Texas “Wind was operating almost as well as expected” – Part Deux

Guest “debunking the debunkers” by David Middleton

Setting the Stage

Why was Texas, ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) in particular, so unprepared for the onslaught of frigid weather? This was NOAA’s February temperature outlook map, released on January 31, 2021:

“A reminder: the climate outlook maps are not a forecast for the absolute temperature or precipitation amounts in February. Instead, they are the probability (percent chance) that February temperatures or precipitation will be in the upper, middle, or lower third of the climatological record (1981-2010) for February (note: the climatological record will shift to 1991-2020 later this year).” NOAA

20 days later, this was NOAA’s map of the number of hours below freezing for the week of Feb. 12-19, 2021:

In less than a week, we went from an outlook for about normal February temperatures to the forecast of an ice storm and then “the worst winter weather conditions seen locally in decades (if not on record)”… Radical would be an understatement.

The first hint I had of the approach of Winter Storm Younger Dryas was on Monday, February 8. Not being hurricane season, I wasn’t paying too close attention to the weather. The forecast on Monday was for possible freezing rain overnight on Wednesday… But the scary bit was a forecast of single digit low temperatures early in the week. It simply doesn’t get that cold in the DFW area. And as the days went by, the forecast kept getting worse.

The ice storm hit Wednesday night and caused this on Thurday…

And it just kept getting colder. By Sunday, February 14, it was snowing and temperatures were 41 °F below normal…

DFW Temperatures Jan. 26 to Feb. 25, 2021

This Arctic blast was essentially unprecedented…

Oklahoma City set a record for its longest straight period of temperatures at or below 20 degrees: 210 hours between Feb. 9 and 17 beat its previous record in 1983. The temperature dipped to minus-14 degrees on Feb. 16, the city’s lowest since 1899.

Dallas experienced its second-longest streak of temperatures at or below freezing and at or below 20 degrees, and reached its third-coldest temperature on record: minus-2 degrees.

Houston, which was placed under its first wind chill warning, observed a wind chill of 1 degree, its lowest since at least 1990, according to meteorologist Alex Lamers. Its high temperature of 25 degrees was its fourth coldest on record.

Kansas City set a record for the longest stretch with temperatures at or below 15 degrees, at 10 days.

Washington Post

February 16 was actually tied for the second lowest DFW temperature on record.

Coldest temp in over 70 years and the 2nd coldest temp ever recorded in the D-FW area
On Feb. 16 the temperature dropped to -2°.

This ties the 2nd coldest temp ever recorded.

On Jan. 31, 1949 the temperature also dropped to -2°.

The only time it has been colder was -8° back on February 12, 1899.

3 days in a row of record lows
Feb. 14, 15, and 16 all observed record low temps.

Feb. 14 the low was 9°, which shattered the old record of 15° set in 1936.

Feb. 15 the low was 4°, which shattered the old record of 15° set in 1909.

Feb. 16 the low was -2°, which shattered the old record of 12° set in 1903.

3 days of record cold high temperatures
From Feb. 14 to 16, all three days observed record cold high temperatures.

This means the afternoon was the coldest on that date that is ever been observed.

Feb. 14 the high was 22°. This breaks the old record of 27° set in 1951.

Feb. 15 the high was 14°, which shattered the old record of 31° set in 1909.

Feb. 16 the high was 18°, which breaks the old record of 21° set in 1903.

WFAA

It also pretty well knocked out most of Texas wind power production… because Texas doesn’t winterize their wind turbines… Right?

Debunking the debunkers

Fact Check: Do Wind Turbines Really Fail in Cold Weather?
It’s time to debunk the rumors.

By  Brad Bergan

Feb 17, 2021

Crisis breeds confusion and the recent string of record-low temperatures amid this week’s cold and frosty weather conditions in Texas are no exception. But when the state’s power grid fell short of energy demands, misinformation spread like wildfire — arguing that frozen wind turbines are to blame for the blackout.

However, wind turbine installations don’t go up without substantial investment — which means planning for the kind of volatile weather much of the world is already seeing for the first time. The question is raised, then: Can wind turbines really fail in cold weather?

Wind turbines in cold environments typically ‘winterized’
Misinformation sparked when an image showing an Alpine helicopter de-icing wind turbines covered in frost or ice surfaced on social media. The implication was that frozen wind turbines were the cause of Texas’ series of power outages.

[…]

Interesting Engineering
Fact Check: “image showing an Alpine helicopter de-icing wind turbines covered in frost or ice” is a “meme“… Debunking a meme is like debunking The Onion or The Babylon Bee. The claim that “the implication was that frozen wind turbines were the cause of Texas’ series of power outages” is rated as moronic.

The interesting engineer went on to state that helicopter-assisted wind turbines are better for the climate than coal-fired power plants.

In fact, carbon emissions generated from de-icing a turbine — like in the Alpine Helicopter video and image — saves two days’ worth of emissions, relative to coal power. 

Interesting Engineering

This may be true… But it’s not likely to be of much comfort to the 4.5 million Texans who lost power during the record-shattering cold stretch.

While I have no doubt that wind turbines are winterized in very cold places where fossil fuels and nuclear power have been effectively outlawed, Texas isn’t one of those sort of places. So… If Texas (ERCOT) wind turbines failed because they weren’t properly winterized, then the other grids hammered by Winter Storm Younger Dryas must have fared better… Right?

The Southwest Power Pool (SWPP) and Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) extend from Texas to the Canadian border.

Their wind power output did what ERCOT’s did… It failed.

Electricity generation from wind for ERCOT, SWPP and MISO

Here’s a funny, maybe coincidental, correlation:

ERCOT wind power generation vs departure from normal DFW temperature from Jan. 26, 2021 to Feb. 25, 2021

Note that the correlation is just as good when temperatures are above freezing. Why use DFW temperatures?

  1. I live in Dallas and I remember 1983 and 2011.
  2. The Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) area was the first major metropolitan area in the ERCOT grid to be hammered.
  3. The North Central Texas region had the highest electricity demand in the ERCOT grid.

Why were ERCOT and Texas hit so hard?

Why weren’t power outages nearly as bad in the SWPP and MISO grids? It might just have something to do with coal.

SWPP
MISO
ERCOT
Electricity generation from coal for ERCOT, SWPP and MISO

On the other hand, the fuel source receiving most of the blame from the lamestream media, outperformed the neighboring grids by a wide margin.

Electricity generation from natural gas for ERCOT, SWPP and MISO

The “failure” was the drop-off from 900,000 MWh/d on February 14 to 700,000 MWh/d on February 16. At this time, the explanations for this are anecdotal. Hopefully, the multitude of investigations will produce at least one dispassionate explanation for what went wrong and how to prevent it from happening again.

Let’s Make Orwell Fiction Again!

[W]hile frozen wind turbines have contributed to the state’s energy crisis, that type of energy has only slightly underperformed against published expectations for winter output.

NBC News

Wind typically accounts for 20-25% of ERCOT’s winter generation. Winter, particularly February, is actually a good wind season. According to the EIA, in February 2019 wind achieved a 41% capacity factor in Texas. ERCOT data indicate a 31% capacity factor in February 2019. Up until February 8, wind was exceeding expectations… Then the bottom dropped out for 10 days.

ERCOT wind capacity factor and DFW temperatures.

Wind’s failure occurred a full week before the power outages… When 25% of your team doesn’t show up for the game, the phrase “only slightly underperformed” is, at the very least, Orwellian.

Natural gas, the state’s dominant energy source, has provided drastically less energy than expected, according to experts and industry data.

NBC News

This is akin to saying that the Avengers performed drastically less well than expectations against Thanos in Infinity War.

Natural gas capacity factor and DFW temperatures.

About 60% of Texas natural gas generation consists of combined cycle (CC) power plants, which can exceed 80% capacity factors. Gas turbines and other combustion generators can ramp up and down quickly, but have low capacity factors. From Feb. 7-12, natural gas ramped up 10-20% to >60% and was operating like it normally does in August.

TechnologyTime adjusted capacity (MW)%AnnJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
Capacity Factors
Natural Gas – CC41,095.760%56.452.746.844.641.454.265.471.675.969.351.149.253.4
Natural Gas – GT9,689.514%33.831.929.228.628.032.735.940.542.938.732.831.333.0
Natural Gas – IC908.51%19.715.516.117.216.319.620.325.129.026.518.718.513.9
Natural Gas – ST17,096.725%14.86.86.08.88.413.218.324.634.824.415.48.57.8
EIA Texas Electricity Profile 2019

While natural gas generation should have been able to hold at a 60% capacity factor from Feb. 14-18, it clearly outperformed what is normally expected for this time of year.

Every part of the ERCOT system failed to some degree from Feb. 15-17.

ERCOT winter capacity and capacity factor by fuel type (EIA Hourly Grid Monitor and S&P Global Market Intelligence).

The narrative has been that conservatives have unfairly blamed the power failure on wind power in order to prop up fossil fuels. The narrative is a straw man.

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.

By Dionne Searcey
Feb. 17, 2021
As his state was racked by an electricity crisis that left millions of people without heat in frigid temperatures, the governor of Texas took to television to start placing blame.

His main target was renewable energy, suggesting that the systemwide collapse was caused by the failure of wind and solar power.

“It just shows that fossil fuel is necessary for the state of Texas as well as other states to make sure we will be able to heat our homes in the winter times and cool our homes in the summer times,” said Gov. Greg Abbott, speaking on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News. Other conservative talk-show hosts had already picked up the theme.

[…]

New York Times

Nothing in Gov. Abbott’s statement is false or misleading. While there were failures across the system, wind and solar failed almost totally a week before natural gas, coal and nuclear experienced their problems. On the coldest day since 1899, fossil fuels accounted for 83% of ERCOT’s electricity generation. Fossil fuels + nuclear accounted for 92%.

Orwellian efforts to exonerate wind & solar and place the blame on natural gas, coal and nuclear power are simply… Orwellian. Claiming that this is a “wake up call” for the United States to further degrade our energy infrastructure, because climate change is Orwellian on LSD and steroids…

White House climate czar to AP: Texas storm ‘a wake-up call’
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The deadly winter storm that caused widespread power outages in Texas and other states is a “wake-up call” for the United States to build energy systems and other infrastructure that are more reliable and resilient in the face of extreme-weather events linked to climate change, President Joe Biden’s national climate adviser says.

[…]

“We’re going to push the clean energy, we’re going to push for better cars, but it’s also going to be about capturing the will of the public to actually face the challenges we’re facing today and meet them in a way that’s going to be beneficial to them,″ she said.

For example, Biden’s plans to provide 500,000 charging stations for electric cars and invest in battery technology are intended to make it easier for the public to participate in a clean-energy economy. “If we can lower that cost, and everybody knows they can get where they need to go when they need to get there” in an electric car, “we’ll get the kind of demand on the auto-sector side that we need,″ she said.

Similarly, if utilities are given the right incentives, they can meet Biden’s goal to have net-zero carbon emissions by 2035, McCarthy said. The head of a lobbying group for electric utilities said earlier this month that the 2035 date would be “an incredibly difficult situation to handle” for most U.S. providers.

[…]

Associated Press

Clearly, if the grid was devoid of natural gas & coal generation, more wind & solar generation, ERCOT was connected to SWPP & MISO (it already is connected to SWPP and Mexico) and we had 500,000 more EV charging stations… What? Winter Storm Younger Dryas wouldn’t have happened? The power failures wouldn’t have been so bad?

It’s time to make Orwell fiction again… MOFA!

Who, what, when, where and why?

Whatever happened to the 5 W’s? At this point we only know what, when and where. Yet, virtually all of the lamestream media are distorting the what and reporting conclusions about who and why based on anecdotal information and “expert” opinions.

We won’t know the “why” until we know exactly what failed:

  • Wind
    • Ice on blades?
    • Frozen turbines?
    • Poor wind conditions?
    • Poor cold weather performance in general?
  • Natural gas
    • Frozen wellheads and damaged separators?
    • Shut in production to avoid frozen wellheads and damaged separators?
    • Frozen pipeline control valves and/or hydrate plugging?
    • Low line pressure due to excess demand for heating and electricity?
    • Compressors knocked offline by power outages?
    • Frozen pipes in power plant cooling systems?
    • Power plants offline for maintenance in low demand season?
  • Coal
    • Frozen pipes in power plant cooling systems?
    • Frozen boilers?
    • Ice covered coal stacks?
    • Emissions restrictions?
    • Power plants offline for maintenance in low demand season?

We won’t know the “who” until we know the “why”.

Even worse, the politicians have already claimed to know what the solutions are. And in almost every case, the media and politicians are focusing on what they think should have been done differently over the past 20-50 years, rather than on what could have been done differently over the past 20-30 days, particularly what could have been done differently from February 5-14, 2021.

4.9 44 votes
Article Rating
239 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Editor
March 1, 2021 6:06 am

On fact checking the helicopter deicing meme.

Most of the uses I’ve seen for that haven’t bothered to mention the image is years old, is from Sweden, and apparently used warm water, not typical glycol-based deicing fluid used on airplanes.

Editor
Reply to  David Middleton
March 1, 2021 6:21 am

I fully agree it’s a meme. I hate it when people post memes and don’t include the full story.

Sara
Reply to  David Middleton
March 1, 2021 11:40 am

I don’t know where you got that, David Middleton, but I love it.

TallDave
Reply to  Ric Werme
March 1, 2021 12:48 pm

we don’t need Grumpy Cat’s life story

John Endicott
Reply to  Ric Werme
March 2, 2021 8:32 am

Does anyone really need to know the”full story” behind why Keyboard cat is playing the keyboard? Or the “full story” of why Captain Picard is really putting his face in his palm? Or the “full story” behind the otherwise unrelated link that you click on that starts playing “Never Gonna Give You Up,”? No. Anyone that does clearly doesn’t understand memes.

Editor
Reply to  Ric Werme
March 1, 2021 6:16 am

The first time I saw the image was at https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/01/23/saturday-silliness-wind-turbine-photo-of-the-year/ :

The aviation fuel, the diesel for the truck, and the oil burned to heat the water, could produce more electricity (at the right time to meet demand) than the unfrozen wind turbine could ever produce. (Before it freezes up again).

That’s likely a bit unfair. Note that this turbine didn’t “freeze up” but iced up due to rime ice in freezing fog. After deicing it could run normally (i.e. unreliably) for quite a while. Blades can be designed with heaters to melt frozen rain and rime, they may not have been in common use five years ago.

In decades to come this one photo alone with sum up an era of stupidity, when rational thought, logic and commonsense was abandoned and immense wealth and resources needlessly sacrificed.

And other stupidities too!

Reply to  David Middleton
March 1, 2021 12:32 pm

http://www.urbanhi.net/uhi-cities/houston-area.html
12,910 of the 16,293 Texas wind turbines (79%) were located in areas that had temperatures below freezing for more than 144 hours.

Reply to  David Middleton
March 6, 2021 1:07 pm

Hello David,
Thank you for bringing to my attention the issue of Texas wind turbine locations in relationship to the boundary of the ERCOT region. I looked into the ERCOT boundary issue and discovered that in 2008 Texas began to establish Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ), which expanded the ERCOT boundary. The Panhandle is where a CREZ development was established, which includes 17 of the 26 counties you highlighted in red. The remaining 9 counties in the northern portion of the Panhandle which are not in the CREZ, hence not in ERCOT, contain 433 wind turbines.

I have completed additional analysis on the freezing temperatures in Texas in relationship to the location of wind turbines inside the ERCOT boundary and outside the ERCOT boundary. Of the 16,293 wind turbines in Texas, 15,727 (96.5%) are inside the ERCOT boundary. Of the 15,727 wind turbines inside the ERCOT boundary, 73% of the turbines were exposed to freezing temperatures for 8 to 11 days (192 to 264 hours), from Feb 7th to 21st.

I have created an interactive web map that allows for anyone to examine the details of my analysis. I have also provided links to the data sources that I used, which allows anyone to download the data and do further analysis. This can be found on my Urban Heat Island web site.
http://www.urbanhi.net/uhi-cities/houston-area.html

Robert W Turner
Reply to  Ric Werme
March 1, 2021 6:34 am

I don’t buy that it was merely warm water. Warm water freezes very fast due to low gas saturation, all they would be doing is making the problem worse. Maybe there was some salt in it, but it was probably deicing fluid.

Robert W Turner
Reply to  _Jim
March 1, 2021 1:35 pm

Don’t need to see sciencymerican, I know from real world experience where our father told me not to water the animals in the winter with hot water because it would only freeze faster – I didn’t believe him so he showed me, and then later explained to us why in chem 101. Funny thing, that chem 101 prof also told us on the first day of class, just because someone has a PhD doesn’t mean they are smart.

Tom
Reply to  Ric Werme
March 1, 2021 7:36 am

As one who spent the whole time in the affected area, I appreciate the information and data in the article. It explains a lot. However, it misses one of the 5 Ws about natural gas that I believe was a significant factor. There have been several reports that natural gas pumping plants were shut down as part of the rolling blackouts that dominated our area. These shut downs prevented the stations from fully supplying gas to backup electric generators, delaying as much gas generator electricity production as possible. This was said to have significantly exacerbated the electricity shortage.

I should also point out that I have lived here for 14 winters, and have never had to use either of my two backup generators, one for the heat pump, the other for the lights and refrigerator. They are intentionally stored without fuel since gasoline deteriorates quickly in the hot summer temperatures. It turns out that they were essentially useless. The lack of snow removal equipment left the roads covered with icy ruts, and it was impossible for delivery trucks to resupply fuel to the gas stations in the area. All the ones I visited were closed.

DHR
Reply to  Tom
March 1, 2021 8:45 am

Use avgas. You can store a jerrycan and It doesn’t deteriorate

2hotel9
Reply to  DHR
March 2, 2021 6:41 am

I buy non-ethanol gas for storage. And always remember StaBil is your friend.

Sean
Reply to  Tom
March 1, 2021 8:53 am

just for clarification, you don’t pump natural gas. you compress it. also, I think you mean natural gas PROCESSING plants.

JamesD
Reply to  Tom
March 1, 2021 10:01 am

What went down were compressor stations. They used to run on natural gas, but due to the “cost of carbon” regulations, new ones have been built with electric motors. These were shutdown due to load shedding. The gas going to power plants has a dew point at -20F max, and if they are from a cryo, -130F. The gas going to plants did not freeze up. Also, Texas export a lot of gas to Mexico and can get spec gas from storage or from the Gulf of Mexico. The problem was the loss of the compressor stations. WHY that happened needs to be investigated.

2hotel9
Reply to  Tom
March 2, 2021 6:52 am

Don’t know your power equip usage for lawn and whatnot so suggestions about storing gas are a bit open. I recommend keeping 3 5 gallon cans of gas for backup generator and limit running it till you have an idea how long you will need it. Limited run to keep refrigeration and freezer and limited lighting, etc. Storing gas long term is a hassle, I rotate stored gas by using in mowers/weedeaters/leaf blowers during summer. Being up north our emergency needs are more likely in winter than summer. You in Texas need to worry more about hurricane season, this last outage not being really typical.

Lrp
Reply to  Ric Werme
March 1, 2021 10:53 am

You should have a problem with the strange belief of the “interesting engineer” that helicopters are somehow justified tools in power generation

beng135
Reply to  Lrp
March 2, 2021 8:18 am

Well, the power-gen pin-wheels are just helicopter-blades placed vertically. 🙂

Last edited 4 months ago by beng135
Gerald Machnee
March 1, 2021 6:10 am

**In fact, carbon emissions generated from de-icing a turbine — like in the Alpine Helicopter video and image — saves two days’ worth of emissions, relative to coal power. **

So what?
Emissions numbers are only for bean counters. Emissions effect on temperatures is very small.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Gerald Machnee
March 1, 2021 11:09 am

Emissions effect on temperatures is very small.

Like maybe even nonexistent. Nobody knows, nor are they able to find out.

TallDave
Reply to  Gerald Machnee
March 1, 2021 12:50 pm

don’t worry we’ll charge the electric de-icing helicopters with the wind turbines

then we’ll turn the helicopters sideways to make the turbines spin

Steve E.
March 1, 2021 6:14 am

I think that with the wide range of problems for just about all sources of electricity the cause is clear, the “energy market”. Clearly, energy producers had no incentive to prepare for such events as the polar vortex.

Reply to  David Middleton
March 1, 2021 10:03 am

re: “They don’t pay for capacity.”

Do check your facts, in particular, look up “non-spin reserve” which was (of course) dispatched that day …

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=“non-spin+reserve”+settlement&t=palemoon&ia=web

Vuk
March 1, 2021 6:16 am

Wind was, but turbines were not. Some you win some you loose, this time you lost.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Vuk
March 1, 2021 10:51 am

“Some you win some you loose, this time you lost.”

Shouldn’t that be “this time you loost?” 🙂

Cherith
March 1, 2021 6:18 am

TEXAS SNOW THAT DOESN’T MELT – WEATHER MODIFICATION TECHNOLOGY
videos – 1 min 8 secs + 44 secs + 2 mins 4 secs + 1 min 39 secs + 3 mins 16 secs
Have You Ever Seen Snow That Doesn’t Melt? Take a look at this…
https://mypatriotsnetwork.com/patriot/texas-snow-that-doesnt-melt-weather-modification-technology/
+
CHINA IS MASSIVELY EXPANDING ITS WEATHER-MODIFICATION PROGRAM – SAYING IT WILL BE ABLE TO COVER HALF THE COUNTRY IN ARTIFICIAL RAIN AND SNOW BY 2025
https://www.businessinsider.com/china-expanding-weather-modification-program-artificial-rain-snow-2025-2020-12
+
GREG HUNTER/DANE WIGINGTON: WEATHER WARFARE IN TEXAS – SNOW THAT DOESN’T MELT
includes video – 36 mins 45 secs
The bottom line in regard to the flash freeze that Texas was just hit with, we can debate the agenda behind these operations, but the fact that this was not an act of nature is beyond scientific question. . .
https://usawatchdog.com/weather-warfare-in-texas-snow-that-doesnt-melt-dane-wigington/
+
THE DIMMING – FILM PREVIEW – 4 mins 25 secs
What has happened to our once brilliant blue skies? How many have noticed the change? Why are skies now so often filled with the lingering, expanding, and sky covering remnants of jet aircraft dispersions?


2hotel9
Reply to  Cherith
March 1, 2021 7:57 am

It was inevitable, the “Chem Trail” crowd has shown up.

MarkW
Reply to  Cherith
March 1, 2021 8:38 am

What caused polar vortex’s prior to the Chinese doing it?

Dmacleo
Reply to  MarkW
March 1, 2021 12:20 pm

really evil unicorns. possibly pegasus himself.

Reply to  Cherith
March 1, 2021 10:09 am

Cherith – K. O. O. K. (Keeper of odd Knowledge)

Last edited 4 months ago by _Jim
Reply to  Cherith
March 1, 2021 11:08 am

Thanks for the laugh

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Cherith
March 1, 2021 11:59 am

Hey, where can I get some of the ‘non-melting snow?’ I could use it for my eBay packing.

Editor
March 1, 2021 6:19 am

We won’t know the “why” until we know exactly what failed

You left out nuclear. Apparently one plant was forced offline when return water from the cooling tower froze or control valves iced up.

I don’t know how northern cooling towers deal with that. Insulation? Partial blocking the air inlets at the base of the tower?

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  David Middleton
March 1, 2021 11:20 am

Shouldn’t that be 102% of nominal or recommended capacity?

ralph cramden
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
March 1, 2021 1:14 pm

They have reactors that go to 11

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  ralph cramden
March 2, 2021 4:20 pm

Is that binary or decimal?

JamesD
Reply to  David Middleton
March 1, 2021 11:49 am

Don’t jump to conclusions. The incident was due to “loss of feedwater pumps.”. Were they also load shed? It might have been freezing, but the reasons have been vague. “Due to freezing weather”.

Gunga Din
Reply to  David Middleton
March 1, 2021 3:45 pm

Mr. Layman here.
I fairly recently learned what “load shedding” means when, in testing our new backup generators capable of supplying power to our plant that averages about 75 MGD, we shut down for about 4 hours.
Our SCADA system plus a few other things then had to run off our battery UPS. As it’s batteries run down, it’s programmed to shut down various terminals.
We learned the hard way that the priorities in what goes down first needs to be adjusted.
Our mainly used SCADA terminal went down before a PC next to it on our city network went down. We could surf the internet but we didn’t know what was happening in the plant from that room!
(Our SCADA is not connected to the city network or anything outside. No WiFi ect. If we need our vender to get in to fix something, via a phone call we need to switch on the modem for them to connect.)

It would be really weird (and dumb) if “load shedding” programming included shutting down something a power plant needed to stay online at that time in Texas.

Last edited 4 months ago by Gunga Din
Tom Abbott
Reply to  Gunga Din
March 2, 2021 5:34 am

“(Our SCADA is not connected to the city network or anything outside. No WiFi ect. If we need our vender to get in to fix something, via a phone call we need to switch on the modem for them to connect.)”

That sounds like a good idea. All public utilities should get disconnected from the internet. That way hackers can’t do you harm.

Reply to  David Middleton
March 3, 2021 7:39 pm

And it would almost be funny if 1/4 of the state’s nuclear power generation was taken offline due to load shedding.

It wasn’t. See my previous comment. The reactor tripped due to a feedwater pump pressure signal error due to water freezing in pressure sensing lines.

Fred Lotte
Reply to  JamesD
March 1, 2021 4:13 pm

About 40 years ago I was the designer of the electrical system in a nuclear plant (not in Texas). I’m 99.9999+% sure that the pumps in question are powered by steam turbines. Any burp in feedwater flow triggers a shutdown. (Nuclear paranoia) There is an electric pump used during startup. It can’t be started fast enough to beat the trip + it’s probably only about 1/3rd capacity of the main pumps.

Chuck no longer in Houston
Reply to  Fred Lotte
March 3, 2021 12:03 pm

I spent some time as an electrical operator on Truxtun. I’m pretty sure the feedwater pumps were electric. Granted, a D2G is not a grid-scale reactor like the Westinghouse units used at the South Texas Project.

Fred Lotte
Reply to  Chuck no longer in Houston
March 10, 2021 2:12 pm

One thing I learned as an engineer was to listen to what the operators had to say. They were at the front lines so to speak and it was their profession to be observant.

The unit I worked on is a 1200MW BWR. The feed pumps are driven by 18MW steam turbines (about 24,000HP) and the startup pump is 5000HP (IIRC). It’s hard to imagine electric feed pumps for anything larger than about 250MW.

This was a time before there was a surface nuclear navy and many of the operators were former submariners. It took a while to convince them that the connections to the plant weren’t shore power 😉 They weren’t used to being the biggest unit on the power system. We landlubbers sometimes prefixed the plant name with ‘USS’.

Much respect and thanks to you for your service to our country.

Reply to  Fred Lotte
March 3, 2021 7:47 pm

About 40 years ago I was the designer of the electrical system in a nuclear plant (not in Texas).

About 40 years ago I was working on the EFIC (Emergency Feedwater Initiation and Control) system for the Crystal River 3 plant in Florida. (A Babcock & Wilcox plant…just like Three Mile Island.) (Oops!)

Any burp in feedwater flow triggers a shutdown.

There was no “burp” in feedwater flow. The feedwater pumps tripped due to a bad pressure signal caused by ice forming in pressure sensing lines. The trip of the feedwater pumps tripped the reactor.

https://atomicinsights.com/south-texas-project-unit-1-tripped-at-0537-on-feb-15-2021/

Fred Lotte
Reply to  Mark Bahner
March 10, 2021 2:47 pm

I suspected as much.

My ‘burp’ was alluding to the fact that the controls don’t wait to see if the system recovers from a disturbance or if the disturbance is even real. 

Losing feedwater is very high on the list of bad things for the reactor (or boiler in a fossil plant). Without feedwater, the reactor would have to ‘store’ the energy. That’s simply not in the cards. (Apparently this is a PWR which can blow off safety valves to dump energy from the secondary loop. That doesn’t work for long as you quickly run out of water to boil in the Hx.)

Thanks for the link. I assume the feed pumps are on the turbine deck beside the main turbine.

Chuck no longer in Houston
Reply to  JamesD
March 3, 2021 11:55 am

No, once the generators from a reactor plant (or any generating plant) are paralleled to the grid, load shedding elsewhere is not an issue. The generators at this point are powering all their own equipment. As to the loss of the feedwater (pump), this was due to a problem sensor on a sensor tube. This may have been due to the water in the sensor tube freezing up, or possibly just to the failure of the sensor itself. In either case, the feedwater pump(s) tripped off due to either a faulty input from the sensor, or the recognition that the sensor had failed.

Reply to  David Middleton
March 3, 2021 7:35 pm

One of the STPNGS units went offline for couple of days due to low steam generator levels when two feedwater pumps shut down due to freezing water.

Yes, the feedwater pumps shut down due to freezing water. Per this site, it was frozen water in pressure sensing lines that signal the feedwater pumps:

https://atomicinsights.com/south-texas-project-unit-1-tripped-at-0537-on-feb-15-2021/

On Monday, Feb. 15, 2021, at 0537, an automatic reactor trip occurred at South Texas Project in Unit 1. The trip resulted from a loss of feedwater attributed to a cold weather-related failure of a pressure sensing lines to the feedwater pumps, causing a false signal, which in turn, caused the feedwater pump to trip. This event occurred in the secondary side of the plant (non-nuclear part of the unit). The reactor trip was a result of the feedwater pump trips.

Paul C
Reply to  Ric Werme
March 1, 2021 12:19 pm

Apparently in cold climates, some of the warm water is diverted to a circuit which uses the waste heat to prevent freezing/ice build up. Also applicable to the cooling circuit in coal and gas plants. Unlike winterising wind turbines, there is no loss of efficiency, but it has capital and maintenance costs which could only be recouped a few days each decade in Texas.

beng135
Reply to  Ric Werme
March 2, 2021 9:04 am

As I remember working for a utility, one of the coal plants on the system had a major de-rating or maybe a shutdown during a cold-wave because of condensate water freezing on the bottom air-inlet on a natural-draft cooling tower, pretty much blocking out the needed upward air-flow. As an engineer, I would think there’d be some method of bypassing some of the un-cooled (warm) condensate to “wash” the lower inlet-area to keep it from freezing up…

Last edited 4 months ago by beng135
bigoilbob
March 1, 2021 6:31 am

Happy to agree to wait on the answers to the questions posed in your (fairly) complete outline below your “Who, what, when, where and why? before doing the opining, accompanied by the cherry picked, incomplete graphs and editorializing that precedes it.

“Even worse, the politicians have already claimed to know what the solutions are.”

Which pol has proposed any? None in your post, but I’m open to refuting any I missed. Even the Abbott quote is not a “solution”. It is just a true, initial, statement of fact, that could be taken many different ways.

bigoilbob
Reply to  David Middleton
March 1, 2021 7:31 am

Her reply was anodyne. Nothing about specific solutions to your problem. As for AOC, let’s make a deal. You don’t strawman AOC and I won’t strawman those who claim that it was the fault of wind tech for which you can find NO ONE who has ever claimed that it was fit for purpose to add the extra power required at the time.

Any ERCOT officials who didn’t plan for the low (but increasing) probability, ultra high impact, weather extreme you all went thru last month, should be run off. Doh! Too late! And part of that plan woulda/shoulda been understanding that you will have a few days to a week to have a forecast firm enough to wake up all of your contingent resources. Resources that should have already been pre-hardened.

We need the answers to these questions, per your directionally correct outline. You don’t have them, nor do I. I have general operational knowledge in this area, and you have your ideology, but we need to wait for the facts…

Last edited 4 months ago by bigoilbob
2hotel9
Reply to  David Middleton
March 1, 2021 8:13 am

Ya know, I get the feeling that when bOb worked around tool pushers and drillers and roustabouts and pipefitters he got picked on a lot.

bigoilbob
Reply to  2hotel9
March 1, 2021 9:57 am

Another Seritan posting from afar. Been doing it since I was 14, with 2 Seabees hitches – one “E” and one “O” – in the mix. So, not so much. Would more likely apply to those posters who never served – especially not in the ‘bees..

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 1, 2021 11:55 am

Seritan? I must thank you for giving my vocabulary a workout. Not what I would expect from a roustabout!

Gunga Din
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
March 1, 2021 4:11 pm

Maybe he meant Serutan?

beng135
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
March 2, 2021 8:44 am

Roustabout? Got to be a pencil-neck.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 2, 2021 5:40 am

Hats off to the Seabees! They accomplish miracles! Quickly!

2hotel9
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 2, 2021 7:06 am

I have seen plenty of big boys get thumped around on worksites, even college educated ones. Oh, and 12 years US Army, Artilleryman, FO and Air Assault. Worked offshore, drilling and production, onshore both plus pipeline. Rest of time spent in construction/remodeling/farming and residential maintenance.

Your prattling on about how great wind and solar are and how gas/oil/coal and nuclear are all going away is quite funny. Please do keep it up.

bigoilbob
Reply to  2hotel9
March 2, 2021 7:25 am

Folks, I do regret getting into this pig fight with 2hotel9. The only interesting part of his comment was his career back and forths. Oilfield work is great – if you save your boom $. 2hotel9 did not, hence his “…time spent in construction/remodeling/farming and residential maintenance.”

paul courtney
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 2, 2021 11:48 am

Mr. big: You say you regret it, then launch right back to it. I will remember that you don’t actually mean what you say.

2hotel9
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 3, 2021 3:48 am

And now you move on to dumping on anyone in the building trades, real classy. You going to crap on farmers, too? Clearly they are beneath you.

Last edited 4 months ago by 2hotel9
Davidf
Reply to  2hotel9
March 1, 2021 12:35 pm

He was probably the Union Rep

David Hartley
Reply to  2hotel9
March 1, 2021 7:36 pm

It’s a little old but this had me in stitches at the time. Noit the 9 O’clock News UK satire programme.
https://youtu.be/FU-tuY0Z7nQ

2hotel9
Reply to  David Hartley
March 2, 2021 7:11 am

The essential oneness of being Bob. I have worked several jobs with multiple Bobs, always fun.

Meab
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 1, 2021 9:21 am

STUPID comment, Bigbob. Just ask the simple question: “would a greater proportion of investment in wind and solar and a lesser proportion of investment in fossil fuels and nuclear have prevented this tragedy?”. If you think the answer is yes, there is something really wrong with you.

Here’s a clue for you – people who make an argument and back it up with real, unfudged data nearly always have more insight into the issue than people who don’t.

bigoilbob
Reply to  Meab
March 1, 2021 9:51 am

 “would a greater proportion of investment in wind and solar and a lesser proportion of investment in fossil fuels and nuclear have prevented this tragedy?”.”

Well, no, and that’s why I never said it would. But I would not be surprised if a complete investigation found that investment in short term natural gas surge capacity would have been the best way by far to greatly reduce the losses.

Texas oil and gas runs on a low bid, just in time basis. And even given buddy buddy regulation is STILL is losing it’s ass. So, since wind is now generating returns greater than Texas natural gas now – the industry is eating it’s seed corn in terms of decaying oilfield service capacity, and is losing $ quarter after quarter while borrowing from loan sharks to pay dividends – I don’t the wind sector should have to subsidize it. Rather, if Texas rate payers want reliability, they will have to pay for it as do the rest of us…

Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 1, 2021 11:00 am

There was plenty of short term natural gas surge capacity. Check out the map here:

https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/66IkX/1/

Total daily sendout available from storage is 17.5bcf/day within Texas – provided you don’t cut the power to the compressors.

bigoilbob
Reply to  Itdoesn't add up...
March 1, 2021 12:55 pm

Even though you have provided no documentation of this, let’s assume (1) that electricity WAS curtailed to NG storage facilities, and that (2) they underperformed as a result. To solve, a PLAN would have included electricity PRIORITIZATION that could have easily take care of that. It would have then resulted in a big increase in e deliverability. That’s why we need an investigation.

FYI, Texas authorities have KNOWN they were short of natural gas storage capacity for years. The should buy a clue from California, which is quickly updating its system.

Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 1, 2021 8:14 pm

I can only refer to published sources. I have shown that storage provided some 156bcf in the South Central District (which also includes some neighbouring states) in the week of 12th-19th February according to the EIA. That’s over 22 bcf/day, or nearly as much as normal Texas gas production. You are the one making assumptions that the compressors being cut were at storage facilities. All we know is that supply was cut into some power stations. We do not know where in the system the compressors were blacked out. There is plenty to suggest that blackouts were instituted with little though about how they might affect the gas supply system, and in particular supply to power stations. We do have the Texas Railroad Commission’s declaration that power stations were #2 on the priority list after homes and hospitals for gas supply. I already posted that.

Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 1, 2021 11:03 am

Wind is of course generating a $24/MWh production tax credit which is otherwise known as sucking on the subsidy teat.

bigoilbob
Reply to  Itdoesn't add up...
March 1, 2021 12:38 pm

Wind is of course generating a $24/MWh production tax credit which is otherwise known as sucking on the subsidy teat.”

You seem to have lost a decimal point there somewhere, pard.

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/energy/article/Subsidies-for-renewables-under-attack-in-Texas-13795289.php#:~:text=Wind%20generators%20are%20able%20to,kilowatt%20hour%20over%2010%20years.

Tiny, compared to the communized external costs of hydrocarbons..

Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 1, 2021 2:07 pm

You seem not to know the difference between MWh and kWh.

Chris Morris
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 1, 2021 2:12 pm

I think you lost a few braincells. $1c/kWh equates to $10/MWh. Didn’t you ever learn about units?

bigoilbob
Reply to  Chris Morris
March 1, 2021 4:12 pm

I do, and the miscount on the decimal point is mine. The bad news for you guys is that, since the average Texas e rate was $0.1186/kwH +/- 0.06 kwH, $0.023/kwH is still well within one standard deviation of overall Texas rates. I.e., STILL tiny compared to hydrocarbon extraction external cost communizations over the last many decades.

I’d be more than happy to lose these relatively tiny green start up helps if you all were willing to lose those. Deal?

Lrp
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 1, 2021 4:05 pm

What is a communized external cost of hydrocarbons?

bigoilbob
Reply to  Lrp
March 1, 2021 4:27 pm

What is a communized external cost of hydrocarbons?”

Just one?

  1. The AGW costs of it.
  2. The low/mid 11 figure, shirked asset retirement costs (plugging, abandonment, restoration) just in Texas. Many for nearly a century.
  3. The old fashioned pollution and environmental costs, from Ben Dover Texas regulators.
  4. Royalties, onshore and off, that are far below those paid by the rest of the western world. Aks anyone still in the biz posting here if their companies are begging for, or have already accepted royalty reduction for any of their fields. Their response will be to either admit it, or lie about it.
  5. Internationally, production from conflict zones, for international kleptocratic regimes.
  6. Dark $ political giving regs that allow for legal bribery by E&P companies and their lobbying groups/representatives.

As I said, lose these, and I’m cool with a statistically insignificant, phasing out, boost for wind.

Deal?

Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 1, 2021 5:14 pm

No deal.

How much per downed eagle and raptor? Per bat?
What royalties is wind paying in Texas?
What privisions does it make for its clean up costs, including removing concrete foundations?
What about all the exotic materials mined with slave labour used in making wind turbines?
Bribery…don’t even start on that one.

bigoilbob
Reply to  Itdoesn't add up...
March 2, 2021 7:21 am

:”How much per downed eagle and raptor? Per bat?”

Hydrocarbon based electricity gen ends up killing many more/GwH produced than wind. FYI, even that has been reduced by the simple expedience of painting patterns on the blades.

“What royalties is wind paying in Texas?”

Royalties are based on extraction from property owned. So, none.

“What privisions does it make for its clean up costs, including removing concrete foundations?”

The “privisions” will be that they are removed/buried. They are inert, unlike most hydrocarbon waste. MANY orders of magnitude smaller of a problem. FYI, blades are also inert. Mostly silica and metal. What’s natural silica? Sand. They will be landfilled – BFD.

“What about all the exotic materials mined with slave labour used in making wind turbines?”

Finally, an actual issue. This needs to be dealt with immediately, including any toxic working conditions involved. We’ll do the same for conflict hydrocarbon production/transportation, ok?

“Bribery…don’t even start on that one.”

Same here. So, I’ll just show you the iceberg tip.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/788056/us-oil-and-gas-lobbying-spend-by-party/#:~:text=Between%201990%20and%202020%2C%20the,on%20lobbying%20for%20political%20parties.&text=In%202020%2C%20oil%20majors%20such,went%20to%20the%20Democratic%20Party.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 2, 2021 8:30 am
fred250
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 2, 2021 2:47 pm

“Hydrocarbon based electricity gen ends up killing many more

.

COMPLETE FANTASY BS !! Unsupported by any evidence

fred250
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 1, 2021 7:33 pm

AGW cost = ZERO

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

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



fred250
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 1, 2021 7:37 pm

Again, the big oily blob refuses to look at the MASSIVE BENEFITS of the use of FOSSIL FUELS

EVERY LARGE SOCIETY in the world has been TOTALLY DEPENDENT on fossil fuels for their development and continued existence.

Even the big greasy blob is TOTALLY RELIANT OF FOSSIL FUELS for its very existence.

The BENEFIT is SEVERAL MAGNITUDE MORE than any of his petty perceived and imaginary issues.

Red94ViperRT10
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 1, 2021 2:08 pm

Well, let me start with my ad hominem response: What a stoopid statement! Oil and gas (and especially nuclear) have become uncompetitive against subsidized wind and solar. And where do subsidies come from? Well, ultimately your tax dollars, but they’re doled out by government(s). So oil, gas and nuclear are no longer competing against “alternative” energy, they’re competing against the government, and government is always an unfair competitor. So then trying to throw in buddy-buddy regulation, well you win the irony award for the day, because the regulation(s) nowadays are all favoring wind and solar, even when they have to cheat to do it (such as employing a Levelized Cost Of Electricity, but that’s a different story, or exempting both wind and solar from the Endangered Species Act, or… oh, hell, do your own damn research for a change, you clearly haven’t done any in concocting this idiotic statement).

Clearly, your screen name was picked from, what, under Orwell’s rules from 1984, so that anything from the government is always given a name the exact opposite of its alleged purpose?

Chris Morris
Reply to  Red94ViperRT10
March 1, 2021 3:26 pm

I don’t think saying it was a stupid statement is an ad hom. saying he was stupid for making that statement would be.
Even really bright people can say some silly or stupid things.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Red94ViperRT10
March 2, 2021 5:55 am

“So oil, gas and nuclear are no longer competing against “alternative” energy, they’re competing against the government, and government is always an unfair competitor.”

Well said.

They are also competing against a CAGW (Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming) ideology with no basis in fact.

Crispin Pemberton-Pigott
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 1, 2021 4:16 pm

I think it would have been, and remains, the most cost effective action is: insulate things that must remain fluid in cold weather.

All the failures relate to things that can be mitigated except one: the wind turbines cannot be protected from freezing. Too many, too expensive, too late. Everything else that froze can easily be upgraded. Immediately. Probably in the next month. Then it won’t happen again.

bigoilbob
Reply to  Crispin Pemberton-Pigott
March 1, 2021 4:35 pm

All the failures relate to things that can be mitigated except one: the wind turbines cannot be protected from freezing.”

They can be protected from subfreezing temps, but much less so, from icing. This is common knowledge, and counting on them in subfreezing icing weather is a run offable boner.

“Everything else that froze can easily be upgraded. Immediately. Probably in the next month. Then it won’t happen again.”

IMO, you’re mostly right. The exception is natural gas storage, should the investigation find it is lacking. It can also be increased, but will take longer.

Texas needs a good, fast, investigation, with no malingering if Paxton starts finding things that don’t comport with Abbott’s prejudgments. And then the will to execute the recommends.

fred250
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 1, 2021 7:42 pm

Texas needs to STOP RELYING on UNRELIABLES.

GREATLY INCREASE the percentage of RELIABLE COAL-FIRE ELECTRICITY. (they have plenty of coal)

Weather harden the gas supplies so that cold doesn’t cause supply issues.

And certainly don’t rely on wind and solar for pumping that gas.

The blame for the WHOLE DEBACLE can be place totally at the feet of the scientifically unsupportable ANTI-CARBON agenda.

Derg
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 1, 2021 4:22 pm

Easy money with subsidies and not being required to supply reliable power 😉

Clown show indeed Bob

Tom Abbott
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 2, 2021 5:46 am

“Well, no, and that’s why I never said it would. But I would not be surprised if a complete investigation found that investment in short term natural gas surge capacity would have been the best way by far to greatly reduce the losses.”

No doubt about that.

I wonder: Had the reliable generators, the coal, natural gas and nuclear been at 100 percent production, would this have made up for the windmills dropping out of the system? Or would the system still be stressed?

Does Texas have enough spare reserve to take over when all the windmills go down?

If they don’t, then they need to get to that position.

bigoilbob
Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 2, 2021 6:03 am

Ken Paxton and the state legislators .need you badly for their investigations. No sarc – they do. Now, it doesn’t presently appear that it is that likely that “all” of the windmills would go down from a likely enough weather extreme, but you are asking critical questions.

Bigger pic, the look into needs to be non pol. Experts in the multiple industries involved.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 2, 2021 12:10 pm

Ken Paxton and the state legislators need the experts at WUWT. 🙂

fred250
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 2, 2021 2:50 pm

Texas needs to STOP RELYING on UNRELIABLES.

At the moment they have UNRELIABILITY BUILT INTO THE GRID via wind and solar.

They need to GREATLY INCREASE the percentage of RELIABLE COAL-FIRE ELECTRICITY. (they have plenty of coal)

Weather harden the gas supplies so that cold doesn’t cause supply issues.

And certainly don’t rely on wind and solar for pumping that gas.

The blame for the WHOLE DEBACLE can be place totally at the feet of the scientifically unsupportable ANTI-CARBON agenda.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 1, 2021 11:46 am

Strawman AOC?? Seriously?? She IS a strawman!

Last edited 4 months ago by Jeff Alberts
Gunga Din
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
March 1, 2021 4:16 pm

At least the brain part.
Part of her GND was a guaranteed income for those “not willing to work”.
She’d have paid people to NOT shovel snow?

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 1, 2021 11:50 am

Anodyne: like a placebo or sop. Something of no real intrinsic value except to change focus from the con mans hands. Thank you AOC for nothing. Thank you bob for standing up for ‘nothing.’

bigoilbob
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
March 1, 2021 12:44 pm

Anodyne: like a placebo or sop. Something of no real intrinsic value except to change focus from the con mans hands.”

Sorry Clyde, not the def. Try this.

not likely to provoke dissent or offense; inoffensive, often deliberately so.”

Go for “something”, Clyde….

fred250
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 1, 2021 7:51 pm

So, utterly pointless..

meaningless “blah…”

Just like your posts. !

JamesD
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 1, 2021 11:54 am

Just look at the crazy variability of wind power before the event. How do you prepare?

bigoilbob
Reply to  JamesD
March 1, 2021 1:05 pm

Just look at the crazy variability of wind power before the event. How do you prepare?”

Not at the scale under discussion. Not the kind of variability under discussion. Any authority that assumed such a nominal loss of wind power in the face of conditions THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN PLANNED FOR deserves to have their spurs hung up for them.

Just hope that Ken Paxton’s investigation won’t go full Kris Kobach and fade away when it becomes obvious that the results won’t validate prejudgments of the Texas ruling class.

Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 1, 2021 6:49 pm

You can read Paxton’s CIDs here

https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/news/releases/ag-paxton-issues-cids-ercot-and-other-companies-following-dangerous-winter-storm-power-failures

The flavour is consumer protection rather than trying to work out how the grid might be run better. He is looking at compliance with the 2011 recommendations on winterisation, and on communications between the parties.

He has not required ERCOT to produce a technical report based on control room SCADA data – which I would have looked for. That would allow a timeline of events to be established and provide a way of calling companies out if they lie about what happened or what they did. He does not seem to have looked at the gas sector, where I suspect there is a lot of information to unravel. Some gas utility bills are also going to be astronomic, and clearly there are operational issues for pipelines etc.

Still, it is a start.

bigoilbob
Reply to  Itdoesn't add up...
March 2, 2021 6:14 am

Thoughtful, thanks. I agree that the investigation should be much more catholic. Expanding on my comment of 2 minutes ago, the look into should:

  1. Be conducted by technical and business experts in the multiple industries involved. I.e., keep the pol’s out of it. The role of the pol’s is to reconvene – if necessary – as soon as the results are out, and to act to implement them in days.
  2. Be FAST. I.e. wrapped up in time for changes to be implemented in ’21. The only exception I can think of now would be to iadd to of natural gas storage capacity. The fields can be weather hardened, but actual new capacity might take more time.
fred250
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 2, 2021 2:51 pm

Texas needs to STOP RELYING on UNRELIABLES.

GREATLY INCREASE the percentage of RELIABLE COAL-FIRE ELECTRICITY. (they have plenty of coal)

Weather harden the gas supplies so that cold doesn’t cause supply issues.

And certainly don’t rely on wind and solar for pumping that gas.

The blame for the WHOLE DEBACLE can be place totally at the feet of the scientifically unsupportable ANTI-CARBON agenda.

fred250
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 1, 2021 7:51 pm

“Her reply was anodyne”.

No, her reply was that of a mentally stunted child. !

Her comment was the absolute OPPOSITE of any sane or rational comment

What happened in Texas is what happens when you DO listen to the idiotic anti-science, anti-engineering,anti-LIEF, anti REALITY greenie ACDS agenda.

Without bending and grovelling to that farcical agenda, they would still have has a large proportion of COAL fired power, and the situation of gas needing to massively ramp-up to cover for missing wind energy, would not have been anywhere near as bad.

Reply to  bigoilbob
March 4, 2021 9:53 am

Hi,

I’m interested in conversing with people who “…have general operational knowledge in this area,…”

My email is my last name and first name (all one word) at Gmail.

Best wishes,
Mark Bahner

bigoilbob
Reply to  Mark Bahner
March 4, 2021 1:39 pm

Flattered Mark, but wouldn’t be prudent in this day and age. I’ll be happy to back and forth here. It’s my favorite subject, and WUWT puts the jack in thread jacking, so why not? But I don’t need to risk clicking my way into buying google $250 gift cards for any distressed relatives.

Also, a few search terms should help you meet up with some experienced, credentialed oil field folks.

Red94ViperRT10
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 1, 2021 1:59 pm

I have done some work on resiliency, and sustainability. For resiliency, renewables don’t count, neither wind nor solar. Why? They’re not dispatchable. i.e., neither wind nor solar can be turned on when you need them, they both work only when they wanna. So imagine you have a job to do, and you get your schedule for the week, and you decide that schedule just doesn’t work for you, and you’re going to work only when you wanna, not according to the schedule. How long do you think you would still have a job?

That’s what I thought.

bigoilbob
Reply to  Red94ViperRT10
March 1, 2021 4:46 pm

The benefits of them more than make up for their variability. But this subject is not about that. We KNOW what wind can and can not do. Any organization that aksed it to do more than that should be reorganized. The foci of Paxton’s investigation should be on:

  1. Did ERCOT expect more than what we know wind could provide in this weather extreme.
  2. If(1), then why?
  3. Of not (1), then what did they expect of other sources? Why did they fall short?
  4. What needs to be done now?

I predict either Paxtonian/Abbottian investigatory “guidance” as the findings move away from their Texas PC’isms, or maybe trying to make the findings disappear, per Kris Kobach. Either way, they will try and sell Texas out, and Texans searching for the truth need to fight back..,

fred250
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 1, 2021 9:56 pm

“What needs to be done now”

Texas needs to STOP RELYING on UNRELIABLES.

GREATLY INCREASE the percentage of RELIABLE COAL-FIRE ELECTRICITY. (they have plenty of coal)

Weather harden the gas supplies so that cold doesn’t cause supply issues.

And certainly don’t rely on wind and solar for pumping that gas.

The blame for the WHOLE DEBACLE can be place totally at the feet of the scientifically unsupportable ANTI-CARBON agenda.

2hotel9
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 3, 2021 3:42 am

“benefits of them more than make up for their variability” Which benefits? The not producing electricity benefit?: The killing wild birds benefit? The dead people from massive power outage benefit? Which one makes you so happy?

fred250
Reply to  Red94ViperRT10
March 1, 2021 9:55 pm

big oily blod has just successfully pointed out that ,,,

…. “expectations” for RELIABLE energy from wind…

ARE EXTREMELY LOW.

Well done, blob !!

Great to see you are now advocating RELIABLE supplies like COAL and well maintained GAS infrastructure.

bigoilbob
Reply to  fred250
March 2, 2021 6:20 am

Not advocating for coal, Fred. It’s dying a natural death, and our job will be to spend cubic $ cleaning up after it.

As with every other extraction in the US, those costs were shifted from the sourcers who voluntarily assumed them, to the rest of us. The less bad news is that coal clean up, as bad as it is, will end up an order of magnitude cheaper than gas and oil clean up.

paul courtney
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 2, 2021 12:07 pm

Mr. big: AOC’s “anodyne” response was still an answer to your question, calling it “anodyne” is non-responsive. Just admit you were wrong.
Oh, then you mock someone for a decimal error that was in fact YOUR error. Why didn’t you refer to yourself as “pard”? Can’t take it?
We know you don’t mean what you say, but your comments are worth LESS than zero. Your talk of the costs of “clean up” from gas, oil and coal demonstrates you are not a serious commenter. You are making the CB’s look bad.

fred250
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 2, 2021 2:52 pm

“Not advocating for coal”

,

WELL YOU SHOULD BE !

“What needs to be done now”

Texas needs to STOP RELYING on UNRELIABLES.

GREATLY INCREASE the percentage of RELIABLE COAL-FIRE ELECTRICITY. (they have plenty of coal)

Weather harden the gas supplies so that cold doesn’t cause supply issues.

And certainly don’t rely on wind and solar for pumping that gas.

The blame for the WHOLE DEBACLE can be place totally at the feet of the scientifically unsupportable ANTI-CARBON agenda.

Last edited 4 months ago by fred250
Robert W Turner
March 1, 2021 6:38 am

I can assure you that many in the SWPP lost power for over a day too. It wasn’t as bad because we’re prepared for frigid temperatures with water lines buried 3′ down and wrapped when they enter into the home above ground.

And you might be able to add to the possible list of ‘why’

  • Workers simply not able to make it to critical infrastructure due to road conditions.
John Tillman
Reply to  Robert W Turner
March 1, 2021 12:13 pm

Wind turbines froze in the SWPP and MISO grids as well, but they rely more on coal than gas, so suffered fewer blackouts. However, SWPP wasn’t able to help out ERCOT due to its own outages.

In 2019, turbines were shut down in ND when the ambient temperature reached -20 C, as they’re programmed to do. US turbines don’t have the cold weather packages fitted on Canadian wind power generators.

Utilities may have to charge higher rates to winterize wind turbines and other energy infrastructure, and to stockpile coal and gas.

Ron Long
March 1, 2021 6:43 am

Good posting of actual data, David. I like the attitude that “it didn’t happen because we planned for cold weather and no problem”, when it did happen, and it could happen again. By the way, when does this Global Warming deal kick in? I see Cerro La Plata from my office window and it is loaded with snow, which is strange because the southern hemisphere Feb. is like August up north. The grape growers report a 15 % loss due to early freeze, now then say the cold rain and dark skies slowed down maturing of the crop.

rbabcock
March 1, 2021 6:44 am

And I see the first of the many lawsuits was filed in Houston this morning to absolve one of the entities from $1.8B in “peak pricing” charges. As usual, the attorneys will be making money through all this.

a_scientist
March 1, 2021 6:50 am

Aside from the cold temperature effects on wind power outputs, what were the wind inputs during the storm.

Weather driven intermittent wind turbines can fail if the wind speed is too low or too high.
I have seen little data on the actual wind speeds and reliability during the crisis?

Was the wind blowing? Was it blowing too hard?

Or was the problem with icing?

That helicopter spraying de-icer was a couple years ago in Sweden I think, not Texas.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  a_scientist
March 2, 2021 8:45 am

“I have seen little data on the actual wind speeds and reliability during the crisis?Was the wind blowing?”

I haven’t heard much about the wind speeds, although I did see one report that referred to windmills not having any wind in Texas at certain points during this disaster.

Underneath a huge, high-pressure weather system like the one that made up the arctic cold front, the winds will fall off to almost nothing for days at a time, and, although I don’t have the numbers, I think it was a big problem for windmills.

It would be instructive if someone could get the figures for windmill production for each State during this arctic cold blast and figures for how the winds were blowing at the time. The cold temperatures were not the only problem.

I think those figures would go a long way towards explaining what we have just experienced.

I have not heard of any reports of freezing being a problem for coal and natural gas plants located north of Texas. The SPP’s problems may be mainly with their windmill production.

Last edited 4 months ago by Tom Abbott
Glenn
March 1, 2021 6:53 am

Most of the natural gas infrastructure did not fail. If it were the cold that froze up pipes and such, wouldn’t most of them have been expected to fail, as did wind?
More likely power management was more to blame. Shut down flow and the flow will freeze”.

Dale S
March 1, 2021 6:56 am

“In fact, carbon emissions generated from de-icing a turbine — like in the Alpine Helicopter video and image — saves two days’ worth of emissions, relative to coal power.”

The theory here is that if a particular turbine happens to be running and providing an unpredictable amount of power instead of frozen at zero, a coal-powered electricity plant will use exactly that much less coal?

OK S.
March 1, 2021 7:15 am

Been around a while but still funny:

Edited to add H/T Peter Grant

Meme - socialists before candles.png
Last edited 4 months ago by OK S.
Jean Parisot
March 1, 2021 7:22 am

How is that States can shut down churches, restaurants, stores, and schools because of an emergency – but they couldn’t overrule the EPA on emission permits during one?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Jean Parisot
March 2, 2021 8:52 am

“How is that States can shut down churches”

States can’t legallly shut down churches, according to the First Amendment.

TonyG
Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 2, 2021 10:37 am

Legally doesn’t seem to matter anymore.

States certainly CAN shut down churches, especially when said churches quietly comply.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  TonyG
March 2, 2021 12:14 pm

“Legally doesn’t seem to matter anymore.”

That’s true. We have a lot of petty dictators running around lording it over people.

John Bell
March 1, 2021 7:27 am

OT a bit but related to carbon; Illawarra coke production in Oz. Interesting! (I’m a mechanical engineer)

Bill Rocks
Reply to  John Bell
March 1, 2021 10:04 am

Very cool video.

The Bulli Seam of the Illawarra coal group is a spectacular creation of nature. It challenges the mind to comprehend how such a thing has come to be but there it is a ~ 260 million year-old artifact of the great southern super continent of Gondwana which split apart into Antarctica, South America, Africa, Arabia, and India. India moved rapidly north and collided with Asia to form the Himalaya in more recent geologic deep time.

The earth is dynamic, the climate is dynamic. Oh what stories the rocks do tell.

griff
March 1, 2021 7:27 am

And then the natural gas plant failed, because it wasn’t winterised, just as Texas was warned in 2011.

(and I say again: nobody else’s wind turbines freeze, so you didn’t winterise those either, when you could have and should have).

Still waiting for proof an all fossil fuel grid would have handled this…

Editor
Reply to  griff
March 1, 2021 7:37 am

You leave out the reduction of “fossil fuels” power production…., care to be honest about it?

Abolition Man
Reply to  Sunsettommy
March 1, 2021 9:38 am

Sunsettommy,
You need to be more careful; you almost used honesty and griff in the same sentence!

2hotel9
Reply to  griff
March 1, 2021 7:39 am

Yes, and it is all ERCOT’s fault. Oh, and your proof is all over America, moron. It is handled every winter.

MarkW
Reply to  griff
March 1, 2021 8:40 am

Prior to so many wind mills and solar panels, the fossil fuel grid handled this kind of stuff every year.

Gunga Din
Reply to  David Middleton
March 1, 2021 4:28 pm

David, I still figured out how to post a video clip but you might want to add this to your repertoire.
https://wattsupwiththat.com/test-2/#comment-3148776

Gunga Din
Reply to  Gunga Din
March 1, 2021 6:08 pm

Hmmm … somehow a tree on a powerline showed up.
Try this?
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-Oo6oihTrE&w=1109&h=484%5D

old construction worker
Reply to  griff
March 1, 2021 10:13 am

Winter, particularly February, is actually a good wind season. According to the EIA, in February 2019 wind achieved a 41% capacity factor in Texas. ERCOT data indicate a 31% capacity factor in February 2019. Up until February 8, wind was exceeding expectations…

Good wind season—–41% Say What?

Reply to  griff
March 1, 2021 11:13 am

Griff

Why do you even bother with David, he crushes you every single time.

BTW have you check out the artic ice? your death spiral is finally here!!!!

John Endicott
Reply to  bob boder
March 2, 2021 3:41 am

You could pretty much replace “David” in your post with the name of any other post Griff has gone up against. David Just does it with style (and memes).

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  griff
March 1, 2021 11:14 am

Even when shown the door, you don’t have the integrity to say, “Thanks for the party!”

You don’t acknowledge when you are wrong, or apologize for inappropriately insulting others. As an example, you have never apologized for saying the Susan Crockford is not a scientist.

You have all the answers, except when you don’t, which is most of the time! Mark Twain observed that “Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to.” Yet, you apparently never show embarrassment at being so wrong that most laugh at you. What does that say about you?

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
March 2, 2021 9:07 am

“As an example, you have never apologized for saying the Susan Crockford is not a scientist.”

Worth pointing out. An apology is in order.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 2, 2021 4:29 pm

I have pointed it out several times and he/she/it has not acknowledged. That is why I say he knows no shame.

Dmacleo
Reply to  griff
March 1, 2021 12:26 pm

by not winterized you mean used grid power for compressors instead of gas for fuel.

Derg
Reply to  griff
March 1, 2021 4:27 pm

All across the north grids work perfectly fine. You really are getting dumber with each post.

fred250
Reply to  griff
March 1, 2021 7:53 pm

Texas needs to STOP RELYING on UNRELIABLES.

GREATLY INCREASE the percentage of RELIABLE COAL-FIRE ELECTRICITY. (they have plenty of coal)

Weather harden the gas supplies so that cold doesn’t cause supply issues.

And certainly don’t rely on wind and solar for pumping that gas.

The blame for the WHOLE DEBACLE can be place totally at the feet of the scientifically unsupportable ANTI-CARBON agenda.

wilshire
Reply to  griff
March 2, 2021 11:16 pm

As per above, even if all gas/coal/nuclear was operating at full capacity, the excess demand would still have caused blackouts. And for also reasons listed above, there wasn’t more fossil fuels built because they cannot compete against subsidized solar.

The proof is axiomatic my friend.

Old Retired Guy
March 1, 2021 7:29 am

Isn’t the real point of all this what would have happened if wind and solar were the only source of electricity? How many people would have died? Battery backup that would have been required is beyond comprehension.

Mr.
Reply to  Old Retired Guy
March 1, 2021 9:36 am

That’s the real issue right here folks.

Based on real -time experience in Texas, how the faark is 100% “renewables” EVER going to support civilization anywhere, anytime?

John Endicott
Reply to  David Middleton
March 2, 2021 3:43 am

Not all of them, some would have flown off to Cancun 😉

2hotel9
March 1, 2021 7:36 am

So, basically, ERCOT set the system up to fail and then just waited for it to happen. Took awhile, that said they got the result they were after, now they will screech for more money. Well, those who have not already resigned will. The resignees will be setting up gofundme pages to pay their legal expenses.

ResourceGuy
March 1, 2021 7:45 am

NBC strikes again!!

BobM
March 1, 2021 7:59 am
Last edited 4 months ago by BobM
2hotel9
Reply to  BobM
March 1, 2021 8:10 am

Wow, ERCOT created the situation which caused the crisis and is billing everyone else billions of dollars for what they created. What a sweet grift!

Reply to  BobM
March 1, 2021 10:14 am

re: “Texas power suppliers are going under.”

NOT a supplier, a middle-man, a ‘transporter’ who acts as a retailer to the public. Capiche?

Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  _Jim
March 1, 2021 11:17 am

I think we may see financial stress in several quarters, not just REPs (Retail Electricity Providers). If ERCOT can’t pay generators who have large bills for gas then those generators may go bankrupt too. Whether distribution companies escape unscathed will depend on how well they were set up to manage the risks. Whilst many gas producers and traders will have done well, there will be those who got exposed to price volatility and will be wiped out.

BobM
Reply to  _Jim
March 1, 2021 6:51 pm

I said “supplier”, not “generator”. Huge difference. I get multiple calls every month from suppliers that offer cheaper rates than PSEG or JCP&L, who are the generators. The companies are also required to mention the “compare” number, to compare against the “suppliers” should I want to switch, which I don’t. None of those companies are called “middle men” or “transporters”. Yes, I think I understand it. Where did you get those terms from?

As I mentioned in a different post, I only hope that the frozen turbines, requiring grid-supplied power for multiple reasons when not spinning, are also stuck paying those huge bills.

Paul Johnson
March 1, 2021 8:15 am

Regarding the 5Ws, I would add:

Nuclear –
Frozen elements in power plant cooling systems?
Lack of redundancy in critical sensors?
Inadequate cold-weather design criteria?

Reply to  Paul Johnson
March 1, 2021 10:15 am

re: “Frozen elements in power plant cooling systems?
Lack of redundancy in critical sensors?
Inadequate cold-weather design criteria?”

Read the report from 2011, that report covers it all …

Derg
Reply to  _Jim
March 1, 2021 4:31 pm

In Mn they have 2 nuclear power plants from the 70s…safe reliable power in all temps.

Paul Johnson
Reply to  _Jim
March 1, 2021 4:33 pm

For nuclear power plants, all of these items are the responsibility of the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Why were they not addressed at a national level?

JamesD
Reply to  Paul Johnson
March 1, 2021 12:03 pm

No where has it been established that there was any “freezing” involved. Just vague statements. Likely the pumps were load shed when the wind turbines froze up.

Chuck no longer in Houston
Reply to  Paul Johnson
March 3, 2021 12:16 pm

As I wrote previously – Load shedding can not possibly be an issue in a power generation plant running paralleled to the grid. Once the power plant generators are online and paralleled, for all practical purposes, that plant is supplying all of its own electrical power. A load shed event somewhere else will have no impact.

As for the sensor in question at STP Unit 1 – the loss of the feedwater pump(s) was due to a problem sensor on a sensor tube. This may have been due to the water in the sensor tube freezing up, or possibly just to the failure of the sensor itself. In either case, the feedwater pump(s) tripped off due to either a faulty input from the sensor, or the recognition that the sensor had failed.

Last edited 4 months ago by Chuck no longer in Houston
Charles Higley
March 1, 2021 8:16 am

HDDTTWA?

However, wind turbine installations don’t go up without substantial investment — which means planning for the kind of volatile weather much of the world is already seeing for the first time.”

First off, a lot of money does not correlate with getting something that will actually work.

Second, how do they plan for weather they already have that they are seeing for the first time? This is illogical. In no place equivalent to Texas has they had this effect in winter because the N American continent is a special geographical situation.

Itdoesn't add up...
March 1, 2021 8:47 am

Limited wind generation was mostly about limited wind speeds. Unfreezing those turbines that froze, or whose blades were coated in a dangerous layer of ice would not have helped. Check out the windspeeds in Wind Turbine Central, a.k.a. Abilene, TX:

https://weatherspark.com/h/d/145819/2021/2/8/Historical-Weather-on-Monday-February-8-2021-at-Abilene-Regional-Airport-Texas-United-States#Figures-WindSpeed

Use the right arrow on the chart to view subsequent days. Bear in mind that wind turbines produce nothing at all in winds below their cut-in speed (10-15kph, 7-10mph, 2.5-3.5m/sec, and not a whole lot more until speeds get somewhat higher: maximum output requires typically over 10m/sec, 36kph, 22mph.

Check out other wind sites: Lubbock, Amarillo, along the coast from Corpus Christi to Brownsville. It’s much the same story.

The real killer is that total ERCOT wind generation was just 649MW in the hour to 8 p.m. on the 15th – right when demand would have been at around 75GW according to ERCOT’s forecast. Even if half the output was lost to freezing, it really would not have been much use, and a very poor return on >30GW of nominal capacity – or on spending money on weatherising it. Wind is simply not worth the candle, and in planning you must allow that it will fail completely just when it is most needed – no probability based calculation that says on average you could expect 6 GW even in a cold snap. That theory and model has been disproved.

Just a dumb engineer
March 1, 2021 8:56 am

Just an FYI, add frozen instruments / instrument lines to your list for gas and coal power. It’s amazing what happens when the wrong critical transmitter freezes.

Itdoesn't add up...
March 1, 2021 9:15 am

A couple of points about gas supply: a very large chunk of gas supply actually came from storage drawdown. In the US South Central region, withdrawals were 55bcf in the week to 5th February, 89bcf in the week to 12th February, and 156bcf in the week to 19th February. 156bcf has an energy content of about 45TWh.

When used for electricity generation, efficiency of conversion will vary between 60% for a modern CCGT operating in stable fashion at design capacity and about 40% for an open cycle peaker unit. Perhaps 5-6% of energy sent out will be used in pumping it to users with furnaces and stoves – maybe less to well located power stations. What is quite clear is that natgas storage puts any talk of batteries, pumped storage and other green boondoggles completely in the shade.

It should be noted that the gas in storage is dry gas, only subject to liquefaction at -160C, and not subject to hydrate formation. This map show gas in storage by county in Texas as at Nov 30th (the latest data from Texas Railroad Commission), which gives a fairly good idea of storage capacities:

https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/66IkX/1/

We should note that gas supply was adequate to fire some 44GW of generation at peake demand at 8 p.m. on 14th February. It was only subsequently that supply became a problem. So although production was down due to freeze-offs and voluntary precautionary shut-ins at wellheads, supply was being made good from storage and from re-routing about 4bcf/day from LNG liquefaction to the market. It was ony when power was cut to pipelines that supply really became a problem.

South Central Gas Storage chart.png
Abolition Man
March 1, 2021 9:33 am

…Orwell on LSD and steroids!
Is that how the DemoKKKrats came up with the Equality Act, or is that bigoilbob’s go to choice for breakfast?
Thanks for trying spread some light on a self-induced tragedy, and lightening the tragedy with some humor! That the lame stream urinalists and libtard pols are so loudly blaming fossil fuels for the near disaster of Winter Storm Younger Dryas indicates that even they have no faith in their Green Weenie solutions! They just parrot the party line so they can continue with the slush funds and bribery schemes that predominate in DC now! To be honest, some of them seem to be too stupid to know any better, but let’s not talk about AOC, let’s look at solutions!
Do you think ERCOT can be fixed or even be improved enough to avoid further mishaps like what just occurred? How many more “events” will have to take place before the public wakes up to the horrendously expensive scam that is Unreliable Energy!

Reply to  Abolition Man
March 1, 2021 10:22 am

re: “Do you think ERCOT can be fixed”

WRONG question; this was a PUCT and QSE (generator) failure. Read the 2011 report again.

SEARCH for this title: Report on Outages and Curtailments During the Southwest Cold Weather Event of February 1-5, 2011

Abolition Man
Reply to  _Jim
March 1, 2021 11:05 am

_Jim,
Don’t you think that ERCOT exacerbated the problem? Whether or not the problems with Unreliable generators can be solved will depend on government and public policies that are still in flux and seem to be fighting the last war still!

AndyHce
Reply to  Abolition Man
March 1, 2021 12:05 pm

What if there isn’t another extreme cold event for 15 years or more? Just about anything could seem to be solving the problem until the problem surfaces again. Nobody now in charge is likely to have to worry about it again.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  AndyHce
March 2, 2021 9:33 am

“What if there isn’t another extreme cold event for 15 years or more?”

I would bet money that a large high-pressure system will settle over Texas within the next 15 years. It might happen this summer.

When the high-pressure system settles in, the winds don’t blow, and the windmills dont work.

Persistent high-pressure systems occur all the time and are involved in the most severe weather extremes such as cold waves and heat waves.

Persistent high-pressure systems make windmills incapable of successfully supplying base load electricity 100 percent of the time for any grid they are on.

Windmills have to have reliable backup power generation like natural gas for 100 percent of their output, otherwise windmills put the whole electrical grid in danger of failing.

Steve Z
March 1, 2021 9:43 am

Using helicopters to spray de-icing fluid on windmills is extremely inefficient. The helicopter burns more energy simply staying airborne than the windmill could produce in a day once it starts rotating in the wind. The better solution is to ramp up power production by natural gas during the cold snap, then let solar power melt the ice during the next warm front in Texas, and the windmills will start up naturally.

Another false meme from the ignorant media is that the gas-fired power plants couldn’t start their electric compressors. Huh? Natural-gas turbines have an inlet air compressor, which is connected to the same drive shaft as the power generation turbine, so that some of the output power is used to drive the inlet air compressor. As long as the flow of natural gas to a turbine continues, colder inlet air will not prevent the compressor from operating, and why would anyone shut the turbine down during a period of peak demand?

By the way, since cold air is denser than warm air at the same pressure, the volume flow rate through the compressor would be lower for the same mass flow rate in cold conditions than in warm, making the compressor more efficient!

Reply to  Steve Z
March 1, 2021 10:20 am

re: “Another false meme from the ignorant media is that the gas-fired power plants couldn’t start their electric compressors.”

You seem to be conflating some things too, like the compressor stations situated at various points in the nat gas system that are now electric powered vs used to be nat gas-engine powered compressors.

Robert of Texas
March 1, 2021 9:47 am

One has only to understand that Wind is intermittent, meaning is CANNOT be counted on, to know that it is not any part of a solution to make a more stable grid. Solar is worse, it cannot be counted on in the day and can be counted on not to be available at night.

Peak power demand requires power that is there when you need it…not when the weather is cooperating. It must come from fossil fuels or nuclear – end of story. For fossil fuels, there needs to be enough fuel stockpiled to survive on for several days.

Texas should get behind an effort to start dismantling Wind Turbines as they have already proven to be a costly failure. No more should be built. The same with any centralized solar generation, get rid of it. The easiest way to start down this path is to remove the subsidies that intermittent power generation counts on to make fat profits.

Reply to  Robert of Texas
March 1, 2021 10:18 am

re: “Texas should get behind an effort to start dismantling Wind Turbines as they have already proven to be”

You have NO grasp of the reality of the situation and ‘market’ (EVERYBODY has their hand out for ‘graft’) in Texas that enables this nonsense, IOW, that horse left the barn a LONG time ago.

Derg
Reply to  _Jim
March 1, 2021 4:33 pm

Exactly, unreliable forms of energy like wind and solar get the subsidies

Last edited 4 months ago by Derg
March 1, 2021 9:54 am

re: “Why was Texas, ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) in particular, so unprepared for the onslaught of frigid weather?”

I read the above and have to think, what was Dave Muddle-minded’s thinking? It is up to each generator (QSE) on the Texas grid to prepare their equipment for cold weather …

Reading the report after the LAST event in 2011 we know the answer … but does Dave know?

Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  David Middleton
March 1, 2021 11:11 am

Bingo

fred250
Reply to  _Jim
March 1, 2021 7:55 pm

Texas needs to STOP RELYING on UNRELIABLES.

GREATLY INCREASE the percentage of RELIABLE COAL-FIRE ELECTRICITY. (they have plenty of coal)

Weather harden the gas supplies so that cold doesn’t cause supply issues.

And certainly don’t rely on wind and solar for pumping that gas.

The blame for the WHOLE DEBACLE can be place totally at the feet of the scientifically unsupportable ANTI-CARBON agenda.

Paul Lafreniere
March 1, 2021 9:57 am

“…Wind was operating as well as expected” Really? Ask the people on the ground who played Texas blackout Baseball: The facts: # players on payroll: Wind-28755, Nuclear-5153. # players in uniform: Wind-7070, Nuclear-5153. World Series batting average: Wind-0.110, Nuclear-0.800. Who do you want on your team?

Derg
Reply to  Paul Lafreniere
March 1, 2021 4:34 pm

If you were to hire workers for a job would you hire unreliable workers like solar and wind?

Tom Abbott
March 1, 2021 10:36 am

From the article: “Why weren’t power outages nearly as bad in the SWPP and MISO grids? It might just have something to do with coal.”

I live in Oklahoma and my electricity never did go out, although other large metropolitan areas in Oklahoma, like Tulsa and Oklahoma City, had temporary blackouts. I attribute my good fortune to the fact that there is a coal-fired powerplant located about 20 miles from my house. It was chugging right along.

I heard today on the local news that the Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company, which supplies a good portion of Oklahoma with electricity, paid about $600 million last year for electricity, and during the two week period of the arctic blast, they ended up paying over $1 billion for electricy during that period! Of course, the OG&E customers will have to pay this extra cost, but the Oklahoma legislature is proposing that these costs be spread out over a decade or more. We’ll see what happens.

We need to add some dependable power supplies to our grids. We clearly run short in extreme weather. And extreme weather doesn’t have to be just cold weather.

The real problem with windmills is sometimes the wind doesn’t blow, and many times when the wind doesn’t blow, it is because there is a serious weather situation going on such as an extreme cold front like we just experienced, or an extreme warm front, both of which can incorportate a period of days when the wind is becalmed because a huge area of the country is sitting underneath a high-pressure system where the winds fall off to zero.

When the winds fall off to zero, the windmills don’t produce power. For days! That is unacceptable, and inevitable if we increase windmill encroachment into the electrical grid.

We have reached the limits of windmill intrusion in Texas and it looks like in the SPP, too.

You can’t do anything about the wind not blowing. Windmills are useless then. We have better alternatives, even for the alarmists. Let’s wise up and start heading in the right direction.

Both the Right and the Left can probably agree on building more nuclear reactors. Let’s start from there. All we really need is nuclear reactors, but being one who doesn’t believe in evil CO2, I can’t see wasting all those fossil fuels for a science fiction scare story. But I’ll compromise on nuclear. 🙂

Reply to  Tom Abbott
March 1, 2021 11:19 am

But the Left doesn’t agree with building nuclear reactors. They agree with destroying western civilization at that’s about it all they agree with.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  bob boder
March 2, 2021 10:49 am

I was appealing to the alarmists who don’t seek the destruction of western civilization. I assume there are some. If not, then never mind.

Ben Vorlich
March 1, 2021 10:43 am

Today there is very little wind in the whole of the UK. Wind is performing almost as well as expect 5.45% of demand. Outperforming coal which is at 5.38% fortunately gas is also performing as well as expected 53.39%

Derg
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
March 1, 2021 4:36 pm

As expected:)

At this very moment if the wind is steady at 5 and the next second drops to zero…where does the power come from ?

Jeff Alberts
March 1, 2021 10:45 am

Weather doesn’t cause pileups. People not driving for conditions does.

Clyde Spencer
March 1, 2021 10:51 am

A question for MSM apologists for wind turbines and solar energy:
Inasmuch as approximately half the country was experiencing similar or colder temperatures at the same time that Texas suffered massive supply failures, why didn’t the rest of the country experience the same fate? What is different about the Texas energy grid that sets it apart from the rest of the country, other than an unusually high reliance on so-called ‘free energy’?

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Clyde Spencer
March 1, 2021 11:43 am

There were blackouts elsewhere not just Texas

BobM
Reply to  Pat from kerbob
March 1, 2021 7:50 pm

None as widespread or as long as Texas. Nearly everyone north of Texas did better in colder weather. Why?

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  David Middleton
March 2, 2021 7:47 am

A small correction. Neighbouring grids were supplying about 1.2GW at the time of the big trip. Later that fell as low as 123MW. At $9,000/MWh there was a huge incentive to maximise exports to ERCOT. That was all they could manage. There is some data at the EIA dashboard I will try to find again later.

Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  David Middleton
March 2, 2021 11:37 am

You found the numbers. Negative numbers are imports by ERCOT. Note that in the first plot “ERCO Demand” is higher than “ERCO net generation” by exactly the negative of “ERCO total interchange”, reflecting the imports helping overall supply. From the (i) Notes for the chart:

NotesHourly (or daily) electricity demand, day-ahead demand forecast, net generation, and total net interchange for the selected balancing authority. Negative interchange values indicate net inflows from neighboring balancing authorities, and positive values indicate net outflows to neighboring balancing authorities.

There are details tie by tie on the ERCOT dashboard prints available from Wayback. e.g. this from the big trip:

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

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Pat from kerbob
March 2, 2021 4:33 pm

“blackouts elsewhere” does not equal “massive supply failures.”

Sara
March 1, 2021 11:32 am

Just my view, but it would do some people living in Texas, who are “in charge” of important stuff, a world of good if they spent a winter up here in the Great Frozen Northern Midwest. Lake Michi Gamu will test your mettle (and your metal, too), and if you can’t deal with the reality that Queen Winter has her own agenda, then you’re on the wrong planet.

We’re used to this stuff, no matter how much “anxiety attack” nonsense the local newsies try to put into it. We deal with it, shovel it, and move on. If the forecast is for snow, we’uns up here in the Great Frozen North just assume it means enough white stuff to build a full-sized fort and prepare accordingly.

Now, how hard is that to understand? That, and the ridiculous arguments about climate vs. weather are getting old.

This winter storm in Texas and the Great Plains (why aren’t we hearing about THEM?) isn’t something new, any more than another dry spell/drought.

It’s weather, for Pete’s sake. Deal with it!!!

Dmacleo
Reply to  Sara
March 1, 2021 12:31 pm

irony is been pretty warm here in mid maine. by that I mean I have not seen any -20+F nights this year, bunch of -6-10F nights.

JamesD
March 1, 2021 12:04 pm

David,
Any chance of digging into why the Nuke went down? Loss of cooling pumps due to “weather related issues” sounds like a cover up. Were the cooling pumps load shed?

Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  JamesD
March 1, 2021 1:09 pm

No. A pressure gauge feed pipe froze, so the pressure gauge gave a false reading (reported that the pipe feeding the gauge was narrow gauge: suspect that lack of flow helped the freezing). That triggered an alarm that shut down the water pumps, and in turn the reactor, because you must use the energy it generates which you can’t do it there is no water for steam. Had the gauge not given a false reading there would have been no problem at all. Info based on an account given by an STP executive.

Chuck no longer in Houston
Reply to  Itdoesn't add up...
March 3, 2021 12:23 pm

Thank you. I tried to point this out in comments on a couple of previous posts. You said it better than I did.

Patrick B
March 1, 2021 12:13 pm

Well, I’m going to address the problem in a logical fashion. I’ll be shopping for a whole house generator. And as more grids become unreliable because of reliance on green energies, I suspect this will be a growing market – until the environmentalists decide you need a special license to install one.

Zigmaster
March 1, 2021 12:53 pm

I think the proper way to look at the situation is to compare how energy systems perform if you have coal and gas only providing the energy compared to a system with a mix including renewables. The real problem is that renewables weaken the whole system so it enhances the likelihood of failure. Trying to pinpoint whether that failure is due to coal, gas or renewables is irrelevant. Would the system have failed to the extent that it did if there was no renewables? The answer is most certainly no. Would the system have failed if there was only renewables? The answer is most certainly yes.
So the clear answer is not what is the best mix but rather why do we need renewables at all?
And that is where governments have to argue that dangerous man made global warming does not exist and even if it did exist that renewables are not the way to fix it. This would be the most logical solution. Let’s check the data and the predictions to see if we have a problem and if there is a problem let’s think of solutions that will help. Ie If you are concerned about 2 degrees of warming buy an air conditioner for everyone. If you are concerned about rising sea levels build walls ( like in Holland).
At the moment all the world is doing is creating non solutions to a non problem. It’s time to start the re-education process.

Michael S. Kelly
March 1, 2021 1:20 pm

The video of that big I-35 pileup was quite something. My wife and I were spent the first third of our respective lives in the Midwest, so were no strangers to driving conditions such as those. She remarked that there’s not much you can do about such accidents. There is so rarely ice in most of Texas that people don’t have a chance to learn.

I disagree, and see a business opportunity for some enterprising driving school. There are a number of skating rinks in the Dallas area, and they are certainly not 100% utilized. Hire some instructors from Minnesota, rent out some rinks, and teach people how to drive on that stuff.

I would propose a similar thing here in the Washington DC area, where a little snow on the beltway results in carnage, except for two things: 1) Because no one around here can drive on a little snow, the Federal Government shuts down if there’s even snow in the forecast. That’s such a good thing, I wouldn’t want to chance it going away. However, 2) there’s really only a small chance of shutdowns going away, because drivers in this area (especially Maryland) don’t know how to drive on dry pavement, and thus are probably unteachable.

Reply to  Michael S. Kelly
March 1, 2021 1:57 pm

As I was young, around 19, we used to exercise with our VW beetles do drive and slide on snowy streets around corners and bends, late in the evening when there was no other circulation around – hat was very helpfull, off course with mounted snow tyres.

Nowerdays, the German Carclub ADAC offers winter- and snowtraining on special places as they do for driving caravan and other trailer.

Last edited 4 months ago by Krishna Gans
Reply to  Michael S. Kelly
March 1, 2021 2:34 pm

PS
As I never drove an automatic car, I have no idea how to start driving with on ice or snow. But it’s always amazing to see people or also truckdriver with stick shift, change in first gear and try to start driving, same in sand or mud and, off course mostly full throttle 😀

Third or even forth gear and nearly no throttle, just not stalling the engine, they never heard off 😀

Last edited 4 months ago by Krishna Gans
Bro. Steve
March 1, 2021 2:32 pm

ERCOT is a bunch of lawyers. Lawyers are smart people; they’re just no good at electrical engineering. Consider: Would you put lawyers running NASA? Would you want lawyers in charge of building your next aircraft, bridge, or life-saving medical device? Who thought it was a good idea to put lawyers in charge of the grid? What did they freaken’ expect?

John Dueker
March 1, 2021 3:24 pm

MSM is conflating kWh over time with kW. At the critical time when load shedding started winds contribution fell to 500 kW of capacity. Which is nothing.

The kWh over time is completely irrelevant to holding the system together by meeting kW capacity vs load. If wind generated a lot of kWh before or later so what, it wasn’t there when it was needed.

Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  John Dueker
March 1, 2021 4:49 pm

Can you provide evidence for that claim? I think it’s bunkum. According to the ERCOT dashboard, wind was producing 5,148MW right in the middle of the trip down to 59.3Hz.

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

Even at the low point which was 8 p.m. on the 15th, wind managed 649MW.

By all means let’s look at how wind failed, but exaggerated claims that aren’t true do not help the case – they undermine it.

old engineer
March 1, 2021 3:36 pm

David-

As a fellow Texan, I want to thank you for the time and effort you have put into your recent posts on the failure of our electrical system during the recent cold spell.

I hope you will contact your State Representative and State Senator to testify at the legislative hearings that are sure to come. Every State Legislator needs to see and hear this information.

WXcycles
March 1, 2021 5:09 pm

In fact, carbon emissions generated from de-icing a turbine — like in the Alpine Helicopter video and image — saves two days’ worth of emissions, relative to coal power. 

Interesting Engineering

Less plant food is the better outcome, you see …

DocSiders
March 1, 2021 5:11 pm

Biden’s Net Zero by 2035 would require an impossibly large Nuclear Power build up… Or… Live with killing hundreds of thousands during wind and solar total bkackouts that are 100% certain to occur.

The Liars are sitting on the Throne.

jcdntexas
March 1, 2021 5:34 pm

I live in Austin and was without power for 4.5 days. Good thing I had gas stove and hot water heater that were still functioning, as well as battery-powered carbon monoxide and CO2 detectors. Natural gas fossil fuel made it possible for me to survive. It’s that simple.

Mike Maguire
March 1, 2021 5:36 pm

Global Warming causes everything!
by
Meteorologist Mike

https://www.marketforum.com/forum/topic/65704/#65905

John Pickens
March 1, 2021 7:56 pm

In your section on natural gas, one of the bullet points is:
“Compressors knocked offline by power outages?”

I suggest a corollary:

“Compressors knocked offline by “Green” requirement that they be powered by the same grid which they used to be a backup supply for”

In other words, if you make a simple flowchart showing CC natural gas generation stations as a backup electricity suppy, you’ll see the folly of using that same electricity to pump gas down the pipelines to provide that backup power.

The compressor stations used to be powered by natural gas fired pumps in many cases, or as gas fired pumping backup to electric compressors.

But the “Greens” know best, forcing the move to electric gas pipeline compressors to supposedly reduce CO2.

I wish they could read a flowchart, there’s a big problem with their analysis, as millions of freezing Texans could attest.

Peta of Newark
March 1, 2021 9:23 pm

As has been suggested, did the windmills stop producing because of ‘Lack of Wind’, rather than ‘Surplus of Ice’

Me being me, took off to check some Personal Weather Stations(PWS) at Wunderground

What I found was/is quite amazing.
Here’s my screenshot and a gorgeous example of what a large number of Texas PWSs show..
From this PWS.

See how the wind speed (2nd from top squiggly line) drops to zero at about 11:00 on that day, Thurs 11 Feb while the rest of the PWS carries on as normal?
Loads of other PWS show the exact same.

Immediately followed by some ‘precipitation’. This had to have been melting ice/snow because, as you see, the sun came out as the ‘precipitation’ occurred

Could we take those little anemometers as (all the rage these days) proxies for the bigger wind turbines?

Rub a warmist nose in that if you wish……

Last edited 4 months ago by Peta of Newark
ozspeaksup
March 2, 2021 3:28 am

whats been entirely Omitted?
how the livestock and wild critters fared in this?
my guess is very very poorly;-((

Bananabender56
March 2, 2021 4:57 am

I know weather isn’t climate, but it must be a subset. We can’t predict weather with any certainty out past 72 hours but we know the global temperature rise to a decimal point over the next 20 years.

John Endicott
March 2, 2021 8:24 am

SJW idiots are actually fact-checking this meme.

The first two words of that sentence are a bit redundant (just saying).

Last edited 4 months ago by John Endicott
%d bloggers like this: