“Wind was operating almost as well as expected”… A Texas-sized Energy Lie

Guest “fact checking the fact checkers” by David Middleton

Note to fact checking trolls: The featured image is a meme. Look up the word meme before you prattle on about the frozen wind turbine not being in Texas. Also, I have been referring to the freakishly cold weather, snow and ice of the past couple of weeks as Winter Storm Younger Dryas. It is my unofficial pet name for the the Texas weather from February 9-18, 2021. Fact checkers who say this storm name doesn’t exist will very likely be ridiculed.

Meme: “an amusing or interesting item (such as a captioned picture or video) or genre of items that is spread widely online especially through social media”

Ever hear someone say, “Everything’s bigger in Texas“?

Well… The lamestream media lies about the recent Texas energy disaster have been Texas-sized.

This is just a small sample…

Fact check: Renewable energy is not to blame for the Texas energy crisis
Natural gas, the state’s dominant energy source, has provided drastically less energy than expected, according to experts and industry data.

[…]

“Wind was operating almost as well as expected,” said Sam Newell, head of the electricity group at the Brattle Group, an energy consulting company that has advised Texas on its power grid.

“It’s an order of magnitude smaller” than problems with natural gas, coal and nuclear energy, he said.

[…]

NBC News

WINTER STORM 2021
No, frozen wind turbines aren’t the main culprit for Texas’ power outages
Lost wind power was expected to be a fraction of winter generation. All sources — from natural gas, to nuclear, to coal, to solar — have struggled to generate power during the storm that has left millions of Texans in the dark.

[,,,]

Frozen wind turbines in Texas caused some conservative state politicians to declare Tuesday that the state was relying too much on renewable energy. But in reality, the wind power was expected to make up only a fraction of what the state had planned for during the winter.

[…]

Texas Tribune

No, Wind Farms Aren’t the Main Cause of the Texas Blackouts
The state’s widespread electricity failure was largely caused by freezing natural gas pipelines. That didn’t stop advocates for fossil fuels from trying to shift blame.

[…]

However, wind power was not chiefly to blame for the Texas blackouts. The main problem was frigid temperatures that stalled natural gas production, which is responsible for the majority of Texas’ power supply. Wind makes up just a fraction — 7 percent or so, by some estimates — of the state’s overall mix of power generation this time of year.

[…]

New York Times
  • “Wind was operating almost as well as expected”
  • [W]ind power was expected to make up only a fraction of what the state had planned for during the winter.
  • Wind makes up just a fraction — 7 percent or so, by some estimates — of the state’s overall mix of power generation this time of year.

The “fraction” link in the New York Times article leads to the Texas Tribune article I quoted. The “fraction” link in that article leads to another Texas Tribune article that says this:

Only 7% of ERCOT’s forecasted winter capacity, or 6 gigawatts, was expected to come from various wind power sources across the state.

Texas Tribune

That’s just a bald-face lie… Or a very confused journalist.

ERCOT’s (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) wind output is actually fairly reliable in winter, particularly in February.

EIA Texas Electricity Profile 2019

In February 2020, wind accounted for 26% of ERCOT electricity generation…

ERCOT Fuel Mix Report: 2020

Wind has accounted for at least 20% of ERCOT’s February generation from 2016 to 2020.

ERCOT % Feb Generation From Wind
201110%
201211%
201313%
201410%
201512%
201620%
201723%
201825%
201924%
202026%
2021 (Feb 1-8)30%
2021 (Feb 9-18)8%
ERCOT Fuel Mix Report

In February 2021, prior to Winter Storm Younger Dryas, wind accounted for 30% of ERCOT’s electricity generation…

EIA Hourly Grid Monitor

During Winter Storm Younger Dryas, wind dropped off to 8% of ERCOT electricity generation, while natural gas more than doubled as a percentage of ERCOT electricity generation…

EIA Hourly Grid Monitor

While there were severe problems with thermal generating sources from February 15-18, wind was basically a no-show from February 9-18.

EIA Hourly Grid Monitor

And this puts the lie to these fact checker claims:

  • Fact check: Renewable energy is not to blame for the Texas energy crisis
  • No, frozen wind turbines aren’t the main culprit for Texas’ power outages
  • No, Wind Farms Aren’t the Main Cause of the Texas Blackouts

The truth…

  • Renewable energy is why Texas has less natural gas and coal capacity than it would have had otherwise.
  • Frozen wind turbines are why coal-fired power plants were operating at >90% of capacity from February 9-14 and natural gas power plants were operating at 70% to more than 80% of capacity from February 11-14.
  • Wind farms aren’t the main cause of the Texas blackouts because most of them had already been knocked offline by freezing temperatures and ice… Nearly a week before the blackouts! Where’s my Sam Kinison video?

The desperation on the part of the lamestream media to proactively defend wind power during this fiasco would be funny, if not for the fact that this lie quickly gained so much traction, that I have even repeated it. Wind power did not perform better than expected in any rational sense of the phrase.

That said, wind power has generally been very successful in Texas… The problem is that ERCOT’s plan for a total failure of wind power seems to have been hoping that natural gas, coal and nuclear power plants could successfully operate at about 90% of capacity until the wind power came back online.

“Hope ain’t a tactic.”

Mark Wahlberg as Mike Williams in Deepwater Horizon

Even with all of the system-wide failures, natural gas is the only reason that this energy disaster didn’t claim hundreds, if not thousands, of lives. Winter Storm Younger Dryas will probably surpass Hurricane Harvey as the most expensive natural disaster in Texas history and ERCOT was possibly within five minutes of it being possibly the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history when they began load-shedding.

Former Texas Public Utilities Commissioner Rebecca Klein laid out some questions that need to be asked and answered in this very thoughtful article:

1. Are we prepared to pay more for electricity and water to ensure higher levels of reliability? And if so, how much more? Greater reliability may mean a number of things, such as required weatherization of infrastructure assets; higher mandated margins of reserve generation than we have today; real incentives for customer conservation and/or smart appliances; better coordination among gas, electric and water utilities; making sure our gas supply is safe, adequate and accessible; or tweaking our wholesale power price caps, among many other things. Some of these activities come at a higher price than others. We need to evaluate the tradeoffs in a systematic way.

2. How can we be better prepared for “outlier” events, regardless of their probability? Would it make sense to require state-wide scenario planning that includes coordinated drills that test both our operational and communication capabilities across multiple entities?

3. How can all stakeholders, particularly ERCOT, the Public Utility Commission of Texas, the Office of Public Utility Council (but also utilities, etc.) provide more timely, transparent, and relevant information to consumers about how to prepare; what is happening and why; what to expect; and whom to call?

C3

Or we could go with AOC’s solution.

The breakdown for 16 February 2021:

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

Fossil fuels accounted for 83% of our electricity generation on February 16. Fossil fuels + nuclear accounted for 92%. But AOC says more wind & solar would have saved the day…

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starzmom
February 25, 2021 2:03 pm

David, your captions in the first table for Feb 2021 are backwards, at least according to your pie-charts.

Last edited 7 months ago by starzmom
Abolition Man
February 25, 2021 2:16 pm

David,
Please keep hitting the alarmists over the head with that 2X4; it is often the only way to get their attention! I was going to send AOC my idea for a campaign to lower oxygen levels to about 5,000ppm to help prevent fires (think of the lives that would save,) but I was afraid she might take it seriously and her followers would probably follow her right off the cliff!
We climate realists must keep beating the drum of Truth and explain to the children why Unreliable Energy will never be able to replace fossil fuels and nuclear in the foreseeable future!
That’s why the ChiComs are building up their capacity so rapidly!

Editor
Reply to  Abolition Man
February 25, 2021 3:20 pm

Abolition Man, thanks, the 2X4 opening to your comment made me smile.

You may also want to get AOC to abolish dihydrogen peroxide because, according to WHO data, it is responsible for 320,000 deaths globally per year.

Regards,
Bob

Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
February 25, 2021 4:09 pm

As she doesn’t just have blonde moments, but permanent problems, perhaps she doesn’t need it?

Gunga Din
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
February 25, 2021 4:29 pm

Did you mean “dihydrogen peroxide” or “dihydrogen monoxide”?
(Or maybe just carbon whateveride?) 😎

Shanghai Dan
Reply to  Gunga Din
February 26, 2021 9:39 pm

It’s even worse…

Hydroxic Acid. Literally in our RAIN!

John Endicott
Reply to  Bob Tisdale
March 2, 2021 8:54 am

Bob, excellent post, just one quibble:
wouldn’t dihydrogen peroxide be H2O2? I think you mean dihydrogen monoxide ie H2O aka dihydrogen oxide aka hydronium hydroxide aka hydrogen hydroxide aka just plain water.

MarkW
Reply to  Abolition Man
February 26, 2021 7:47 am

My Dad refers to it as being hit by a clueX4.

Russell McMahon
February 25, 2021 2:17 pm

Datapoint (maybe): I’m told that

  • Wind Turbines in climates where very cold temperatures are usual are equipped with de-cing systems, that
  • the Texas WTs were (mostly?) not, and that
  • if they had been then operation would have been very much less affected.

Comments welcome.
I’m in NZ so can only look on from a distance and read the wide range of overlapping perspectives offered.

Russell McMahon

n.n
Reply to  David Middleton
February 25, 2021 2:54 pm

So, whether electric compressors, electric deicers, or electric heaters, a cascade failure was in progress.

Gunga Din
Reply to  n.n
February 25, 2021 4:40 pm

As I understand it, corrections welcome, some of those NG electric compressors were contractually obligated to use use wind energy?

David A
Reply to  Gunga Din
February 25, 2021 9:47 pm

AFAIK that is incorrect. They just happened to be part of the grid, vs running off their own generation directly.

chemman
Reply to  Gunga Din
February 26, 2021 12:01 pm

It wouldn’t matter. Once the energy is input into the grid there is no way to determine where it came from.

Gunga Din
Reply to  David Middleton
February 25, 2021 4:37 pm

Cue that famous picture of Marilyn Monroe, with AOC’s face, blowing wind up our butt,

Larry in Texas
Reply to  David Middleton
February 25, 2021 5:46 pm

That provokes in me to another question, David, one I have started to get interested in as I dig deeper into the issue: ERCOT primarily interconnects with SWPP for grid interchanges; that appears to be the only interchange point with the grid for the whole state of Texas. What if this situation had gone on longer (for both ERCOT and SWPP), to the point where the grid interchanges would have been compromised or disabled because of SWPP’s problems with the collapse of wind (or even other forms of) generation?

John Dueker
Reply to  Larry in Texas
February 25, 2021 9:26 pm

There are five DC ties.
DC_E (East)
DC_L (Laredo VFT)
DC_N (North)
DC_R (Railroad)
DC_S (Eagle Pass)

I saw imports from 3 during the event but haven’t pulled the data. Nor traced the source of the purchased energy.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Larry in Texas
February 26, 2021 5:55 am

There was 1.2GW of intertie import when the big trip occurred. That dipped as low as 123MW in the following couple of days as there wasn’t the power to spare.

Loren C. Wilson
Reply to  David Middleton
February 25, 2021 7:32 pm

I am amazed at how erratic wind power is. Coal plants are really not meant to chase that moving target. Natural gas turbines are about the only source of power that can react that quickly and provide enough power to make up the difference. Obviously cheaper to just have the reliables and retire all the bird-choppers.

MAL
Reply to  David Middleton
February 25, 2021 8:40 pm

We have a boiler plate design in nuclear power that would match the needs of what happens when wind or solar fails. Yet no one wants to use them they also have a 100% safety record. The exist in every air craft carrier the US has(when said carrier is idling and need to get to up to speed in seconds said nuclear reactor can do that job.) Yet no one propose to use the knowledge the military has with these power plants and apply that knowledge to civilian use! With some modifications and redesign we should have a fast reaction power source with zero emissions. Why not, if they greens are serious about reducing CO2 they would be on the nuclear band wagon. They are not so the reduction of CO2 must not be their goal!

Last edited 7 months ago by MAL
Meab
Reply to  MAL
February 26, 2021 9:09 am

It’s foolish to use nuclear for load following. Nuclear fuel costs are a small part of producing nuclear power. Once you’ve built and staffed a nuclear plant, the only way to get low cost power is to run it 24/7 until you need to refuel. Nuclear can do that. If you have enough nuclear in the energy mix you can avoid the additional cost of unreliables.

Darrin
Reply to  MAL
February 26, 2021 11:31 am

MAL,

Nuclear reactors are not made for load following and that includes reactors onboard our carriers. Reactors work best for base loading where demands doesn’t vary or varies very little. It takes getting into nuclear physics to explain why this is so and not something I feel like getting into right now.

chemman
Reply to  MAL
February 26, 2021 12:05 pm

Because the greens don’t have any idea about what risk really means. They hear nuclear and see mushroom clouds.

AWG
Reply to  David Middleton
February 26, 2021 2:08 pm

Wouldn’t it be more cost effective while recognizing the clear and present danger Washington is upon Texas to invest in building coal fired plants on the border with Mexico and build up interconnects that cross the Rio Grande, delivering, when necessary, the multiple giga-watts of reliable power that Texas needs but will never build for themselves?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Loren C. Wilson
February 25, 2021 8:17 pm

“Obviously cheaper to just have the reliables and retire all the bird-choppers.”

Yes, that’s the conclusion everyone should reach.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  David Middleton
February 25, 2021 8:04 pm

That sheds a little more light. It looks like all the windmills from the Gulf to the Canadian border were having trouble producing.

Oklahoma has about 250 windmills and only 22 of them were working. And Oklahoma and other States in the Southwest Power Pool were having rolling blackouts, although not nearly like what was going on in Texas.

I did see an article today speculating that Oklahoma electric bills next month will be higher than normal. I don’t know yet, I just paid last month’s bill and it was a normal bill. My electricity never went out during the storm and aftermath. Now I’m wondering what my next electric bill is going to look like. At least I don’t pay the bill by automatic withdrawal. 🙂

Last edited 7 months ago by Tom Abbott
Tombstone Gabby
Reply to  David Middleton
February 26, 2021 6:56 pm

David,

I was looking at the February percentages for the output of windmills. A steady increase since 2011.

It has been claimed that ‘renewables’ will lower the cost of electricity. I was wondering what the residential cost per kWH was in each of those years. Headed up, down or sideways? Or too many ‘plans’ to come up with a meaningful figure?

Alan Robertson
Reply to  Tom Abbott
February 25, 2021 9:08 pm

I’ve received several emails from the gas company, telling how they are exploring various schemes to keep our upcoming gas bills within reason, so they are subtly telling us that they had to purchase a lot of gas at incredible prices.
Electric utilities in the state would have been under similar price gouging pressure.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Alan Robertson
February 26, 2021 3:55 am

Gas was trading quite widely at $300/MMBtu. 100 times normal Henry Hub.

Reply to  Russell McMahon
February 25, 2021 3:06 pm

Russell

if they had been then operation would have been very much less affected.

Exactly the same can be said of gas, nuclear and even coal. How do you think the Russians keep power stations going in regions where -50 C is not uncommon?

The whole “point” of the Texas winter fiasco was not “wind turbines froze”. Or anything else freezing. The point is that the electricity market had been distorted into an energy only market instead of a capacity market. This was risky as events proved but favoured renewables so that’s why it was done. Making renewables look good was more important than safety and reliability.

https://judithcurry.com/2021/02/18/assigning-blame-for-the-blackouts-in-texas/

David A
Reply to  David Middleton
February 25, 2021 9:53 pm

Yet clearly and daily NG does exactly what excess capacity would do, it follows wind like a whipped puppy.

Robert of Texas
Reply to  Russell McMahon
February 25, 2021 3:22 pm

Adding to David’s reply, an electric heater on or in the blades is the only practical solution to so many wind turbines and these heaters are electric. According to the sites I research it would consume 20% or more of the electricity produced by a wind turbine to de-ice it, and as Davids mentions they shut down the wind turbine so it isn’t throwing slabs of dangerous ice about (they just fall to the ground so don’t stand beneath one).

So not only are wind turbines being shutdown during de-icing, but they are drawing electricity from the very grid they are supposed to be generating for. Assuming 90% of the wind turbines *could* have been in operation (instead of 50% of them) and had they had heaters on the blades then their total output would have been reduced by 20% (power output minis heater input, leaving the heaters going) giving you a gain of 22% total wind generation for the entire state of Texas. All this expense for use every 10 years or so…maybe. This does not take into account the maintenance of the heaters, nor any added weight to the blades.

A better solution by far is to build more coal, nuclear, and/or gas operated power stations and just harden their ability to keep cooling during a great freeze event (as weird as this sounds).

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Robert of Texas
February 25, 2021 5:45 pm

An even better question is HOW DO YOU RETROFIT heating solutions to existing windmills? I’ll bet *that* isn’t cheap!

MarkW
Reply to  Robert of Texas
February 25, 2021 6:03 pm

As the ice builds up on the blades, the efficiency of the blades starts going down. So less energy is being created, even when the blades are spinning.

David A
Reply to  Robert of Texas
February 25, 2021 9:55 pm

I am missing the gain, as when they don’t turn and consume power, they are making a bad situation far worse.

Glenn
Reply to  Russell McMahon
February 25, 2021 3:41 pm

You’ll hear a lot of claims such as “wind performed as expected” and natural gas “significantly underperformed”.
The reality is that on Feb 7, the energy demand was about 40gw. Natural gas, wind and coal each provided about 10gw, with nuclear at 5gw. As you can see in the article below, as the demand grew over the days, natural gas significantly overperformed, while wind faltered dramatically, and essentially died a few times, and not because of a lack of expected wind speed.Natural gas, even between Feb 15-18 performed much more than expected for that month.
https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=46836
Wind:
https://www.timeanddate.com/weather/usa/houston/historic?month=2&year=2021

Politics and economics are heavily involved in any explanation of the failure, but Texas did not, as you will often read, fail to “buy into” renewables.

Don’t get the impression that Texas is all full of Republican ‘deniers”, or Republicans in general, for that matter. Most of the city mayors are Dems, as are many other officials in the State, and likely most or all of the ERCOT board.

What failed in my opinion, is that Texas *did* buy into and was sold the idea of global warming, and what the planners used to determine what was “expected”. Global warming science. Texas is supposed to get progressively warmer, with less cold days and shorter winters, so historical records that should have been taken into account were ignored.

Senator Schumer recently claimed Texas was at fault and paying the price for ignoring climate change. Perhaps he meant that Texas didn’t heed the predictions of increased polar storms reaching into Texas. But then there aren’t any.

Latitude
Reply to  Glenn
February 25, 2021 4:47 pm

Glenn don’t fall for that “increased BS”….

The record low for Texas was minus 23F…in 1899….122 years ago

….this storm wasn’t even close to that

Allonright
Reply to  Latitude
February 26, 2021 3:29 pm

And your point is…?

Derg
Reply to  Russell McMahon
February 25, 2021 3:52 pm

Why are grid operators hiring an unreliable source of energy like solar and wind?

Would you put a type of gas in your car that sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t? I willing to bet if you had to then you would pay whatever to keep it reliable.

Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  Russell McMahon
February 25, 2021 4:27 pm

De-icing is probably not quite as popular as you are assuming.

https://www.windpowerengineering.com/cracking-icing-problem-turbine-blades/

It can only pay for itself if there is enough wind when it is operational. Often not the case in cold weather, and certainly winds were slight much of the time during the Texan freeze.

ERCOT Wind.png
Dr. Deanster
February 25, 2021 2:21 pm

The San Angelo Live article you linked in your last article pretty much pins the cause on wind. When wind power cratered on Monday Morning Feb 14, combined with increased demand, and poor management, … the fuel generated sources were tripped, and dropped off the grid to protect the grid. (the whole out of sync story). Fossil Fuels didn’t fail, they were shut down to protect the infrastructure.

I’ve said all along, Texas screwed up big time by buying into the global warming lie, and closing down 11 coal fired plants since 2018. Each of those plants kicks out about 500 MW, so we are talking over 10,000 MW worth of power capacity taken off line, and sacrificed to the global warming gods.

If Texas was smart they would add back Coal and Gas capacity, maybe build a few more nuclear plants to boot, and come up with an emergency plan …. it goes like this:

When the temps drop to freezing and humidity is high, take the stinking windmills off line, and let the fuel generated sources handle the job until conditions improve. Problem solved.

kenw
Reply to  Dr. Deanster
February 25, 2021 3:27 pm

Many of the closed coal plants were lignite, which barely coal and more like peat. It has marginal heating capacity. Lignite plants were only profitable if they could use on-site lignite so most were co-located with the lignite mine. Very cheap natural gas, mainly due to fracking, displaced most of these.

Derg
Reply to  kenw
February 25, 2021 3:54 pm

Or subsidies going to unreliable sources of energy like solar and wind 🤓

starzmom
Reply to  Dr. Deanster
February 25, 2021 3:38 pm

The regulatory climate (pardon the pun) in the US for coal-fired power plants is such that it is very difficult to permit any new coal plant.

Glenn
Reply to  Dr. Deanster
February 25, 2021 3:54 pm

“When the temps drop to freezing and humidity is high, take the stinking windmills off line, and let the fuel generated sources handle the job until conditions improve. Problem solved.”

I’ll step out on a limb and assume winterizing the recent infrastructure built for natural gas to replace coal would cost far less than winterizing those wind turbines, or replacing them. But then the Dems would complain about that. I suggest that federal “incentives” and grants to wind turbines be dropped like a rock, and let the economics decide how Texas should heat their homes and businesses. They’ll face those choices eventually anyway, when the wind turbine’s life cycles end.

AndyHce
Reply to  Glenn
February 26, 2021 3:14 am

“federal “incentives” and grants to wind turbines be dropped ”
That alone would not effect the problem that wind and solar have priority to sell their product to the determent of other electrical generators, the problem of Texas’ unique electricity market scheme, nor the fact that installing cold weather system that are not needed for 10 years at a time would be extremely expensive relative to just going along ignoring the possibility — especially if everything your being told says it won’t happen again because of warming trends.

Ben Vorlich
February 25, 2021 2:31 pm

Wind gradually goes offline, but no turbines fail outright. It’s night so solar isn’t working. Some gas generation is offline and demand goes way into the red. The stagecoach is being chased by the bandits, the cavalry escort is missing and having a coffee, and the driver is whipping the horses to go faster. A horse goes lame and a wheel comes off the coach’The bandits catch the stage and the gold is gone,

The horse is shot for going lame and causing the wheel to come off.

Any gas generation that went lame will be blamed.

vboring
February 25, 2021 2:36 pm

Maybe they should install a bunch of batteries. A few billion dollars worth should be enough to bankrupt even more gas plants, then carry the system for the first four hours of the first day the next time this happens.

n.n
Reply to  vboring
February 25, 2021 3:22 pm

At least you can stack batteries, which would reduce the environmental impact. Don’t be green, go green, not Green.

Glenn
Reply to  n.n
February 25, 2021 4:06 pm

We’d all be glowing green. But then don’t batteries “freeze”? They’d have to winterize themselves.

AndyHce
Reply to  n.n
February 26, 2021 3:15 am

Batteries probably can’t be stacked very high without building big heavy duty shelving systems for hundreds of million of $ more.

yirgach
Reply to  AndyHce
February 27, 2021 12:58 pm

Battery stacking has the advantage of reducing the blast radius (it is not linear) when the Lion roars.

Ron Long
February 25, 2021 2:39 pm

Tell a bigger lie and keep going. The left is not just clueless, they are corrupt (Chicago is most corrupt city in USA) and dishonest. OK, AOC is intellectually challenged. The next two years are likely to be traumatic.

Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 2:50 pm

Texas was operating as it always has, it didn’t learn it’s lesson from 2011.
.
“Pipelines in Texas don’t use cold insulation —so things were freezing.”
.
https://www.dallasnews.com/news/weather/2021/02/17/no-frozen-wind-turbines-arent-the-main-culprit-for-texas-power-outages/
.
Will the third time be the “charm” and get Texan’s to listen to the experts?

Brian Jackson
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 2:52 pm

Fracked natural gas wells have a lot of moisture coming up at the well head right Mr. Middleton?

Brian Jackson
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 2:53 pm

Texas need backup for it’s unreliable natural gas supply.

starzmom
Reply to  David Middleton
February 25, 2021 3:41 pm

Well, it will happen again. Only question is when.

Brian Jackson
Reply to  starzmom
February 25, 2021 5:55 pm

Yes, you can’t fix stupid in Texas.

John Endicott
Reply to  Brian Jackson
March 2, 2021 9:07 am

From reading several of your posts, brainless Brian, it’s clear that you are the stupid that can’t be fixed. But do continue on, I’m enjoying the popcorn while watching you get slapped silly in all the replies to your nonsense.

Brian Jackson
Reply to  David Middleton
February 25, 2021 5:55 pm

Wind turbines with de-icing systems could backup the unreliable uninsulated natural gas pipeline systems.

Brian Jackson
Reply to  David Middleton
February 25, 2021 6:34 pm

The wind turbines on the Gulf coast didn’t freeze up, and ran fine during this event. Furthermore the term “dispatchable” doesn’t apply to “deicing.” I suggest you separate your apples from your oranges.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 26, 2021 4:04 am

Wind turbines produced just 649MW during peak demand hour on the 15th. I suggest you learn about real intermittency.

MarkW
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 26, 2021 7:57 am

Brian, I’m guessing that you must be the “stupid” you are always whining about.
Even a second grader would be able to figure out that “dispatchable” in the above sentence attaches to “wind turbine”, not “de-icing”.

Secondly, it didn’t get as cold along the coast. You really should check your facts.

Last edited 7 months ago by MarkW
Tom Abbott
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 8:29 pm

Could windmills backup the grid if the wind isn’t blowing?

There are times when the wind doesn’t blow. What’s the plan then?

Joe
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 26, 2021 7:04 am

No they cannot. The turbines are taken offline during the de-icing. This protects the turbines from damage due to unbalanced ice buildup while the deicing systems attempt to do their job. It also prevents the sloughing of the ice from being thrown away from the turbine.

fred250
Reply to  David Middleton
February 26, 2021 2:38 am

Yes, Brian is advocating a RETURN TO COAL !

AndyHce
Reply to  David Middleton
February 26, 2021 3:20 am

But someone has to pay for that and the political figures in charge seem to be extremely resistant for paying for anything that takes funds away from wind and solar expansion– or for letting the utilities charge customers directly for the upgrades.

Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 3:14 pm

Brian
And for your third trick:

https://youtu.be/_gubkwb5518

Bob Johnston
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 3:19 pm

From the chart natural gas doubled its output during the cold stretch. Does that sound “unreliable” to you?

Bryan A
Reply to  Bob Johnston
February 26, 2021 5:44 am

Sounds like something that both WInd and Solar are incapable of doing

Glenn
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 4:53 pm

And you don’t like fracking, right Mr. Jackson?

Unreliable?

“Under the current regulatory environment, only pipelines and local distribution companies (LDCs) are directly regulated with respect to the services they provide. Natural gas producers and marketers are not directly regulated. This is not to say that there are no rules governing their conduct, but instead there is no government agency charged with the direct oversight of their day to day business. Production and marketing companies must still operate within the confines of the law; for instance, producers are required to obtain the proper authorization and permitting before beginning to drill, particularly on federally-owned land.”

http://naturalgas.org/regulation/market/

Brian Jackson
Reply to  Glenn
February 25, 2021 5:58 pm

The output of a fracked well has a higher moisture content than a regular natural gas well. This extra moisture froze in the gathering pipelines during the cold snap.

Brian Jackson
Reply to  David Middleton
February 25, 2021 6:35 pm

All raw natural gas has moisture in it right Mr. Fossil Fuel Expert?

Brian Jackson
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 6:36 pm

Isn’t that why NGL, water, hydrogen sulfide, etc. has to be removed from raw gas before it can be inserted into distribution systems?

MarkW
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 26, 2021 7:59 am

And Mr. Non-sequitur strikes again.
David was responding to you absurd claim that frakked wells have more water in the gas than do non-frakked wells.

Glenn
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 8:34 pm

Let me know when you find a ‘regular” gas well. And when you find evidence that moisture froze in pipelines.

Gunga Din
Reply to  David Middleton
February 25, 2021 5:34 pm

Wind operated as I expected.
A big bust when reality struck.

Brian Jackson
Reply to  Gunga Din
February 25, 2021 6:01 pm

Natural gas failed as expected (see 2011) in cold weather. Natural gas needs a backup, just like wind needs a backup.

Glenn
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 6:44 pm

You really need to support your claims, especially when you put attitude behind them.
As I recall, in 2011 one of the problems was a result of new federal emission control requirements that the plants had to comply with.

Glenn
Reply to  David Middleton
February 25, 2021 7:04 pm

You’re right. I just found this, concerning gas:
“Natural gas plants were hastily turned on to make up for the coal-plant failures. But, Fraser said, some power cuts affected some stations for compressing natural gas — so without power they couldn’t pump gas”…
https://www.texastribune.org/2011/02/03/the-rolling-chain-of-events-behind-texas-blackouts/

Nothing about the cold freezing gas infrastructure.

Glenn
Reply to  David Middleton
February 25, 2021 8:44 pm

I was working out of Midland at the time, and remember the snow.
I do recall power outage reports, maybe from the news about somewhere in Texas, but don’t recall any in town, or any pipeline damage. There was a hurricane that year that did cause damage, though.

fred250
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 10:16 pm

RUBBISH, you are behaving like the 5 year old child you are.

Natural gas needs to be properly engineered.

Then it doesn’t need back-up.

Wind will ALWAYS need a back-up supply.

Sorry you are TOO DUMB and mentally infected with ACDS to see the difference.

If gas really does need back-up, then the ONLY logical choices are NUCLEAR and COAL.

But if you have sufficient COAL and NUCLEAR, you don’t need gas except as peaking supply.

And you certainly don’t need wind or solar.

Wind and solar can NEVER be a back-up for an inadequately designed gas network.

Just design the gas network properly in the first place and STOP WASTING MONEY on UNRELIABLE SUPPLY SYSTEM

MarkW
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 26, 2021 8:01 am

You really do insist on your own facts.

Brian Jackson
Reply to  David Middleton
February 25, 2021 5:59 pm

Operators who were paying attention, shut in production”…. yup, that’s why Texas needs a backup for it’s natural gas supply.

Brian Jackson
Reply to  David Middleton
February 25, 2021 6:38 pm

The moisture in raw gas froze in the gathering/collection pipe lines. Severe weather doesn’t disrupt my biomass heat supply.

Glenn
Reply to  David Middleton
February 25, 2021 7:11 pm

Low line pressure makes sense. Why is the question, but freezing pipes at the wellhead doesn’t seem an answer.

Brain here doesn’t appear too knowledeable on the subject, and tries to make up for it by trolling.

David A
Reply to  David Middleton
February 26, 2021 4:39 am

…and I heard diversion of NG from generation to heat only.

Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  David Middleton
February 26, 2021 10:54 am

Correct: Here’s the original order:

Until such time as the Commission has specifically approved a utilities curtailment program, the following

priorities in descending order shall be observed:

A. Deliveries of gas by natural gas utilities to for residences, hospitals, schools, churches and other human

needs customers, and deliveries to Local Distribution Companies which serve human needs customers.

B. Deliveries of gas to electric generation facilities which serve human needs customers.

B.C. Deliveries of gas to small industrials and regular commercial loads (defined as those customers using

less than 3,000 MCF per day) and delivery of gas for use as pilot lights or in accessory or auxiliary

equipment essential to avoid serious damage to industrial plants.

C. D. Large users of gas for fuel or as a raw material where an alternate cannot be used and operation and

plant production would be curtailed or shut down completely when gas is curtailed.

D. E. Large users of gas for boiler fuel or other fuel users where alternate fuels can be used. This category

is not to be determined by whether or not a user has actually installed alternate fuel facilities, but whether

or not an alternate fuel “could” be used.

E. F. Interruptible sales made subject to interruption or curtailment at Seller’s sole discretion under contracts

or tariffs which provide in effect for the sale of such gas as Seller may be agreeable to selling and Buyer

may be agreeable to buying from time to time.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that gas utilities which have a specific curtailment plan/program that has

been approved by the Commission shall ensure that their top two priorities in the plan/program are A and

B as listed above for the duration of this Emergency Order.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this Emergency Order is in effect until 11:59 p.m. Central Standard

Time Friday, February 19, 2021, unless otherwise renewed by the Commission in a subsequent Emergency

Order.

SIGNED this 12th day of February 2021.

RAILROAD COMMISSION OF TEXAS

fred250
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 10:19 pm

NO EVIDENCE, just squawking like a demented parrot.

Brian Jackson
Reply to  David Middleton
February 25, 2021 6:39 pm

You live in Texas, and what happened there proves you can’t fix the stupid (of Texas)

MarkW
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 26, 2021 8:04 am

What is it about progressives and their desperate need to hate anyone who isn’t like them?

Brian Jackson
Reply to  David Middleton
February 25, 2021 6:42 pm

Cluelessness? Crude oil storage facilities had no part in the failure of the Texas grid.

Glenn
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 7:18 pm

“Cluelessness? Crude oil storage facilities had no part in the failure of the Texas grid.”

No one said it did. You’re clueless. No power plants run on crude oil.

MarkW
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 26, 2021 8:04 am

Once again Mr. Non-sequitur finds it necessary to change the subject.

fred250
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 10:18 pm

You are acting like a demented parrot now, Brainless.

Or a child having a tantrum episode.

MarkW
Reply to  fred250
February 26, 2021 8:05 am

He’s a progressive determined to push his agenda, regardless of facts or logic.

In other words “a child having a tantrum episode”.

Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 26, 2021 11:28 am

It has one. It’s called storage. They used 156bcf of it in the week of 12th-19th. But even storage of dry, processed gas needs working compressors to get it to power stations and homes. They don’t work if you cut them off in a power cut through poor grid management.

Glenn
Reply to  David Middleton
February 25, 2021 6:55 pm

I have not heard reports of wellhead damage. Isn’t the temperature fairly warm?

Glenn
Reply to  David Middleton
February 25, 2021 7:28 pm

I was referring to wellhead temps. This is the temperature of the product coming out of the well. If there is no flow, nothing would be coming out.
I can’t visualize enough water in gas pipelines to put them in danger of breaking, busting or cracking at those ground temperatures. Especially near production wells.

Glenn
Reply to  David Middleton
February 25, 2021 8:48 pm

Yes, of course. Again, I reacted to the wellhead freezing thing.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 5:40 pm

Do you just pull your remarks, unadulterated, from your fundamental orifice? At the minimum, all you need to do was read the article and look at the charts to debunk your “observation”.

Tsk Tsk
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 3:04 pm

Yeah, listen to the experts:

https://www.netl.doe.gov/energy-analysis/details?id=2594

This study examines the cold weather event now known as the Bomb Cyclone that blanketed much of the eastern half of the United States from Dec 27, 2017 through Jan 8, 2018. Analyses focus on six areas of organized markets administered by independent system operators in the US Eastern Interconnection and Texas. This report finds: (1) Combined, fossil and nuclear energy plants provided 89% of electricity during peak demand across all the ISOs; (2) Coal provided the most resilient form of generation in PJM; (3) The value of fuel-based power generation resilience in PJM during this event was estimated at $3.5 billion; (4) Natural gas price spikes, increased demand, and pipeline constraints led to significant fuel oil burn in the US Northeast; (5) Renewables imposed a resilience penalty on the system as output decreased as demand increased; (6) Underestimation of coal and nuclear retirements could give rise to reliability concerns and an inability to meet projected electricity demand.

Derg
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 3:58 pm

Why are they subsidizing unreliable forms of energy like solar and wind instead of investing in reliable forms like nuclear and fossil fuels?

Gunga Din
Reply to  Derg
February 25, 2021 5:36 pm

So the entire country can share the nightmare of “California Dreamin'”?

Brian Jackson
Reply to  Derg
February 25, 2021 6:03 pm

Natural gas failed Texas. Why doesn’t Texas invest in something more reliable than natural gas?

Derg
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 6:28 pm

Natural gas doesn’t fail across the north.

Wind and solar is a waste of money.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 8:38 pm

Yes, Texas needs to build more nuclear powerplants.

fred250
Reply to  Tom Abbott
February 25, 2021 10:24 pm

Texas has very large quantities of coal.

There is no scientific reason NOT to use it.

Pretty sure that is what Brainless is yabbering on about

He wants a reinstatement of COAL is a major solid regular reliable supply.

fred250
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 10:22 pm

WIND failed in Texas,

Cow-towing to the mindless ACDS of the deep-leftism caused the rest of the system to be unable to compensate for the UTTER FAILURE of wind and solar.

So glad you agree that Texas SHOULD NEVER HAVE CLOSED SO MUCH OF ITS COAL FIRED POWER . !

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 26, 2021 4:18 am

There was 156bcf of withdrawal from gas storage in the South Central US during the week from the 12th to the 19th. That’s over 22bcf/day of dry gas. In addition, LNG liquefaction plants shut down and resold gas to the inland market, adding about 4bcf/day in Texas.

https://ir.eia.gov/ngs/ngs.html

MarkW
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 26, 2021 8:07 am

You keep making that claim, yet the data refutes your belief.

Abolition Man
Reply to  Derg
February 25, 2021 9:00 pm

I would theorize that far too many of them have the same mental affliction as bird-brained Brian! It is difficult to determine if it imbecility or delusions; either way we have to honor David for his patience and forebearance trying to explain reality to a simpleton!

Glenn
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 4:24 pm

“Pipelines in Texas don’t use cold insulation —so things were freezing.”

Nah, it was the new stuff recently built because of the pressure to go green that ‘froze’, in more than one sense, only one of which was the cold. Texas isn’t all a warm paradise, and never has been. There weren’t a lot of problems with freezing pipelines before all the environmental pressure was added, and the State has had plenty experience with pipelines.

Brian Jackson
Reply to  David Middleton
February 25, 2021 6:06 pm

Guess Texas needs to backup their natural gas system. Too bad fossil fuels aren’t reliable.

Brian Jackson
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 6:07 pm

Doesn’t matter how cold it gets in northern NY State/Canada, the Niagara hydroelectric plant is immune to cold weather.

Brian Jackson
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 6:20 pm

PS, the wind farms in NY State didn’t freeze because they have de-icing systems.

Glenn
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 8:04 pm

“PS, the wind farms in NY State didn’t freeze because they have de-icing systems.”

So? You’re arguing with yourself against a strawman of your own making. Global warming bobbleheads do not claim NY will never freeze.

NY wind produces a few percent of energy needs. They could be gold plated for all that matters.

Most energy comes from nuclear and natural gas.
Hydro is a small percentage as well, and not everyone is lucky enough to have conditions necessary for hydro to be practical.

MarkW
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 26, 2021 8:09 am

Care to present some data to support that?

MarkW
Reply to  David Middleton
February 26, 2021 8:10 am

Brian, like Nick, has a tendency to change the subject whenever he feels he is falling behind.

Glenn
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 7:44 pm

You clearly need to be moderated. No hydro plant is immune to cold weather, except the ones that are never exposed to freezing temps.

Besides the fact that most everyone has seen pictures of Niagra falls,

Gates that are exposed to the atmosphere will typically freeze to the gate guides. Often the force to free a frozen gate exceeds the capacity of the gate hoisting equipment (Gebre at al., 2013). To allow for winter operation, the gates will need to be equipped with gate/guide heaters or be steamed free prior to operation. …
… Ice formation and related processes in rivers and lakes/reservoirs influence the operation of hydropower plants in cold regions. Frazil ice, anchor ice, ice runs, and ice jams can cause operational constraints that lead to reductions in power production (Gebre at al., 2013). Meeting ice-related challenges is an important and costly aspect of hydropower generation in cold regions. …
… • Extensive frazil ice formation and jamming in open water reaches downstream of power plant; and • Operational restrictions on hydro-electric operators to avoid ice problems such as ice jamming and flooding (Gebre et al., 2014;Gebre et al., 2013).

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/260362982_Ice_Effects_on_Hydropower_Systems_-_A_Review

Glenn
Reply to  David Middleton
February 25, 2021 8:53 pm

That’s because it’s all downhill from Texas. Don’t start with that.

Michael Jankowski
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 8:42 pm
MarkW
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 26, 2021 8:09 am

So if the water froze, the hydro-electric plant would keep operating?
Are you really as stupid as your posts make you sound?

fred250
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 10:25 pm

Brainless need back-up for his demented parrot act.

MarkW
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 26, 2021 8:08 am

Increasing output by 450% is “unreliable”?
Really strange world that you inhabit.

James
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 27, 2021 7:33 pm

They are listening to the experts……

H. D. Hoese
February 25, 2021 2:52 pm

This came from a review of the recent ERCOT board meeting, skating on thin ice. Not direct quote.

A board member noted that forecasting is more than important than ever now that we increasingly rely on renewables, which usually are more variable than the old workhorses, gas, coal, and nuclear (though last week all sources of power were badly affected). I got the impression that they had a climate change ain’t going to freeze that bad no more mindset. Lack of homework? Whooping cranes benefit, they have trouble foraging in invasive mangroves, now on their way to fossilhood.

Clyde Spencer
February 25, 2021 2:54 pm

David
I think you have a typo’. Shouldn’t that be the “Prattle Group?” 🙂

Tsk Tsk
February 25, 2021 3:00 pm

Greater reliability may mean a number of things, such as required weatherization of infrastructure assets; higher mandated margins of reserve generation than we have today; real incentives for customer conservation and/or smart appliances

Or not subsidizing unreliable energy and allowing it to pass its backup costs onto reliable power. And not using regulations to squeeze out reliable thermal coal.

We already know how this story goes:

https://www.netl.doe.gov/energy-analysis/details?id=2594

The re-runs are getting stale.

dk_
February 25, 2021 3:01 pm

Doesn’t matter if windmills are turning, if switching and transmission networks are offline. Linked in series, single-points-of-failure almost have to break. AOC is completely wrong, as usual: it is pursuit of windpower and the current redirection of infrastructure maintenance and upgrade funding that has contributed immensely. Texas’ (also Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Arkansas) weather related disaster is enitrely due to pursuit of fake renewable goals using public utility subsidies.

February 25, 2021 3:02 pm

It should be that any company that wants to supply power to the grid should be contracted to have the capacity to provide it at a constant load in all conditions and have a mixture of base load and intermittent sources that they regulate according to the need at the most economical cost to themselves. If they are unable to maintain their contracted supply at anytime then it is they that should purchase the equivalent shortfall from other generators at their cost at whatever price it is at the time. It appears that what is happening is the equivalent of the expansion of Uber taxis gradually undermining those operators that provide the scheduled transportation that communities rely upon to be available at all times according to the schedule.

Bernie1815
February 25, 2021 3:04 pm

David:
Your charts are persuasive. Can you provide a link to the actual data? The live links on your post only go to the most recent data.
Thanks

Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  Bernie1815
February 25, 2021 4:37 pm

If you click on the gear symbol top right of a chart at the link you will be able to edit the time range covered, and also you can download the data for spreadsheets using the down pointing arrow when you are done.

Bernie1815
Reply to  Itdoesn't add up...
February 26, 2021 5:25 am

Thanks.

February 25, 2021 3:05 pm

“Wind was operating almost as well as expected”… That is 100% correct, Wind was operating randomly, unreliably and at times, near Zero….

BobM
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
February 26, 2021 5:50 am

“As expected” is what the wind advocates keep spouting, not “as required”.

It seems OK that wind was somehow “expected” to decrease by 75% when NEEDED THE MOST, and actually provided even less.

It also seems OK to bash natural gas that was “expected” to provide 400% of normal and did for awhile, but as demand increased beyond what was “expected”, and fuel supply issues arose, all the thrashing is about natural gas that “only” delivered 300% of normal while wind sank to near nothing.

Have I got that right?

Frank from NoVA
February 25, 2021 3:15 pm

David, another good article. It’s clear that since wind energy is variable, there needs to be a come to Jesus moment with respect to hardening gas supplies against cold weather, as well as some hard thinking about how this resource will be allocated (residential space heating vs. generation) before the next incident. Having said that, I would hope someone that is knowledgeable with ERCOT’s energy market could provide some basic information as to what the rules are for how wind energy is dispatched into the grid. For example;

  • Do wind energy suppliers participate in day-ahead markets? Real-time markets?
  • What price do they get paid?
  • What happens if they don’t show up / under produce? Any penalties?
  • What happens to conventional energy suppliers if wind energy over produces?
  • Are the market rules consistent, i.e., non-preferential, for both wind and conventional energy suppliers?

I think answers to the above questions (and others) might tell a more complete story than focusing on how much energy wind and gas did or didn’t contribute to the grid during the freeze.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
February 25, 2021 6:36 pm

I’m unsure about Texas but here in Alberta if a propeller is turning the grid accepts it and a gas turbine somewhere gets it in the neck
You can watch this real time on a website, the wind power contingency reserve is always zero
Which is itself just another subsidy to wind

Gas turbine efficiency craters off full load, so asking it to throttle is not one to one, a 30% drop in output power is a much smaller drop in input gas
Which means there is vanishingly small CO2 savings in the propeller as you can’t just turn the gas plant right off, they have to be ready to ramp back in on a moments notice

Recipe for failure

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

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Pat from kerbob
February 25, 2021 7:49 pm

Thanks Pat. Looking at David’s charts, it’s pretty clear what happened. But since history never really repeats, the important thing to understand is why. Everyone knows that wind power is intermittent, so the value of energy from such sources can not be accorded the same value as energy from more reliable sources. Good economists understand that all value is subjective, i.e., that it is dependent on time and circumstance. (Water and diamonds paradox). I’ve seen posts here that ERCOT failed because it is an energy-only market, which doesn’t reward capacity in the same way as does, say, PJM. I don’t believe that as much as I believe that having a separate capacity market is a back-door way of maintaining reliability so that politically-favored renewables can be introduced without overly risking grid stability. In other words, an energy-only market probably would work effectively, provided uniform rules and penalties were applied to all energy suppliers.

MarkW
Reply to  David Middleton
February 26, 2021 8:16 am

If using wind actually caused a reduction in the amount of fossil fuels being used, I would agree with you.
The problem is that there is no evidence that it does.
Having to build and run two sources of power where only one is needed just results in waste and higher prices.

curly
February 25, 2021 3:20 pm

David,

Thank you for another insightful article.

I read elsewhere that the DOE, enforcing EPA policy of restricting non-renewable generation to 60% of capacity, was a factor in providing electricity during the Younger-Dryas TX cold spell. And they did that through requiring pricing energy over the 60% at hourly spot market prices, so they didn’t say not over 60%, but just made anything more than that too expensive to be useful. Is that accurate and was it a significant factor?

FWIW, the EIA beta charts here https://www.eia.gov/beta/electricity/gridmonitor/dashboard/electric_overview/regional/REG-TEX were fun to view.

Scissor
Reply to  curly
February 25, 2021 4:25 pm

If anyone is interested, Steven Chu (former U.S. Secretary of Energy) will be giving a Zoom presentation next week.

https://www.getches-wilkinsoncenter.cu.law/events/the-13th-annual-schultz-lecture-in-energy-with-dr-steven-chu/

Robert of Texas
February 25, 2021 3:29 pm

Before people start blaming other energy sources they need to stop and think about Wind.

It’s intermittent. This entire disaster could have been MUCH worse if the wind had just slowed down. You cannot build a reliable energy system on an unreliable energy source without spending vast amounts of money on energy storage. So if you decide to build using Wind, you need to take the price tag and multiply by 4 or more.

Nature has already solved the energy storage problem – it’s called fossil and nuclear fuels. We do not need to cover our landscapes in ugly giant wind turbines and battery storage – assuming we could afford it.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Robert of Texas
February 26, 2021 4:26 am

Wind did just die down. It got as low as 649 MW on the 15th, but by then extensive blackouts were already in effect, so although it coincided with what would have been peak demand few noticed.

Paul
February 25, 2021 3:36 pm

Fact check true! Wind and solar aren’t expected to work well.

Reply to  Paul
February 25, 2021 4:13 pm

Welcome to socialism, the system that carefully avoids truth. Truth is dangerous, it only serves the enemies of socialism. Been there.

Glenn
Reply to  Paul
February 25, 2021 8:08 pm

Not economically, and never will. But they’ve put a lot of money in a few hands. Guess the ideology of those few.

DMacKenzie
February 25, 2021 3:44 pm

It’s pretty clear from the EIA grid monitor graph, that when demand called, natural gas generation quintipled its output. Now that’s supplying power,..

Jon R
February 25, 2021 3:53 pm

All media minus a few websites are 100% lies these days. The poor souls who still believe those lies are making themselves a dangerous liability.

commieBob
February 25, 2021 4:04 pm

Windmills are absolutely the cause of the Texas debacle. Trying to integrate them into the grid squandered the resources necessary for a properly functioning grid.

john
February 25, 2021 4:05 pm
DMacKenzie
Reply to  john
February 25, 2021 4:32 pm

John, natural gas is what is killing coal across US. Bird Choppers are a bit player.

Scissor
Reply to  john
February 25, 2021 4:46 pm

I’d move there if it weren’t so damn cold.

Derg
Reply to  Scissor
February 25, 2021 5:23 pm

There are plenty of stupid windmills in ND…very sad landscape in many places. Overall it is a nice place.

Scissor
Reply to  Derg
February 25, 2021 5:57 pm

I enjoyed the couple of times I visited Grand Forks.

john
February 25, 2021 4:08 pm

David, a lot of the wind and solar plants are monitored and operated by Longroad Energy. They need to be asked pointed questions as ERCOT isn’t answering certain questions.

john

Last edited 7 months ago by john
pouncer
Reply to  john
February 25, 2021 5:48 pm

Amen.

By the way, I agree the “meme” about the helicopter de-icing the wind mill is intended for humor not a representation of Texas events. BUT, using that meme weakens the objection to photos showing water vapor coming from evaporative cooling towers when discussing “carbon pollution”. When pictures — humorous or otherwise — aren’t congruent to the actual news the efforts to ask reasonable questions and get reasonable answers is overtaken — replaced– by efforts to develop more memorable memes.

Katphiche
February 25, 2021 4:41 pm

From Wood Mackenzie “Breaking down the Texas winter blackouts: what went wrong?”Texas Freeze Wind power generation
< 28 GW ~1/3 Texas power capability
7 GW normal winter generation
1.7 GW ERCOT winter low plan
0.6 GW actual 2/15 Monday evening and 2/17 Wednesday morning

https://www.woodmac.com/news/editorial/breaking-down-the-texas-winter-blackouts/full-report

https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=46836

fred250
Reply to  David Middleton
February 25, 2021 10:27 pm

Trouble is, “as expected” for wind, is a very LOW bar !!

February 25, 2021 4:47 pm

 30,000 MW of wind at a cost of some $70 billion producing 650 MWs when it was desperately needed is a failure on the magnitude of the Maginot Line in World War 2. 

Gunga Din
Reply to  Roger Caiazza
February 25, 2021 5:45 pm

But doesn’t “Green Energy” sound good?

David A
Reply to  Roger Caiazza
February 26, 2021 4:57 am

And 10,000 MW of Nuclear costs ?
Of NG ?
Of Coal?
any one of which could have saved the day in Texas.

Itdoesn't add up...
February 25, 2021 4:58 pm

Here’s an occasion when a sudden drop in wind did lead to power cuts in Texas:

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-utilities-ercot-wind-idUSN2749522920080228

A drop in wind generation late on Tuesday, coupled with colder weather, triggered an electric emergency that caused the Texas grid operator to cut service to some large customers, the grid agency said on Wednesday.

Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said a decline in wind energy production in west Texas occurred at the same time evening electric demand was building as colder temperatures moved into the state.

ERCOT said the grid’s frequency dropped suddenly when wind production fell from more than 1,700 megawatts, before the event, to 300 MW when the emergency was declared.

In addition, ERCOT said multiple power suppliers fell below the amount of power they were scheduled to produce on Tuesday. That, coupled with the loss of wind generated in West Texas, created problems moving power to the west from North Texas.

Ed Bo
February 25, 2021 5:09 pm

I think the bigger point is this: Even accepting their logic and numbers, their argument boils down to “You have to be stupid to rely on wind power in extreme weather!”

It’s hardly an argument for adding more windpower. It IS an argument for more, and more reliable, fossil and nuclear power, enough so you could do without wind even in the worst conditions.

But in that case, why bother with wind at all?

Walter Sobchak
February 25, 2021 5:16 pm

“How can Texas prevent another power failure?” by Tom Tribone | February 25, 2021 | https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/how-can-texas-prevent-another-power-failure

* * *

“Texas adopted one of the purest free markets for electricity about 20 years ago. But something happened in the interim. Renewable energy came to the fore. …

“Renewable energy (wind, solar, hydroelectricity) all ultimately come from sunlight, which is free. So, renewable marginal cost is zero. If marginal cost is zero and it equals marginal revenue, then things break down. This is what we actually see in real markets where renewable energy is big enough to be the marginal producer of power.

“Wholesale prices for electricity can be close to zero — sometimes below zero due to subsidies. At that point, companies no longer have a strong price incentive to invest in new capacity. They underinvest in the system.

“When you add in the intermittency factor of renewables and the severe extremes that Mother Nature sometimes hits us with, there is, in some sense, almost no amount of storage that would be enough if renewables dominated. Sometimes, you just need conventional sources.

“… Brazil has introduced enough conventional electricity plants to ensure that doesn’t happen again. It did that by establishing structures to compensate for the market failure of the zero marginal cost issue that occurs whenever a large proportion of renewables has been built up. We do the same thing in many parts of the United States. The technical term is a “capacity market.”

Walter Sobchak
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
February 25, 2021 5:30 pm

Nuclear. Nuclear. Nuclear.

If you are going to legislate against gas heat, gas cooking, gas automobiles, you need a lot more electricity.

The only non fossil fuel reliable power system is nuclear.

The country needs to install about a terrawatt of nuclear power.

Solar is a joke. Wind mills are an abomination. Only nuclear can work.

The US has about ~500 GW of generating capacity right now. ~100 GW is nuclear. Getting us to 80% nuclear which would be a CO2 free source of base load would require another 300 GW plus most of the existing nuclear is old and needs to be replaced.

Now add new uses. There are something like 250 million cars and light trucks. They average 15,000 mi/yr. Figure 3mi/KWh that is 5,000 KWh/car or about 100 GW of capacity for cars.

Already we are past 500 GW. But, the warmunists want all electric houses and buildings, and manufacturing.

As an order of magnitude,1 Terrawatt is anywhere from 310 GW to 3.1 TW.

If we are serious, we can do it. And do it in good time.

But I think the warmunists are not serious and will try to block it.

BTW. Stow it about radioactive waste. Uranium Oxide fueled light water cooled and moderated reactors can only burn about 5% of the energy in a fuel rod. The rods can be reprocessed and other types of reactors can burn the reprocessed fissile metals (Uranium, Plutonium, ect.). We need several different types of reactors.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Walter Sobchak
February 25, 2021 8:35 pm

Hi Walter,

Adding a capacity market “works”, but is a kluge approach to reliability. It’s a back-door approach that allows suppliers of politically-favored intermittent energy to participate in the market. In essence, this allows unreliable energy providers to supplant more reliable sources, while passing on the cost of grid stability to rate payers in the form of capacity payments to sources that are only dispatched when the intermittent energy sources fail to materialize. A much better approach would be to require that all market participants be required to offer in their supply on a level playing field, including the requirement to pay a make-whole penalty for non-performance.

robert Bradley
February 25, 2021 5:18 pm
Derg
Reply to  robert Bradley
February 25, 2021 5:25 pm

Krugman is a 💩

Rud Istvan
February 25, 2021 5:23 pm

I previously contributed substantively on ERCOT. No need to repeat.

But will offer a closely related observation. The harder AOC and the MSM try to spin this ERCOT disaster as NOT wind related, the more you KNOW it was, independent of the grid facts. Inverse Alinsky, Fake News, and all that.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
February 25, 2021 5:41 pm

Mike Rowe facebook post:
Off the Wall
Mike – The Way I Heard It has to be the best title of any book, ever. It’s refreshing to hear someone with a large platform say, “I could be wrong.” Your chapter on the difference between sounding certain and being correct – “Off by Roughly Two Trillion” – should be required reading by everyone at CNN and FOX. Kudos! Also love the epigram from Travis McGee – “Be wary of all earnestness.” Indeed!
Judy Reinhardt

Thanks Judy. If you liked that one, you might also enjoy this Twitter feed I recently discovered. It’s called COVID One Year Ago, and if it weren’t so horrifying, it would be hysterical. https://bit.ly/2NXVRPO
Check out these quotes and headlines from last February. They’re notable, not because they’re so wrong and so recent, but because they’re so certain.
February 5, 2020, Los Angeles Times: “How to prevent coronavirus: Wash your hands and ditch the mask.” https://lat.ms/3aSy7p7
February 5, 2020, USA Today: “US surgeon general: Americans should be more concerned about the flu than coronavirus.” https://bit.ly/3uxGtKQ
February 6, 2020, Bloomberg News: “How to Avoid Coronavirus on Flights: Forget Masks, Says Top Airline Doctor” https://bloom.bg/3qWtsIC
February 9, 2020, New York City Health commissioner Dave Chokski: “Today our city is celebrating the LunarNewYear parade in Chinatown, a beautiful cultural tradition with a rich history in our city. I want to remind everyone to enjoy the parade and not change any plans due to misinformation spreading about coronavirus.” https://bit.ly/3suUVSa
February 17, 2020, USA Today: “[Dr. Anthony] Fauci doesn’t want people to worry about coronavirus, the danger of which is ‘just minuscule.’ But he does want them to take precautions against the ‘influenza outbreak, which is having its second wave.’” https://bit.ly/3r8aIpL
February 18, 2020, California Healthline: “In the Alhambra Unified School District, where about half of the students identify as Asian, administrators discourage the use of face masks and try to explain to families that they don’t protect from disease, said Toby Gilbert, a spokesperson for the district. That is sound scientific advice.” https://bit.ly/2O2dI88
February 20, 2020, KERA, the north Texas NPR affiliate: “Experts Say Coronavirus Poses A Low Risk To The U.S. — So Why Are We So Afraid?” http://bit.ly/3bIYHAk
On February 22, 2020, ABC News reported, “Health experts warn life-saving coronavirus vaccine still years away.” https://bit.ly/3qX2VL1

Is it unreasonable for a casual observer to read through this hot mess and conclude that every one of these journalists, politicians, and scientists seemed more interested in fighting xenophobia than they were in protecting Americans from a potentially deadly virus? Is it unreasonable to wonder how many more Americans would have died as a result of these comments, had the virus turned out to be even deadlier than it is?
Some will argue, “But Mike, that isn’t fair. These people were just following the science. Science evolves, and when it does, reasonable people change their beliefs when new information is brought to light.”

I couldn’t agree more. But “following the science” wherever it may lead demands a measure of modesty. A willingness to be completely and totally wrong. So I would ask these defenders of the mistaken, “Where is their humility? Where are their apologies? Where is their embarrassment? Why do so many people in the public eye work so hard to sound so certain every time they hold forth?”

Obviously, the problem is not limited to COVID. Consider the claims driving the climate debate, and the certainty of those making them. I just watched John Kerry tell CBS, “The scientists told us three years ago we had 12 years to avert the worst consequences of climate crisis. We are now three years gone, so we have nine years left.” He said a great deal more as well, and he spoke as he always does, with absolute conviction and deep certainty. http://bit.ly/2NxcL8g

So, John Kerry is certain, but is he right? Many believe he is not. Others believe he’s not only mistaken, but that he’s deliberately trying to mislead and frighten Americans for all sorts of political reasons. Are these people unreasonable for being skeptical? Are they conspiracy nuts? Are they “climate change deniers?” Or are they Americans who have grown wary of doomsayers who sound no less certain than Al Gore and so many others who have publicly attached a ticking clock to their endless predictions of certain doom?

2008: Al Gore Predicts that Earth’s “Ice Caps” Will Melt away
by 2014. https://bit.ly/3uAv11c
2007: Ten Years Left to Avert Catastrophe! https://bit.ly/3aRcLZt
2001: “Snows of Kilimanjaro to vanish by 2020!” https://bit.ly/3korPAQ
2000: “Children Aren’t Going to Know What Snow Is in Five Years.” http://bit.ly/3aW8N1Q
1987: “Within 15 years, the earth will be warmer
than it has been in the past 100,000 years.” https://bit.ly/3kpZqdN
1970: Earth Day Prof. Predicts A Super Ice Age Will Engulf The World. https://bit.ly/3aRdwSj
1967: “Dire Famine by 1975.” https://bit.ly/3uv5FS5

Again, these predictions are notable not because they were all so wrong, or delivered by experts. There notable because they were all so unapologetically certain. And yet, we still fall for it, over and over, year after year. I know a lot of reasonably intelligent people who now believe the world will end in nine years if we don’t abandon fossil fuels immediately. It’s not just that they believe it – they know it. They know it to the point where they’ll shout down all those who disagree, or dismiss them as deniers, or demand they be forbidden from speaking.

I’m not pointing any of this out to pick a fight with hardcocre environmentalists. I’m just saying that nowadays, the harder people work to sound credible, the less persuasive they appear. But who knows? Maybe John Kerry is right? Maybe there is a “climate crisis,” and maybe it’s all over in nine years. Personally, I think we’re going to make it to 2030 and beyond, but I don’t have a crystal ball, and I’ve been wrong before. On the other hand, I don’t need a crystal ball to see the crisis that is actually upon us. I refer to the credibility crisis unfolding as we speak.

We don’t have to wait nine years to see what happens when our press, our leaders, and our scientific community lose the faith and trust of the American people. All we have to do is look around for those in the public eye who have the trust of those on both sides of the aisle. It’s a pretty short list, and while I don’t imagine myself to be on it, it is why I called my book “The Way I Heard It,” and not “The Way It Was.” It’s also probably why W.B. Yeats, a far better writer than I, wrote this, at the end of his poem, The Second Coming. “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are filled with passionate intensity.”

Of course, and to your point, Judy, Travis McGee said it even better, which is why his words appear in the front of my book.
“Be wary of all earnestness.”
Indeed.

Brian Jackson
Reply to  Rud Istvan
February 25, 2021 7:06 pm

Mr. Istvan, the failure was due to natural gas, not wind.
.
Also, when you use the term “Fake News” you lose any credibility.

fred250
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 10:32 pm

WRONG. Brainless parrot

WIND was basically MIA. AWOL.. GONE

GAS had to cover for wind and for the energy need due to extreme cold

increased output by 450% then, because the ERCO managers had cow-towed to the greenie ACDS agenda, gas started having issues with supply and pumping compression.

This debacle is place TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY at the feet of the anti-CO2 agenda.

It is great that you are advocating to a RETURN TO COAL as a major proportion of the grid supply, though.

MarkW
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 26, 2021 8:20 am

You keep repeating that claim as if you actually believe it.

Lrp
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 26, 2021 9:24 am

You have it back to front. Wind underperforms as expected, and only rarely approaches the nameplate capacity.

Larry in Texas
February 25, 2021 5:40 pm

Excellent article, David. I plan on quoting Rebecca Klein in a letter I am preparing for State Representative Jeff Leach this weekend to provide some constituent feedback concerning this serious generation capacity issue. This is an issue that, with considerable and vigorous reflection and debate, the Texas Legislature MUST try to address while in session. If something doesn’t get resolved by early May, I plan on sending Gov. Abbott a note demanding that he put the Legislature into special session until they do get something done. I don’t want to see Texans suffering or freezing to death again in my lifetime before the next Ice Age cometh (only kidding about the Ice Age).

posa
February 25, 2021 5:51 pm

I have the feeling that Texas (and the rest of the country) needs several more severe doses of “Freeze/fry in the dark” before there’s a widespread re-think of Green Renewables. Various forms of pain pedagogy may be the only way to free the mind of Green Propaganda. Very unfortunate. And remember, Texas taxpayers have shelled out $80 B in tax subsidies alone for Green Renewables as well. At some point the price tag is untenable when the “disaster costs” are factored in.

Last edited 7 months ago by posa
Kazinski
February 25, 2021 5:56 pm

“Wind was operating almost as well as expected”

They are right, and you are wrong. Anyone who expected wind and solar to be available during an extreme weather event is an idiot.

All houses should have at least two independent sources of energy for heating and cooking. Lights aren’t too bad, because of led technology and batteries, but heating and cooking can’t be all electric, you need gas or propane backup.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Kazinski
February 25, 2021 6:22 pm

The problem with your comment is that up to 2 weeks ago all we ever heard is how reliable and useful renewable energy is

Griff feels it’s his primary calling

And as Dave points out with graphs wind has provided far more than the 6-7% claimed by your people for February through the years.

But you are right
Unreliable crap is unreliable crap and anyone suggesting spending one more penny on it before the real power assets are hardened should be chased out of public life.

Reply to  Kazinski
February 26, 2021 4:55 am

I agree with your observation that wind and solar aren’t usually available during an extreme weather event and that houses should have two independent sources of energy for heating and cooking. Here’s the problem. In states like New York who have already started implementing their version of the green new deal gas and propane backup is going to be outlawed. It cannot end well because extreme weather is never going to go away.

Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 6:11 pm

Texas should trademark “You can’t fix stupid” because what happened to Texas in 2011 proves Texas is pretty stupid.

Last edited 7 months ago by Brian Jackson
fred250
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 10:33 pm

(Snipped)

(You need to stop with the personal attacks) SUNMOD

Last edited 7 months ago by Sunsettommy
MarkW
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 26, 2021 8:22 am

Why do you feel the need to hate all things Texan? Is your ex a Texan or something?

Lrp
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 26, 2021 9:28 am

The real stupidity for Texas and elsewhere is spending money on wind and solar

Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 6:18 pm

Texas has proven to the world that the “free market” in energy supply doesn’t provide reliability. It may provide cheap energy, but it trades low price for poor performance.

MarkW
Reply to  David Middleton
February 26, 2021 8:24 am

To a communist, there’s pure communism and everything else is a form of capitalism.

fred250
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 10:35 pm

WRONG, the free market has been destroyed by people with ACDS

Wind and solar would never be more than a tiny niche in a free market.

Great to see you advocating a RETURN TO COAL AS A MAJOR SUPPLIER, though

MarkW
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 26, 2021 8:23 am

The standard claim of a progressive. No matter how regulated a market is, it’s always the fault of the free market when it fails.

Lrp
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 26, 2021 9:34 am

You can reliably expect poor performance from wind and solar

Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 6:23 pm

Homeowner property insurance rates will be going through the roof in Texas in the next few years because of the losses from this “event.”
..
What is sad is that the SSW (sudden stratospheric warming) predicted this event. Maybe Texans will now pay attention to the people that can predict the weather.

fred250
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 10:37 pm

What they should be paying attention is ANYTHING BUT those with ACDS .

Great that you are advocating a RETURN TO COAL as a major percentage of Texas supply, though.

MarkW
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 26, 2021 8:25 am

Who are these people who can predict weather decades out?

What losses are you whining about?

JamesD
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 26, 2021 11:31 am

They did. They requested a waiver from the Feds to kick up reliable Gas and Coal production. The waiver was denied (until prices were 1500/MW-hr.)

Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 6:26 pm

And again the blue states have to bail out the red states with boatloads of money because the red states never learn.

MarkW
Reply to  David Middleton
February 26, 2021 8:27 am

He heard it on the BBC.

MarkW
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 26, 2021 8:26 am

That’s funny, considering the latest COVID relief bill contains billions in handouts for blue states.

JamesD
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 26, 2021 11:32 am

CA, NY, and IL will be getting HUGE bailouts from the Feds in the latest Dem plan as they have completely destroyed their economies.

Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 6:48 pm

The best thing for the United States of America would be for Texas to succeed. That way, the rest of us wouldn’t have to send our money to bail out the people of Texas every time the floods, hurricanes, droughts, cold snaps and other weather events decimate their infrastructure.

fred250
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 25, 2021 10:38 pm

WOW, your derangement is getting deeper and deeper by the day

Its quite HILARIOUS to watch you sinking into the fetid ooze of your mindless comments.
🙂

MarkW
Reply to  fred250
February 26, 2021 8:28 am

Progressives hate, it’s what they do.

MarkW
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 26, 2021 8:28 am

Texas has already succeeded.

Do you really believe that natural disasters never hit blue states? Or are you just playing stupid to please your pay masters?

Lrp
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 26, 2021 9:36 am

You first should try and get an education

JamesD
Reply to  Brian Jackson
February 26, 2021 11:33 am

Trust me, a lot of Red States want to secede. The Feds will never let that happen as all of the Real GDP is done in the Red States.

Brooks H Hurd
February 25, 2021 6:48 pm

The problems in Texas were a combination of lower than normal temperatures combined with high humidity. The result was an ice storm. Note: ice storms do not plague wind turbines in cold climate areas.

Loren C. Wilson
February 25, 2021 7:28 pm

I am not sure I should have to pay more for reliable power. When I lived in colder climes, I paid less for electricity (100% coal-fired) even though they had to deal with weather like this regularly. If they can do it, why can’t the power plants in Texas? Also, this was high demand for the time of year but well below peak summer demand, so we should have had plenty of capacity to handle this if the baseload plants stayed up and there was sufficient natural gas storage to cover a week of high demand. We need several more Katy Hub-sized gas depots, which should be easy to find in Texas. We also need guaranteed natural gas delivery contracts so the producers have a financial incentive to add a little heat tracing to their equipment. The high pressure gas lines can’t freeze unless we get down to Neptune temperatures, but the wellheads and collection lines can begin to form hydrates below 40°F.

willem post
February 25, 2021 7:29 pm

TEXAS

Texas does not import electricity, because it has minor connections to nearby grids. 
Texas prides itself going it alone. Don’t mess with Texas.

The New York Times, February 20, 2021, displayed a very revealing and useful graph, based on Energy Information Administration, EIA, data, of Texas electricity production, by source, a few days before, and a few days after, the major winter snow storm, which started early evening, February 14, 2021. You can google it, but it is behind a paywall. The graph showed:

GAS
Gas plant output was about 43,000 MW. The output decreased to about 29,000 MW about one day later, a 33% reduction (largely due to piping freeze-ups), then output went up and down, at an average of about 29,000 MW, to quickly/seamlessly counteract the output changes of other sources, especially of wind and solar.

COAL
Coal plant output was about 11,000 MW. The output decreased to about 8,000 MW about one day later, a 27% reduction (largely due to piping freeze-ups), then the output was about 7,000 to 8,000 MW

WIND
Wind plant output was about 9,000 MW, from an installed capacity of 30,904 MW (about 15,000 wind turbines); the capacity factor was 9000/30904 = 0.29. The output decreased to about 1,000 MW about one day later, an 89% reduction (largely due to freeze ups of 12,000 MW of capacity (per ERCOT, the grid operator), i.e., about 12000/30904 x 15000 = 5,825 wind turbines, or 5825/15000 = 39% of all wind turbines. Then output increased to about 4,000 MW for about a day, then decreased to about 1,000 MW, etc., due to wind-velocity variations, i.e., bouncing around at a low level, due to a lack of wind. The relatively few wind turbines on the Texas Gulf Coast were unaffected by the snow storm, and performed as usual.
https://windexchange.energy.gov/states/tx#capacity

NOTE: Wind turbines, whether producing or not, require electricity for self-use, i.e., each of those frozen wind turbines and all operating wind turbines would demand 30 to 60 kW from the grid, 24/7, for self-use, where ever the electricity would be available. See explanation in this URL
https://windfarmrealities.org/?p=1594

NUCLEAR
Nuclear plant output was about 4,000 MW. The output became about 3,000 MW about one day later (largely due to piping freeze-ups), a 25% reduction

SOLAR
Solar plant output was near zero on the early evening of February 14, 2021. The output increased to 3,000 MW, from an installed capacity of about 13,000 MW during the following midday. On a sunny day, peak midday production from 13,000 MW of panels is about 13000 x 0.8 = 10,400 MW, but peak production was only 3,000 MW, i.e., 6,000 MW/ 0.8 = 7,500 MW of panels, or 7500/13000 = 58% of all panels, were covered with snow. Then solar output went to near-zero again, starting late afternoon/early evening, etc. Solar is almost never there when it is needed.

NOTE: In New England, which is much smaller than Texas, a wide-spread snow storm would cover almost all panels, at least for a few days, longer if icing would occur.

None of the above had anything to do with the Texas distribution and transmission grids.

This had to do with an unusual freeze-up, which: 

1) Temporarily, a few days, reduced output of traditional sources.
2) Covered 39% of wind turbines with snow and ice.
3) Covered 58% of solar panels in many areas

Texas should be:
 
1) Investing in insulation to protect critical power plant and grid systems
2) Retrofitting wind turbines with freeze protection systems, as do New England and northern Europe, a multi-year effort.

Glenn
Reply to  David Middleton
February 25, 2021 11:50 pm

“Wind works well in Texas because it’s cheap”

Depends on how often and hard the wind blows, and subsidies. When it doesn’t, it is very expensive. Unless I am wrong, the initial cost per mw is much higher for wind than natural gas. And it takes a whole gaggle of mills per single gas plant. Looking downrange, it might be a toss up. But in the eyes of people who need steady work for a living, they’d probably think gas is the “cheaper” way to go.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Glenn
February 26, 2021 8:10 am

I thought Warren Buffet had explained wind only makes sense because of the subsidies and tax breaks.

MarkW
Reply to  Glenn
February 26, 2021 8:32 am

When the wind blows, other sources of power are forced to either dump their electricity at below cost, or to throttle back production.
The problem with throttling back production is that there is very little, if any, reduction in operating costs.

Wind only looks cheap because it is able to force most of it’s costs onto others.

MarkW
Reply to  David Middleton
February 26, 2021 8:30 am

It’s only cheap because it doesn’t have to pay for back up and most of the costs are forced onto fossil fuel plants.

Glenn
Reply to  MarkW
February 26, 2021 6:57 pm

And it will get less cheap when battery storage is attempted.

willem post
Reply to  David Middleton
February 26, 2021 10:28 am

“Wind works well in Texas, because it’s cheap”.

When the wind blows, other sources of power are forced to vary their outputs to counteract the variations of wind (and solar), 24/7/365.

This mode of operation causes increases in: 1) wear-and-tear, and 2) Btu/kWh, and 3) CO2/kWh, and 4) c/kWh, and 5) less kWh is being sold, plus 6) requires grid augmentation/expansion, of which costs are shifted to ratepayers and taxpayers, and added to government debts, plus 7) traditional generating plants are forced to act as back-up/babysitters for wind (and solar), 24/7/365.

Wind only looks cheap because it is able to force most of its costs onto others.

The turnkey cost of a wind plant/MW is greater than for natural gas, and the capacity factor of wind plants is much less than gas plants. 
People, who need steady work, and steady electricity, for a living, probably think gas is the overall “cheaper” way to go.

NOTE: Wind turbines, whether producing or not, require electricity for self-use, i.e., each of those frozen wind turbines and all operating wind turbines would demand 30 to 60 kW from the grid, 24/7, for self-use, where ever the electricity would be available. See explanation in this URL
https://windfarmrealities.org/?p=1594

NOTE: Warren Edward Buffett explains it well:

For example, on wind energy, we get a tax credit, if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without tax credit.

 

gringojay
Reply to  willem post
February 25, 2021 10:48 pm

Texas’ biggest disappointment =

8BBFFD92-7349-43CB-9484-A87BB0809D7D.jpeg
It doesn't add up...
Reply to  willem post
February 26, 2021 5:42 am

The first problem was that ERCOT only had 67GW of dispatchable capacity available to meet demand which they estimated could have been 75GW if they had been able to supply it. Too much capacity was tied up in winter turnarounds. But there is too little capacity even for peak summer availability thanks to closures in a highly competitive market.

Secondly there is little doubt that had ERCOT grasped the nettle and started imposing rotating power cuts when the supply margin was cut by falling wind generation in the hours after the demand peak on the 14th we would not have seen the catastrophic frequency incident at 1:52 a.m. which I have seen reported as taking out 10 plants at once. Their loss was about grid mismanagement, not lack of winterisation or gas supply.

Thirdly, a direct consequence of the major trip was extra blackouts that directly affected gas and water pipeline pressures, in turn forcing more plants off line sporadically, and making it hard to get tripped plants restarted. Again, not winterisation.

That is not so say that plants did not have problems that could have been avoided with better weather protection at the plant. They did, but many of the trips were for other causes that plant winterisation would not have solved. Reverting to gas compressors on main pipelines would have dealt with the blackout risk. In the case of wind the insurmountable problem was falling wind speeds that no amount of de-icing would solve.

It will take a while to disentangle what happened with gas supply in detail, but we do know that a large volume of production was shut in as a precaution, that LNG plants returned supply to the market, and that there was a massive 156bcf storage drawdown of processed dry gas in the South Central US in the week of 12-19th. The Texas Railroad Commission issued directives on how gas supply should be used, including prioritising power plants and homes. Prices went crazy. It is unwise to jump to conclusions before we have quantified the problems to be solved.

observa
February 25, 2021 11:30 pm

“Only 7% of ERCOT’s forecasted winter capacity, or 6 gigawatts, was expected to come from various wind power sources across the state.”

Yes I saw that gem quoted early on when it was also clear wind was supplying around 25% of power over the year and so much for the law of averages. Right there writ large was the problem with unreliables irrespective of extreme weather events but there’s no reasoning with these climate changers. When fossil fuels didn’t manage to take up the slack it’s clearly down to them and ipso facto they have to be got rid of.

That’s watermelon logic for you. Only they know what the averages are supposed to be anytime everywhere. Just like the global temperature and they’ve got the computer models to prove it to themselves. Our problem is we think they should be able to show how they came up with all their averages when it’s secret watermelon business. No further correspondence will be entered into and we just have to be patient and wait for the train wreck as the lights continue to go out and politicians finally react to the bleeding obvious.

griff
February 26, 2021 12:26 am

Oh come on! Even if it has been all natural gas and coal, we know that the plant would have struggled with demand and more importantly the gas plant would have frozen up. As Texas was warned it would do as far back as 2011.

Prove to me a all fossil fuel grid would NOT have failed!

JamesD
Reply to  griff
February 26, 2021 11:38 am

Because gas produced electricity INCREASED significantly.

Russ R.
Reply to  griff
February 27, 2021 7:33 pm

Gas and Coal plants frequently run in cold climates reliably. If you don’t spend all your investment money on windmills and subsidies to get tax credits for $$ Billionaires $$ you have money to invest in improvements to reliability and infrastructure.
Gas and Coal run economically at 50% of maximum capacity, so that when the rare situation occurs they can run at much higher capacity to meet the demands of the customers, who PAY for the system.
Coal can be stockpiled so when excessive demand occurs for several days to over a week, it can sustain it’s output by fuel on-site.
We don’t have to have an all fossil fuel grid. More baseline nuclear would help as we phase out unreliable electricity production. Double the nuclear capacity, double the coal fired capacity, and provide better natural gas infrastructure to deliver gas to both homes and power generation facilities, and this is a non-event. That is what should have happened the past decade.

Last edited 7 months ago by Russ R.
SAMURAI
February 26, 2021 1:03 am

The age old question:Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Who will guard the guardians?

Leftist “Fact Checkers” no longer check the facts, they’ve just become very dangerous propagandist who cancel/censor: ideas, empirical evidence, books, programs, networks, epistemologies, opinions, beliefs, philosophies, institutions and individuals which disagree with Leftists’ twisted and irrational NEWTHINK…

ERCOT made mistakes. They failed to adequately harden/winterize conventional power AND relied too heavily on wind and solar power—both things can be true at once.

it’s also true that wind and solar are terrible forms of energy to feed a grid because they’re wildly: expensive, unreliable, inefficient, intermittent, prone to massive power output fluctuation, too diffuse, and have laughable energy densities, require 100% immediate backup because of their endemic failures and tend to fail when needed most.

All objective data available from countries that have already tried and failed to run their grids on wind and solar show they are insane ways to run a grid. Texas’ blackouts again prove they’re extremely dangerous and led to many deaths from exposure.

All objective data show conclusively that fossil fuels are the best ways to produce dependable power 24/7/365 and should be augmented with hydroelectric and next generation nuclear power. Honest people and informed people know this.

Even informed Leftists (both in the public and private sectors) know wind and solar suck, but there are $trillions in taxpayer funds that can be wasted on wind/solar subsidies and reciprocal political donations, so Leftist hacks push the false narrative that wind/solar will save the planet from Warmageddon..

We live in strange, illogical and corrupt times.

observa
February 26, 2021 1:15 am

Mind you they’re getting worried by events like Texas and trying to put the best spin on things-
Amazing answers to the world’s biggest energy question (msn.com)

Run through that lot and you can quickly discount hydro as we’ve plucked the low hanging fruit already with that. Which mainly leaves batteries and as physicist Mark Mills calculated and explained start digging furiosly right now to offer storage for a grid full of unreliables. Add in electrifying transport at the same time and it’s utter fantasy and cannot happen.

So that just leaves a motley bunch of brainfart thought bubbles to blow some more taxpayer dollars on. In the absence of nukes there’s only one way unreliables are headed now while those entrusted with keeping the lights on have to struggle with technical and economic reality (sorry new chums but we’re already full up to hyar with rooftop solar dumping)-
New rules to come for solar households (msn.com)

But to agree to nukes is to fess up they got it wrong with solar and wind and facing the obvious question what else did they get wrong? So the die is cast and they have to become more hyperbolic and irrational with every grid failure now. As they desperately try to disprove a fundamental axiom of engineering and economics that you can make a reliable system from unreliable componentry. Like doomed lemmings to the cliff now.

Charlie
February 26, 2021 2:07 am

Lots of talk here about what should be done to prevent a repeat. Just a reminder : the lunatics want gas, coal and nuclear gone as soon as possible.

Russ R.
Reply to  Charlie
February 27, 2021 7:49 pm

Nothing like a crime wave to encourage support for Law and Order.
Nothing like blackouts to encourage support for reliable electricity production.
A Liberal is just a Conservative that hasn’t be mugged….yet.

Olavi Vulkko
February 26, 2021 2:55 am

As I told earlier. Windmills give power when you don’t need it. When you need power, it has to be nuclear, coal, natural/biogas or biomass.

James
February 26, 2021 3:26 am

Almost doesn’t do you much good when you are sitting in a cold freezing home eating dry goods for weeks. Reliability is the word you want to hear.

observa
Reply to  James
February 26, 2021 4:09 am

That’s the pea and thimble trick with solar and wind being able to dump on the grid in a classic case of driving out competing investment in deliverable power-
Renewables boom prompts calls to start planning for Yallourn coal closure, community groups say – ABC News
Along with direct action stopping any expansion or conversion to lessen their dreaded plant food-
Power station scraps controversial plan to become Europe’s biggest gas-fired plant (msn.com)
Meanwhile they try and put off the ugly day of reckoning for their pet batteries-
Reuse plan to eke out more life from ‘spent’ EV batteries – Stockhead

It’s all a terrible boondoggle but the sooner they break our grids the sooner they get tarred and feathered politically.

vboring
February 26, 2021 5:30 am

“Almost as well as expected” because ERCOT is smart enough to not expect much from wind during peak load events.

They give wind an Electric Load Capacity Credit of about 7% when planning.

When operating, they use time windows. A week out, they probably saw wind would be below 5%. Day ahead, they probably anticipated wind at zero.

The entertaining part is that even zero is wrong. They only count the positive contributions from wind in these calculations. When wind isn’t blowing, wind plants are a small load. Every generator consumes a bit of “house power.” In the case of wind, this load is about 1% of nameplate. A 500 MW wind plant is about a 5 MW load when the wind isn’t blowing.

ERCOT has 24,000 MW of wind plants. During the worst parts of the event, you can see in the chart that wind plants touched 0 output a few times. At these times, the fleet of wind plants was likely consuming more than 200 MW – enough to run 100,000 space heaters.

February 26, 2021 6:08 am

Now we have storms without wind. I just can’t keep up.

Joe
Reply to  D. Anderson
February 26, 2021 7:36 am

Storms with wind are bad for turnines too. Blades on a windmill have to be feathered or locked down to reduce the spin. Blades spin too fast and you destroy the generator. It’s a “goldilocks” kind of power. They only produce when conditions are within a narrow margin of acceptability. Used to be that the turbines would feather their blades starting at when the wind moved into the 30 mph range but couldn’t generate anything useful at less than 15 mph. I’m not sure about the newer model generators.

Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  Joe
February 26, 2021 10:26 am

This shows the performance for a fairly typical modern 3MW onshore wind turbine

https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/GqyyC/1/

To convert to mph, multiply m/sec by about 2.237, or to be exact, multiply by 125 and divide by 55.88. Cut in speed is about 7mph, and cut out speed is 50mph. Beyond that they pinwheel, and should survive at least Cat 1 hurricane winds. Very little power is generated at lower wind speeds. Efficiency drops as they feather the blades once full generator output is reached. It’s also fairly low until the sweet spot – for this design about 5 or 6 -10 m/sec.

Note that this is a true efficiency curve relative to wind energy at given wind speeds, so it looks somewhat different to a traditional power output curve, which you could plot from the data, and would show a small jump at cut in speed, then a slightly faster than cubic growth as the inefficiency of low speed reduces, and then a more or less cubic growth until full output is reached, followed by a flat 3MW of output until cutout speed.