The Texas Energy Disaster

By Andy May

I live in Texas and write about climate science and energy, so I get a lot of questions about the recent problems. My wife and I are OK, we have a natural gas powered generator and did not lose power like most people did earlier this week. We also had a broken pipe, but it was outside the house, and I was eventually able to cap it, with the help of a neighbor, after the normal (for me) three trips to the hardware store and two failed attempts.

As usual these days, discussions of natural events quickly devolve into useless political arguments about who or what is to blame. Little thought is put into the technical or scientific issues, instead everything is viewed through the prism of Democrat or Republican political agendas. Ideology trumps common sense. Thus, we have Democrats blaming natural gas shortages and coal downtime and Republicans blaming the wind power collapse. What really happened?

The Chronology

Texas is a big place; it is 862 miles (1,387 km) wide and 23% larger in area than France. The weather varies a lot from Northwest Texas where the wind turbines are to Austin, San Antonio, and Houston where some of the worse problems were. So, let’s look at the data, in Figure 1 we see electricity generation from February 7 through Thursday February 18.

Figure 1. EIA plot of ERCOT hourly generation data from Feb. 7 through Feb. 17.

Monday night, February 8, West Texas was right at freezing, with spotty freezing rain and sleet and 100% humidity. See Figure 2.

Figure 2. Weather Underground historical weather for Midland, Texas.

Figure 2 shows some of the critical weather statistics for Midland, Texas, near the West Texas wind turbine country. What isn’t shown is the humidity. The sudden drop in temperature began Tuesday, Feb 8, and humidity quickly rose to 100%. No measurable precipitation occurred between February 8 and February 13, but condensation froze onto the wind turbine blades. The condensation generally concentrated on the leading edge of the blades, which direct the wind around the blade and produce the spin and the power. The ice on the blades, especially the ice on the leading edge, caused the blades to stop spinning.

As Elliot Hough, an engineer, put it:

“the turbine blades and more importantly, the leading edge that directs airflow around the blade to create lift, will cover with ice and eventually lose all lift. In the case of a turbine blade, that means the turbine stops turning. In the case of an airplane, the airplane falls to the ground. If air is well below freezing point, there is little to no moisture in the air and blades won’t freeze over. Such are the conditions much further north in North Dakota where temps can be sub-zero F and turbines don’t ice over.” Elliot Hough on Linkedin

When these conditions occur on airplanes about to take off, the wings are de-iced with a chemical that melts the ice and stays on the wings long enough for the plane to reach an altitude where the humidity is low enough that no ice will form. But wind turbines are on the ground and if the humidity stays very high, as it did in West Texas for three days, and the temperatures continue to drop, they fail.

As the wind turbines froze, natural gas combined cycle backup generators kicked in. These were all over the state. Natural gas generation is normally a very good backup. It is flexible and can increase or decrease its generation on demand, nearly instantly, unlike coal or nuclear. These latter two sources have lots of fuel on site and are normally safe from disruption, but they are slow to change their output. Thus, they are considered “base load” sources of power. Natural gas is very flexible, but since its fuel is delivered by pipeline, on demand, it is vulnerable to supply disruptions. The Texas weather was bad enough that even some nuclear and coal generation was affected on February 15th, the coldest day.

As Figure 1 shows, natural gas ramped up to make up the loss of wind, in fact it increased 450%, as shown in Figure 3 from the Wall Street Journal on Feb. 17.

Figure 3. Change in power output from January 18 to February 17 in Texas. From the Wall Street Journal Feb. 17.

So, the sequence of events was, wind turbines iced up from February 8 to 10 and their power output dropped 93%. Natural gas ramped up quickly to cover the shortfall, increasing an incredible 450%, but the pipelines feeding them fuel iced up, especially the valves on the pipelines and put the natural gas generators out of commission. [Update: As Marc notes in the comments, this is an oversimplification of what happened. Also see this article in the San Angelo Live for more details.]

If the Texas grid generation mix had more coal and nuclear this problem with cold weather would have been much less. But coal and nuclear plants have been decommissioned to make room for more wind power. To make matters worse, some coal and nuclear plants had cold weather problems themselves.

Conclusions

The proximate cause for the Texas grid collapse was the very cold weather from February 9 to 17. The initial problem was that wind was producing over 25% of Texas’ power and it is intermittent. Knowing it was intermittent, ERCOT ramped up natural gas generation as an instantaneous backup for the wind, but they forgot that natural gas is supply-on-demand, and the pipelines are vulnerable to disasters, especially cold weather. Disaster power sources are coal and nuclear, they have fuel on site for days or weeks and do not require a pipeline or a backup.

Policy implications

Texas has encouraged the building of wind turbines. They do this, in concert with the U.S. government, through direct subsidies and by paying for wind generation, rather than paying for electricity purchased. This guarantee of revenue means generating companies do not have to consider market demand, they can build wind turbines endlessly with no risk. They can even pay others to take their power and then be reimbursed by the government with our tax dollars! Since 2006, federal and Texas subsidies to wind power, have totaled $80 billion, this foolishness is explained well on the stopthesethings website.

The wind power excess capacity has distorted the generation mix in Texas to a dangerous and unbalanced level. Natural gas, coal and nuclear generating companies have too little revenue to increase or fortify their plants, since wind can generate as much as it wants and is guaranteed revenue for the electricity it generates.

The subsidies and mandates must be stopped and our baseload (aka emergency) capacity increased and fortified. Coal and nuclear power generation must increase. It should be clear to everyone now that, while natural gas is a perfect minute-by-minute grid stabilizer, since it is an on-demand electricity generator, it is vulnerable to weather disruptions. Texas’ current emergency baseload capacity is too small and too vulnerable.

Politics has thoroughly corrupted climate science as I explain in my new book: Politics and Climate Science: A History. The thoroughly corrupt field of climate science politics is now corrupting the fields of engineering involved in power generation. This is dangerous, engineers must make engineering decisions, not politicians. Reliable electricity is essential to our prosperity and well-being, our various governments should not be purposely destabilizing our electrical grid with dumb renewable policies, they should be strengthening the grid to make Texas more resilient.

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ResourceGuy
February 20, 2021 2:12 pm

It’s sad how quick reaction message management by so many media outlets closed minds on this topic at the expense of truth and data facts.

G Mawer
Reply to  ResourceGuy
February 20, 2021 3:40 pm

To me the fact that the Texas grid was stand alone, to skirt fed regulation was the big problem. Despite all the failures importing some power would have been life saving, in my opinion.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  G Mawer
February 20, 2021 4:11 pm

There was no place else they could get power, even if they were interconnected. Oklahoma and Kansas were begging people to lower demand. So was Missouri and Arkansas.

Where in Pete’s name do you think TX could have imported power from?

bethan456@gmail.com
Reply to  Tim Gorman
February 20, 2021 7:03 pm

If they were interconnect to the Eastern Interconnect, Louisiana, Alabama, Missisippi, etc.

MarkW
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 8:27 pm

That assumes that the networks between Texas and all those other sites had capacity to ship those electrons to Texas.
Beyond that you are ignoring the issue of energy loss when attempting to transmit electric power over long distances.

fred250
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 8:36 pm

“If they were interconnect

STILL in DEEP DENIAL and IGNORANCE

There was NO SPARE ELECTRICITY in the Mid-west

Why is that sooo complicated that your tiny little mind cannot comprehend !!
.

https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2021/02/18/midwest-have-no-surplus-power-for-texas/

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 21, 2021 5:42 am

It’s good to hear from our resident grid engineer.

WakeUpMaggy
Reply to  Trying to Play Nice
February 21, 2021 6:40 am

Try Twitter for resident engineer Gomes@GomesBolt. Great insight.

Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  G Mawer
February 20, 2021 4:15 pm

Given that the neighbouring grids were also short power, and what little export they did make over the limited interties to ERCOT ceased, I wonder where you think that power would have come from. There were blackouts in SWPP, MISO and Northern Mexico. There was nothing to spare.

ResourceGuy
Reply to  Itdoesn't add up...
February 21, 2021 12:12 pm

Yes, I kept my power and internet on all during this period and that would not have been the case with full interconnect. There was some blackout among industries signed up for that interruption but not more than that.

Thank goodness states pushed back against Obama’s override attempts to force through a new transmission line across our state from the Oklahoma wind farms. It would have raised rates and destabilized more states just for the special interests influencing that energy overlord and his buddies.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  G Mawer
February 20, 2021 4:33 pm

Except that in this case the surrounding generating capacity was having it’s own troubles. “No room at the inn”, as it were.

Larry in Texas
Reply to  G Mawer
February 20, 2021 4:36 pm

The stand-alone grid is not the real problem. None of the other surrounding states would have been able to do more to provide additional power; they are just as strapped for power as we were for this time of year. What ERCOT normally does, and what they are responsible for doing in instances of power deficit (i.e., demand exceeding net generation) is to enable power interchanges between it and similar grid management agencies such as Southwest Power Plan/Central Grid. This balances the Texas grid and prevents the whole grid from falling apart. The real problem remains all of the closed coal plants AND the fact that Texas’s deregulatory structure does not properly provide for reserve generation capacity. Which in my opinion can only be met by fossil-fuel generation companies, by the way.

Dennis
Reply to  Larry in Texas
February 20, 2021 4:51 pm

Coal fired power generators and no unreliable interference is how an electricity grid should be designed, nuclear as well and if practical even hydro.

Destabilising wind and solar intermittent energy sources, even with back up, is expensive and not cost effective and as Warren Buffett has commented not worth investing in without subsidies/tax concessions for profit.

Western Area Power Veteran
Reply to  Larry in Texas
February 20, 2021 11:29 pm

Hydropower is also a crucial piece of the mix for a robust grid. Not only does it serve well as reserve generation capacity, but it also serves as blackstart capacity. In a total grid-down blackout scenario, power must be generated to restart the generators. Spinning reserves in hydropower dams provide that very valuable ability to start generation from zero available electricity. In this article, zero mention is made of hydropower WRT the Texas grid. Does Texas have any hydropower generation capacity?

Kevin Stall
Reply to  Andy May
February 21, 2021 3:21 am

And the land is too flat. for proper use of hydro you need mountians or canyons.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Western Area Power Veteran
February 21, 2021 6:20 am

You apparently have spent little time in the central U.S. The land is FLAT from North Dakota to the Mexico border. The little hills and gullies simply would not support hydro. Let alone the fact that the term “dry land farming” originated in this area.

marty
Reply to  Western Area Power Veteran
February 21, 2021 8:39 am

Yes if the Water is not ice!

CapitalistRoader
Reply to  Western Area Power Veteran
February 21, 2021 9:08 am

A glance at the past seven day’s Northwest grid power source mix shows exactly that, hydro being ramped up and down. Thing is, it looks like coal was the second biggest backup, followed by natural gas, and combined those two sources provided ≥ power of hydro. Yes, wind provided a lot of power at times but there were several 24-hour periods when wind provided close to zero power.

The flattest power source was nuclear. The Northwest needs more nukes.

https://www.eia.gov/beta/electricity/gridmonitor/dashboard/electric_overview/regional/REG-NW

Gunga Din
Reply to  Western Area Power Veteran
February 21, 2021 6:18 pm

Hydro is good, very good. But, just like geothermal, where it can be used is dependent on geography.
West Texas is flat. There are a few places where a dam can be built to store water for dry periods but hydo needs a steady inflow to be a reliable power source.
East Texas probably has some suitable locations but the land would be very expensive and the pre-CAGW greenies fight tooth and nail against ANY new dams. (Some even want existing dams torn down.)

Russ R.
Reply to  Larry in Texas
February 21, 2021 9:32 am

The problem is a lack of EXCESS CAPACITY in the system to meet EXCESS DEMAND. Nothing more. The attempt to confuse everyone with BS, is to cover for systems that have made this grid FRAGILE to cold weather events. This has evolved directly from Obiden “War on Coal” and subsidies for Wind and Solar!
Since Obiden declared his war on coal and subsidies for wind, the market has been distorted toward wind / solar and away from coal. Added to the confusion of this mix is the lower cost for NG due to fracking.
The end result is a system lacking EXCESS CAPACITY!
Wind has no excess capacity.
Solar has no excess capacity.
Nuclear has very little excess capacity, because it is normally run above 90% of capacity.
Natural Gas has excess capacity, BUT when much is needed for furnace heating, electricity generation can not be expanded to meet the additional demand for both heat and electricity.
Coal has been cut back due to both expansion of wind, and of NG.
Coal has excess capacity, but at it’s lower level of total production the excess it will produce is much less than what is needed.
The system is over-allocated on NG and Wind to produce electricity. The best short term solution is more Coal with stockpiles available to pick up the demand when wind falters and NG is at max throughput.
EIA: Texas Electricity Production by Source:
Source  Year     MW/hrs      %Change  MWH Change
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Coal    2008    147,131,841
Coal    2019     91,816,735    -37%    -55,315,106
Wind    2008    16,225,022     
Wind    2019     83,620,371   +418%   +67,395,349
NG      2008     193,247,078
NG     2019      255,630,021    +32%   +62,382,943 
All     2008      404,787,781
All     2019      483,201,031    +19%   +78,413,250
The increases in NG and Wind is 129,778,292 minus Coal = 74,463,186. Which is 95% of the total increase in all sources.
Removed Coal and replaced it with Wind and NG.
Removed a source with EXCESS CAPACITY and replaced with a source with none, and a backup source that is “over-allocated” in cold weather.
If they would have spent less on wind and solar, and more on stockpiling Coal, and upgrading the coal-fired electricity generation system, this would have been a non-event.

Last edited 2 months ago by Russ R.
LdB
Reply to  G Mawer
February 20, 2021 5:18 pm

Mawer you forget the old mottos … “be prepared” and “don’t rely on others”.

The problem was simple lack of planning and incompetence.

Bob boder
Reply to  G Mawer
February 21, 2021 8:13 am

Nonsense, why for the last 100 years has Texas not had these issues and California as well. It’s only now with this ridiculous delusional green energy nonsense pushed by big government that we have problems. As we transition in to a cooler phase it’s only going to get worse.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  ResourceGuy
February 20, 2021 4:10 pm

Resource,

Yep, all I heard on CNN was how the natural gas generation had failed, that wind/solar was not at fault at all!

Dennis
Reply to  Tim Gorman
February 20, 2021 4:52 pm

Obviously with wind and solar out of action there can be no fault.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Tim Gorman
February 20, 2021 5:18 pm

CNN can’t admit the windmills are at fault. They and the other alarmists don’t have a fall-back position. To them, it’s wind and solar, or nothing.

The Propagand outfits of the left are spinning like Whirling Dervishes.

mwhite
Reply to  Tim Gorman
February 21, 2021 1:21 am

Gas production is powered by wind or so I’ve read??

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  mwhite
February 21, 2021 7:55 am

Seems unlikely.
I have never heard of wind turbines hooked up to individual users…not those large scale ones anyway. They are grid connected, just like if you have panels on your roof and reverse metering.

Gunga Din
Reply to  mwhite
February 21, 2021 6:29 pm

As I understand, part of gas transmission depends on electric gas compressors. Many of them were obligated to by their electricity from wind sources.
A tangled web.

Reply to  Tim Gorman
February 21, 2021 6:06 am

I believe Mr. May unintentionally mislead readers with his article. The 93% decline of wind energy is deceptive, even if absolutely correct.

Wind energy is highly variable. And unpredictable. There are huge changes in power output from day to day, and even from hour to hour. Wind power was EXPECTED to be low in February. ERCOT had planned for ONLY 6,000 megawatts from wind power (I’m sure they never considered that half the windmills would freeze up).

In fact, wind power happened to be low just when it was needed most, and fell to about 4000 megawatts, even with half the windmills frozen. That 2000 megawatt deficit was part of the supply-demand problem, but the TOTAL supply-demand problem was about 30000 megawatts at the peak.

So you can not blame wind power for more than a small part of the problem (2000 of the 30000 deficit). Just one week earlier, wind power for one hour, of one day, supplied more than half of Texas’s electricity. Wind power has frequent huge peaks and valleys. That’s why windmills are called unreliables.

The real connection between Texas windmills and the Texas blackout was that the money spent on windmills was NOT spent on winterizing the Texas energy infrastructure, as recommended after the 2011 rolling blackouts (affected 3.2 million people) … and building more fossil fuel or nuclear plants.

A root cause of the problem, in my opinion, was global warming:
— Poor choice of energy investments
In 2011 it was too easy to assume global warming would make another cold weather event in Texas less likely to happen in the future, so why spend a lot of money ‘winterizing’ the Texas energy infrastructure. And that seemed like a brilliant decision for the next ten years … until 2011.

— Climate change virtue signalling:
Investing too much money in unreliable, unpredictable, wildly variable power output windmills. And bragging about Texas wind power. Even worse, those windmills were not equipped for unusually cold weather, as they are here in Michigan, where I live.

Other states produce electricity in colder weather than Texas had. But they are prepared for very cold weather, and Texas was not … even though they were warned in 2011.

The Texas August 2011 report is here (357 page pdf file):
https://www.ferc.gov/sites/default/files/2020-04/08-16-11-report.pdf

I posted the report’s short Executive Summary on my climate science blog:
https://elonionbloggle.blogspot.com/2021/02/heres-executive-summary-from-august.html

Quick summary of the report:
‘Winterize the Texas energy infrastructure or there will be trouble again at some time in the future.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Richard Greene
February 21, 2021 8:18 am

Even long before there were any alternative energy schemes messing up the electric grid and markets, severe cold weather was causing blackouts, rolling blackouts, brownouts, massive damage over wide areas from frozen pipes and damage to key industrial infrastructure, etc.
1989 was a prime example.
http://www.floridahealth.gov/environmental-health/climate-and-health/_documents/extreme-cold-factsheet.pdf

The December 1989 Cold Wave (weather.gov)

Woogles
Reply to  Richard Greene
February 21, 2021 9:37 pm

IMO the problem is kickbacks for “green” energy- nevermind the damage to the environment those humongous wind turbines actually cause.

Greed, corruption, and sheer incompetence.

i.e. the same combination of qualities that led to 2020 being flipped through fraud.

My vote is for nuclear. We’ve just scratched the surface of the atom…it’s sad how stigmatized it’s been. It’s a sad thing, to hear nuclear is being shunted aside for gigantic, ugly, obnoxious windmills.

2hotel9
Reply to  ResourceGuy
February 21, 2021 5:58 am

They have one message and facts or truth are not part of it.

Nick Schroeder
February 20, 2021 2:15 pm

I was working at Tolk in 2011 when the temp dropped to -3 F and the pipes in my Clovis apartment froze.
Unit 1 was down for maintenance and it was a struggle to keep unit 2 on line.
Several gas plant were down or curtailed due to interruptible contracts.

100% reliability is expensive.
If that’s what rate payers, know-it-all MSM and government meddlers want, open up those check books.

Or do what hospitals do and install back up.
Go down to Home Depot or Harbor Freight, pick out a portable generator, get it set up and take care of it for when you might need it every nine years.
Or just hunker down for a couple of days.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Nick Schroeder
February 20, 2021 5:20 pm

“Or just hunker down for a couple of days.”

This particular “hunker down” is going to cost Texans north of $50 billion.

bethan456@gmail.com
Reply to  Tom Abbott
February 20, 2021 7:05 pm

In addition to the $50B a lot of folks died,

Doonman
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 8:39 pm

Yes, they froze to death. We have to cool the earth to save ourselves. It’s just like destroying the village to save the village.

fred250
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 8:41 pm

Yep the insidious ACDS mental affliction that seems to rule decision making, making it totally irrational, has a LOT to answer for.

IF ONLY all the money wasted on wind and solar had been spent on RELIABILITY, this would never have happened.

If you PRIORITISE UNRELIABILITY by subsidising the building of unreliable supplies and then mandating their use…

… this is EXACTLY what you would expect to happen when the system is stressed.

Redge
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 21, 2021 12:05 am

In addition to the $50B a lot of folks died from cold and the inability of unreliables to be reliable

Fixed it for yer

You’re welcome

Abolition Man
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 21, 2021 4:41 am

Bethantroll,
When you self reflect do you see yourself more as a Maoist, a Stalinist or a Nazi? It is obvious you only spew and regurgitate the propaganda you are fed; but one wonders if your pet project is killing off millions of humans or merely enslaving them in re-education camps and gulags?
How does it feel to be working for the large corporations and totalitarian politicians? Do you get a thrill from thinking about wielding power over others? The Soviets called the Western intelligencia that aided them “useful idiots,” and it seems our school system is making them by the boatload!

beng135
Reply to  Abolition Man
February 21, 2021 8:37 am

All of those are so ancient, she’s a proud Alinskyite-misanthropist.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 21, 2021 7:22 am

All caused by CO2?

beng135
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 21, 2021 8:28 am

Died from what, cold? Isn’t that what you and your ilk want, more cold?

Tom
Reply to  Nick Schroeder
February 20, 2021 7:32 pm

Buying a portable generator didn’t work either, even if they might have been available. there were no snow plows to plow the roads, so the fuel stations ran out since they couldn’t be resupplied. Besides that, most portable generators can’t handle the load of a good sized heat pump.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Tom
February 21, 2021 5:35 am

If your heat is nat gas you can buy nat gas generators. Not as common but not much more expensive.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Tim Gorman
February 21, 2021 7:36 am

Every propane generator I have seen can be run on nat gas.
Typically they get slightly more watts on LP.
But right now for example, residential price for nat gas in the US is about $10.50 for 1000cf. Which is somewhere around 1 million BTUs. (about 1037 BTUs per cf of NG)
Propane is about $4. per gallon right now in Florida, and one gallon of propane is about 92,000 BTUs.
So somewhere around $45 for the same 1 million BTUs.
Maybe close to $50.
And propane has been as high as $5 or more this Winter.
So it is 5 times as expensive to use propane as NG.
As far as I can tell, anyway.
Much cheaper to use gasoline or diesel than propane.
But NG is the best deal.

References:
British thermal units (Btu) – U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)

Weekly Florida Propane Residential Price (Dollars per Gallon) (eia.gov)

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 21, 2021 7:38 am
Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Tom
February 21, 2021 7:01 am

Most people do not have nat gas available for their home.
If you do, you just need a small generator to power your furnace to stay warm.
But if you want to have power for your whole home no matter what, you get a whole home standby generator.
Compared to burst pipes it is cheap.
If you have nat gas, it is cheap to run one (compared to using gasoline, diesel, or propane, and you will not run out in a prolonged outage.
But large numbers of people will need to get a propane tank installed.
The propane dealers will supply a tank for free if you have any gas appliances, but if you only need it for a standby generator, here in Florida at least, you need to buy it, and the propane of course.
They can be buried, and you want to have at least a 500 gallon tank which will hold 400 gallons of propane.
A 15-20KW generator will use between 3 and 4 gallons per hour.
But if it is an event which is likely to be prolonged and you are in doubt of propane resupply, the obvious thing to do is to minimize how much power you are using, and even turn it off when possible…an hour on, 15 minutes off, or something like that.
I have a 10kw portable bifuel unit, runs on gasoline or propane or nat gas.
I have a 5 kw gasoline unit.
I have a 17KW standby unit.
For the 10kW unit, I have a 100 pound propane cylinder.
I have about eight 5 gallon gasoline cans.
4 or 5 small BBQ type propane cylinders.
I have one of those patio heaters.
I have some space heaters…one is a oil filled plug in radiator, the other is a ceramic dealio with a fan built in.

And the big propane tank.
At 3 gallons per hour, running 24 hours a day, the 400 gallons in a full tank will last about 5.5 days.
Longer if I am careful and ration power
5.5 days is with pool pump running, well pump turned on, doing laundry and washing dishes and not turning off anything.
I have never done that when the power goes out, even for a little while.

All this has made me realize how important it is to have a plan to drain the water from your pipes in the event of a bad freeze with no power.
Even here in South Florida.
I figure we are due for a once in several decade cold snap.
Likely there will be a bunch of them once it happens again.
That is how it has always been.
Not this year for here, at least it is very unlikely.
But could be anytime in coming years.

Last edited 2 months ago by Nicholas McGinley
Bill Rocks
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 21, 2021 8:32 am

During the first day of the Texas catastrophe, I had the same thought, shut off your water main and drain your pipes ASAP.

beng135
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 21, 2021 8:49 am

You are certainly prepared…..

Meab
Reply to  Tom
February 21, 2021 9:58 am

Heat pumps don’t work at very cold temperatures. They switch to resistance heating. The Air Conditioner I had when I lived in Northern New Mexico had a 4,000 watt back up resistance heater,. That’s within the capability of almost all backup generators sized for residential backup. When it hit -16 F (about a decade ago), there was Natural Gas rationing, whole towns had their Natural Gas shut off. That 4,000 watt resistance heater couldn’t keep the house toasty warm but it did keep the house safe and well above freezing (~55 F) throughout the cold spell that lasted several days.

Cherith
February 20, 2021 2:16 pm

LAST WEEK BIDEN SUSPENDED TRUMP’S EO BARRING FOREIGN NATIONS FROM INTERFERING WITH US POWER GRID
video – 48 secs
Biden suspended Trump’s EO barring foreign nations from interfering with US power Grid – specifically China – for 90 days without explanation. Then “suddenly” Texas loses power. Must be a coincidence…. Oh and who warned of a “dark Winter” again?  
https://www.bitchute.com/video/NvfVzwRIcK46/
+
TEXANS SEE POWER BILLS AS HIGH AS $17,000 AFTER BRUTAL STORM PUMMELS GRID & LEAVES MILLIONS WITHOUT ELECTRICITY
Texas resident Ty Williams told a local ABC affiliate that while he typically pays a combined $660 each month for his home, guest house and office, he’s been asked to shell out a shocking $17,000 this time around – and that’s just for the first half of February. 
https://www.rt.com/usa/516115-texas-power-bills-storm/
+
DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY: ORDER NUJMBER 202-21-1
DEPT OF ENERGY BLOCKED TEXAS FROM INCREASING POWER BEFORE DEADLY STORM
A Department of Energy document, confirmed to be authentic, showing Texas begging for federal authorization to increase power!
https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2021/02/f82/DOE%20202%28c%29%20Emergency%20Order%20-%20ERCOT%2002.14.2021.pdf

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Cherith
February 21, 2021 8:22 am

Holy crap!

Chuck no longer in Houston
Reply to  Nicholas McGinley
February 23, 2021 11:45 am

Those sky high electric bills are for people who buy power through energy retailers like Griddy. With them, you sign up to buy at wholesale market rates. Much of the time this is a good deal. But when prices skyrocket, as they did in this case, you are in trouble.

February 20, 2021 2:16 pm

Good succinct analysis, thanks Andy!

Now Texans are receiving monthly electricity bills in the tens of thousands of dollars instead of the usual sum in the hundreds.

https://www.rt.com/usa/516115-texas-power-bills-storm/

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Hatter Eggburn
February 20, 2021 5:37 pm

From the link: “Another Texas provider owned by the city government of San Antonio, CPS Energy, suggested its customers could arrange a payment plan over “10 years or longer” to make the massive bills “more affordable.””

That’s real generous of them. That’s what you call working with the customers. They are going to furnish their customers with “the easy payment plan”.

What a fiasco!

Redge
Reply to  Tom Abbott
February 21, 2021 12:07 am

Plus interest

Tom Halla
February 20, 2021 2:23 pm

I made a comment on this on Facebook, and the wind-power enthusiast certainly have sensitive toes. ERCOT failing to make the subsidy miners who invest in wind pay for backup is the failure.

Larry in Texas
Reply to  Tom Halla
February 20, 2021 4:41 pm

Bingo. But the backup is going to still have to come from the fossil fuel generation companies. Which means nowadays, with coal plants being out of favor, that somebody is going to have to develop a bunch of new gas and nuclear generator reserve plants. I’m not in favor of ignoring coal, by the way; it would probably be a lot cheaper to resurrect those closed coal plants. But the politics of the situation, especially with the current occupant of the White House in Washington, D.C., will likely prohibit that option.

stablesort
Reply to  Larry in Texas
February 20, 2021 6:00 pm

Well, knowing governmental institutions, there is a strong possibility that they would add extra wind turbines to back up solar at night and extra solar to backup wind during the day; it’s a real win-win.

Redge
Reply to  stablesort
February 21, 2021 12:09 am

they would add extra wind turbines to back up solar at night and extra solar to backup wind during the day;

More likely the other way round – solar to backup wind during the night ….

bethan456@gmail.com
Reply to  Larry in Texas
February 20, 2021 7:07 pm

The natural gas backup of the wind failed. You will need to backup the backup.

MarkW
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 8:37 pm

According to actual data, this is not true.
According to the data, as shown in the article above, when wind cut out, natural gas output increased by 450% to make up for the loss and to try and provide the power being demanded. The problem was that 450% turned out to be not enough. Of course had wind and solar not cut out when they were needed the most, 450% might have been enough.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  MarkW
February 21, 2021 11:54 am

The bottom line is unreliable windmills and solar cannot be successfully and safely incorporated into a State’s power grid unless the unreliable windmills and solar have 100 percent backup from conventional generation.

The question is: Why build any windmills and solar in the first place, if you are going to have to build generation facilities that provide 100 percent of the electricity that windmills and solar provide.

Adding windmills and solar to the grid doubles the amount of infrastructure required to keep things running smoothly. The windmills and solar are redundant and are not really required except for virtue signalling, and lining Fatcat’s pockets with lots of taxpayer money.

fred250
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 8:42 pm

WIND FAILED

GAS SAVED THE DAY

Get over it.

What they NEED to do is get rid of the UNRELIABILITY that they have built into their grid.

Easiest way to do that is with COAL and NUCLEAR making up the bulk of supply.

Wind and solar are BUILT-IN UNRELIABILITY. !

ResourceGuy
Reply to  fred250
February 21, 2021 12:17 pm

What they need to do is offer up all the wind power in Texas to California. No actually, they need to force it on them, which is how things really work.

Doonman
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 8:46 pm

That leaves coal and nuclear. Which of those two do you recommend, bicycles?

Abolition Man
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 9:00 pm

ERCOT actually cut power to the Permian Basin which helped CAUSE the shortage of gas for the generators! You sound like you might be one of their directors with the moronic policies they have instituted! I would think even a brain-dead moron could understand that in an power emergency you don’t cut power to your supply system but apparently I was mistaken!

Lrp
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 10:16 pm

Only wind and solar need back up. How strange!

Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 21, 2021 12:24 am

Beth @ phishing trap

The natural gas backup of the wind failed. You will need to backup the backup.

Are you still way back at “but the gas failed too”? So did coal, and nuclear. That’s not the point.

Some of us come to WUWT to learn from experts with insight and communication skill. Others come with closed minds to just snipe from behind the same, unmoving trench.

Remember all that stuff from Planning Engineer about the difference between a capacity market and an energy only market? One of these is better for grid safety and reliability including in extreme weather. The other favours wind and solar. And remember which one Texas chose, and why? And the activist board member of ERCOT behind that decision?

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 21, 2021 7:25 am

Are you paid per lie?

ResourceGuy
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 21, 2021 12:15 pm

You will need to learn to read EIA stats first bethan.

RLu
Reply to  Tom Halla
February 20, 2021 8:55 pm

Also, include the cost of extending the grid, plus roads with gentle turns, to the middle of nowhere.
For fun, add a decommissioning fund, to remove the concrete foundations. Just like with nuclear plants.

Bruce Cobb
February 20, 2021 2:24 pm

Finally. There’s been lots of heat on the subject, but not a lot of light.

Redge
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
February 21, 2021 12:14 am

There’s been neither in Texas

Brian Bishop
February 20, 2021 2:26 pm

I don’t disagree that more baseload would have averted much of the problem and that it has been crowed out by wind, in part because the free market guys and the greens are united on the idea of no capacity market in texas.

but that doesn’t mean more baseload is the only approach. If you look at the graph you presented it wasn’t just a question of replacing wind or making up for plants that tripped off. Demand increased 50%. I expect that this was in no small part because of the phenomenon adverted to by “planning engineer” at Judith Curry’s site.

There are probably a hell of a lot of heat pumps in Texas that through used resistance backup as the week grew colder resulting in that massive ramp. This incredibly stupid policy is being subsidized in the northeast. Heat Pumps are really cool technology and can be cost effective and efficient in many circumstances. But when out door temps hit the teens all but the most expensive new units cannot keep the house at 70. But they can quite well keep the house at 55.

If folks who chose heat pumps because they can also air condition and thus have a degree of cost efficiency understood the problems they pose at low temperatures and, when the grid was threatened and prices were rising (not on Feb. 15th when it all went to thell) but . . ) on Feb11th or 12th tfolks should have been directed to turn off resistance backup and/or prophylactic orderly rather than seconds from grid failure rolling blackouts should have been started earlier.

Of course if that had saved the situation, there would still have been much opprobrium for grid managers because no one would bother to understand that they had saved billions in damages.

This isn’t just a war between fossil and renewable fuel, I think that taditionalists (energy wise) are stuck on the idea of the grid as the answer to all. so it should be ready for one week like this every decade. I don’t’ see why that kind of investment is necessarily sensible. people should be ready, as you, with backup plans for a rough week. That is what we do in the NE. It’s par for the course to be without power for a week at a time and its happended to us as often as 3 times. That’s not a lack of prepardedness, that’s just reality.

The real miracle is that they ran straight out for a week without losing it. In 2011, 1 day of temperature drop lead to rolling blackouts.

Reply to  Brian Bishop
February 20, 2021 2:58 pm

My significant other has a lovely 3BR 3B ‘cabin’ in the mountains of north Georgia. She bought it while under construction. The builder planned to install a heat pump. We looked at the data, and decided to install a propane furnace and a regular AC. Modified the builder’s cabin plans to suit. Was a VERY good decision given now years of hindsight. It gets real cold high up in North Georgia mountains in winter. Below freezing, heat pumps do not cut it. The only heat produced is from the electrical pump itself heating up because it never shuts off.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Rud Istvan
February 20, 2021 4:16 pm

After all the kids left home and they saved up some money my parents updated their insulation, had vynil siding installed, and put in a heat pump. Within two years they replaced the heat pump with traditional furnace/ac. This was in SE Kansas. I’ll never have a heat pump!

MarkW
Reply to  Tim Gorman
February 20, 2021 8:48 pm

Another problem with heat pumps is that once the outside temperature starts dropping below around 50 degrees, if you are in an area with more than a trivial amount of water in the air, the heat pump starts to ice up. To solve this problem, about once an hour, the heat pump reverts to A/C mode in order to take heat from the house and use it to melt all that ice. I can remember huge towers of steam pouring out of the heat pump unit as ice is melted and then evaporated.

Robert MacLellan
Reply to  MarkW
February 21, 2021 5:56 am

Yes, even your “frost free” refrigerator does this but on a 24 hour cycle. Too many people view their systems as a magical black box.

Frederick Michael
Reply to  Tim Gorman
February 21, 2021 8:52 am

That’s nothing compared to buying a new heat pump every ten years because that’s how long they last. At $10k each, that works out to an extra grand a year.

Then there’s the annual maintenance contract …

Larry in Texas
Reply to  Brian Bishop
February 20, 2021 4:53 pm

I worked as the attorney for a local municipal water utility here in Texas for over 26 years. This utility is the chief wholesale supplier of water for at least 20 surrounding cities as well as having their own retail customers. You’d be surprised at what you can do to create a reserve capacity and stand ready to serve in a real crisis if you set your mind to it, and the wholesale and retail rates are not necessarily the highest in either Texas or the United States. Now, it is true that water shortages can occur much more often here in Texas than most locations in the United States, and electric outages due to demand/supply deficits seem to occur less often. But power outages don’t just occur down here in an unusual winter, you know. And water treatment operations do depend a lot upon electricity, especially in the drinking water purification process (e.g. ozone disinfection process, which uses a LOT of power). Creating a reserve generation capacity really does make a lot of sense, trust me.

P.S. My son, who lives in Austin, lost power to his town home at 2:00 A.M. last Monday morning and didn’t get power back until some time Wednesday afternoon. Some folks, probably in the millions for all we know, lost power in Texas for four days straight. I would not exactly call that a “rolling blackout.” It was definitely worse than 2011 for sure.

Last edited 2 months ago by Larry in Texas
Tom Abbott
Reply to  Brian Bishop
February 20, 2021 5:53 pm

Do you think any of these politicians know about the drawbacks of heat pumps?

Natural gas would be a better choice for home heating, if you are worried about the electricity being cut off.

It’s more efficient to burn natural gas to heat your home than it is to burn natural gas in a generator plant and then send that electricity created to you to heat your home. I think it is about 80 percent efficient in the home and about 60 percent efficient when burned in a powerplant.

Governor Abbott ought to mandate that people heat their homes with natural gas, and then Texas could eliminate wasting electricity on heat pumps that don’t work below a certain temperature.

Of course, that’s just the opposite of what the alarmists want to see done. They want no natural gas and all-electric everything. We should not listen to them as they are living in a dream world, divorced from reality.

Last edited 2 months ago by Tom Abbott
Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Tom Abbott
February 20, 2021 8:56 pm

Tom
Gas furnaces don’t work unless you also have electricity!

Bob Rogers
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
February 21, 2021 8:11 am

Power wouldn’t have gone out in the first place except for the additional load created by the resistance strips in the heat pumps.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
February 21, 2021 8:36 am

If most people heated with gas in their home, it is unlikely the grid would have ever been overtaxed.

Bob boder
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
February 21, 2021 8:42 am

Clyde, a gas furnace uses very little electricity. A small emergency generator or even a cars can be used to keep it running indefinitely.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Bob boder
February 21, 2021 9:04 am

Do *you* know how to hook up a car battery to keep you furnace running? How many people do?

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Tom Abbott
February 21, 2021 8:34 am

First they would need to take my suggestion that no one seems to like, that we install nat gas infrastructure to every home in the US.
Something on the scale of the rural electrification act.
The things that are more efficient using gas directly are heating, hot water, cooking, and drying clothes. And anything else involving heat.
I think the efficiency may be higher than 80%.
The only loss is what goes out the exhaust gas vent, and these can be designed to waste very little of the heat.
Making and distributing power has losses at every step, including once the power is even in your home.

commieBob
Reply to  Brian Bishop
February 20, 2021 6:55 pm

I have a feeling that heat pumps will be a real hard sell in Texas for years to come.

I’m in the Toronto area and know exactly one person with a heat pump. It has pipes under ground rather than trying to squeeze heat out of the atmosphere. As such, it’s very efficient even in the dead of winter, but wicked expensive to install.

If you’re building new, enhanced insulation is a much better use for your money than a ground source heat pump. Friends in Saskatchewan, which is quite a bit colder than Toronto, have a tiny heating bill because their house is so well insulated. On a sunny winter day they have to close all the south facing blinds to keep the house from over heating.

Hivemind
Reply to  Brian Bishop
February 20, 2021 11:43 pm

The idea that we should just “put up with” a 5-day blackout every “decade” is about the dumbest thing said this year. Since the “black system” event in South Australia in 2016, they have had rolling blackouts every year, even in perfectly normal summer weather.

This toxic green idea has to be crushed, hard.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Hivemind
February 21, 2021 8:38 am

I think his point is that if nothing changes, that is what will happen, whether anyone likes it or not.

Bob Rogers
Reply to  Brian Bishop
February 21, 2021 8:09 am

Most people who buy houses don’t have any say in the mechanical systems. The builder put them in before a buyer was identified.

MarkW
Reply to  Bob Rogers
February 21, 2021 1:49 pm

If buyers refuse to buy homes with heat pumps, the builders will get the message real quick. The free market works, but consumers do have to take responsibility for their actions as well.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Brian Bishop
February 21, 2021 8:55 am

Whenever a area loses power for weeks on end because of a hurricane, there are always people who complain that the grid should be buried, or the lines installed with only concrete poles, and every single tree cleared away from anyplace close to lines, and all sorts of other such things.
But they always just put it back just the way it was.
Not because no one wants it better.
And it is not just a question of paying some extra money on a one time basis.
There are lots of reasons why things are the way they are.
I had been under the impression that there was a major ice storm, but maybe that is not the case.
Ice storms have caused some of the worst losses of power I have ever read about.
Many of them have been in places where it is really cold all winter every year.
With an inch of ice, no trees falling onto lines is required for complete loss of power.
The only thing that would prevent the lines from falling is to have them buried.
And no one is sure if buried lines would even be less prone to problems.
And it would be incredibly expensive.
It might take far longer to fix problems when they occur.
In the downtowns of large cities, lines are in underground conduits, but even in those cities, outlying areas just outside the downtowns often have overhead power lines.

I suspect that to harden off out power infrastructure from any problems caused by cold or hot weather, would be akin to trying to do away with overhead lines.
It would be extremely expensive.

Then again, so is what just happened.
I am not sure if these numbers are right, but I think I heard someone say all the turbines in Texas have cost about $50 billion. Is that right?
I also have seen it reported that the cost of the damage from this storm is about that amount.
Are these numbers correct?

February 20, 2021 2:28 pm

Texas has to become Energy Wise. America has more Btu’s in the ground in it’s coal than what is available in our natural gas and oil combined.
Clean Coal ~ Coal must be used for our electricity production. Our natural gas is to be used for building space heating and by our industries to process and produce all those products we use every day. Our oil is to be used for transportation purposes.
Doing this gives America 24/7/365 reliable power.

MarkW
Reply to  Sid Abma
February 20, 2021 3:10 pm

Clean coal. A solution that doesn’t work, for a problem that doesn’t exist.
There is not and never has been a need to sequester CO2, no matter how much money that would put into your pocket.

Reply to  MarkW
February 20, 2021 3:23 pm

See essay Clean Coal in ebook Blowing Smoke. Means different things to different people. The essay exposes a lot of follies.

Scissor
Reply to  Rud Istvan
February 20, 2021 3:46 pm

Joe wanted to send Hunter to Texas to help out, he being an expert on crack(ed) pipes.

bethan456@gmail.com
Reply to  Rud Istvan
February 20, 2021 7:11 pm

There is no such thing as “Clean Coal.” You forget about the coal ash: comment image

Matthew Schilling
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 8:16 pm

You might want to search for info on the innovative energy company, Arq, to see what they can do with coal ash.

fred250
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 8:46 pm

Coal ash is all around you.

In roads, in plaster walls..

In Concrete and cement

In school running tracks

And in a myriad of other uses.

Why do you continue to display your ABJECT IGNORANCE. ?

Yooper
Reply to  fred250
February 21, 2021 4:35 pm

Where did the term “cinder block” come from?

MarkW
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 8:54 pm

There are many industrial uses for coal ash.

Graemethecat
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 21, 2021 12:39 am

Tell us about the huge quantities of spoil and resulting pollution from mining the rare earths for wind turbine magnets, dumbass.

ResourceGuy
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 21, 2021 12:39 pm

Bethan,

I wonder what they do with 10x the amount of coal ash in China, or if they allow pictures of it or even online comments about it.

Side question: Where does gypsum come from?

ResourceGuy
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 21, 2021 12:44 pm

If the Chinese have not found uses for all their millions of tons of coal ash they can always slip small amounts into products sold in the EU and U.S. Call it special fairy dust and shipped at a discount because of the international postal agreements.

MarkW
Reply to  Rud Istvan
February 20, 2021 8:53 pm

Sid is well known for trying to sell a carbon capture technology that he has invested in.

Peter W
Reply to  MarkW
February 20, 2021 3:38 pm

Quite the contrary, MarkW. If you study the Milankovitch Cycles, you will realize that earth is heading for the next big ice age. As it cools, we will lose both land area capable of raising crops, and growing seasons for much of our planet will be shortened. All of this will hurt food production. Increasing CO2 by burning coal is the best way to build up the CO2 in our atmosphere to what it once was before all that carbon got buried, and the sooner the better. The plant life will need time to adapt to the higher CO2 levels in order to use it effectively.

Larry in Texas
Reply to  Peter W
February 20, 2021 4:59 pm

We may be headed for a cooling trend in temperatures here in North America, but I would hardly characterize what may be coming as “the next big ice age.” And I do believe we need more coal-based electrical generation plants, too.

MarkW
Reply to  Peter W
February 20, 2021 8:55 pm

You might want to spend a few minutes reading up on what “sequestering” means.

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Peter W
February 20, 2021 9:55 pm

Peter W posted: “The plant life will need time to adapt to the higher CO2 levels in order to use it effectively.”

That doesn’t seem to apply to plants grown in hot houses which regularly inject additional CO2 to increase the concentration of the inside air to the range of 800 – 1000 ppm to significantly increase crop/plant yield. No special plant species required . . . no adaptation period required . . . CO2-enhanced “greening” obtained immediately in the growth cycle.

Peter W
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
February 21, 2021 5:03 am

I agree about the immediate effects, but strongly suspect there are even longer term effects of which we are currently unaware.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Peter W
February 21, 2021 9:01 am

I strongly suspect you have no idea what you are talking about.

Matthew Schilling
Reply to  MarkW
February 20, 2021 8:15 pm

“Clean Coal” ought to mean burning it at higher temps and pressures.

Kemaris
Reply to  Matthew Schilling
February 21, 2021 6:25 am

It does. You can actually build such a thing in China and India. In the US, we have regulations that tie new energy projects up in res tape for years and make it far too expensive to build new or modify existing plants to be more efficient. So everyone with a coal fired power plant skates along trying to do just little enough work on the plant to avoid the work being classified as a “modification” that would make them subject to the Best Available Control Technology requirements.

February 20, 2021 2:36 pm

It’s not just Texas. Nor’easters would be disastrous to a Green America.  Most of the country cannot survive and flourish with intermittent electricity. https://www.cfact.org/2021/02/08/noreasters-would-be-disastrous-to-a-green-america/
Summary: Most of the nation needs more than intermittent electricity from wind and solar, they need continuous and uninterruptible electricity from natural gas, nuclear, and coal to support the health and economy in their state to survive extreme weather conditions year-round. California, with its temperate climate conditions year-round, can survive dysfunctional energy policies that have resulted in the least reliable electrical power systems in the nation.

Peter W
Reply to  Ronald Stein
February 20, 2021 3:40 pm

You assume that California will remain temperate. See my comments under the previous post.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Peter W
February 21, 2021 9:03 am

If the end of the interglacial is just around the corner, adding CO2 to the air will not help.
Interglacials always end with CO2 at a high point, and begin when it is at a minimum.
IOW, CO2 does not matter.

bethan456@gmail.com
Reply to  Ronald Stein
February 20, 2021 7:13 pm

Nor’easters have lots of wind which is good for wind turbines.

anthropic
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 7:33 pm

Wind turbines have to shut down during very windy conditions, such as Nor’esters.

bethan456@gmail.com
Reply to  anthropic
February 20, 2021 8:07 pm

The Texas turbines on the coast performed very well during this event.

fred250
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 8:48 pm

Until they didn’t.

Overall, wind was a complete and utter failure.

It is a total waste of funding to actually BUILD UNRELIABILITY into your electricity supply grid

Doonman
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 8:56 pm

The dead Texans not at the coast will be glad to hear that. How well do you think coastal wind generators will work during a hurricane like the 1900 Galveston hurricane? Probably more wind energy then than all the rest of a year.

Last edited 2 months ago by Doonman
Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Doonman
February 21, 2021 9:05 am

Yeah, and maybe we can gather up lightning bolts and add them to the grid power.

MarkW
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 8:57 pm

The storm that hit Texas was not a nor’easter. Not even close.

Abolition Man
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 9:10 pm

Ain’t it just great that they were able to maintain a whopping 7% of their output from a few days earlier! While wind generators were taking a break, natural gas ramped up 450% despite having the power cut off to some of their supply pumps and infrastructure!
What part of UNRELIABLE do you fail to comprehend!?

Lrp
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 11:42 pm

Wind turbines are rubbish; they need wind, not too strong but not too weak; they like mild temperatures, too hot or too cold their lubrication system sh#ts itself. They take too much space just for some merger power output. Their output is unpredictable and they don’t last very long.

Graemethecat
Reply to  Lrp
February 21, 2021 12:43 am

..but the subsidies are delicious!

Let’s be honest – wind power is entirely about subsidy farming.

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 21, 2021 7:30 am

You are talking through your hat, again.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Carlo, Monte
February 21, 2021 9:07 am

That is a funny place to wear a hat.
Have to take it off when you sit down and everything…

Chas Wynn
February 20, 2021 2:42 pm

Interconnected control areas have agreed codes to which all participants must abide. This is to protect the integrity of the individual control area and thereby support the integrity of the control area(s) to which interconnections are maintained. Such code includes minimum operating reserves that must be maintained; in the North East it used to be an amount equal to the size of the largest generator on the grid of each control area. As Texas eschews interconnections and operating reserve requirement appears to be at the discretion of the generation companies, the Texas grid seems to be vulnerable to large scale disturbances.
As the article describes, there is no profit for the energy market generation participants in providing operating reserve, so, without some incentive, operation reserves are limited. A capacity market, which might address this issue, does not exist inTexas. To avoid a repeat of this disturbance, the operating reserve shortfall needs to be addressed either by market or regulatory means.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Chas Wynn
February 20, 2021 4:20 pm

Operating reserve is not left to the discretion of the generating companies. ERCOT *still* has the ability to force generating companies to have reserve levels in order to compete in the TX market. ERCOT sets the rules, not the generating companies. The ERCOT Board of Directors just has to look away from being such wind/solar advocates and look to their assigned responsibility of providing a *reliable* electric grid.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Tim Gorman
February 21, 2021 6:35 am

The problem is that wind and solar would then have to be considered “generating utilities” and would be forced to meet the same reserve capacities as all the other generating utilities. How do they do that without destroying the economics? Wind and solar would have to invest in FF generating capacity. Note, I am not saying that is a bad thing. I think it would be good, but it will never happen with current politicians in the green’s pocket.

Larry in Texas
Reply to  Chas Wynn
February 20, 2021 5:08 pm

You are largely correct. Operating reserve requirements are in reality, though, not at anyone’s “discretion” in Texas – they are nonexistent. Because the generation companies would not be able to include or recover the costs of any reserve capacity in their rate base. They are only paid for the electricity they actually generate from their existing plants. As a result, they have been disincentivized by the deregulation of the industry, in a shortsighted attempt to lower electricity rates. With the way our current system operates here in Texas, I am of the opinion that this situation is going to have to be resolved by legislation, because there is no real “market” solution in an “energy-only” market. I also want to see more coal and nuclear plants opened (or re-opened) as the foundation for an adequate capacity market and operating reserve.

Bob boder
Reply to  Larry in Texas
February 21, 2021 8:49 am

Larry, it’s not deregulation but incentives to build “Green” that has distorted the system.

February 20, 2021 2:44 pm

Hi Andy,
I lived in Houston for almost one year and have friends there – it is frustrating to see what happened in the recent cold snap, especially since IT WAS FORESEEABLE AND FORESEEN.

I say the deaths and costly damage were ~all avoidable and unnecessary – CAUSED BY IDIOT GREEN ENERGY POLICIES THAT DO NOTHING BUT HARM.

FORESEEN:
In 2002: TOLD YOU SO 19 YEARS AGO.

In 2013: This open letter was written in 2013, after Britain invested in too much wind power, but before Texans “blew their brains out”. SSDD.

“WIND POWER – IT DOESN’T JUST BLOW, IT SUCKS!”

Details at:
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/02/19/assigning-blame-for-the-blackouts-in-texas/#comment-3188614

_____________________________

I nailed the current global cold Winter forecast in August 2020 below. The hard part is forecasting where the polar vortex is going next – but those who forecast a warm winter were delusional.

Regarding the warmist loons who claimed “Global Warming caused this extreme cold” – their lies are not even credible enough to be specious.

Details at:
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/02/19/assigning-blame-for-the-blackouts-in-texas/#comment-3188643
_____________________________

A few comments from the frozen North that may prove helpful:

As soon as your power fails, you have to drain all your pipes and put anti-freeze in your toilets.

You are wise to have a backup electrical generator – I predict huge sales – Natural Gas and Propane dual-fueled looks good to me.

Given the direction of the climate (I say global cooling starting circa 2018-2019) and continued leftist destruction of the electric grid, these generator should become standard fare in all homes and businesses.

A further fallback is a wood-burning stove – my dad installed one after the big power failure in Quebec and Ontario in Jan1998 and hosted the entire community – cooking and sleeping in their rec room.

Reply to  ALLAN MACRAE
February 20, 2021 4:10 pm

Edit:
As soon as your power fails, you have to drain all your pipes and put anti-freeze in your toilets and drain traps.

Leonard
Reply to  ALLAN MACRAE
February 20, 2021 4:42 pm

Allan, I think you summarized the problem.
But it seems to me that many Texans in leadership position in government and energy drank the renewable cool-aid. The result, the people suffered for the greed and virtue signaling trying to please the leftists and the global warming nuts and socialists/communists caused the problems. Seems too many are blaming the tools they use rather than the people and policies responsible.

Reply to  Leonard
February 20, 2021 5:35 pm

Yes Leonard.
Like they say about traffic accidents – “It’s not the car, it’s the nut behind the wheel.”

bethan456@gmail.com
Reply to  ALLAN MACRAE
February 20, 2021 7:14 pm

The natural gas lines froze. What is needed is reliable backup for fossil fuels.

fred250
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 8:52 pm

NO, wrong again

We need to stop wasting money by intentionally building UNRELIABILITY into the electricity supply grid.

If the money WASTED on wind and solar had been spent on RELIABLE coal and nuclear, with gas for peak loading, none of this would ever have occurred.

The insidious ACDS mental malfunction is TOTALLY to blame for the Texas debacle.

Last edited 2 months ago by fred250
Abolition Man
Reply to  fred250
February 21, 2021 5:04 am

fred250,
In addition to her severe ACDS, I think the bethantroll is suffering from delusions!
She may be in the midst of a religious rapture from watching her coreligionists destroy more lives and prosperity with their tithes and indulgences to the High Church of Climastrology!
Just as the Catholic Church of the Middle Ages had millions of illiterate peasants, the Green Blob wants most of mankind to be poor, ignorant and without power! 24/7 power, like healthy nutritious food, wealth and an Ivy League education; is only available to the elites!
Smelly deplorables need not apply!

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Abolition Man
February 21, 2021 7:33 am

bethantroll is an AOC acolyte.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Carlo, Monte
February 21, 2021 12:06 pm

Maybe Bethany can translate “AOC speak” for us.

I listen to AOC talk and she just seems to be dwelling in a different time and place, disconnected from reality.

MarkW
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 9:01 pm

FIrst off, places much further north have no problem with pipe lines freezing.
Secondly, the number of places where pipelines froze was miniscule. It was not the cause of the problem. Yes, I know that a lot of “reporters” made these claims in the first few days, but they turned out to be exaggerated, at best.

Reply to  MarkW
February 21, 2021 1:34 am

Correct Mark. We do not normally have Natural Gas line freezing problems in Alberta. where winter temperatures reach minus 40C, equal to minus 40F. If it is necessary to winterize your NG systems in Texas, the costs will be minimal and the results far more reliable compared to intermittent green alternatives.

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/01/04/wind-and-solar-to-provide-4-of-global-primary-energy-by-2040/#comment-1945966
 
Grid-connected wind power actually sucks – it wastes money and energy and
degrades grid reliability.
 
A decade ago I tried to simplify this message for our idiot politicians and those who vote for them, and wrote:
 
“Wind power – it doesn’t just blow – it sucks!”
 
“Solar power – stick it where the Sun don’t shine!”
 
Apparently even these blunt messages were too difficult for them. Since then, trillions of dollars of scarce global resources have been squandered in foolish green energy schemes.
 
Regards, Allan 🙂

Last edited 2 months ago by ALLAN MACRAE
Lrp
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 11:45 pm

Repeating stupid thing makes you look stupid

February 20, 2021 2:46 pm

Andy, nice post. I am going to buy your new book as an ebook (ran out of real book storage space long ago).

Since Planning Engineer and I used the ERCOT grid for the actual extra wind transmission cost in redoing the EIA wind LCOE for Judith, we dug rather deep into ERCOT. As commented here before this week to previous topical posts, the ERCOT grid reserve is sized for summer peak load from afternoon AC. As you point out, that is all natgas fired. So the natgas ‘reserve capacity’ (some storage in depleted fields, but a lot of just more production thru pipelines) was sized for summer, not winter. They never planned for a winter peak when both heating AND electricity demanded natgas. So the natgas reserve was inherently undersized.

Unforgivable, since a similar rolling blackout event happened Super Bowl week 2011. The aftermath report recommended winterizing generation and expanding gas reserve capacity. Neither was done.

If you have a wind penetration as high as ERCOT (>20%), you have to have sufficient backup for all contingencies. Because of the summer peak assumption, they just undersized it for winter—catastrophically.

Reply to  Andy May
February 20, 2021 5:26 pm

Your book now bought via Kindle.

goldminor
Reply to  Rud Istvan
February 20, 2021 4:07 pm

Did population growth in Texas over the last decade add to the current problems?

Larry in Texas
Reply to  goldminor
February 20, 2021 5:10 pm

Yes.

Reply to  goldminor
February 20, 2021 5:24 pm

I don’t know. Good question.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  goldminor
February 20, 2021 6:08 pm

If I understand Rud correctly, the Texas grid was primed to focus on the peak summer period, and during that time, the natural gas supplies would have been unhampered by any cold weather and would have flowed to the powerplants and given them as much fuel as they needed to make up for any shortfalls.

So the Texas grid had the capacity to ramp up quickly in the summer, but in the very cold arctic air, what Texas was depending on to keep them operating, natural gas supplies, were interrupted by frozen supply lines, and so natural gas-fired powerplants could not ramp up to their full potential, although they did ramp up significantly even so, although not quite enough.

The Texas plan would work in the summer and fail in an arctic cold blast.

Last edited 2 months ago by Tom Abbott
Reply to  Tom Abbott
February 20, 2021 6:23 pm

Yup. Thats it. They goofed up.

bethan456@gmail.com
Reply to  Rud Istvan
February 20, 2021 7:17 pm

They didn’t learn the lesson of 2011

fred250
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 8:53 pm

And you haven’t learnt anything since 1950 !

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  fred250
February 21, 2021 7:34 am

Or 1650.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 21, 2021 12:12 pm

The real lesson they need to learn is that windmills and solar require 100 percent backup from conventional powerplants.

Texas apparently had enough conventional powerplants to fill in for a failure of the windmills and solar, and would have weathered the windmills going down in the summertime, but they couldn’t weather the windmills going down in the wintertime because the back-up fuel was reduced because of very cold weather.

100 percent backup for windmills and solar is now the bare minimum requirement a State should have on hand, if they have any brains.

Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  Tom Abbott
February 20, 2021 7:12 pm

The main thing is that for summer they make sure that all the capacity is available to run. In winter, they permit a large chunk of it to go offline for maintenance. I read that over 20GW had been allowed to be on maintenance at this point. So they started with what turned out to be not enough capacity if any of it started to be lost to unanticipated problems. They did manage to run fairly much full blast briefly – but that was a Sunday, so demand would normally be lower than on a weekday anyway. Even if they had not lost any plant to outages they would not have met peak demand on the Monday.

As it was, they started losing some plants and then lost control to the point where lots of plant tripped out because of underfrequency (i.e. they didn’t shed demand fast enough). With large chunks of capacity knocked out, gas pipelines were short of power to keep pumping, and so other plants were lost for that reason.

Abolition Man
Reply to  Tom Abbott
February 20, 2021 9:23 pm

To make matters worse ERCOT actually cut power to the Permian Basin! They did not have any contingency plan for a winter emergency event, and used the summer policies without thinking it through!
Cutting power to commercial customers is one thing, but cutting power to parts of your supply infrastructure is idiotic! Incidentally, I saw some beautiful pictures from Texas cities, Austin in particular, where empty commercial buildings and parking structures had all their lights blazing while residential customers were having their power cut! This seems to be the ultimate conspiracy of dunces with ERCOT leading the way for Texas politicians to follow!

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Abolition Man
February 21, 2021 9:21 am

Is there any way to turn off street lamps?
I think they are generally connected directly to the grid, and billed without being metered or anything like that.
As for turning out lights in buildings…that would likely need to be done by a different person for each tenant and each structure. And no one could travel safely to do it, perhaps?

BobM
Reply to  Tom Abbott
February 21, 2021 6:10 am

The gas-fired power plants faced two problems, and it would be interesting to see which was the worse problem, freezing infrastructure or loss of fuel supply as demand for natural gas heat soared. Note that freezing infrastructure is not just a power generation issue, but would also affect the ability to heat your home regardless of whether you had electricity or not.

Larry in Texas
Reply to  Rud Istvan
February 20, 2021 5:14 pm

Keep in mind, ERCOT only goes through this exercise (as required by law, of course) to provide a thorough data base for the actual utility companies at all three levels – retail, transmission, and generation – each of which levels are separately owned and operated by different entities and who use the data for entirely different purposes. That information certainly helps them make market decisions, but it doesn’t help the generators very much when it is time to make decisions about whether or not you should build up a greater reserve capacity for either winter or summer.

Reply to  Larry in Texas
February 20, 2021 5:39 pm

No baseline generator will invest in new CCGT when you are guaranteed by ERCOT that subsidized wind always takes precedent, so your expensive investment guaranteed sits idle part of the year. The ERCOT peakers are cheap, old, inefficient single pass gas turbines. Even so, without gas they cannot generate E.

Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  Rud Istvan
February 20, 2021 6:09 pm

Here’s the picture at 19:26 on the 14th:

http://web.archive.org/web/20210215012638/http://www.ercot.com/content/cdr/html/real_time_system_conditions.html

71.3GW to service demand of 69.2GW with wind providing 8.2GW. An uncomfortably low margin. Then the wind drops 2.5GW, and some of the other capacity goes offline

http://web.archive.org/web/20210215050632/http://www.ercot.com/content/cdr/html/real_time_system_conditions.html

so at 23:06 on the 14th they were down to 5.7GW of wind, and 67.2GW of capacity to meet 66GW of demand (I assume that wind is only counted for what it produces).

By 1:52 a.m. on the 15th the wheels are starting to come off: grid frequency is at 59.334Hz – almost certainly dipping below the 59.3Hz trigger for load shedding within seconds of this print:

http://web.archive.org/web/20210215075245/http://www.ercot.com/content/cdr/html/real_time_system_conditions.html

Capacity has dropped to 64.1GW, mainly through the loss of about 2.5GW of gas generation – a large chunk of which may have occurred less than a minute previously perhaps in a cascaded trip, causing the frequency dip. Wind is a little lower at 5.1GW.

By 3:03 on the 15th, a huge amount of generation has been knocked out.

System capacity is down to 55.3GW, with the loss of 7.3GW of gas generation, and 1.75GW of coal. It seems very likely that one largeish incident pushed frequency sharply lower again, triggering a cascade of trips due to underfrequency rather than loss of fuel supply or equipment failure across all those losses.

Thereafter, losses are more sporadic – the nuclear loss comes before 7 a.m., and gas plant goes off and even comes back again in a yo-yo downward. That pattern is consistent with the idea of progressive loss of pipeline gas caused by the lack of power for compressors as a result of the earlier trips.

24 hours after peak demand wind is down to just 730MW, and system capacity has eroded to 45.9GW

http://web.archive.org/web/20210216021926/http://www.ercot.com/content/cdr/html/real_time_system_conditions.html

ERCOT Hourly Changes in Generation.png
Reply to  Itdoesn't add up...
February 20, 2021 6:44 pm

You illustrate a cascading system trip caused by frequency sag.

Issue is the root cause(s). I think there are two: wind freeze failure, and inadequate natgas backup grid capacity.

Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  Rud Istvan
February 20, 2021 7:38 pm

The wind freeze failure is surely something they would plan for – you can get low wind even without it freezing. I looked at daily wind generation in ERCOT over the past year. There are days that average no more than 2GW (i.e.48GWh/day), both winter and summer, and days that run as high as nearly 19GW. The average is 10GW. But you’d need 4TWh of 100% efficient storage to get a steady 10GW, assuming you started with 1.3TWh in store

It’s clear they were short of capacity, period. Even if nothing had fallen over they would not have been able to meet demand on Monday. This pleading letter already envisaged 4GW of rolling blackout, even if they were granted dispensations

https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2021/02/f82/ERCOT%20202%28c%29%20Emergency%20Order%20Request%20-%2002.14.2021.pdf

Contrary to some reports:

On Friday, the Railroad Commission of Texas adopted an emergency order increasing the priority of gas supplies to ERCOT generators.

The plea:

ERCOT respectfully requests that the Secretary issue an order immediately,
effective February 14, 2021, authorizing all electric generating units located within the ERCOT interconnection to operate up to their maximum generation output levels under the limited circumstances described in this letter, notwithstanding air quality or other permit limitations.

The admission

This weather event will impact the entire ERCOT region and is expected to result in record winter electricity demand that will exceed even ERCOT’s most extreme seasonal load forecasts.

They underestimated, and let too much capacity be offline for maintenance at once.

bethan456@gmail.com
Reply to  Rud Istvan
February 20, 2021 7:16 pm

The natural gas backup failed in Texas.

fred250
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 8:56 pm

WIND FAILED utter and completely.

GAS ramped by 450%, but that still wasn’t enough.

There has been WAY TOO MUCH money wasted on building UNRELIABILITY into their electricity supply system

If that money was spent on upgrading COAL and NUCLEAR to carry the base load, with GAS carrying the peaks, this would never have happened.

The anti-CO2 agenda/ ILLNESS is totally to blame for the problems in Texas.

MarkW
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 9:05 pm

Except it didn’t. Not according to the actual data.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 9:07 pm

It depends on how one defines failure. While natural gas didn’t prevent the debacle, it was the only energy source that was able to significantly increase (450%) its output over the next several days. Did you read the article, or are you just here to drop propaganda bombs?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 21, 2021 12:35 pm

Natural gas did fail in backing up 100 percent of the loss of the windmill input. The natural gas supply lines can be fixed, and will work just fine the next time an arctic front comes through. I can’t say the same for the windmills. They will probably freeze up again and stop working.

Alarmists need to get off their fixation with windmills and solar and concentrate on nuclear. Nuclear is the only viable option for alarmists. And the thing is, skeptics would support building more nuclear powerplants. We could actually agree on something.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Tom Abbott
February 21, 2021 3:45 pm

Once you start building the nukes (or coal) to meet winter demand then the need for wind and solar goes away. That’s never going to happen as long as the Democrat Greenies/Marxists are in power.

Hivemind
Reply to  Rud Istvan
February 21, 2021 2:48 am

But look at how much cheaper it was…

/sarc, in case anyone needed it.

David Hoopman
February 20, 2021 3:06 pm

At last! A clear explanation. Thank you for slicing through the spin and propaganda.

Waza
February 20, 2021 3:08 pm

Andy
Thanks for the great technical article.
Together with Planning Engineers article, I have learnt a lot about what is happening in Texas.

Just remember we are now in a Climate War.
We must attack when the opportunity arises.

Aggressively and shamelessly going after the individuals responsible for the poor planning that lead to the power outage in Texas is totally fair in this Climate War.

We need to know expose and blame individuals by name.
Even if any show trial doesn’t prosecute anyone, it will expose the failures to the public.

Waza
Reply to  Waza
February 20, 2021 3:50 pm

Here in Australia, every government employee has a position description.
The PD highlights:-
A. Allowable spending
B. Staff they are responsible for.
C. What clauses of legislation they are responsible for.

Every FU can be linked to an actual employee or group of employees.
You must go hard to expose them, as government cover up mechanisms are very fine tuned.

Waza
February 20, 2021 3:26 pm

Andy
A series of linked questions.
1. Are the independent electricity areas in Texas that did not suffer blackouts? ( say municipalities with own power network)
2. Are these areas controlled by ERCOT or PUC?

Thanks in advance

Reply to  Waza
February 20, 2021 4:17 pm

Not Andy, but can give a simple answer.
Look at ERCOT overlaid on TX. ERCOT covers about 90%. The other 10% ‘fringe’ is hooked up to large regional grids that did not fail, although they had minor rolling blackouts. For example, El Paso is on the SWEPCO grid, not ERCOT. SWEPCO has the newishTurk supercritical coal station in Arkansas, the only one in US. El Paso did not go down.

Reply to  Waza
February 20, 2021 5:33 pm

Waza, I live in East Texas and my provider is Entergy, a Louisiana power company. We had rolling blackouts. Power was out here for 14 hours on Monday, but we have a generator. All the states around ours, except New Mexico had problems.

ERCOT covers most of Texas, just not The Woodlands where I live.

Waza
Reply to  Waza
February 20, 2021 6:19 pm

Thanks Rudy and Andy

Michael in Dublin
February 20, 2021 3:29 pm

Is there no way the citizens of Texas with huge energy bills can sue the US federal government to cover these costs?

Reply to  Michael in Dublin
February 20, 2021 4:19 pm

Lawyer here. NOPE. Multiple reasons why.

Larry in Texas
Reply to  Michael in Dublin
February 20, 2021 5:16 pm

I only wish.

Stevek
February 20, 2021 3:32 pm

I’m in College Station Texas and we never lost power on our block because I’m told we are on the same circuit as a fire station and they were not cutting the power to essential services. Plenty of others even in same subdivision lost power multiple times due to the rolling blackouts.

The utilities were asking people not to use gas. If they could have I imagine they would have tried to cut off residential gas supply.

It is always a good idea to have a fireplace and a few weeks supply of wood around.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Stevek
February 20, 2021 4:42 pm

They would not have tried to cut off residential gas. Residential has the highest priority. When supplies got tight, the power plants were throttled, residences, not.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
February 20, 2021 4:47 pm

This kind of priority just shows poor engineering judgement. Supplying gas won’t help if the electricity is out. Every furnace that I know of need electricity to ignite and control the furnace. You can have all the gas you want but if you don’t have electricity it is useless.

Reply to  Tim Gorman
February 20, 2021 6:00 pm

Yup. That is why at my Wisconsin dairy farm, decades ago, we plumbed a double walled wood fed firebox into the basement furnace plenum. E goes out, we still have the firebox. E out, the firebox still heats ambient air between its walls, and although less efficiently than with its double wall fan blower, still convects enough heat up the furnace plenum to keep the whole old farmhouse tolerably warm with no pipe freezes.

bethan456@gmail.com
Reply to  Rud Istvan
February 20, 2021 7:21 pm

Renewable biomass always works.

fred250
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 8:59 pm

Not enough tree to come even remotely near the US’s electrical supply needs

Why do you HATE trees so much

First you want to DENY them food, by limiting CO2

Then you want to chop them down for creating electricity,

Its a SICK little ACDS disease you have there, isn’t it. !

MarkW
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 9:10 pm

Only if you have a ready supply of wood.

Reply to  MarkW
February 21, 2021 11:04 am

Farm is 260 acres, of which about 100 is steep forested hillsides. With my 4Wd tractor, chain saw, and logging chains, we bring out mostly oak and hickory deadfalls, cut, split, and store in half the cellar between 4 and 5 full cords (not face cords) each fall. Best part is, I make my hunting gang do part of the work (cut, split, store) in return for them reducing my excess whitetail deer and wild turkey populations.

Doonman
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 9:12 pm

It sure does. And so does fossilized biomass. But for some reason digging it up and using it is not considered polite.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Tim Gorman
February 20, 2021 6:20 pm

Has noone figured out a way to operate a gas-fired furnace using a portable power supply?

Reply to  Tom Abbott
February 20, 2021 6:49 pm

Get a portable generator, turn off the main breaker and run an extension cord to the furnace or get a whole house generator.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Roger Caiazza
February 21, 2021 5:19 am

How many people know to do this? They just wind up trying to backfeed the entire grid! I had to open the junction box at my furnace and scab in a piece cut off another extension cord ending in a plug.

My guess is that today, fewer than 10% of the people in the US could even find the proper junction box. No one today seems to have much practical knowledge of anything. They can’t even change their own garbage disposal! Have to hire it done.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Tim Gorman
February 21, 2021 9:36 am

I doubt it is anywhere close to 10%.

Nicholas McGinley
Reply to  Tim Gorman
February 21, 2021 9:56 am

Portable generators, as anyone who has lived through hurricanes knows, are great and they suck.
For one thing, you need to have it ahead of time.
Then you need to have fuel.
Gas cans are not cheap.
Gas does not store well, even when stabilizer is added.
And you need to have a place to put a generator while it is running…not in a garage, not on a patio…
They use about 3/4 of a gallon per hour, average.
Several 5 gallon gas cans per 24 hours.
Gas becomes impossible to get, even if you can get out to a open gas station. They wind up sold out or with lines that are many hours long. Then they run out.
And you need to have all this in advance, to reiterate.
People that live in apartments, and even some types of private homes and houses, have no way to use a generator.
No place to put it.
In some places, they will be stolen if left unattended.
Not common, but a concern.
Everyone can hear it for a mile around.
And to connect it to something that is hardwired to it’s own breaker, you need the wherewithal, the tools, and the wire or other supplies to actually hook it up…plus a proper plug and cable if the thing you are connecting runs on 230 volts, which HVAC air handlers typically do. Every one I have seen does.
The blower might run on lower voltage, but is connected to a transformer and/or capacitor that is connected to 230 volt circuit.

IOW…unless you have a whole home generator with a transfer switch, it is very unlikely a generator will let you do it, unless you are very well equipped and supplied and knowledgeable.
And without a transfer switch, it is probably illegal in any given area to wire up a generator direct to a breaker, even if you know what you are doing and disconnect the mains from the breaker.
Although it is unlikely in such situations anyone is doing inspections.
But if you happen to electrocute a lineman, you will probably go to jail, especially if you knew exactly what you were doing.
Just sayin’.
I went all through it in Irma.
I wound up getting window AC units. Found a few at Walmart, and a few days later a nice big one at Home Depot
Space heaters would be the way to go for most, if you have a generator and fuel.
Of course, if you have nat gas piped to your home, you have the best possible generator fuel.
And they come with transfer switches.

Last edited 2 months ago by Nicholas McGinley
Larry in Texas
Reply to  Stevek
February 20, 2021 5:20 pm

I am in the same situation. I live in an apartment complex in Plano Texas just across the street from a fire station, on the same circuit. So I was lucky. My son was not so lucky – he lives in Austin, does not live near enough to a fire station, and he lost power at his town home from 2:00 A.M. Monday to sometime in the evening on Wednesday. I also had a number of friends in Dallas/Fort Worth who lost power for at least a day, if not days. So it’s been rough all the way around. Wish I had a fireplace myself.

Jan
February 20, 2021 3:48 pm

this was the best analysis i have come across

Scott
February 20, 2021 4:06 pm

Hi Andy,

Nice analysis. just wondering if there is a comparable weather evet prior to wind farms that might provide a handy baseline. If similar events have happened in the past, it shows it is not unusual, 2nd if you survived then without the grid going down it helps highlight the blight of wind spinners.

Reply to  Scott
February 20, 2021 5:38 pm

There were similar events 2008 and 2011. They have not learned from the past.

Peta of Newark
February 20, 2021 4:12 pm

I do wonder if Boris and his Princess are paying any attention to this.

Between the pair of them, they want rid of all coal and Nat Gas by year 2030 with wind taking up almost everything

So if they get their way and as per Texas, 50% of the windmills go offline, that will leave 15 million households with:
No heating or lighting
No cooking
No car or transport
No refrigeration/food storage
No infotainment
No phone or internet

And the freeze of 1947 lasted 3 months
I went through the 2 month freeze of 1963
(My biggest problem at the time was convincing father to use his tractor to build me a GIANT snowman. I didn’t even know what electricity was until 4 years later)

Boris, have you ANY idea, any idea at all.
No, patently not
Boris’ Princess continues to tighten her grip on him, Downing St and what is supposed to be, UK Government

Quote: from BBC: quits after two weeks
“”In particular, it seems Mr Lewis found it hard to work with another special adviser, Henry Newman, who was brought into the Number 10 operation last week.
Mr Newman is extremely close to the prime minister’s fiancée, Carrie Symonds.

Here’s some more who ought to be up on Social Mruder charges and also here

Even before they have rendered 4 million homes in the UK perfectly valueless and unsaleable while requiring 4 figure £££ sums, monthly, to pay for ‘Fire Wardens’

All the while, out of control scientists children continue to race around crowded theatres shouting Fire Fire Fire.
Then when a fire does break out, as Climate Science predictably unpredictably says it will, we find they have removed the extinguishers and are positively gloating about having done so

‘Interesting Times’ is becoming an understatement

pigs_in_space
Reply to  Peta of Newark
February 20, 2021 10:33 pm

we are currently going thru the coldest winter in a decade in Russia.
I lost count of the number of times I get a severe weather warning on an SMS.
Last 2 weeks they gave me 3 of them predicting down to -40C which never came.
Fortunately it’s an oil and gas rich country, and thank goodness, nobody has been stupid enough to install windmills or solar panels.

I go back to the Baltic states soon, and hey presto there’s a giant windfarm down the road, which for days lies idle, (no wind) but they make a charge on all our electricity bills to pay it for to do nothing.

I got a mail last year claiming to subsidise solar panels if we wanted to install….problem being the days are so short or cloudy for 4-6months a year so far north they would never pay for themselves.

I kid you not, thanks to a EU diktat, they have forced the local energy company to stop using the local Shale oil resource in the next few years, making the whole grid uniquely vulnerable while claiming to make it possible to keep fuelling up their Teslas (The country has one of the highest number of them sold in the EU).

Unfortunately the EVs are uniquely vulnerable to the -25C cold we have regularly had this winter..so that immediately makes them useless when frozen down.
Funnily enough I have yet to see a Tesla with snow tyres.
Insanity has taken over, while the next proposed lunacy is “electric lorries”.

A friend of a friend runs the electricity grid in that country, and he says EVs are not doable, NOT EVER.
Nobody appears to be listening.

Maybe they want to make us all like Texas, but our communal heating fortunately depends on fossil fuel, while there are serious talks going on the install SSNPP.
Let’s hope the NPP strategy saves us before we get a procession more winters like the one we are currently experiencing.

(Nearby St Petersbourg, kept its NPP running, I wonder why?)

bonbon
Reply to  Peta of Newark
February 21, 2021 3:15 am

Prince Charles´ Great Reset is in full swing. That is not from the UK Gov.
BoJo obviously got his marching orders, Brexit be damned….

tygrus
Reply to  Peta of Newark
February 21, 2021 12:29 pm

Texas provides an example of what “earth hour” really looks like ie. you can’t switch the electricity back on when you want it. Temperature extremes not planned for; it’s happened before, it will happen again. The problem with averaging climate data, generation & demand is reality doesn’t stick to averages.

Loydo
February 20, 2021 4:13 pm

“Engineers must make engineering decisions”, true, but they need to be guided by all the science. You may disagree, but that includes the risks and costs of unabated CO2 emissions. That it’s difficult and costly and inconvenient doesn’t change the scientific consensus and that is solely what political decisions must be based upon.

On the outer Barcoo
Reply to  Loydo
February 20, 2021 4:35 pm

: … but that includes the risks and costs of unabated CO2 emissions.” It is egregious to dismiss the rewards of rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere, such as: increased agricultural yields and the demonstrable greening of the planet.

MarkW
Reply to  On the outer Barcoo
February 20, 2021 9:13 pm

There are no risks to more CO2 in the atmosphere.
All the claimed risks have turned out to be imaginary.

Curious George
Reply to  Loydo
February 20, 2021 4:37 pm

Science is all about consensus. So is engineering. 🙂

fred250
Reply to  Loydo
February 20, 2021 5:18 pm

“guided by all the science.”

.

There is NO SCIENCE supporting the baseless conjecture of warming by atmospheric CO2.

If you think there is, THEN PRODUCE IT !!

“but that includes the risks and costs of unabated CO2 emissions. “

.

There are NO RISKS and NO COSTS, ONLY BENEFITS

Come on, Loy-Dodo, use your ACDS mental illness to tell us the costs and risks.

We are waiting

Back it up with your non-existent “science” of course. 😉

Why keep on spewing a LOAD OF MINDLESS CRAP, that you know you cannot present any scientific evidence for.

It makes you look like a mindless Norwegian Blue.

1… Do you have any empirical scientific evidence for warming by atmospheric CO2?

2… In what ways has the global climate changed in the last 50 years , that can be scientifically proven to be of human released CO2 causation?

Charles
Reply to  Loydo
February 20, 2021 7:29 pm

“Engineers must make engineering decisions”, true, but and they need to be guided by all the science. You may disagree, but that some even think it includes the risks and costs of unabated CO2 emissions. That it’s difficult and costly and inconvenient (to significantly reduce manmade CO2 emissions) doesn’t change the scientific consensus of those who think CO2 levels are way too high already (by about 25%), and that is solely what political decisions must be are being based upon.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Charles
February 21, 2021 5:44 am

Building a reliable network is engineering, not science. If science doesn’t like what the engineering says then science needs to come up with reliable solutions the engineers can use. Science just can’t say you must have an unreliable network because we don’t know how to do reliable.

MarkW
Reply to  Loydo
February 20, 2021 9:12 pm

The science shows that extra CO2 in the atmosphere is on net, highly beneficial.
A few tenths of a degree of beneficial warming and healthier plants. All Good.

RickWill
Reply to  Loydo
February 21, 2021 12:01 am

Your so-called scientist cannot even agree on the current temperature. That indicates their level of consensus that is readily tested. They do not have a clue about science. They follow some fantasy that CO2 affects the global energy balance; clearly no idea of atmospheric and ocean physics.

Consensus has never been a part of science and never will be. Using the term “scientific consensus” is an oxymoron.

CMIP6_Compare.png
Tim Gorman
Reply to  RickWill
February 21, 2021 5:58 am

Their “global average temperature” is a joke any way. It’s not something that can be measured. And a global average of local temperatures has an uncertainty interval wider than the actual absolute temperatures making up the average!

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  Loydo
February 21, 2021 7:41 am

Left-wing kook science?

Dave Fair
Reply to  Loydo
February 21, 2021 10:19 am

What of the science indicating an ECS of less than two based on actual historical measurements? Do you believe that science? Or is it inconvenient to your ideology?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Dave Fair
February 21, 2021 1:13 pm

Good question.

The best estimates are somewhere around 1.5C. Is that too hot for Loydo?

And some of those ECS estimates go down close to zero.

That’s all part of “the science”, too.

It might be zero, Loydo. Nobody on Earth can say it isn’t, with any certainly.

Shouldn’t we find out how much warmth CO2 is adding to the atmosphere before we go getting all exercised about reducing it? Maybe it’s not adding enough to worry about.

What about Dr. Happer’s theory that at current levels, CO2 in the atmosphere is “saturated” and can add very little extra warmth above current CO2 concentrations, no matter how much fossil fuel we burn.

That’s part of “the science”, too.

There’s a possiblity that alarmists have gotten it all completely wrong.

The facts will eventually prevail. The main fact prevailing now is that alarmists cannot prove anything they say about CO2 and a connection to atmospheric heating. All they have are guesses and their guesses are not matching up with reality.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Loydo
February 21, 2021 10:27 am

Also, Loydo, it is the engineers that actually perform fact-based cost/benefit analyses. Scientists do not do cost/benefit analyses. The Nobel Lauriat in Economics, William Nordhaus, tells us that the cost of high estimates of warming is not excessive. The UN IPCC climate models have been shown to over estimate global warming and the UN IPCC AR5 had to arbitrarily reduce medium-term model projections of average temperatures.

All the science? I think you pick and choose your “science.”

Gary Ashe
February 20, 2021 4:22 pm

Reminds me of the old joke.

Dad what did socialists use before candles.

Electricity son.

Bill Rocks
February 20, 2021 4:24 pm

Excellent information and discussion. Many thanks.

Larry in Texas
February 20, 2021 4:27 pm

“Texas has encouraged the building of wind turbines. They do this, in concert with the U.S. government, through direct subsidies and by paying for wind generation, rather than paying for electricity purchased. This guarantee of revenue means generating companies do not have to consider market demand, they can build wind turbines endlessly with no risk. They can even pay others to take their power and then be reimbursed by the government with our tax dollars!”

While this is true, Texas has also disincentivized the construction of excess reserve electrical capacity; generators are only paid for the actual electricity they generate. Rates for generation services do not include (nor are they allowed to include) cost coverage to build additional capacity that will not be immediately used. This is what results when you do not permit a rate structure that requires a reserve capacity in the event of extreme or unusual spikes in electrical demand. The situation we now have, as David Middleton sagely pointed out yesterday, was known as far back as 2011, when wind power was much less of the generation mix than it is right now. Yet Texas (and the Federal government) has encouraged the building of wind turbine plants at heavy subsidy and has closed coal plants (at least a dozen around Texas, or so I understand). The chickens of this ridiculous policy have now come home to roost. This wind power fantasy must end, and now.

Last edited 2 months ago by Larry in Texas
bethan456@gmail.com
Reply to  Larry in Texas
February 20, 2021 7:27 pm
fred250
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 9:03 pm

WHAT A LOAD OF RUBBISH

Ignoring that they HAVE to have 100% RELIABLE back-up

Ignoring that they only work a fraction of the time

Ignoring that they need feed-in priority and paying even when they are not providing

And very much ignoring the MASSIVE cost of implementation onto the grid.

BASE-LEVEL IGNORANCE from start to finish.

NO wonder gullible brain-washed ACDS sufferers like you fall for it !!

comment image

MarkW
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 9:16 pm

FIrst off, that analysis ignores most of the costs of building wind. It also uses a lifetime for wind turbines that is almost twice what has been achieved in the real world. It also uses a life expectancy for fossil fuel plants that is barely half what has been seen in the real world.
Secondly it completely ignores the cost of back that is needed for when the wind isn’t blowing.

Doonman
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 9:18 pm

And when the meter isn’t spinning at all, the costs go to zero.

john
February 20, 2021 4:45 pm

I want to know how many of the Chinese Government owned Goldwind Wind Farms in Texas failed….

Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co., Ltd., commonly known as Goldwind, is a Chinese state-owned multinational wind turbine manufacturer headquartered in Beijing, China. Wikipedia

Last edited 2 months ago by john
john
Reply to  john
February 20, 2021 4:48 pm
john
Reply to  john
February 20, 2021 4:51 pm
Doonman
Reply to  john
February 20, 2021 9:33 pm

RES, which sold the Texas Rattlesnake project to Goldwind in 2016, is balance of plant contractor on the project. Goldwind Americas secured financing for the project from Berkshire Hathaway Energy and Citi.

Oh Look. Warren Buffet and John Kerry doing what they do best, financing Chinese Communist Party owned companies.

Tom Abbott
February 20, 2021 4:59 pm

From the article: “and I was eventually able to cap it [broken water pipe], with the help of a neighbor, after the normal (for me) three trips to the hardware store and two failed attempts.”

That sounds like me! Plumbing is the worst! 🙂

Reply to  Tom Abbott
February 20, 2021 6:14 pm

Nope, plumbing is only wet and maybe smelly. Amateur electrical stuff is literally shocking. Been there, done that. Both.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Rud Istvan
February 21, 2021 1:31 pm

I can do electrical better than plumbing. My plumbing jobs always end up leaking. I had to replace my copper pipes that fed my shower and after a whole lot of trouble I won’t get into here, I finally got the thing hooked back up, and then the very next week one of my supply lines under the house broke and that was right before the big freeze so I’m waiting for it to thaw out a little before tackling that.

I just do minor electrical repairs. Anything more complicated, I call the professionals. I had a friend who was an electrician and he was working on my outside meter while I watched, and all of sudden he jumped back, and he got a shock which he said he felt all the way across his chest. So even professionals have to be careful. I’m sure glad I wasn’t a witness to his demise that day.

Tom
February 20, 2021 6:01 pm

Thanks, Andy.

Stevek
February 20, 2021 6:22 pm

Not sure why the subsidies given to renewables don’t require a fail safe backup.

MarkW
Reply to  Stevek
February 20, 2021 9:17 pm

Because the subsidies were never intended to create usable power sources.

Hivemind
Reply to  Stevek
February 21, 2021 2:59 am

In a word, rent seekers. They ‘lobbied’ the government because if they had to provide reliable power, it would have cost money.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Stevek
February 21, 2021 5:22 am

They could. ERCOT in TX has the power to do so as part of their rules to play in the marketplace. But the Board of Directors of the ERCOT simply don’t care. They are politicians, not engineers.

Old Retired Guy
February 20, 2021 6:35 pm

I’m late to this discussion as I spent the day at Disney World with my granddaughters. Flew to Orlando from far south Texas last Saturday before things came apart! Talk about luck. (Also have a funny story about why I had over a years worth of toilet paper before the pandemic hit, but maybe later.) Anyway, if you are still monitoring comments Andy I’m curious what happened with all the wind turbines in South Texas? We have what appears to be hundreds if not thousands not far from the coast. What percentage of Texas’ capacity does this group of bird killers represent?

MarkW
Reply to  Old Retired Guy
February 20, 2021 9:18 pm

Good thing you aren’t a politician.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  MarkW
February 21, 2021 1:33 pm

Yeah, really! ORG would be on CNN right now.

Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  Andy May
February 21, 2021 3:28 pm

I think some anemometers froze up and power outages affected reporting at some weather stations…

At Lubbock wind speeds dropped to cut in levels or below for much of the 15th:

https://weatherspark.com/h/d/145759/2021/2/15/Historical-Weather-on-Monday-February-15-2021-at-Lubbock-International-Airport-Texas-United-States#Figures-WindSpeed

Abilene did a little better until nightfall, but not really enough to produce a lot of power

https://weatherspark.com/h/d/145819/2021/2/15/Historical-Weather-on-Monday-February-15-2021-at-Abilene-Regional-Airport-Texas-United-States#Figures-WindSpeed

Cut-in is around 10-15kph, depending on turbine model.

Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  Andy May
February 21, 2021 3:37 pm
Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  Old Retired Guy
February 21, 2021 4:20 pm

Wind output got clobbered – but then again, it’s not infrequent that it falls below 1GW for the whole of ERCOT

ERCOT Wind.png
bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 6:58 pm

Texas (ERCOT) has to do three things to increase reliability.
.
1) Interconnect to the Western Interconnect, the Eastern Interconnect and the SPP grids.
.
2) Winterize the natural gas production/delivery systems
.
3) Install de-icing systems on it’s wind turbines.

fred250
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 7:14 pm

1) Get rid of the mental affliction that is ACDS

2) Get back to solid RELIABLE electricity supplies, well maintained

3) Get rid of any feed-in priority or mandate on UNRELIABLE sources.

4) STOP WASTING MONEY on intermittent unreliables.

You have been shown that interconnects would have made no difference

You have been shown that GAS carried the day for most of the time.

DENIAL of facts is one of the symptoms of manic ACDS. (Anti-CO2 Derangement Syndrome)

You have ALL the symptoms, and are showing yourself to be a raving nutter. !

bethan456@gmail.com
Reply to  fred250
February 20, 2021 7:45 pm

Insulate the raw natural gas collection/gathering systems so the MOISTURE in the raw unprocessed gas doesn’t freeze.

fred250
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 9:04 pm

And stop wasting money by building UNRELIABILITY into the supply network.

fred250
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 9:15 pm

I said that already in 2)

Wake up and engage your brain, for once in your petty little life.

———————-

GREAT that you agree with all my points though. 🙂

Maybe you are not as dumb as you make out, and your ACDS is not totally infecting your tiny mind .

Last edited 2 months ago by fred250
Dave Fair
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 21, 2021 10:39 am

How long would the insulation delay the freeze-up?

Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 7:53 pm

Wrong.

It needs to increase the availability of dispatchable generation in winter time. They under-estimated demand, and had insufficient capacity. There was no spare capacity available in neighbouring grids which would mean that increasing connection to them would achieve very little. Most likely, it would result in higher prices in Texas, as other grids would look to rely on dispatchable power when their own wind and solar fails them.

There is no point in installing deicing systems if wind can fall in cold weather to very low levels of generation whether or not icing causes a problem. You need dispatchable backup to cover for low wind days whether they occur in winter or summer.

Probably the best insurance of gas supply would be to restore gas fuelled compressors to pipelines. No reliance on the grid to keep going. There might be some point in having some salt cavern storage. As it was, gas was redirected away from LNG liquefaction plants to maintain supply levels elsewhere. The market works: LNG plants had every incentive to sell the gas they would otherwise have liquefied, and pay demurrage on the tankers awaiting loading. It’s unclear how much more might be justified.

MarkW
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 9:20 pm

De-icing systems are expensive, if they are installed on the blades, they cut into blade efficiency, both take a system that is already too expensive and make it much more.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Andy May
February 21, 2021 4:36 am

The loss of wind generation seems to have been as much about lack of wind as icing. Generation was as high as 9.1GW on Sunday afternoon, and still 8GW during the evening peak. It then fell away, reaching a low of just 649MW on the hourly data. There’s no point in deicing if there isn’t the wind to turn the blades. Much better to spend on additional dispatchable capacity

MarkW
Reply to  Andy May
February 21, 2021 2:11 pm

I was thinking more on the lines of de-icing boots and heated leading edges, such as what they use for airplane wings during flight. That’s why I specified “installed on the blades”.
It’s already agreed that using helicopters to de-ice the blades is a brain dead solution.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  MarkW
February 21, 2021 4:09 pm

Ummm…. How do you put heated leading edges on a propeller? Are the propellers on conventional aircraft heated or only the fixed wings? It would be difficult to commutate electricity onto a windmill propeller from an engineering viewpoint. And putting batteries into a propeller doesn’t sound like the best idea either.

Lowell
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 9:35 pm

The interconnect and de-icing just reduce the degree of unreliability. They do not get you to a reliable system. Only adequate winterized fossil fuel system provide reliability. Can we really blame the people of Texas for not planning for this cold weather. After all the greens have been saying for years that snow is a thing of the past.

No matter what you need fossil fuel backups so you never get to zero carbon.

Of the three items only winterizing the fossil fuel systems and adding enough backup to deal with really cold temperatures provides reliability. The interconnect and de-icing wind turbines are just exercises in reducijng degrees of unreliability.

Hivemind
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 21, 2021 3:01 am

No.
1) increase baseload power, such as nuclear, coal and gas.
2) require both wind and solar to provide a dispatch-able supply, ie guarantee power when required (probably by using backup generators for when the wind doesn’t blow).
3) tell the toxic greens to shut up.

Reply to  Andy May
February 21, 2021 9:13 am

Wind turbines with deicing systems have to be shutdown for deicing… Not much use when it’s well below freezing for 10 days.

MarkW
Reply to  Andy May
February 21, 2021 2:12 pm

There’s also the problem of keeping the helicopter blades de-iced.
Or are the centripetal forces sufficient for that?

Tim Gorman
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 21, 2021 5:29 am

How do you install de-icing systems on existing wind turbines?

Carlo, Monte
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 21, 2021 7:54 am

Stop listening to idiocy issuing from the likes of bethan and ilk.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 21, 2021 1:39 pm

You forgot to include 4):

Make sure you have 100 percent backup for all windmills for times when they do not function, such as in very cold, icy weather, or very high winds, or no winds at all.

ATheoK
February 20, 2021 7:06 pm

Natural gas ramped up quickly to cover the shortfall, increasing an incredible 450%, but the pipelines feeding them fuel iced up, especially the valves on the pipelines and put the natural gas generators out of commission.”

450% ramp up?

EIA is not trustworthy. Especially, when it portrays private energy producing installations.

A 450% increase without offsetting the electricity shortfall suggests that much of that 450% increase is due to homeowner and business installed backup generators.

Looks like EIA playing their usual games of attributing power generation equivalent to each unit’s nameplate operating output, not what the unit actually produces.
After all, EIA only has access to nameplate electricity power capabilities for zoning applications filed at installation. Not what how much electricity is actually produced for each installation.

That is, EIA’s claim for 450% increase includes totals for independently installed backup generators at nameplate capacity, just as they label wind power generation at nameplate capacity.

All of those independent operators would cause problems with natural gas supplies.

fred250
Reply to  ATheoK
February 20, 2021 9:22 pm

Best way of building RELIABILITY into the grid is GAS, COAL and/or NUCLEAR, with a mandated 90 day fuel stockpile
(90 day fuel stockpile is difficult with gas)

Hydro, Geothermal can be used if you are lucky enough to have it.

Build enough of that to cover the base load + say 20%

Then use GAS to carry any peak loads.

Maybe some BIOMASS, from waste.

Wind and solar have ABSOLUTELY NO PLACE on a RELIABLE electricity grid.

Last edited 2 months ago by fred250
Tom Abbott
Reply to  Andy May
February 21, 2021 1:55 pm

Excellent explanation, Andy.

The windmills were carrying the load at the time of the freeze-up, and the natural gas powerplants were idling.

It took a while for the natural gas generators to get up to full speed, and then some of the generators were plagued with inadequate gas supplies, because of the cold weather, and were not able to produce power at their maximum rates, so they could not make up for the entire shortfall caused by the loss of the windmills. And this made rolling blackout necessary.

Had all the natural gas generators been able to come up to full power, they might have been able to prevent the blackouts, although I don’t know that for sure, but I suspect that is the case.

The natural gas generators and others, with the exception of windmills and solar, did keep the Texas electric grid from failing completely and that is a blessing in itself.

Had the Texas grid failed entirely, the estimate is it would have taken a month to get things back up and running. As it is, it is estimated that the blackouts will cost Texas $50 billion and that’s for a State that is only partially without electricity. Losing it all for a month would be catastrophic in money and human lives.

The people of the United States have been witness to a real good test of unreliable windmills and solar with the Texas disaster. If other States don’t want to end up like Texas, then don’t place your future in the hands of unreliable power generation like windmills and solar.

Tom in Florida
February 20, 2021 7:18 pm

In the end, it all boils down to one thing: Warmer is better.

Reply to  Tom in Florida
February 21, 2021 9:55 am

Particularly when your grid is geared for warmer.

Marc
February 20, 2021 7:23 pm

I have a lot of questions about this statement made in the article:

but the pipelines feeding them fuel iced up, especially the valves on the pipelines and put the natural gas generators out of commission.

Pipelines are buried several feet underground. Therefore, they do not “ice up”. Valves are above ground and operated remotely so changing flow by operating the valves might have become more difficult- but that should not have stopped the flow of gas in the underlying lines.

So what put the gas generators “out of commission”. There were numerous problems.

1. At 1:55 AM on February 15 the grid sustained an unexpected drop in frequency from 60 Hertz to 59.3 Hertz. That knocked several non renewable generators off line almost immediately. They still had gas supply but were tripped off line and all generation stopped. ERCOT says they don’t know what caused the frequency drop. But it coincided with the sudden loss of wind energy.

2. Power was lost to numerous pipeline compressor stations. Without electricity they don’t operate. That dramatically slowed the rate of gas flow through the pipelines.

3. I suspect some gas plants were running on interruptible power. Its cheaper and its rarely interrupted. Those plants had their power cut in order to route gas to home heating use.

I think its highly oversimplified to just say that the gas plants quit operating because the gas pipelines “iced up”.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Marc
February 21, 2021 5:06 am

Actually the incident just before 2 a.m. seems to have started with a loss of gas generation, likely cascading to others because of the underfrequency. Wind was fairly stable at just over 5GW. See the timeline I posted upthread.

But I think you are right that the gas supply picture was much more complicated, and the loss of supply greatly aggravated by cutting power to pipeline compressors. We know that Texan LNG plants released probably up to 4bcf/day back to the inland market. I wonder how much production got shut in on the basis that a pipeline had shut down.

yirgach
Reply to  Marc
February 23, 2021 2:42 pm

2. Power was lost to numerous pipeline compressor stations. Without electricity they don’t operate. That dramatically slowed the rate of gas flow through the pipelines.

It is my understanding that the compressor stations were originally fueled by natural gas and were subsequently converted to electric. Is that the case?
If so, isn’t that one of the major reasons for the loss of power?

Deguello
Reply to  yirgach
March 6, 2021 10:45 am

I read a review of a WSJ article (behind paywall), which indicated that the switch from methane power to electric power for the compressors that failed when power was cut off was mandated by a federal greenie law.

bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 7:38 pm

Obviously Texas needs to ditch the “free market” approach to it’s electric power supply, and institute government regulation. Easiest way to do this is to vote out the GOP and go blue.

bethan456@gmail.com
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 7:47 pm

Besides the bills that Texans are getting from the “free market” pricing for their electricity and natural gas, they are going to have a fit when their insurance bills come due. The insurance industry in Texas is going to take a big hit from this, and will have to recoup their losses by raising rates. Ya gotta love the free market.

MarkW
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 20, 2021 9:25 pm

It really is amazing how every problem in something that isn’t fully government control is proof that the free market can’t work.
On the other hand, no matter how many time government screws up, it’s always proof that the free market doesn’t work.

MarkW
Reply to  bethan456@gmail.com
February 21, 2021 2:17 pm

Other than frozen pipes, how exactly is the insurance industry going to take a “big hit” from this?

MarkW