules, and regulations; and
5. is not subject to cost of service rate regulation by any state or local regulatory authority

All licensed nuclear power plants and a significant portion of existing coal plants can meet those requirements today.

[…]

Forbes
WASHINGTON, DC – JUNE 29: (AFP OUT) U.S. President Donald Trump (L) embraces Energy Secretary Rick Perry as Vice President Mike Pence applauds (R), after Trump delivered remarks on at the Unleashing American Energy event at the Department of Energy on June 29, 2017 in Washington, DC. Trump announced a number on initiatives including his Administration’s plan on rolling back regulations on energy production and development. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)

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Joel O'Bryan
February 17, 2021 6:04 pm

Natural gas is the only way forward. Its ready availability in Texas means no new nuclear reactors are going to built at Comanche Peak NP station. Coal in Texas is a dead-end, its all brown lignite coal, plenty of it, but the coming EPA crack down is going to make it even more non-viable.

What has to happen is to stop the wind turbines stupidity cold… dead in its tracks. No more wind power.. Texas allowed too much capacity to be filled with unreliable wind power, and it is now paying the price.
Then fill out needed capacity with fast spin-up gas turbines in urban areas with the pipes to bring the gas to meet the peak demands that these cold and hot spells bring.
That is the only way to reliability.

fred250
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
February 17, 2021 6:14 pm

“Natural gas is the only way forward.”

.

Texas has HEAPS of coal, and there is ZERO SCIENTIFIC REASON for them not to use it.

Last edited 8 days ago by fred250
Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  fred250
February 17, 2021 11:24 pm

It’s all brown coal. Let’s be realistic here.
Lignite is a dead end in this anti-CO2 environment.

Luke
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
February 18, 2021 7:17 am

Yes, it’s a dead end in this “anti-CO2 environment.” The solution is to make anti-CO2 the dead end.

MAL
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
February 17, 2021 8:03 pm

Gas has the problem it in not easily store in large amounts, did you not read the article power plants should have sixty days of fuel on hand. Rick Perry knew of the problem, if I remember right he was once governor of Texas.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  MAL
February 17, 2021 11:26 pm

There are lots and lots of unused underground salt domes suitable for nat gas storage in Texas and Louisiana. And I do mean “Lots”

Stev Cushman
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
February 18, 2021 9:33 pm

Even at 3000PSI you ain’t going to store a 60 day supply of methane in salt domes. The only way a natural gas fueled thermal or gas turbine power plant can store a 60 day supply of fuel onsite is by converting them to dual fuel, gas primary fuel with fuel oil as secondary fuel. The problem with this is you sacrifice lowest emissions. To meet emissions on fuel oil requires larger SCR & ammonia slip catalyst as well as adding an oxidizing catalyst.

Bill Parsons
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
February 18, 2021 11:02 am

Holman Jenkins in yesterday’s WSJ, “Nine times Dallas has recorded daily snowfalls of 4 inches or more since 1940, but this week’s may be the first to be attributed to man-made climate change.”

WRT: “…no new nuclear reactors….”

Just eyeballing the eia graph, it looks like nuclear was the only energy source that performed without reductions.

David A
Reply to  Bill Parsons
February 19, 2021 4:34 am

No Sir, natural gas raised production substainaly, as this graphic showed, and if some of the compressors had not been tied into wind generated power, they could have increased production even more.
comment image

John W Brisbin
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
February 20, 2021 7:28 am

“Say Farewell To Windmills, No More Fair Weather Power”
Still too long for a bumper sticker.

Pat Frank
February 17, 2021 2:14 pm

David, what about the cold caused the natural gas plants to go offline?

Did valves freeze? Were personnel unable to come to work? Any idea what happened?

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Pat Frank
February 17, 2021 2:23 pm

KS, NE, and SD didn’t lose any nat gas generation. What’s the difference? Winterization of supply lines and generating plants would be my guess.

fred250
Reply to  David Middleton
February 17, 2021 3:40 pm

What Texas, and every other country where hydro or geothermal cannot provide reliability.. and that has coal readily available…

is to build up COAL fired electricity to supply a large percentage of the normal base-load.

GAS to carry most of rest, with their peaking ability

Wind and solar contribute anything left. NOT rule the supply chain.

Having wind and solar with precedence, is guaranteed to destroy grid operational reliability.

Last edited 8 days ago by fred250
Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  fred250
February 17, 2021 4:21 pm

I suspect it is going to be a longish while before facts and common sense, let alone price and/or reliability, dictates energy policy, or the ability for providers to use their own discretion when it comes to choosing what types of power plants and in what proportion, they can build and run.

Posa
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 17, 2021 4:42 pm

“Freeze in the Dark” teaching methods can wonderfully focus the mind.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Posa
February 17, 2021 6:31 pm

Unfortunately, none of the people who are making the decisions that led to this, have spent even a single instant freezing in the dark.
Nor has anyone they know.

David A
Reply to  Posa
February 19, 2021 4:37 am

Yes, an old saying, “pain is a prod to memory”

WXcycles
Reply to  fred250
February 17, 2021 5:01 pm

Basic problem is wind and solar are non-essential, because they are unreliable, thus actually unnecessary, and should get no priority or special benefit in the grid service at all. Let alone produce a useless, needless expensive duplication of infrastructure, and associated false promise of base-load provision and replacement capacity, which they are incapable of.

Coal, gas and nuclear are actually essential because they’re actually reliable and comparatively cheap.

The deeper problem is that media and politicians think physical and economic facts don’t matter and can be ignored without creating disastrous consequences.

They don’t have the necessary civic spine to pursue the best-interests of society and they certainly don’t, yet they get the civil authority to call the shots in such matters.

That power needs to be taken out of their corrupt, stoopid ideological hands, and mandated to guaranteed capacity and provision of reliable base-load electron supply – only.

Mr.
Reply to  WXcycles
February 17, 2021 6:04 pm

The left relies on the cumulative critical momentum of the power of language, as inflicted on the great unwashed.

One example is how they describe the necessary gas / coal / nuclear continuous power generation to back up wind & solar as “firming”

What they should really describe gas / coal / nuclear as is –

DEPENDABLE POWER GENERATION.

David A
Reply to  fred250
February 19, 2021 4:36 am

Having wind and solar at all is guaranteed to raise the cost of all energy. They are a burden.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  David Middleton
February 17, 2021 4:46 pm

So if Texas did not lose any natural gas generation, and I believe the coal and nuclear did not shut down either, so I guess that leaves the windmills and the solar as not contributing to the base load.

Windmills supply about 25 percent of the Texas power and half of them are frozen, which cuts that 25 percent in half, and there goes your grid.

Last edited 8 days ago by Tom Abbott
Jeff Alberts
Reply to  David Middleton
February 18, 2021 8:41 am

David, you said above that Texas didn’t lose any Nat Gas generation, then you just said they did…

David A
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
February 19, 2021 4:45 am

Jeff, look at the charts David showed. Natural gas INCREASED production. They lost the ability to INCREASE as much as they could have. They lost this maximum increase because one large plant lost the ability to run their compressors which were tied to failed Wind supply grid, and in the emergency natural gas had to be diverted from generation to heat, so electrical generation could not ramp up as much as possible. Also an undefined amount of the ramped up production was lost due to some valve problems or something, possibly related to the cold.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  David A
February 25, 2021 8:44 pm

some were forced offline due to inadequate gas supplies”

That’s a loss of generation. Makes no difference if others increased to cover for the loss of overall generation.

pls
Reply to  David Middleton
February 18, 2021 11:17 pm

This! The one big thing that was called out in the 2011 incident report that ERCOT did not follow up on was the interaction between the electric and gas systems. Most of the gas system runs on electric powered compressors. When those lose power, the gas flow reduces, which forces gas generating plants to shut down. Fortunately this cascade failure did not run to completion. This time.

Cybersmythe
Reply to  Tom Abbott
February 17, 2021 6:18 pm

I don’t know if Texas lost any natural gas generation, but I can tell you that at least in this corner of Texas (extreme western Harris County) the demand on residential natural gas exceeded the supply at least once.

I don’t find it implausible that some natural gas plants went offline during the crisis because it’s difficult to store natural gas onsite and natural gas is also used by people for cooking and water heating and in our furnaces. That’s why coal and nuclear is better than gas because they can store many days worth of fuel on-site.

fred250
Reply to  Cybersmythe
February 17, 2021 8:29 pm

Gas supply regularity is a ENGINEERING issue, hence can be solved

ERRATIC supply from wind and solar is a WEATHER related issue…. hence CANNOT BE SOLVED.

saveenergy
Reply to  fred250
February 18, 2021 1:56 am

ERRATIC supply from wind and solar is a WEATHER related issue…. hence CANNOT BE SOLVED.”

But, but … I thought the IPCC said we can control the climate / weather.
Maybe granny was right when she said “mankind cant even control it’s bowels never mind nature”

Inspector kemp
Reply to  Cybersmythe
February 18, 2021 11:01 am

Exactly. natural gas is great, but demand competes with residential, and you can’t store it effectively above ground.

MAL
Reply to  Tom Abbott
February 17, 2021 8:04 pm

It worse than that the frozen ones need to be keep warm.

Brian Bishop
Reply to  David Middleton
February 18, 2021 6:52 am

david, I think the graphs tell a different story than what you said. it is not a story that is unfriendly to fossil fuel but there were losses of traditional generation in the early morning hours of feb. 15th. the graph is obvious. by that point there was almost no wind power in the state with the most wind power in the nation! obviously no solar between you know nighttime and cloud cover. They had ramped natural gas all week from when the single digits rolled in on feb. 9th. so it wasn’t a case of not being able to ramp it fast enough, but of a week of running straight out straining plants and delivery infrastructure itself also subject to buildup of ice and deep freezing temperatures intruding far enough south to, affect the cooling at one of the nukes iirc (notice the nuke and coal drop outs as well).

what this says is renewables are undependable when needed, but the wrong thing to do here would be to give billions of ratepayers money to utilities for ‘antifreeze’ incentives. It is a signal that ratepayers should keep their money and get backup ready for winter outages just like we do in the northeast. many of them have hyrbrid cars that could provide both backup generation and storage during such events keeping [fossil fuel] heat going. maybe could run modest heat pump load but realistically this says we need fossil fuel home heating which takes realtively minimal amount of electricity to run and can be jury rigged even off a car alternator nevermind an inverter for the 250V systems on a hybrid car.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Brian Bishop
February 18, 2021 9:57 am

Which graph are you referring to showing “dropouts”?

David A
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 19, 2021 5:02 am

There was a drop out of the ramp up on that day. Wind failed utterly and solar was zero. You can see all along that natural gas not only load followed, but danced one hell of a jig to wind and solar follow.
However that drop on the 15th was likely due to more wind failures and NG electric compressors tied to the wind grid.

Yes, additional details needed, yet there us zero doubts, this was a wind and solar caused fail.

David A
Reply to  David A
February 19, 2021 5:02 am

comment image

Thus graphic

Jim D
Reply to  David A
February 19, 2021 3:37 pm

Why is wind and solar shown on top of the graph, instead of as a tiny, barely visible line at the bottom or middle??

David A
Reply to  Jim D
February 19, 2021 8:36 pm

That is simply the order shown with the total production. They could be any order wanted, the thickness of the colours, if identical, are equal megawatt hours regardless of top or bottom.

David A
Reply to  David A
February 19, 2021 8:38 pm

As can be seen, once the cold began in earnest on the 9th, wind and solar became thin or non-existent through the 16th.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  David Middleton
February 18, 2021 8:11 am

Great article David! I’ve seen allusions to it here, but I think it would be really useful if someone knowledgeable with ERCOT rules could publish a short piece on how energy and capacity are supplied to (and paid for) on the grid:

  • Is it a level playing field for both renewable and conventional sources?
  • Are renewables required to bid in energy supply into the day ahead market?
  • Do renewables back-out conventional sources when the former are available in real-time?
  • Are there any penalties to renewables for “not showing up”?
  • Do renewables receive capacity payments even though they’re neither dispatchable nor reliable?
  • Etc.
Hotscot
Reply to  David Middleton
February 17, 2021 2:30 pm

David

I read somewhere that Gas suppliers had been persuaded to adopt electric pumps (no idea what they used before) to move the Gas through pipelines. Predictably, they lost power when turbines etc. failed.

Ed Reid
Reply to  Hotscot
February 17, 2021 2:37 pm

Most pipeline compression is natural gas-fueled from the pipeline.

MAL
Reply to  Ed Reid
February 17, 2021 8:06 pm

Not any more, that ended about thirty years ago. It stupid on top of stupid.

Bryan A
Reply to  Hotscot
February 17, 2021 2:45 pm

Perhaps their electric pumps were sustainably powered by Wind and Solar
/snark-gasm

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Hotscot
February 17, 2021 2:50 pm

I do not understand the assertion.
Wind can be seen to drop off to near nothing at frequent intervals, although typically they are short intervals.
What picks up the slack are gas turbines.
So how does it follow that gas pipelines predictably lost power when turbines failed?
The grid is fed by all sources of power…there is no wind grid and gas grid, etc.
Turbines do not feed directly to individual customers or industries.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 17, 2021 2:56 pm

I would think that a company responsible for delivering gas through pipelines would have generators to run the pumps when the power goes out.
Texas is known for hurricanes and tropical storms, which knock out power for long stretches of time across wide areas.
Power outages are not unheard of, anywhere.
A traffic accident can cause one.
The big problem with generator power is typically running out of fuel for them after some amount of time.
The only fuel source that gets around this problem is piped in nat gas.
Really big tanks of gasoline and/or propane or diesel can make the amount of time they can run in an outage be a rather long time, but when the tanks go dry and the reason for the outage is a hurricane, there is usually no way to quickly and easily get more to anyone who wants and needs it.
Huge demand coincides with impassable roads and general chaos.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  David Middleton
February 17, 2021 3:49 pm

OK, thanks Dave.
That is easy to understand.
We talk about it here all the time with regard to intermittent power sources, eh? There has to be dispatchable power available for every watt of wind and solar generation capacity.

But even in the years prior to widespread adoption of wind and solar for grid scale power, unusual and severe weather conditions occasionally push demand past the ability to generate supply.
In some places it seems to occur mostly when it is really hot over a wide area for an extended period of time…hotter than usual for longer than usual.
In other places, like here in Florida, getting really hot is not when the grid gets overtaxed…it is when it is really cold for an extended period of time…which happened a lot back in the 1980s, occasionally in the 1970s, and began to be very rare by the mid 1990s.
We have not had any 1980’s type of days long deep freezes here in many years.
Although this too is an old pattern, dating back to pre-civil war years: In Florida, there is a long history of decades in a row with no killing freezes over large areas of the state, followed by a period in which they happened over and over again. Each period is usually a few decades long.
I can recall discussing this in physical geography, meteorology, and climatology classes at USF back when I was in college there in the 1980s.
No one knows for sure why this happens, and any explanation has to explain why it has been a consistent pattern for over 150 years.
My guess is a careful look at Texas’ weather history would show something similar.
Record cold?
Maybe.
But it astounds me how many different ways there are to set a all time record for something.

Last edited 8 days ago by Nicholas McGinley
Scissor
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 17, 2021 4:47 pm

Michael Mann says that this weather is exactly what is predicted from climate change.

It would seem that more fossil fuels will be needed to make energy delivery more robust to keep people warm and their power on as global warming makes it colder.

Reply to  Scissor
February 18, 2021 7:45 pm

Scissor,
“Michael Mann says that this weather is exactly what is predicted from climate change.”
I always laugh at this statement since ALL weather is consistent with climate change. Good weather, bad weather; even ‘normal’ weather.
And yes we need reliable energy sources. It is the height of stupidity to make our energy sources weather dependent especially when they [alarmists] think the weather is going to be more extreme. Illogical!
They must want to make civilization more fragile.

Jim Clarke
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 17, 2021 5:45 pm

My guess is the 60-year long AMO cycle (Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation) for Florida freezes, although it seems to have a hemispheric and global effect as well. I have been forecasting the weather for Florida agricultural interests since 1982, primarily for frost and freeze coverage. Work has been a lot slower the last 10 years than the first 10 years. My clients are familiar with Florida weather history, and they are well aware of the cyclical nature of the warmer decades and the colder decades. The warmer decades are likely over, and they look at Texas and say “There but for the grace of God, go I!”

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  David Middleton
February 17, 2021 4:48 pm

Dave, so there was no freezing of gas lines as was reported?
I’d really like to get to the bottom of that.
If it was simply not planned that wind would go to zero at the same time as home heat gas went way up, then that is a failure of imagination.

Brandon
Reply to  Pat from Kerbob
February 17, 2021 8:26 pm

Natural gas does not freeze at any earthly temperature.

Larry in Texas
Reply to  David Middleton
February 18, 2021 9:30 pm

David – if those anecdotal reports are confirmed, could it be that weather conditions made it difficult or impossible for personnel to work in those Permian Basin areas who would otherwise be able to fix things like stuck valves? I know, there are probably not that many personnel out there, but I’m just asking.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Pat from Kerbob
February 18, 2021 5:51 am

I suspect what will be found is that there was insufficient gas to ramp up the gas generators to max reserve level. But there was enough gas to maintain current levels. When the wind/solar went down it just caused a cascade that prevented ramping up gas delivery to needed levels. It was still the failure of unreliable, intermittent power that was the root cause.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Pat from Kerbob
February 18, 2021 10:26 am

I think you may have it correct, Pat. Karl Rove had an interesting statistic on tv this morning.

He showed that before the cold front moved in, windmills were producting 43 percent of the electricity Texas was using, and after the cold front moved in and froze the windmills, the output from the windmills was reduced to 8 percent.

So Texas lost 35 percent of its electricity production when the windmills froze and the natural gas and other powerplants could not ramp up fast enough to make up the difference before rolling blackouts had to be instituted.

Larry in Texas
Reply to  Tom Abbott
February 18, 2021 9:46 pm

I’d like to know where Karl Rove got his information. I can’t access the Texas Daily Generation Mix earlier than 2/17/21 at EIA’s beta real-time operating grid site, because they only seem to keep the day’s before mix. But I seriously doubt that it was 43 percent before the cold front came through. I can’t remember any time here in Texas where wind power provided even 15 or 16 percent of total electricity generation. Karl Rove is looking at the world through rose-colored glasses again.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Larry in Texas
February 19, 2021 5:12 am
Larry in Texas
Reply to  Tom Abbott
February 18, 2021 9:48 pm

Here, by the way, is the latest EIA data on Texas’s daily generation mix from 2/17.

Texas Daily Elec Gen Mix 021721.jpg
Last edited 7 days ago by Larry in Texas
Clyde Spencer
Reply to  David Middleton
February 17, 2021 5:15 pm

David
It seems that Texas has a serious Catch 22 situation. Home gas furnaces won’t run without electricity to ignite the flame and run the fan. Even with an (very!) old furnace with a pilot light, it will quickly shut down if the fan isn’t working. So, it seems that the priority should have been to supply gas to power generation. That way, people might have been able to use small, electric space heaters and derive some small advantage from waste heat from lighting and electronic devices.

It is not unusual for people to get their priorities wrong. However, I would have expected better from ERCOT.

fred250
Reply to  David Middleton
February 17, 2021 5:40 pm

It is run by a Dumbocrat from a different state..

…. Expect the WORST !!

They need to SACK this fool, and put in someone who will have the needs of the citizens uppermost,..

…. rather than the needs of a hypothetically based anti-science social/socialist agenda.

Last edited 8 days ago by fred250
Brandon
Reply to  fred250
February 17, 2021 8:34 pm

If you live in Texas, start writing letters.

MAL
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
February 17, 2021 8:10 pm

AS always on need to have a heat source that does not need electricity. Of course the greens are against that. They want residential gas gone and forget wood!

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  MAL
February 18, 2021 10:23 am

I used to have a catalytic heater that ran on alcohol, which I used for tent camping. However, it was difficult to start and seemed to quit working when it was most needed. Perhaps people living in areas controlled by alarmists should look into getting such things for emergencies.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
February 18, 2021 6:34 am

Hi Clyde,
You are correct about needing power to run the air handler on modern forced air heating systems.
But this is not the only way to have a home heating system set up.
The house I grew up in at 22nd and Delancey in Philadelphia was built around 1880 or so. Big house. There were coal chutes int the subbasement level from the sidewalks on each of those two streets.
The furnace burned coal, and there was also an incinerator for trash that also contributed to the heating of the building somehow.
The heating was by radiators in each room, filled with hot water, and the whole thing was a gravity system.
Heated water would rise up in the pipes coming out of the furnace to the upstairs of the house, due to being less dense than the cold water that fell down the return lines.
The house is five stories tall, and it stayed HOT even in the coldest weather.
I was about ten when I read about how such radiators needed to be tapped to remove the air every now and then, and my bedroom, which had been the coldest room in the house, became the warmest.
It took me a minute to realize what the little miniature spigot at the end of each radiator was for, and to find some plyers.
The little wooden knobs on each tap had broken off at some point, or maybe been removed when my eight siblings and I were a miniature wrecking crew of youthful vigor and curiosity in perpetual destructive motion.
Anywho, the way this system was set up, all you had to do was burn stuff in the basement furnace, and the whole house would get warm. The secret?
Large pipes that were sized to allow gravity to do the work.

Last edited 8 days ago by Nicholas McGinley
Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 18, 2021 6:53 am

And the whole home used a early type of combined cycle system: There were vents in the ceiling of the basement above the fire box (which was a cube about 8 feet on a side made of some sort of bricks and wrapped in metal), and these vents were the bottom of long metal sleeves that fed into key rooms above the furnace…the front entrance hall, the living room, and two of the bedrooms. Other large rooms of course had fireplaces.
Fireplaces in the front hall, master bedroom, and the living room and dining room.
The place was anything but energy efficient. No insulation.
Large single pane windows in every room.
In the 1970s when it got suddenly really cold at the same time as energy spiked in cost through the roof, it became ruinously expensive to heat the place.
We installed sheets of plastic in front of every window in some of those years.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 18, 2021 10:41 am

Hi Nicholas,

I think that during the post-war building boom the houses were built as cheaply as possible to make them affordable for those moving out of the cities. Thus, many of the refinements you describe were forgotten about.

When I was a small boy growing up in Northern Illinois, we rented a 2-bedroom house that I think was built as a Summer home. It didn’t have a refrigerator (we used an ice box on the porch), and didn’t have hot water until my dad installed a wood-fueled hot water heater in the basement, allowing us to have weekly baths. Every Fall my father would install heavy, flexible plastic sheeting over the single-pane glass windows, and then take it down in the Spring. We did have an oil furnace for heating. Somehow we survived.

Those were the days when double-pane glass windows weren’t something that was readily available.

Brandon
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 17, 2021 9:25 pm

Not in the middle of a hot Texas summer. You’d give an important body part for even a breeze on the worst days.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Brandon
February 18, 2021 5:19 am

Not what?

David A
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 19, 2021 5:07 am

When a cascade failure begins and or brown or blackouts are forced to prevent the cascade failure, then electric compressors were forced offline.

Brandon
Reply to  Hotscot
February 17, 2021 8:25 pm

This is true. I personally know some of the people who started (and later shuttered) businesses to power electric pump house capacity using solar and wind. The methods are good for the environment and all.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  David Middleton
February 17, 2021 3:08 pm

Dave, other article I have read in the last day or two said that when the demand for nat gas exceeded the supply, that the priority was given to power generating.
Ice storms typically cause widespread outages due to tree limbs falling into power lines, or the lines themselves becoming so heavy the pylons and poles start to break or fall over.
The situation with the ice and snow seems to be similar to what happens in hurricanes and tropical storms: Power lines go down, roads are impassable, crews are only able to do so much in a day, fuel supplies for everyone begin to run out as deliveries are not able to get through… and each problem makes the others more difficult to address.

Interesting point that nat gas cannot pick up as much slack as coal or nuclear.
I for one have not seen this point raised before, but it is obvious now that you mention it: Once the capacity of the gas pipelines is reached, there is nothing anyone can d to increase it quickly and widely.
It is not stored onsite at power stations to the same degree as coal is…and maybe not at all.
Do gas turbine power plants have onsite storage, or is the gas generally used straight from the pipeline, as it is by residential and commercial customers?
I think I know the answer…

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  David Middleton
February 17, 2021 4:13 pm

Yes, I understand that.
What I was wondering was, do individual power stations have nat gas storage to smooth out periods of heavy demand with the more steady supply that pipelines can deliver, or is that generally cost prohibitive, as it would require large tanks and nat gas compression capability for each power station?
IOW…power stations running on coal typically have trains deliver it to huge mountains of it that sit on the ground right outside.
But when much of the generation capacity was switched, for good reason, from coal to nat gas, did that onsite storage of fuel get installed at each power station?
I think you are saying what I am thinking, but I really do not know…producers and distributors store nat gas, but customers, even large ones like power stations, generally do not do so?

Brandon
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 17, 2021 8:43 pm

To store natural gas above ground in an artificial container at any meaningful scale requires you pressurize the hell out of it – even to the point liquefaction. In that scenario, the energy balance equations start to overrule the economics.

Texas reliance on natural gas at 65% is bad policy. Putting combined cycle natural gas plants into your base load is great when combined with other fuel stock.

The turbine generators we call “peakers” spool up and down really fast but they aren’t efficient (a lot of latent heat loss). Imagine a massive jet engine running at full throttle to turn a generator – that’s a peaker. These do NOT EVER belong in your baseload, neither do wind or solar.

All wind and solar capacity has to be redundant (meaning megawatt for megawatt parity with fossil fuel powered generation capacity).

Someone f’d up royally here by putting wind into their load curve calculations when doing reliability (as opposed to capacity) planning.

Pflashgordon
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 18, 2021 9:22 am

See my comment above. On site storage is quite possible, even petroleum distillates as a flex fuel during emergencies. They just don’t any longer, probably due to cost.

Rick C
Reply to  David Middleton
February 17, 2021 3:31 pm

I’m sure those residential customers are grateful to have priority for gas. Now if they could get the electricity to operate their gas furnaces, they could avoid freezing.

Brandon
Reply to  Rick C
February 17, 2021 8:45 pm

I ran a portable gasoline generator and “back-flowed” electricity through the dryer circuit (240/120, 30 amps). Worked great. Not sure my shivering neighbors appreciated the 90db roar all night, though.

RickWill
Reply to  David Middleton
February 17, 2021 6:54 pm

The only economic benefit of wind generation is as a fuel replacement. In good times that will reduce the demand on gas supplies – nominally good for everyone else apart from those paying for twin generating systems.

In tough times when wind is delivering less than 3% of installed capacity for long periods, it becomes apparent that the gas supply chain is not up to the task. The wind generators have actually contributed to the inadequate gas supply. With normal daily ups and down, line pack can cater for the surge but once the surge is sustained, the line pack is inadequate. It needs bigger lines.

A 3Mt stockpile of coal would take the whole of Texas through more than a month of adverse weather. The cost of a a small wind farm to store enough fuel for any emergency. Of course nuclear fuel rods would need much less volume.

MAL
Reply to  RickWill
February 17, 2021 8:18 pm

“The wind generators have actually contributed to the inadequate gas supply.” Yes they have, right on target. Wind and solar have subsidized price and you need to buy it when they are online. Think of all the money wasted on the inadequate power source(wind) the human race abandoned nearly 200 years ago. If that money had gone into the gas infrastructure Texas would not be where it is today. Also if the useful idiots were not so fast getting rid of coal, Texas would not be where it is today!

MarkW
Reply to  David Middleton
February 18, 2021 7:11 am

Did they stop building wind and solar when the price of natural gas fell?

Joseph Campbell
Reply to  David Middleton
February 18, 2021 8:13 am

David: I donno know: “It made sense back then.” Seems somebody forgot the “weather”…

Brandon
Reply to  RickWill
February 17, 2021 8:47 pm

Coal plants don’t like to be cycled. Conventional nukes give you a bad middle finger when you try.

fred250
Reply to  Brandon
February 17, 2021 9:10 pm

“Coal plants don’t like to be cycled.”

.

Looking at the NEM in Australia, you see black coal in NSW and Qld following the demand swigs in daily data. No problem following the demand curve

comment image

By contrast, the brown coal in Victoria stays pretty constant.

(Usually doesn’t have dips like on Monday15th, that was a bit unusual)

comment image

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Brandon
February 18, 2021 10:47 am

Something I didn’t know about reactors until a friend brought it to my attention:
http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2014/ph241/alnoaimi2/

MarkW
Reply to  RickWill
February 18, 2021 7:09 am

Even in good times, the amount of gas “saved” by wind and solar is minimal at best. The reason for this is the need for hot backup, ready to take over in a matter of minutes if the wind slows or if a cloud passes over your solar panels.

Pflashgordon
Reply to  David Middleton
February 18, 2021 8:26 am

Fuel flexibility. Combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plants can be designed for fuel flexibility, burning distillate when natural gas supplies are limited. Times were when most conventional gas turbine plants had on-site tank farms holding emergency backup petroleum distillate fuels should gas supplies become limited. The same can be done for CCGT plants, but engineers and designers have fallen for the myth of uninterruptible gas supplies, or, more likely, backup fuel storage was “value engineered” out by bottom-line management accounting types.

On-site backup fuel storage is costly and has attendant maintenance and environmental compliance requirements, and it is seldom used (that’s why it is called backup or emergency supply). There are even options of CNG or LNG storage (with obvious safety issues).

If we live by gas, then we die by gas if we don’t have a backup plan.

However, none of this gets around the fact that unreliable, parasitic wind and solar have penetrated too deeply in Texas, with the results evident. You can’t count on it when you need it. Plus, because of governmental incentives, tax and pricing structures that artificially prop up renewables, fossil and nuclear fueled base load plants are economically disadvantaged. This skewed market reduces available capital for scheduled maintenance and upgrades (such as winterization).

Inspector kemp
Reply to  David Middleton
February 18, 2021 11:04 am

Yep. exactly right. When residential demand spikes, with natural gas, it can cause shortages at power plants.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Pat Frank
February 17, 2021 2:27 pm

Whatever it was/is can be fixed for the next time, which any politician worth his salt should be sorting already. No wind and night are beyond human ingenuity to fix.

Scissor
Reply to  Pat Frank
February 17, 2021 2:28 pm

Some have said that many compressor stations were electrically rather than natural gas driven. If that is so, a propensity for failure is built into the system.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Scissor
February 17, 2021 3:14 pm

In either case it seems to me they would need generators during even a short outage for any reason.
Although obviously they would need far larger generators if the pumps run on electric power.
Most pumps and motors run on electricity though.
But generators, both small and large, can easily run on nat gas.
Many of the newer ones are bifuel models. How big are the pumps for the nat gas?

Last edited 8 days ago by Nicholas McGinley
Brandon
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 17, 2021 8:49 pm

All of these pumps are using impellers. Electric is fine if the generator onsite is tapping the gas to run the motor. It’s when you put that electric motor on the grid or install local wind/solar that you’ve really jumped the shark.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Brandon
February 18, 2021 5:25 am

Yup…exactly what I was getting at.

Inspector kemp
Reply to  Pat Frank
February 18, 2021 10:58 am

Poor winterization. Where I live it goes to 20 below – we never trip the gas plant or lines because it is all winterized.

My guess? frost heave. We bury lines deep here to avoid it. But going deep costs money. Why bother in Texas? Wet ground expands as it freezes breaking lines. That might explain most of the problem, and why it is not easily fixed.

Not a lot of nat gas is stored at the power plant – it is usually pumped out of the ground, into a pipe, and direct to the power plant for use. If the line breaks… Storage of a lot of gas above the surface is hard and even dangerous.

Tim Gorman
February 17, 2021 2:22 pm

The percentages you give for generation don’t match other figures on the internet. In Jan, 2019 it was 50% gas, 25% wind/solar, and 15% coal. I doubt this has changed much other than wind/solar are a higher percentage today.

Even if gas and coal had no failures it is doubtful that they could provide enough reserve to cover a 25% of total generation when wind/solar went belly up. Outages were going to happen regardless.

When I look at KS, NE, and SD – all of which had colder temps than TX over the same period – I can find no loss of generation capacity due to temperature. KS had about 250 people out of power when I looked this morning.

So why couldn’t TX nat gas and coal survive like they did in states further north.

My guess is that the money spent over the past decade on wind and solar were taken from the money needed to winterize nat gas source production and nat gas generator winterization. That’s a *policy* decision made by the ERCOT Board of Directors, not the operational portion of ERCOT. If the entire BOD isn’t forced to resign then things probably won’t change for TX and you’ll see a similar situation at some point in the future.

fred250
Reply to  David Middleton
February 17, 2021 3:30 pm

And what was left of COAL was operating at full tilt.

Gas is able to be varied to catch peaks, iff there is sufficient gas supply.

COAL is where the absolute reliability comes from,

…. there just was nowhere near enough of it.

Scissor
Reply to  fred250
February 17, 2021 5:57 pm

The fundamental problem is power can’t just be made up like politicians’ lies.

Bill Rocks
Reply to  David Middleton
February 17, 2021 3:48 pm

Looks like natural gas saved the Texas butt.

I recall reading that gas turbines can be up and running in 30 minutes, and, if true, I assume this is best case and not in middle of ice storm or inadequate pipeline pressure. I will further speculate that in the event of this Texas weather catastrophe, 30 minutes was not sufficiently rapid.

Note that all of the 6 regional grids, shown on David’s image, are primarily dependent upon natural gas and coal, some nuclear, all of which continued to generate rather well. How can anyone rationalize forced reduction or elimination of natural gas leasing, drilling, completion (fracing) and coal production?

National enemies could not devise a better plan.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Bill Rocks
February 17, 2021 4:32 pm

They still would need to have installed capacity that is going unused most of the time, in order to have the ability to take advantage of the rapid response time that can be achieved with gas turbine generation.
It sounds like there is no such large excess capacity that is sufficient to react to any possible demand situation…at least not the one that occurred with this event…which I understand is ongoing, and may be about to get worse for some areas.
And it is still the middle of February.
Back in 1977, Philadelphia, which in some Winters has zero days where the high temp is below freezing, did not get above the freezing mark for the entire month of February.
IIRC, that year was subsequent to one of the years with a particularly mild Winter with no outbreaks of Arctic air at all. In Philly anyhow.
That (1977) was the only time in recorded history that snow fell in Miami Florida.

Last edited 8 days ago by Nicholas McGinley
Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 17, 2021 5:29 pm

I mention all of that because I think it is entirely possible that we could very quickly have global scale cooling to levels similar to what was the case back in the 1970s.
And if that happens, it will be flat out impossible to avoid Very Bad Things occurring.
Imagine large numbers of people freezing to death in their homes.
And how quickly would ideologically driven politicians and political parties respond by abandoning policies that are based on the idea that the world is warming quickly and irreversibly?
For that matter, what chance is there that this event will make even a single one of the warmistas reconsider one single thing?

I think we can glean the answer when we read about how they are blaming the cold on global warming, and they think they can control the global thermostat with virtue signaling and tax credits for things that make no rational sense.

Many of us here are certain that there is actually nothing unprecedent occurring with the weather or anyone’s climate, and the idea the world is warming inexorably is false.

And many of us are not even sure that the people at the top of the political food chain even believe a word of the global warming climate change meme. Some of us even consider it unlikely in the extreme that the real agenda has anything to do with the weather or the climate or CO2 at all.
It is about power, control, and money.

Given that, how likely is it that the people in political power right now will respond to changing facts by changing their minds?
Or that they give a tiny rat’s patoot about people freezing in the dark because of the policies they have put in place?
After all, this has been a long time coming, and we just had an election, and no matter how you slice it, a whole lot of people voted for politicians who have promised to do things that hurt the very people who voted for them anyway!

So there are (at least) two awful possible scenarios I can see: One is that it does not matter anymore, if it ever did, how people actually vote.
Another is that large numbers of people are far too uninformed , miseducated, and/or emotionally incapable to changing which party they vote for, and are in any case too gullible and given to believing lies, to even know what the truth is, even when/if it slaps them upside the head or leaves them shivering and hungry in the dark.

Last edited 8 days ago by Nicholas McGinley
Brandon
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 17, 2021 8:55 pm

I listened to a US Representative in a closed door meeting tell her audience how she had to explain to one of her colleagues how you can’t build battery powered cargo ships.

No lie. The people in DC are THAT dumb.

AndyHce
Reply to  Bill Rocks
February 17, 2021 8:30 pm

“National enemies could not devise a better plan.”
I’m sure they are doing the best they can in the face of some remaining opposition,

MarkW
Reply to  Tim Gorman
February 17, 2021 2:45 pm

It’s possible that more than a few managers have bought into the warmunists claims that cold weather was going to be a thing of the past. OK, KS and states further north would know better.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Tim Gorman
February 17, 2021 3:28 pm

Part of the answer is something discussed here regularly: Every watt of intermittent power generation has got to be backed up by a source that is on standby and is not intermittent.
Otherwise, it is only a question of how often and when will there not be enough generation capacity to meet demand.
In some places, the grid is overtaxed most cmmonly on very hot days, and in other places, it happens mostly when it is very cold.
Here in Florida, the last time we had brownouts and rolling blackouts due to weather was when it was really cold for a long period of time.
Because it is really hot every day for month at a time, every single year.
So power generation necessarily is sized to meet that demand.
Texas is similar with regard to hot weather and the need for air conditioning on a long term regular basis.
The difference is that Texas can also get really cold, and does so far more frequently and severely than Florida.
And heating uses far more power than cooling,even when it is not particularly cold outside.
Places that do not get terribly cold very often generally have just about everyone using electric power for heat. And that is the least efficient way to heat a home that I can think of offhand.
In places like Philadelphia, nearly every home has nat gas, or at least has it available if a homeowner wants it.
In Florida, almost no one has nat gas pipelines in their area.
If you want gas appliances, you need to use propane.
I was about to wonder out loud if Texas is more like Philly, or more like Florida…but now I am thinking of the show, King of the Hill. Strickland Propane.
And I think places with low population density generally do not have nat gas pipelines available to the all of the residents. Texas is a big place.

Last edited 8 days ago by Nicholas McGinley
starzmom
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 17, 2021 3:46 pm

I live in eastern Kansas, south of Kansas City. We also have lots of natural gas in our state, but it is also true that areas with low population do not have gas pipelines through neighborhoods. We ended up all-electric, with a wood burning stove for supplemental heat. Some people have propane tanks and heat and cook with propane. So, yes, even where there is lots of gas available, it doesn’t mean it gets to everybody.

MAL
Reply to  Tim Gorman
February 17, 2021 8:21 pm

Minnesota got in trouble for the very same reason in recent cold snaps, Gas supplies get used up wind and solar contribute nothing. Shutting down coal and nuclear were extremely stupid, of course that what useful idiots do.

Scissor
February 17, 2021 2:35 pm

One should not expect a reliable system to be based on unreliable component parts.

bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 2:35 pm

Texas is a red state. The GOP is incapable of properly governing. https://www.star-telegram.com/opinion/editorials/article249285685.html

MarkW
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 2:47 pm

When you find an editorialist who says what you want to hear, you stick to him, don’t you.

What’s amazing is that no matter many times socialists fail, it’s never their fault.

bethan456@gmail.com
Reply to  MarkW
February 17, 2021 3:07 pm

Local folks in Texas are the best source of opinion.

MarkW
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 5:14 pm

One editorialist is now the sole representative of all the people of Texas?
Really? Do you often have these illusions of godhood?

bethan456@gmail.com
Reply to  MarkW
February 17, 2021 5:24 pm

The governor of Texas has prohibited the selling of natural gas outside of Texas.
..
Guess he knows what the real problem is.

MarkW
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 5:46 pm

Yes, there isn’t enough natural gas, which is why more frakking and more pipelines are needed.

BTw, why are you changing the subject yet again?

bethan456@gmail.com
Reply to  MarkW
February 17, 2021 3:11 pm

Wind power in Texas is still above predicted values: http://www.ercot.com/content/cdr/html/CURRENT_DAYCOP_HSL.html

fred250
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 3:33 pm

GAS saved the day

COAL was operating basically flat out, just nowhere near enough of it

wind and particularly solar almost totally WHIMPING OUT. !

comment image

Last edited 8 days ago by fred250
fred250
Reply to  David Middleton
February 17, 2021 4:08 pm

Only at the right hand end where all supply dropped off,

Was it not needed to meet a reduced demand?

Chuck no longer in Houston
Reply to  fred250
February 18, 2021 12:00 pm

The drop off in Nuclear was when a safety sensor failed on one of the STNP units south of Houston. The reactor had to be taken offline per operating rules. So it wasn’t a cooling issue or other problem. It was an untimely procedural (and safety)issue.

jtom
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 4:20 pm

This is the end of the beginning for wind power, and it will now begin dying.

https://www.msn.com/en-au/news/other/worlds-solar-and-wind-capital-freezing-due-to-snow-blanketing-millions-of-solar-panels/ar-BB1dF9Dp?ocid=st

From the above link:

“ Germany’s long been held up by the likes of these renewable luvvies, they say Germany’s the world’s great wind and solar capital,” Mr Dean said.

“But as we speak millions of solar panels are blanketed in snow and 30,000 wind turbines are sitting idle because there’s no wind.

“Freezing Germans shivering in their lederhosen’s are desperate for coal fired power to heat up their wurst and sauerkraut.”

Please note that this is an MSN article, not a conservative source. When you lose both the left and right media, you have lost the war.

bethan456@gmail.com
Reply to  jtom
February 17, 2021 5:26 pm

Texans are freezing because they didn’t winterize their fossil fuel plants

fred250
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 5:45 pm

And WASTED whole heap of money on UNRELIABLE non-supplies

THANK GOODNESS FOR GAS

comment image

MarkW
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 5:47 pm

As David pointed out, total power from fossil fuel plants didn’t go down, it simply couldn’t go up fast enough to accomodate the wind generators going off line.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  MarkW
February 18, 2021 10:35 am

MarkW has it right.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 5:52 pm

Troll alert.
Shut yer frickin yap, puddinhead.

fred250
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 6:27 pm

Poor little SJW petal is SO DUMB that he/she/it doesn’t even realise that its comments actually REINFORCE that ..

The greenie “global warming” agenda LIES and MISINFORMATION are behind all this problem in Texas,

….. from wasted funds on wind and solar, to not preparing for cold weather well enough

If all those funds had been spent on beefing up RELIABLE COAL fired power and properly preparing GAS power for this type of COLD WEATHER event, the whole of Texas would be far better off.

jtom
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 6:38 pm

Doesn’t matter. The obvious solution is to winterize their fossil fuel plants, NOT waste money on technologies that are totally useless in these situations. Wind and solar are just diverting resources from where they could best be used.

Art
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 8:01 pm

AOC? Is that you, AOC?

Abolition Man
Reply to  Art
February 17, 2021 9:06 pm

I was thinking it might be some new kind of AI. There is definitely a possibility of the Artificiality; but little chance of the Intelligence judging from it’s comments!

AndyHce
Reply to  jtom
February 17, 2021 8:39 pm

That would be nice but it isn’t going to happen any time soon. Double down on ideology is always the watchword, no matter how bad the results.

MarkW
Reply to  AndyHce
February 18, 2021 7:15 am

The solution to any problem is more government. Even those problems caused by government in the first place.

saveenergy
Reply to  MarkW
February 18, 2021 3:07 am

What’s amazing is that no matter many times socialists all Politicians fail, it’s never their fault.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 3:25 pm

It is the ERCOT Board of Directors that control the grid generation policies. The Chair of the BOD is a Democrat from Michigan that doesn’t even live in TX. The governor and legislature has little to do with the implementation of the grid, that is done by the ERCOT BOD.

The BOD is so embarrassed that they have deleted all their names and profiles from the ERCOT today. They were available as of 8AM this morning. They were gone as of 4PM. They should all resign!

Scissor
Reply to  Tim Gorman
February 17, 2021 5:51 pm

Didn’t Biden promise a dark winter?

Brandon
Reply to  Scissor
February 17, 2021 9:03 pm

Yes, and he delivered.

That said, he was likely prophesizing more than promising. He’s demented and frail, but he still has enough juice to see what the real game being played around him is…

Brandon
Reply to  Tim Gorman
February 17, 2021 9:01 pm

If not, Texans should peacefully have them removed and replaced before April. I’ll take a seat. I could do a damned sight better than this bunch of ass clowns.

gringojay
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 3:31 pm

Apparently the wokerati government incentives for wind & solar power generating facilities has been so significant in Texas that traditional power generating operations’ financial margin have been negatively impacted & thus those non-Green facilities in Texas’ have had to pull back on their investments. And then this cold event happened.

fred250
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 3:32 pm

We all agree that those looking after the Texas grid should NEVER have bowed to the green wind and solar anti-CO2, anti-LIFE socialist control agenda.

bethan456@gmail.com
Reply to  fred250
February 17, 2021 3:48 pm

Actually Fred, the reason that wind has such a high percentage penetration into the Texas grid is because wind is cheaper than coal. Since Texas/ERCOT pursued the cheapest source, they have a lot of turbines. Since ERCOT doesn’t interconnect across state lines, the federal regulations regarding cold weather operation were never followed. They didn’t interconnect because if they did it would cost them money to follow reliability regulations from the feds. Choosing the cheapest path is why Texas is in such a dire state right now.

gringojay
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 3:59 pm

Comprehension is your friend. Wind being cheaper than coal is not because of true market conditions, but only because of rate interventions creating an artifice favoring wind.

bethan456@gmail.com
Reply to  gringojay
February 17, 2021 5:28 pm

Actually, in Texas wind IS cheaper than coal without subsidies.

fred250
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 5:46 pm

NO IT IS NOT.. STOP LYING !

It requires 100% back-up and the grid integration costs are enormous.

Wind’s FAILURE TO SUPPLY WHEN NEEDED has caused ENORMOUS mental and physical COSTS to all Texans

GAS carried basically all the load, with help from maxed out coal and nuclear.

Last edited 8 days ago by fred250
MarkW
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 5:48 pm

Not even close to being true.

Brandon
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 9:06 pm

It’s not cheaper. Taken by itself it might be marginally cheaper, but once you account for the needed stable redundant capacity wind only adds cost to the rate base.

meab
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 18, 2021 10:21 am

Tell that to the Texans that are freezing now. You seem to be unable to comprehend the simple fact that an unreliable source of energy does not have the same value as a reliable, dispatchable source. Do you have investments in wind power or are you just stupid?

MarkW
Reply to  meab
February 18, 2021 11:00 am

She’s a typical progressive.
Reality is whatever the leader of her cell tells her it is.
If it’s something different tomorrow, no problem.

jtom
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 4:09 pm

The other states had no surplus power. Interconnections do not produce power.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  jtom
February 18, 2021 10:44 am

Good point. The Southwest Power Pool, a 17-State grid, was having trouble keeping their own grid operating and did not have any surplus to give Texas even if they could.

I suppose the grid containing the States east of Texas might have had some surplus since they were not having extreme weather that far east at the time, although it is moving into their area now.

The bottom line is Texas depended too much on windmills and had no plan if they froze up.

And now, not only are they out of electricity, but there is a boil order out for water for seven million Texans, and they are starting to run out of food.

This is a huge disaster and some prominent Texas politicians may pay the price. I heard Governor Abbott trying to make excuses for the windmills this morning. I don’t think that is going to be a satisfactory argument for the people of Texas.

Texans should vote to ban any future windmills being added to their grid. If someone wants to power their private enterprise with windmills, that’s ok, but not the State power grid.

fred250
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 4:19 pm

You poor ignorant little twerp.

Wind and solar are NEVER the cheapest path.. look at German and South Australia electricity prices

Wind and solar are PURELY a leftist political agenda.

RELIABILITY HAS BEEN COMPROMISED by the bowing to the green agenda…

What is so difficult for an NIL-EDUCATED prat like you to understand.

GAS SAVED THE DAY

Coal basically straight-line on maximum.. just nowhere near enough of it.

Wind and solar were basically non-contributors

It wasn’t cold that caused the gas delivery problems , it was using electric blowers rather than the normal gas-powered blowers. (to save CO2 emissions, how DUMB is that). So when the electricity started to struggle so did the gas

comment image

fred250
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 5:27 pm

GULLIBILITY is such a weakness.

WHY are electricity coss always the HIGHEST in states with lots of wind and solar. !

And CBS news.. ROFLMAO

You still haven’t figured out the meaning of the word RELIABILITY, have you, poor ultra leftist nil-educated child.

MarkW
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 5:49 pm

Ah yes, anything written by a newspaper has to be true. Especially when it agrees with your religious convictions.

jtom
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 6:49 pm

Even if true, which it isn’t, wind and solar are worthless when they produce no power when it is needed most.

If you lived in a hurricane zone, you would realize that a severe storm hits less than once in a decade or two for any specific location. You would also know that a hurricane reinforced roof costs considerably more than a regular roof. And you would pay the extra money for one.

You seem willing to accept the deaths of many people in exchange for your ‘cheaper’ technology. Your mother would be so proud….

Ray in SC
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 18, 2021 8:51 am

Bethan, the analysis in the article is misleading. While the construction cost per MegaWatt (energy) for fossil fuels, wind, and solar may be similar, the cost per MegaWatt-hour of power produced is vastly different. This is because a fossil fuel power plant can produce nameplate rated power 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and about 50 weeks a year. A wind turbine can produce perhaps 30% of rated power and solar panels can produce perhaps 15% of rated power. This is because the wind does not always blow at the optimum speed and because the sun does not always shine at full strength (diurnal cycles and weather).

MarkW
Reply to  Ray in SC
February 18, 2021 11:01 am

Not just diurnal cycles, but annual cycles as well. The sun is high in the summer and low in the winter. Only twice a year do the panels point to precisely where the daily track of the sun is.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 18, 2021 10:48 am

How cheap is it when it shuts down a whole State because it is incapable of operating?

I never heard of a coal-fired powerplant shutting down a State because it went off line.

I have now seen windmills shut down a State because they froze up and went off line.

Unreliable electricity generation is not cheaper than anything.

fred250
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 5:28 pm

They are NOT CHEAPER, because they require 100% BACKUP to be viable. !

fred250
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 5:33 pm

And of course, integration into the grid, is a MASSIVE unaccounted cost..

comment image

comment image

Remain IGNORANT and GULLIBLE….

…. the only way you can support your rancid hatred of all things CO2

gringojay
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 5:44 pm

More accurate would be to follow what your links themselves cite, such as the Bloomberg article “Solar & Wind … outgrowing subsidies” from Sept 19, 2019. Where it says: “… the picture is less clear in the U.S. … developers need 15 year power purchase contracts … [instead of currently up to 25 year ones].

The US onshore wind operations from North Dakota to Texas are still subsidized through “Production Tax Credits”. The power purchase contracts range from 20 to 25 years

As for that 2019 Bloomberg tout that solar was being built without subsidies anymore – the article specified it is only for 2,484MW in Spain, 569 MW in Italy, 105 MW in Portugal & a total 30 MW in “other” locations.

Below are some other claims you might have recently heard & maybe once even thought to pass off to others as undeniable.

8FCAE960-3864-488C-8996-4C3CFC3A8009.jpeg
Mohatdebos
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 5:47 pm

Wind might be cheaper, but it is much less reliable. The intermittency means you have to have backup power or costly storage, or accept occasional blackouts. The cost of wind goes up dramatically when you add the cost of backup generation and storage (see California, UK, and South Australia).

MarkW
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 5:51 pm

That’s not true when you include the cost of the back up systems that are needed for when the wind isn’t blowing and the sun isn’t shinning. If you cherry pick only the data that you like, you can make anything look affordable.
However the fact remains that wherever renewable power is installed, electricity prices go up. This would not be happening if wind and solar actually were cheaper.

AndyHce
Reply to  MarkW
February 17, 2021 8:46 pm

higher usage costs IN ADDITION to all the subsidies and special rules

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 5:57 pm

Thank you for the vivid reminder of exactly why this is occurring.
Because people like you get a vote that can cancel out that of someone with a functional mind.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 18, 2021 10:51 am

If that’s the case, then why are windmills and solar subsidized? They are subsidized because they would not be built otherwise because they are not cost-effective by themselves.

Warren Buffet says the only reason to invest in windmills is to get the subsidies. That’s the only profit in them.

MarkW
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 5:21 pm

Wind is only cheaper because it isn’t being charged the cost of the backup power supplies that are needed when the wind isn’t blowing.
Then there is the requirement that the output of the wind generators must be purchased, even when it isn’t needed.

I love how you are absolutely convinced that you know more about building and running an electric grid than are the people who actually do so.

Beyond that, there is a fact that everywhere wind and solar are used, electric prices have gone up. The higher the level of penetration for wind and solar, the more prices go up.

Last edited 8 days ago by MarkW
fred250
Reply to  MarkW
February 17, 2021 5:35 pm

“absolutely convinced”

.

Yet PROVABLE WRONG on basically EVERYTHING.

Another LOW-education leftist LOSER.

Arrogant in their IGNORANCE

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 5:28 pm

“… because wind is cheaper than coal.”

Cheaper is not always better. You often get what you pay for, as happens with a lowest-bid contractor.

MarkW
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
February 17, 2021 5:52 pm

Leftists have spent their life getting participation awards for just showing up, and have been assured by their educators that believing what they are indoctrinated to believe has made them the smartest people who have ever lived.

fred250
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
February 17, 2021 6:31 pm

Its like knowingly buying a car that only starts 1/2 the time and then konks-out halfway to where you are trying to get to.

Or being a leftist. A pointless act of gross ignorance and stupidity.

Abolition Man
Reply to  fred250
February 17, 2021 9:17 pm

Fred250,
It might not be ignorance or stupidity for our little bethantroll; it could well be insanity! Reading it’s posts make me realize I need to reread Prof. Gad Saad’s Book about thought pathogens!
I want to make sure I have a good understanding of how supposedly well educate people can sound and act so stupid!

jtom
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
February 17, 2021 6:53 pm

Much worse than that. Those of her ilk are willing to let people die in exchange for their ‘cheaper’ technologies. That those technologies are not truly cheaper only shows them to be even more evil.

Brandon
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 9:05 pm

Texas has a bit of a pollution problem according to the empty-headed Feds. They attempted to avoid fines and sanctions from the ivory tower by littering the landscape of West Texas those fugly, migratory bird killing, money laundering plants.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 4:47 pm

What is the optimum concentration of carbon dioxide in parts per million in Earth’s atmosphere?

Earthling2
Reply to  Carlo, Monte
February 17, 2021 11:39 pm

560 ppmv

fred250
Reply to  Earthling2
February 18, 2021 12:53 am

nope, at least 700ppm, probably more like 1000ppm.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  fred250
February 18, 2021 10:09 am

Note that the Watermelons will never answer this question.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 17, 2021 5:23 pm

bethan
You are nothing if not predictable!

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
February 17, 2021 5:59 pm

Clyde,
Bethan, you are nothing.

There, that’s better.
🙂

Bryan A
February 17, 2021 2:42 pm

Eligible grid reliability and resiliency resource is any resource that:

3. has a 90-day fuel supply on site enabling it to operate during an emergency, extreme weather conditions, or a natural or man-made disaster

Seems to me that Wind and Solar don’t qualify then.
I would sure like to see their “On Site 90 day fuel supply”

fred250
Reply to  Bryan A
February 17, 2021 4:30 pm

30 days supply of gas for a power station is a lot of volume.

Either LOTS of expensive tanks, or sealed underground storage needed

COAL on the other hand can and is stacked in the open, sometimes with covers over it.

Pflashgordon
Reply to  fred250
February 18, 2021 9:50 am

I checked with GE, one of the biggest suppliers of gas turbines. Their units can be configured to also burn distillates as a backup. On site storage can be petroleum distillates in tanks. That is how it used to be done. So coal is not the only fuel that can have on site reserves. Somehow, though, generation companies have been convinced that the storage cost is too high or that gas supplies are uninterruptible (false).

Nicholas McGinley
February 17, 2021 2:44 pm

Who the frick is FERC?

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 17, 2021 2:57 pm

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is the United States federal agency that regulates the transmission and wholesale sale of electricity and natural gas in interstate commerce 

Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 17, 2021 3:14 pm

Federal Electricity Regulatory Commision. Among other things, they get to approve the construction of all new ‘interstate’ construction and decommissioning. They also keep all they generation and transmission capacity data. Another federal bureaucracy.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Rud Ist
February 17, 2021 4:42 pm

Aah. OK, thanks guys.

Robert of Texas
February 17, 2021 3:05 pm

When you consider the total COST of adding all these wind turbines to the grid, it looks like a criminal act that they have been allowed to proliferate so quickly. Consider the cost of manufacturing, installing, operating, subsidies paid, and then grid infrastructure and you can easily see that wind power is a bad investment – not for the billionaires getting the subsidies but for the average tax payer.

These wind farms need power grid infrastructure built right up to them. Not only do these long distances make for lower effeciency in power delivery, they make the grid more and more vulnerable to physical damage or failure causing widespread outages.

When there is a peak in demand, you can’t simply tell wind turbines to deliver more energy – but coal, natural gas, and nuclear power plants often have spare on-demand capacity, and this was used to save Texas from an even bigger disaster.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Robert of Texas
February 17, 2021 4:50 pm

I could be wrong, but my understanding is that many of those wind installations took place to take advantage of tax credits and other federal government incentives, which include a guarantee of being first in line to sell the power generated, as well as a guarantee of getting a certain price for it, regardless of market prices.
Other reasons may include the public relations value that fossil fuel companies found in being able to say they were invested in renewables blah blah blah yada yada yada.
We all know that story well.
There have been many articles posted on this site in years past which featured power managers warning whoever would listen, that things were occurring that would remove the ability to meet demand, or even for the companies that produce and supply power to do what they know to be the most prudent and responsible decision making.

Abolition Man
Reply to  Robert of Texas
February 17, 2021 9:32 pm

Robert of Texas,
As with many Unreliable Energy projects, there were probably lots of bribes, oops, I mean campaign contributions given to politicians to get the laws and regulations written to best benefit the wealthy business owners! Once the units are installed they leave town quickly and the locals are left to pick up the pieces when the boondoggle falls apart!
If the Western democracies had not been wasting trillions of dollars on the Climastrology Scam we could have pretty much eliminated hunger and poverty around the globe by now! If there is a future for Humankind that includes an accurate history I imagine our descendants will look back with shock and anger at the enormous waste and costs of the failed Progressive religions like Communism and Climate Alarmism!

Robert W Turner
February 17, 2021 3:06 pm

I think much of the blame should go to the politicians that enacted mandates for a certain % of electricity capacity to be from wind. In KS we didn’t lose natural gas supply, but we sure had the rolling blackouts.

And another unmentioned factor may be the mass migration that TX has seen in just the past 6 months. Haven’t 1,000,000 people literally moved into TX over the past year?

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Robert W Turner
February 17, 2021 4:55 pm

Good point. In past years, power companies could respond to such predictable increases in demand by coming up with a plan that would guarantee grid stability and sufficient capacity to meet demand.
Like quickly install some new coal capacity if that was the only way to respond quickly enough and at a cost that made economic sense. Or whatever the particulars may happen to be.
IOW…they people that knew the power business could make logical and sensible decisions based on their knowledge and experience.
For the time being, it seems, that sort of thing is not being allowed to take place.

old engineer
February 17, 2021 3:31 pm

As one who is living thru this and having been without power from 2 am Monday morning until 1pm Tuesday, I had a “ahha” moment while freezing in the dark.

If you are going to depend on intermittent power generation you must have storage capability of course. The “ahha” was that you have to have the storage available BEFORE you put the intermediate power on line.

We have allowed utilities to do it backwards.

Cybersmythe
Reply to  old engineer
February 17, 2021 6:37 pm

For my own part, while waiting for the power to come on and watching the temperature in the house go down and down and down, I thought of the old saying about software: “Good, fast, cheap. Pick any two.” Modified for energy, it should be: “Renewable, Reliable, Inexpensive. Pick any two.”

For years, we’ve been prioritizing inexpensive and renewable, and this week, we had our opportunity to pay the piper.

February 17, 2021 3:32 pm

Dave, nice factual post. I have done some digging into some of the internet ‘explanations’, since the MSM split is about even between GND at fault, and Texas fossil fuels and Texas schadenfreude (e.g. Cruz California).

The situation is complex and nuanced. Neither side is ‘right’. The root cause does appear to be wind capacity freeze up. But that is too simple. Because of wind subsidies, nobody had an incentive to install sufficient new (and thanks to wind) underutilized baseload ‘backup’ capacity. (Remeber CCGT runs 61% thermal efficiency at full load, and still 59% at 40% load—at which point it isn’t covering capital investment (it cannotnrin below 40% cause the steam turbine isn’t getting sufficient steam).

Meanwhile, about 4GW of old (mostly coal) capacity was decommissioned. And Texas has been growing, so baseload reserve margins thinned too much. These are designed for hot summer AC loads, not severe winter cold snaps; so the reserve margin design was misengineered in the first place. (Example, nat gas reserve for summer gas peakers NEVER adds any additional winter nat gas heating component.) So gas reserves were inadequate for the cold—by design. Plus, in Texas, mostly is not true storage reserve like in California, it is just ramped production. And with the grid partly down, production couldn’t ramp fast enough. All pumpjacks are electrically powered. Evidence: Texas oil production down 40% this week, so crude price over $60/bbl first time in years.

Reply to  Rud Ist
February 17, 2021 3:47 pm

Istvan, not Ist. Dunno what happened, or who Ist is.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Rud Istvan
February 17, 2021 5:35 pm

I figured it out, Rud. I thought that maybe you were just trying to change your image. 🙂

Bill Rocks
Reply to  Rud Ist
February 17, 2021 4:04 pm

Rud,

Excellent information and analysis. Your “Ist” moniker began within the past couple of days.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Rud Ist
February 17, 2021 5:44 pm

So, all the problems you mention can be fixed except for one: There is nothing we can do to fix frozen windmills.

If we fixed all the minor problems in the different powerplants and still had windmills providing 25 percent of base load, then when they freeze again, the grid will go down again.

jtom
Reply to  David Middleton
February 17, 2021 7:05 pm

I’ve also seen ads for drones to do this, but they and helicopters have the same problem: they can’t fly in a snowstorm. This is an after-the-fact action that could take a long time if the wind farm has a lot of turbines. They are beyond the help of any solution. They are worthless in these situations.

Alo
Reply to  jtom
February 17, 2021 8:30 pm

I work in renewables, wind turbines and substations specifically. I have worked in renewables for 10 years. I pretend to know a thing or two about them. I work in renewables because it pays my bills and trying to find any other job that will pay me what I make is impossible.

First off, IMO, solar farms have to be the most useless of all electrical generation. They are a waste of space, time and money.

Second, IMO, wind turbines are not much better than solar but when properly taken care of and properly designed to handle the environment they can be useful in some instances.

One thing I haven’t heard anything about is when these wind turbines go down due to icing, which happens quite a bit, they do not “go offline”. In fact they sit idle while pulling power from the grid in order to stay warm. These wind farms can draw MW from the grid in order to sit idle and try to keep themselves warm. They are parasitic to the grid. With 1/2 the wind turbines offline in Texas and sitting idle they are putting a huge burden on the grid themselves. Even when these turbines are sitting idle due to no wind they are still parasitic to the grid which means fossil fuels have to supply them with base power in order to be ready to operate when the winds do pick up.

MarkW
Reply to  Alo
February 18, 2021 7:21 am

Not just keep warm. The blades have to be kept spinning in order to prevent creating flat spots on the bearings and to prevent the axle from bending.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Alo
February 18, 2021 11:11 am

“These wind farms can draw MW from the grid in order to sit idle and try to keep themselves warm. They are parasitic to the grid. With 1/2 the wind turbines offline in Texas and sitting idle they are putting a huge burden on the grid themselves.”

Isn’t that lovely. Another reason not to be building windmills for your power grid.

Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  Alo
February 18, 2021 5:42 pm

I doubt that windfarms in Texas have turbines equipped with much in the way of heating – either for the generator nacelles, or for the blades. They will have the ability to run in motor mode to avoid brinelling.

Alo
Reply to  Itdoesn't add up...
February 19, 2021 8:47 am

Wind turbines built for tropical use (which are warm weather turbines) have heaters throughout the various cabinets in order to maintain a certain temperature. This is to control humidity as humidity causes corrosion of electrical components. Even without heaters the turbines still draw a significant amount of power to maintain certain systems.

Actually, a lot of cold weather turbines do not have heaters in the nacelle either (never heard of heaters in the blades, I would think that would be a mess but I haven’t seen everything and surely never will) but still draw a lot of power to maintain certain systems.

What I was originally getting at is for every turbine not producing power it is drawing power from the grid compounding the issue. With the amount of turbines not producing power, that would be a big burden on the grid when that power should be going to customers who need it.

Brandon
Reply to  jtom
February 17, 2021 9:18 pm

If you haven’t driven through West Texas in recent history, you can’t understand the scale of the problem. The de-icing effort above is akin to planes dropping fire suppressant on a 5,000 acre wildfire. IOW, pissing in the wind.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  jtom
February 18, 2021 11:00 am

I think this is what happened in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma has about 250 windmills, and they all froze, and the people operating the windmills managed to get 22 of them operating and I’m assuming they had to de-ice them before this could happen.

So it took them several days to get 22 windmills operating. It would take a long time to get all 250 operating. And Texas has several thousand of the things. De-icing is not a quick solution.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  David Middleton
February 18, 2021 10:12 am

Does the helicopter pilot count as a shovel-ready green energy job?

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  David Middleton
February 18, 2021 10:53 am

What do they use for de-icing? Is it harmful to the plants on the ground? Does it have a potential for running off into streams of contaminating the ground water?

jtom
Reply to  Tom Abbott
February 17, 2021 6:59 pm

A second problem: you can’t clear ice and snow off of hundreds of solar panels after storm very quickly, so no solar power even if the skies a clear the next few days.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  jtom
February 18, 2021 6:05 am

I wonder how much extra it costs to have all of the panels equipped with tracking motors and/or some sort of covering?
With tracking mounts and motors, panels could be inverted, or made to be vertical, and/or aimed away from the wind during snow storms or other types of damaging or inclement weather.
I have looked into it when trying to determine of panels have become inexpensive enough to be worth the investment for someone in my area and situation.
The prevailing view seemed to be that tracking mounts and motors was not worth the added cost and complexity.
Which really made me wonder why solving the cost and complexity problem was not addressed, because after all, solar has not been worth the cost and complexity. The idea is that eventually incremental improvements will eventually make it worth it.
Obviously panels that can track the Sun will be able to gather in more photons, although the problem of them shading each other then must be addressed.
I bet some sort of feedback circuit could be devised to automatically keep a panel pointed directly at the Sun. And cheap and reliable mounts and motors have been devised for many things we all use.
Not that I am driven with some inner need to make solar panels work and be in wide usage…just more like a reflexive curiosity to solve problems, even if they are trivial.
Cars keep the windshield clean with a little arm and a rubber blade with a tiny motor.
Just sayin,.
Passive solar heating for residential use is a far more logical thing to have in wide usage, particularly in the Sun Belt.
This time of year the Sun is plenty warm for nearly half of every day at least.
Long enough to heat up an attic full of water tanks.

None of what is going on has much to do with logic though, and nothing to do with common sense either.
There are too many people who seem to think that problems solve themselves, and since the power has always come on when they flip a switch, they figure having power is not directly related to the feel good virtue signaling energy projects they vote for.

MarkW
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 18, 2021 7:25 am

A mount that can move will always be more expensive than a fixed mount, and that’s before you add in the cost of a motor and the electricity needed to run the motor. Beyond that is the shading problem. The only way to prevent the panels from shading each other is to move them further apart. That means fewer panels per acre, which further increases the cost of solar.
Finally being able to move means one more thing that can break and has to be maintained.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  MarkW
February 18, 2021 9:01 am

being able to move means one more thing that can break “

Or that can be frozen by ice

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 18, 2021 10:58 am

It is a problem not unlike the solar panels on the Mars rovers. The panels accumulate dust. On approach is to orient them vertically and then vibrate them to get the dust off.

Brandon
Reply to  Tom Abbott
February 17, 2021 9:16 pm

Putting windmills and baseload in the same sentence makes my brain burn.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Brandon
February 18, 2021 11:14 am

Too bad it didn’t make Texas politician’s brains burn.

I bet their brains will be burning now, with this disaster in Texas they have created. The citizens of Texas are going to have something to say about this.

yirgach
February 17, 2021 4:03 pm

David,

Fossil fuels accounted for 83% of our electricity generation yesterday. Fossil fuels + nuclear accounted for 92%.

Would be interesting to see the nameplate capacity included in that table.

Pflashgordon
Reply to  yirgach
February 18, 2021 10:35 am

Wind nameplate capacity in Texas is about 30,000 MW. Estimating visually from the chart shared more than once in this thread, during the storm wind was often running at <10% of its nameplate capacity. Someone with the numbers could be more precise.

At best, wind generates only about 40% of its nameplate capacity. The only time wind provides 25% of Texas power is when demand is low and wind is blowing at optimum. In other words, we get wind power precisely when it is not needed. You can’t ramp it up to meet demand in a crisis, such as was evident this week.

Carlo, Monte
February 17, 2021 4:29 pm

Despite these facts, some in the media are reporting that wind power saved the day, while fossil fuels and nuclear power failed.

Zhou Bai-Den’s official mouthpiece was repeating this same claim earlier today.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Carlo, Monte
February 17, 2021 6:02 pm

As usual, all one has to know is that the opposite of whatever the fake news is reporting, is the actual truth.

Posa
February 17, 2021 4:41 pm

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) announced. on February 14, 2021 that the new record demand had been set reaching 69,150 MW.
 
But shortly thereafter the grid collapsed for lack of on-line generating capacity. The Electric power shortfall was around 34,000 MW… but note, Texas wind and solar capacity is 28,200 MW which was installed at a cost of (at least) $50,000,000,000 (FIFTY BILLION).
 
So what did Texas rate payers get for $50 B?
 
On Feb 16th wind farms produced as little as 1,900 MW (7.5% of stated capacity) … for 12 hrs wind output was about 4000MW ( 16%) of stated capacity

Meanwhile Solar produced “0” (ZERO) MW for most of the day… with around 1,000 MW for about six hours.

So this is what $50 billion of green energy investment bought: 1,900 MW out of 28,200 MW installed capacity in the middle of a freezing night (7% of invested capacity)
 
The fact is: Green “Renewables” now regularly fail … during the past 18 months the “greenest” grids have all suffered blackouts, notably in California, Australia, and Germany. The dirty secret is: The more Green Renewables installed capacity, the bigger the electric power deficits, grid instability and blackouts there will be.
 
This is the reality of the Green New Deal. None of this should come as a surprise. Anyone with two working brain cells has been predicting Green Energy catastrophes since this hoax was hatched 50 years ago. 

But year after year the Green Propaganda machine led by academic quacks, MSM bird brains, and craven pols – all driven and financed by the Neo-Feudal Billionaire Predator Class– have shouted down the obvious truth.

The vital question is now whether “Freeze in the dark” pedagogy will be effective when logic and reason fail in the face of Green Psy-War Propaganda assaults. Will people keep scarfing down chicken manure just because the Green Propaganda calls it chicken salad?

Make no mistake, “Freeze in the Dark” is what Senile Joe and the Dumocrats and their RINO pals have in store for the whole country.

Meanwhile the Chinese are building 400 more coal fired and 35 nuclear plants bringing the fleet of coal plants up to almost 4,000 complemented by more than 50 nuclear plants. This is how China is powering themselves to global economic dominance and largely achieving energy independence since the country’s generating capacity is mostly draws from internal coal and uranium reserves. By contrast, the US plunges head long into a New Dark Ages. “Go GREEN… DIE Blue”

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Posa
February 17, 2021 4:51 pm

Rise of the Watermelons: green on the outside, red on the inside.

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  Posa
February 17, 2021 6:43 pm

I read on ERCOT today that the record was set two summers ago, 74gw.

Doesn’t matter

Abolition Man
Reply to  Posa
February 17, 2021 10:05 pm

I completely understand the ChiComs behaving as they are; that’s what totalitarians do time and time again! What is mystifying is why our leaders and media go along with their lies and propaganda. Do they really think that the Chinese will allow them rule over a hollowed out US while the rest of the world falls under the Dragon?

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Posa
February 18, 2021 7:52 am

“This is the reality of the Green New Deal. None of this should come as a surprise. Anyone with two working brain cells has been predicting Green Energy catastrophes since this hoax was hatched 50 years ago. 

But year after year the Green Propaganda machine led by academic quacks, MSM bird brains, and craven pols – all driven and financed by the Neo-Feudal Billionaire Predator Class– have shouted down the obvious truth.”

You’ve nailed it – Alpha to Omega, Morning to Evening, Cause to Effect, etc.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Posa
February 18, 2021 11:20 am

“The dirty secret is: The more Green Renewables installed capacity, the bigger the electric power deficits, grid instability and blackouts there will be.”

That’s the bottom line, and with the Texas disaster, people’s eyes are going to be opened about the unreliability of windmills and solar.

This is a serious setback to windmills and solar. The alarmists are spinning as fast as they can, but it is obvious that windmills and solar are the problem and the people see it.

When future windmill farms and solar farms are proposed, people are going to point to Texas. No place north of Texas should even consider windmills and solar for baseload electrical power after seeing what has happened in Texas.

fred250
February 17, 2021 4:47 pm

Off Topic..

Interesting comments on Weather Models even just a few days out…

https://www.weatherzone.com.au/news/wet-week-probably-for-nsw-north-coast/533509

A friend in Newcastle says it currently rain again down there, coming in off the ocean.

Joel O'Bryan
Reply to  fred250
February 17, 2021 6:09 pm

The double whammy of a decent La Nina and a solar minimum are evident now in both North and South hemispheres.
The double whammy of a decent La Nina and a solar minimum are evident now in both North and South hemispheres.
Now all that’s needed in a VEI 6+ volcano injection into the stratosphere to complete the trifecta.

Last edited 8 days ago by joelobryan
AndyHce
Reply to  Joel O'Bryan
February 17, 2021 9:02 pm

Attribution is pure speculation

Pat from Kerbob
February 17, 2021 4:59 pm

Posted this elsewhere, but isn’t the reality that Texas, like everyone else, is preparing for heat and so no one saw record cold coming, failure to plan?

And why would everyone be planning for hotter and ignoring cold?

We keep seeing stats on WUWT on how many more deaths are caused by cold than heat, i guess we can add Texas to that?

Brandon
Reply to  Pat from Kerbob
February 17, 2021 9:22 pm

We have rolling black outs here now when it gets really hot, too. Too many days above 100 and prepare to sweat it out without AC.

markl
February 17, 2021 5:23 pm

Nicholas McGinley said: “Every watt of intermittent power generation has got to be backed up by a source that is on standby and is not intermittent.” Says it all if you want 7X24 reliability, no need to belabor the cause.

fred250
February 17, 2021 6:09 pm
Pat from Kerbob
February 17, 2021 6:50 pm

I have been trying to follow the load and generation profiles of texas, would be super helpful if they set it up like the AESO page here in AB.

Can see total load, how much imported from where, the status of all our plants including nameplate, current generation, how much dispatch contingency and all aggregated for easy viewing in single page.

One of the few things we seem to do right here in alberta.
I expect it to get hidden someday as too much info blows apart the BS

http://ets.aeso.ca/ets_web/ip/Market/Reports/CSDReportServlet

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Pat from Kerbob
February 18, 2021 6:12 am

AB?

MarkW
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 18, 2021 7:27 am

Alberta?

Kpar
February 17, 2021 7:22 pm

“The best planned lays of mice and men…”

I always wanted to be a dirty old man, and now I are one.

Brandon
February 17, 2021 8:23 pm

The question to ask and answer is how much onshore natural gas production in Texas was shut in when oil prices hit the shitter last spring? Producers don’t make money on gas at its (previous to current spot), they make money on oil. Natural gas is a by product – one that you will often see being flared off when pipelines aren’t available to carry what comes out of the ground.

Add a Biden fracking ban into the mix and a lot more people will freeze to death – even at much higher temperatures than the ones we just had. You can also count a return to sustained $7-9 NG. Ouch!

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Brandon
February 18, 2021 6:24 am

I think that initially, almost all of the fracking was done on private land under Obama.
Biden cannot prevent that, I do not think.
All he can control is new leases being bid out on Federal lands.

We have a lot of uranium.
That we use almost none of it for power generation, if for no other reason than so we can conserve other energy sources for those applications to which they are best suited, is idiotic to the point of being criminal, IMO.
We cannot use uranium to make plastic, for example.
And it is hard to make a jet plane that runs on battery power.
So we should be using all of our resources, so as to conserve and hence keep costs down, of the other resources.
Burning gas to make power to heat water or cook food in homes is terribly inefficient compared to burning that gas in the water heater or oven.
And yet in many locations around the world, it is being mandated that this least efficient possible methodology be not just widely adopted but mandatory.

To make a long story shorter, pure fools are being allowed to dictate how important things are being done.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 18, 2021 11:06 am

Nicholas,
You remarked, “… pure fools are being allowed to dictate how important things are being done.”
Perhaps that is because those who become politicians don’t really have any competence in an area that would allow them to get a conventional job. There is an old Japanese saying, “It is rare to find a man who speaks well and is also trustworthy.”

fred250
February 17, 2021 8:35 pm

Just had a blackout for an hour or so.

“Climate change™” cause a cross-piece on a local pole to rot and fall off the post.

Emergency repairs needed.

Whole pole is apparently marked for replacement in a couple of months.

Abolition Man
Reply to  fred250
February 17, 2021 9:42 pm

That CO2 is an amazingly versatile molecule; now it even causes oxidation!

February 17, 2021 9:16 pm

Thank you for this first hand report. It clears up a lot of misinformation in online sources from both sides.

Steve Reddish
February 17, 2021 10:26 pm

Have coal powered generating plants been decommissioned since wind turbines have been been installed? If so, it seems to me the big error in planning that resulted in this disasterous power outage was thinking that renewables were reliable enought to allow shuttering those coal plants.
The 2nd big error would be not increasing pipeline capacity feeding NG powered generating plants so they could fill the gap made by removal of coal plants.
Some one just never realized that renewables are unreliable, and need 100% backup standing by.

Last edited 8 days ago by Steve Reddish
fred250
Reply to  Steve Reddish
February 18, 2021 1:06 am

About 6.5GW of coal has been taken off-line in Texas the last 3 years.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Steve Reddish
February 18, 2021 10:18 am

I think in most places, they did not allow the plants to be mothballed or merely shuttered.
They were forced to dismantle them.

john
February 18, 2021 3:11 am

This mornings publics service announcement:

Be kind to animals. Please spay or neuter stray progressives!

D Boss
February 18, 2021 5:47 am

The issue has a proximate cause of the idiocy of adding so much intermittent and unreliable wind and solar to the generating side of the grid. But the ultimate cause of the blackouts is a cascade failure related to the electromagnetic induced resonance of big generators when they go below operating speed to maintain 60Hz.

You must have some reserve capacity to maintain a grid. It is a zero sum game, in that if X watts are being consumed, then X watts needs to be generated – simultaneously. There is virtually no storage in the grid, and none is possible due to the humongousness of the power values involved.

So when load increases you must “throttle” up the turbines driving the generators to maintain speed/frequency (shaft speed and the number of magnetic poles governs the mains frequency). This is your reserve capacity. Those huge generators face a nasty destructive resonance just below mains frequency or shaft speed such that if they approach this destructive resonant mode, you must trip off the generator and apply brakes to keep it from shaking itself to bits.

When this happens and all the other generators are close to the upper limit of their reserve “throttle ability” – one generator tripping like this can cause a very rapid cascade tripping of all the others due to the load now being shifted to them….

Green garbage generating schemes are unreliable and intermittent, thus you have to increase your reserve capacity at all the other conventional plants, and indeed you have to have “spinning reserve” capacity to be able to take over for wind and solar farms variable output. (so in essence you need to increase spinning fossil fuel plants left at idle power to match wind and solar generating schemes – how stupid is that?)

Texas has been flirting with “how small can we make the reserve capacity and get away with it?” mentality for some time. Well having too little reserve capacity, exacerbated by having a bunch of spinning reserves for wind and solar, and this idiotic policy has bitten them in the arse!

This has been happening in Europe too, and it will no doubt increase in frequency and duration – cascade failure blackouts or preemptive rolling blackouts – as more and more green garbage is added to generating systems. And we fail to add new generating capacity of a conventional flavor, or idiotically close perfectly functioning plants because of some asinine green brainwashing about the devil’s element: carbon! (if you believe carbon dioxide is evil, you are in essence a misanthrope because CO2 is the essence of life – without 150 ppm of CO2 all plants die!)

Aside, this can also happen if you have too many nuclear power plants too, as they are not very throttleable. It can take a week to bring a nuke plant’s boilers and turbines up to temps and pressures. Coal, oil and gas fired steam plants can be brought online in a few to 8 hours, and hydroelectric turbines and gas turbines are the fastest and most throttleable, with a few to 20 minutes to ramp up.

So even if you had a lot of nuke power plants, you still need fast response generating capacity like gas or water turbines or you would face the same cascade blackout caused by adverse weather!

MarkW
Reply to  D Boss
February 18, 2021 7:33 am

It has nothing to do with resonance, it has everything to do with keeping in synch with the line frequency. If the frequency of a generator is not exactly the same as the line frequency, they will gradually go out of synch. Eventually you reach a point where the generator is on the positive half of the wave form, while the line is on the negative half, or vice versa. When that happens, the line starts to look like a zero ohm load and the current being drawn from the generator starts climbing to infinity, which would cause the generator to melt, unless it’s stopped by disconnecting the generator from the line.

PS: If the resonance problem were as severe as you make it out to be, how would they ever start a generator. They start at zero rpm and have to be brought up to speed, going through the speeds where you say resonance should shake the generator apart.

Last edited 8 days ago by MarkW
Tim Gorman
Reply to  MarkW
February 18, 2021 9:06 am

Very good description! Most of the Greenies won’t understand it even if they bother to read it!

Pat from Kerbob
February 18, 2021 7:04 am

Does anyone on here know how to generate those graphs directly from the EIA grid monitor site, i haven’t been able to figure it out yet and people question the graphs, i figure the best way is to point them in the right direction so they can find for themselves?

Chuck no longer in Houston