The Catastrophic Texas Blackouts: Lessons For The Developing Countries

Reposted from Forbes

By Tilak Doshi

Contributor Energy

I analyze energy economics and related public policy issues.

The recent severe snowstorm in the US led to a catastrophic power outage in Texas leaving millions of people without access to power or heat for several days, with a mounting death toll that has yet to be fully tallied. The state was about 4 minutes and seconds away from a total grid collapse that would have left the state’s residents for weeks or months without power. If that were to have happened, tens of thousands of people would have been at the risk of freezing to death.  

Political leaders in Asia, Africa and Latin America, well aware that reliable and affordable electricity for their burgeoning middle classes is a pre-requisite of staying in office, would no doubt incredulously ask “How could this happen in Texas, the energy power-house of the US, the country which surpassed Russia in 2011 to become the world’s largest producer of natural gas and overtook Saudi Arabia in 2018 to become the world’s largest producer of oil?”

Energy planners and grid engineers in many developing countries work with creaky grid infrastructure and frequent breakdowns lead many of their customers to own diesel gen-sets as ready backups. The irony will not be lost: last week, President Biden ordered the federal government to provide diesel generators and diesel fuel along with other assistance to Texas amid the power outages brought on by extreme cold.

Policy Lessons Of The Texas Debacle

For energy policy makers around the world, the lessons of the Texas debacle will be a warning sign in their own planning for power grid reliability and resilience to adverse events. Thus, UK’s The Telegraph ran a headline: “Blackouts in energy-rich Texas are a wake-up call for knife-edge Britain.” However, gleaning policy lessons will not be straight-forward.

Like most controversies in America these days, the failures of the Texas power grid when it was most needed led to a blizzard of blame and finger-pointing largely along partisan lines. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, in a tweet asserted:  “The infrastructure failures in Texas are quite literally what happens when you *don’t* pursue a Green New Deal.” Renewable energy fans insist that the grid managers at ERCOT never expected to rely on intermittant wind power during an ice storm. They accuse “fossil fuel interests and their allies in the Republican Party” of hiding the “real culprit”: natural gas and power grid “poorly prepared to deal with severe winter conditions after years of deregulation.” On the other side, the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation think tank alleges that the storm “never would have been an issue had our grid not been so deeply penetrated by renewable energy sources.”MORE FOR YOUThe Technology Behind Bitcoin’s $1 Trillion Valuation And Its Application Beyond CryptocurrencyHow To Avoid Climate Disaster, The Bill Gates WayThe Dirty Secrets Of ‘Clean’ Electric Vehicles

Who Is Right?

It is a hugely important question. The lives and basic comfort of many people are at stake. The fate of many a planner or politician around the world depends quite literally on getting on the right side of the debate over the Texas debacle. For developing countries, the stakes are far higher as the lower per capita incomes of their constituents carry risks that few in the rich world can appreciate.

Perhaps the cause of the blackouts was simply the once-in-a-generation extreme weather for which neither coal, gas, nuclear or wind generators were prepared, due to short sighted, profit-focused planning in a deregulated market (as the Texas Tribune would have it).

Alas if that were but true. For those whose professional work is in the engineering, economics and public policy aspects of power grids, the Texas debacle has been a long time coming. Decades of policy preferences in Texas in favour of weather-dependent, intermittent “renewable energy” – read solar and wind – added 20 GW of capacity since 2015 while retiring coal power plants and barely adding to natural gas capacity. More than $80 billion in Federal subsidies were spent on wind and solar during 2010 – 2019; an additional average of $1.5 billion is spent annually on state subsidies for renewable energy. A deregulated market that rewards power generation without requiring reliable capacity ready to supply power as needed naturally tilted the field in favour of intermittent solar and wind power.

The standard response of the renewables lobby is that fossil fuels receive subsidies too. The fact that wind receives 17 times, and solar an astonishing 75 times, the fiscal support that fossil-fuelled power generation receives on a per kilowatt-hour basis is lost in the rage of the culture wars between the renewable energy advocates and their counterparts on the side of oil, gas and coal.  

Texas thus opted to lose reliable generation capacity while counting on solar and wind to keep up with power demand. To any engineer worthy of his degree, the increasing likelihood that an event that combined very high demand with intermittent wind and solar power output would lead to blackouts would be apparent. As one observer, a former Republican member of the Texas House of Representatives puts it, “the only surprise was that such a situation occurred during a rare winter freeze and not during the predictable Texas summer heat waves”. The knife-edge fragility of power grids in Western Europe and the UK which have imposed policies that forced rapid growth in renewable energy capacity is no surprise.

Perhaps the most straightforward view of what transpired is given by the chart below. It shows the change in power output by fuel in Texas between January 18th and February 17th. Not only did coal and gas power hold up better than wind, which fell by over 90%, but gas turbine generators increased output by a massive 450%, nearly making up for the shortfall in wind. But this proved to be not enough to cover surging power demand brought on by the Arctic blast. It takes chutzpah to assert that because gas, coal and nuclear power did not operate at 100% of expected potential, they “failed” even though wind failed by nearly 100%.  

Change in Power Output Texas Jan 18, 2021 - Feb 17, 2021, 12 AM
Change in Power Output in Texas, Jan 18 – Feb 17th, 2021, 12 AM US EIA

A Most Consequential Irony

For planners and politicians of the developing countries, most of which are signatories to the (non-binding) Paris Agreement, hectored constantly about the need to “transition” from fossil fuels, the Texas debacle provides ironic education beyond just the rushed dependence on diesel generators when the chips are down in the richest country in the world.

Among the first actions by Joe Biden, the first US “climate president,” was to re-join the Paris Agreement. His international climate czar John Kerry met with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to mark America’s re-entry barely days after the worst of the Texas tragedy. Convinced that the Earth has 9 years to avert the worst consequences of the “climate crisis” and “there’s no faking it on this one,” Mr. Kerry called on the world’s big emitting countries, including China, India, and Russia to “really step up,” cut fossil fuel use and “raise their ambition” to “fight against climate change.” The irony however is lost on Mr. Kerry. He goes around lecturing poorer countries on the need for raised ambitions to fight climate change when it is those very same ambitions that likely contributed to the tragic debacle in Texas.

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Alan
March 6, 2021 10:08 am

The wind worked as well as could be expected. But those silly windmills wouldn’t cooperate.

fred250
Reply to  Alan
March 6, 2021 10:35 am

The expectation is just incredibly LOW. !

Lrp
Reply to  Alan
March 6, 2021 1:05 pm

More ambitious windmills required

n.n
Reply to  Alan
March 6, 2021 1:54 pm

Exactly, a separation of driver and converter.

Reply to  Alan
March 6, 2021 10:03 pm

It’s not satisfying to be correct when idiot, corrupt politicians still caused the predicted green energy disasters and good people suffer and die.
– Allan MacRae
 
“As America builds more wind and solar – with a renewed push from the Biden administration –the costs to prevent blackouts will mount in the form of massive battery farms to store power or increasingly large numbers of backup gas power plants. Instead, we should end subsidies for all energy sources while making wind and solar pay for the reliability costs they impose on the grid.”   
– Chuck DeVore, Vice President of National Initiatives
Texas Public Policy Foundation
 
OK, but here is an even better solution that I published in 2018:
1. Build your wind power system.
2. Build your back-up system consisting of 100% equivalent capacity in gas turbine generators.
3. Using high explosives, blow your wind power system all to hell.
4. Run your back-up gas turbine generators 24/7.
5. To save even more money, skip steps 1 and 3.
 
“Wind Power – It Doesn’t Just Blow, It Sucks!”
 
TOLD YOU SO 19 YEARS AGO.
 
In 2002, co-authors Dr Sallie Baliunas, Astrophysicist, Harvard-Smithsonian, Dr Tim Patterson, Paleoclimatologist, Carleton U, Ottawa and Allan MacRae, P.Eng. (now retired), McGill, Queens, U of Alberta, wrote:

1. “Climate science does not support the theory of catastrophic human-made global warming – the alleged warming crisis does not exist.”
 
2. “The ultimate agenda of pro-Kyoto advocates is to eliminate fossil fuels, but this would result in a catastrophic shortfall in global energy supply – the wasteful, inefficient energy solutions proposed by Kyoto advocates simply cannot replace fossil fuels.”
 
Allan MacRae published in the Calgary Herald on September 1, 2002:
 
3. “If [as we believe] solar activity is the main driver of surface temperature rather than CO2, we should begin the next cooling period by 2020 to 2030.”
 
Allan MacRae modified his global cooling prediction in 2013:
 
3a. “I suggest global cooling starts by 2020 or sooner. Bundle up.”
_____________________________________
 
In 2013:, I published this open letter, after Britain invested in too much wind power, but before Texans “blew their brains out”.

AN OPEN LETTER TO BARONESS VERMA
https://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/10/31/blind-faith-in-climate-models/#comment-1130954
[excerpt]
 
So here is my real concern:
 
IF THE SUN DOES INDEED DRIVE TEMPERATURE, AS I SUSPECT, BARONESS VERMA, THEN YOU AND YOUR COLLEAGUES ON BOTH SIDES OF THE HOUSE MAY HAVE BREWED THE PERFECT STORM.
 
You are claiming that global cooling will NOT happen, AND you have crippled your energy systems with excessive reliance on ineffective grid-connected “green energy” schemes.
I suggest that global cooling probably WILL happen within the next decade or sooner, and Britain will get colder.
 
I also suggest that the IPCC and the Met Office have NO track record of successful prediction (or “projection”) of global temperature and thus have no scientific credibility.
 
I suggest that Winter deaths will increase in the UK as cooling progresses.
 
I suggest that Excess Winter Mortality, the British rate of which is about double the rate in the Scandinavian countries, should provide an estimate of this unfolding tragedy.
 
As always in these matters, I hope to be wrong. These are not numbers, they are real people, who “loved and were loved”.
 
Best regards to all, Allan MacRae
 
Turning and tuning in the widening gyre,
the falcon cannot hear the falconer…
– Yeats

Last edited 4 months ago by ALLAN MACRAE
Russ R.
Reply to  Alan
March 7, 2021 3:35 pm

An electrical grid is a dynamic system. If you want it to perform under adverse conditions, you have to have components of the systems that have defined operating characteristics under adverse conditions. Wind and solar do not have defined operating characteristics. They are not suitable for a reliable system, since they are not reliable.
Wind and solar should be responsible for their own backup, then provide the Grid electrical power as a package, of however they want to provide it. The unreliablity of these products should be the burden of the supplier of electricity, not of the grid operator. The grid operator can then determine how much power they can count on, based on a real number, not guesstimate of what might happen.
It is long past time to take the subsidies off wind and solar. They are fully developed product lines and should not require taxpayer subsidies or preferential treatment in the production of electricity.

john
March 6, 2021 10:08 am

Diesel power!

C49E2941-2DDE-45CD-ABBC-8ECC11616EA5.jpeg
Vuk
Reply to  john
March 6, 2021 10:23 am

Why not attach the trailer to you EV for long journeys so you need not worry about battery running down 20 miles away from the nearest charging station.

Rory Forbes
Reply to  Vuk
March 6, 2021 10:56 am

The perfect solution to one of the chief drawbacks of EVs. You’re a genius.

john
Reply to  Rory Forbes
March 6, 2021 11:13 am

Look at the size of the car vs gen. A small hill would destroy that car. Though it would be funny to watch!🤣

Vuk
Reply to  john
March 6, 2021 12:03 pm

Buy Tesla and send a photo and suggest to Elon Musk to expand into trailer-diesel generators.

Bryan A
Reply to  Vuk
March 6, 2021 1:16 pm

you might actually get him thinking about trailer battery pack range extenders for longer trips

Rod Evans
Reply to  Bryan A
March 6, 2021 11:38 pm

You genuinely made me laugh out loud with that one Bryan, Then it occurred to me. Why not skip the intermediate step of having to pre charge the trailer battery? Why not just tow a wind turbine behind the car and charge direct as you go…. 🙂

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Vuk
March 6, 2021 3:27 pm

Why not put a smaller, gas operated apparatus and a small fuel tank in the car itself? That way it will be a self contained fuel carrying vehicle that doesn’t need a battery at all. The only drawback is there would be a need for fueling stations.

Reply to  Tom in Florida
March 6, 2021 4:42 pm

Its called the Chevy Volt, aka a range extended EV. 40 miles battery only. Just two problems. 1. Unless driven long miles weekly, the gas isn’t used and thanks to E10 cruds the engine. 2. Basically 4 passenger 4 door compact with almost no cargo space. Hey, they had to fit the engine/genset and battery somewhere, right?

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 6, 2021 10:01 pm

Why not just some Sta-Bil in the tank?

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Vuk
March 6, 2021 9:56 pm

Why not attach the trailer to you EV for long journeys so you need not worry about battery running down 20 miles away from the nearest charging station.”

That’s essentially the Volt’s technology. Always runs on electric, with an on-board generator to recharge the batteries. I always liked the idea better than hybrid.

Chm
Reply to  john
March 6, 2021 3:35 pm
Joz Jonlin
Reply to  john
March 8, 2021 10:59 am

Several years ago, I lost power for a week at my house during a winter ice storm. The only thing that saved me from having to leave my home was a gas water heater and burning wood in my fireplace which also had gas. I was able to take hot showers and stay warm. Everything else was easy. Still, it’s led me to get a generator that will allow me to power my house when a power outage like that occurs again. I’m not going to allow myself to be reliant on a broken infrastructure.

GUILLERMO SUAREZ
March 6, 2021 10:13 am

Imagine the consequence(s) of a “Carrington Event ” level Solar Flare

Walter Horsting
Reply to  GUILLERMO SUAREZ
March 6, 2021 10:53 am

I’m California, image millions of solar rooftop fires!

Bryan A
Reply to  Walter Horsting
March 6, 2021 1:22 pm

do you Really think that Californians are stupid enough to actually legislate a Solar Rooftop Requirement for ALL new residential construction…Oh wait…/snarkgasm

Rich Davis
Reply to  Bryan A
March 6, 2021 2:57 pm

“Do you really think Californians are stupid enough to…”
Oh wait, no limits on that.

There are smart people in California, I know. (Anthony, Willis for two). But outnumbered 6:1, I reckon. And every day the smarter ones are escaping to Texas and Nevada.

Tom Halla
March 6, 2021 10:14 am

Some of the failures of gas generators were due to the use of electric compressors on gas pipelines, an initiative of Obama’s EPA. ERCOT allowing subsidy mining is still the major problem, though.

fred250
March 6, 2021 10:32 am

“Renewable energy fans insist that the grid managers at ERCOT never expected to rely on intermittent wind power during an ice storm.”

.

From the mouths of IDIOTS , sometimes the accidental truth !

If you can’t RELY on it in a crisis, why have it at all. !

ERCOT, with their large percentage of wind energy, have BUILT-IN UNRELIABILITY in their grid.

Last edited 4 months ago by fred250
n.n
Reply to  fred250
March 6, 2021 12:19 pm

Intermittent, inclusive instability is socially forward thinking. Think of the clean, renewable, redistributive greenbacks.

David A
Reply to  fred250
March 6, 2021 3:07 pm

Simply true! And there is a very large hidden subsidy, perfectly visible on the crisis graphic. Wind takes priority, and is allowed to sell every watt they can produce. Natural gas has to load follow the grid AND wind, regularly is forced to lose 80 plus percent of their generating capacity revenue, and has to over staff to ramp up and down multiple times a day, and this flux shortens equipment life.

I would take a WAG that 30 percent of natural gas costs should be paid by wind.

Steve Case
March 6, 2021 10:40 am

At another time and another place, the average true believer in “The Climate Crisis” would probably be a follower of Harold Camping and believer in the Maya Calendar apocalypse not to mention The Great Pumpkin.

bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 10:41 am

“Texas thus opted to lose reliable generation capacity while counting on solar and wind to keep up with power demand.”

Not backuppable. At least not for last month’s disaster. Of course if that had been the case, then it is criminal negligence. Every experienced authority knows that wind will suffer in this (so far) 0.000? probability extreme.

“…but gas turbine generators increased output by a massive 450%, nearly making up for the shortfall in wind.”

450% of what? This is a nonsense metric. The right one is to compare what they DID with what they were expected to do.

A viable, evergreen “plan” would have been to regularly assess the expected response to these extremes, and to maintain yesterday’s technologies longer if required. I am betting that, unless it is politically high jacked or buried, Kris Kobach style, Paxton’s investigation will find that (1) wind power limitations were not thought thru, and/or (2) that nat gas didn’t respond as expected.

The “lesson” for the rest of he world is to plan, for each of the 4 choices available in the risk matrix. As in the combinations from high/low impact, and high/low probability. And don’t forget the weather extreme trends.

Last edited 4 months ago by bigoilbob
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 10:54 am

comment image

In my view, windmills are yesterday technolgy

Michael 63
Reply to  Krishna Gans
March 6, 2021 12:43 pm

HEY! That’s a second-gen windmill. Yesterdays windmills are third-gen windmills I’ll have you know 🙂 Windmill – Wikipedia (don’t know how to put picture in) . But yeah, it’s so stupid to use wind for on-demand power. No problem in the old days for the miller to wait for the wind to blow – the seeds didn’t go bad..

Reply to  Michael 63
March 6, 2021 1:17 pm

comment image

By Willard84 – Own work, CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=61067055

Was that your request ?

AndyHce
Reply to  Michael 63
March 9, 2021 5:10 pm

“the seeds didn’t go bad.”
But the millers still converted to reliable power once it was available.

Lrp
Reply to  Krishna Gans
March 6, 2021 1:09 pm

They were picturesque at least

Gerald Machnee
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 11:28 am

You can check on the 450%. Other sources that failed had to be made up. Then there was the increased demand due to the cold. So the increase would have been 450% above the average production when demand was normal.

bigoilbob
Reply to  Gerald Machnee
March 6, 2021 11:36 am

It’s not the value I disagree with. It’s its relevance. As in from where to where? The increase was NOT related to gas production, but instead to gas TURBINE electric gen capacity. This might have been next to zero, pre front arrival. AGAIN, the relevant parameter is how the gas to electric grid performed, in toto, compared to what was expected of it.

BTW, the whining about any parts of this gas to electric system not getting grid power to stay on is just that. Simple power prioritization would have resulted in a 50/1 gain in the system over any losses due to prioritization.

fred250
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 11:57 am

FACTS are meaningless to the deluded, deranged mind of your, aren’t they oily blob. !

Even you must KNOW that the whole debacle is TOTALLY down to the BUILT-IN UNRELIABLITY of the grid because of the utter WASTE of funds on useless wind and solar at the expense of RELIABLE supplies like COAL, GAS and NUCLEAR.

Even your fellow carbon deranged cultists know wind is useless

“Renewable energy fans insist that the grid managers at ERCOT never expected to rely on intermittent wind power during an ice storm.”

.

You need to start facing REALITY for once in your blustering, attention-seeking life.

Stop living is a pathetic state of DENIAL. !

Lrp
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 1:15 pm

The ability to increase output from next to zero by 450% is something you can’t do with whether dependables

bigoilbob
Reply to  Lrp
March 6, 2021 3:37 pm

That’s why we normally expect gas peakers to do it. Your car can’t fly you on your once in a lifetime trip around the world, but it’s still useful.

fred250
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 4:12 pm

That’s why we normally expect gas peakers to do it

.

And they did, by ramping up by 450%

Wind, was totally USELESS.

Unfortunately, the greenie anti-carbon agenda, that you slither around in, had caused the important and RELIABLE parts of the grid to be phased-out. UTTER STUPIDITY.

Money was WASTED on BUILT-IN UNRELIABILITY

The only way to fix this, is to boost the RELIABLE ELECTRICITY supplies of COAL, GAS and NUCLEAR so they have a solid base-load with extra peaking capability.

As you have said, NO-ONE expects wind and solar to be reliable.

Last edited 4 months ago by fred250
Anon
Reply to  fred250
March 6, 2021 4:45 pm

And as they have to compete with subsidized renewables and can’t generate at a profitable capacity (except of times of emergency, the government will need to subsidize those three industries as well.

And try to sell that to a developing country. They might as well mandate that everyone own a solar powered car. And on days in which there is no sun, you drive the petroleum powered car. Thus you need two cars.

jtom
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 6:55 pm

Sigh. If you want to avoid this situation in the future, do you invest in more wind and solar, or fossil fuel plants? That’s really all that matters. If you get that answer wrong after this lesson, you deserve to die a frigid death.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  jtom
March 7, 2021 11:37 am

“If you want to avoid this situation in the future, do you invest in more wind and solar, or fossil fuel plants?”

Excellent question.

The answer is the more windmills and solar you add to the grid, the greater the chance of the grid failing.

If you add enough backup to the grid to makeup for the windmills and solar dropping offline, you can keep the grid from collapsing, but why build double your electricity production capacity when it’s not necessary?

It should be obvious that windmills and solar cannot, by themselves, power our electric grids 24/7/365.

If alarmists want to reduce CO2 then nuclear power generation is their only base load option if they want to keep the economy intact.

MarkW
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 9:16 pm

Except your ideological compatriots want to get rid of gas peakers as well.
Beyond that, is your mind capable of comprehending the huge cost of 10’s of building and maintaining enough gas peakers to completely provide all the power needed when the wind power fails?

Reply to  Gerald Machnee
March 6, 2021 2:39 pm

On Jan 19th I processed the EIA hourly ERCOT data (Jan 20 to Feb19) and developed a chart that shows the percent of electricity that each of the six energy sources (Natural Gas, Wind, Solar, Coal, Hydro, & Nuclear) contribute to the ERCOT power grid. The chart supports the points made by Charles in this posting. The chart (and other info) can be found at my web site, at the bottom of my reply.

I have recently completed an 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

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Michael Hove
March 7, 2021 11:45 am

“Of the 16,293 wind turbines in Texas,”

What a boondoogle! Taxpayers wasted $80 billion on these blights on the landscape and k!lling fields for wildlife.

Windmills are a huge fraud pepetrated by a bigger fraud: Human-caused Climate Change.

Do the Climategate Charlatans feel good about what they have done with their Human-caused Climate Change lies, or are they aghast at the destruction they have caused and will cause to the world?

Sorry excuses for human beings.

fred250
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 11:35 am

More blustering incontinence from the big oily blob.

IFF the greasy blob was really an engineer, it would know that the problems in Texas were totally and absolutely because of the BUILT-IN UNRELIABILITY of wind and solar at the expense of RELIABLE supplies like COAL GAS and NUCLEAR.

DENIAL of this fact is for the brainless and the brain-washed carbon-deranged idiots.

Last edited 4 months ago by fred250
TonyL
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 11:41 am

“450% of what? This is a nonsense metric.”

450% of output on Jan 18. Stated very clearly in the title of the graphic.
Reading comprehension issues?

bigoilbob
Reply to  TonyL
March 6, 2021 11:57 am

“450% of output on Jan 18”

Yes, you can calc the change from when to when in that graphic. But it still begs the question of what could have been done, versus what was done versus what the contingency plan for this extreme (assuming there was one) thought that source could provide? Hence, still a use free metric.

Let me help. Gas turbines are largely used for peaker capacity. They might have been mostly unused on January 18th. Or they might not have. You don’t know that, nor do I.

A novel concept. Let the Paxton investigation progress, ask the right questions, make all of the data and testimony public, and then make recommendations. Our role is to make sure they don’t wander into Texas PC wilderness, slow walk when it looks like the facts aren’t backing up their prejudgments, or try and fade away without making the data public, per Kris Kobach. OK?

Last edited 4 months ago by bigoilbob
fred250
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 12:29 pm

“what could have been done”

.

DON’T WASTE MONEY on building UNRELIABILITY into the grid .

NO MORE WIND !

Double or triple the COAL powered electricity, Texas has plenty of coal.

Make sure gas has adequate supply for extreme peaking and is not going to be affected when other parts of the grid go down.. eg the pumping system (so dumb to have it on grid electricity rather than self-maintaining)

“slow walk when it looks like the facts aren’t backing up their prejudgments”.

.

ROFLMAO..

you go BACKWARDS when the facts don’t match your AGW prejudices.

Look in the mirror, if you can see it through the layers of grease and slime.

Rich Davis
Reply to  fred250
March 6, 2021 3:03 pm

Why waste time reacting to the boob?

fred250
Reply to  Rich Davis
March 6, 2021 7:18 pm

Because other people read the blog, and you cannot let basic LIES and MISINFORMATION from ignorant twits like big oily blob, stand without rebuttal.

Lrp
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 1:19 pm

Why not make it simple; use gas power generation for baseline supply and not for supplementing erratic wind turbines output.

bigoilbob
Reply to  Lrp
March 6, 2021 1:27 pm

Not enough gas for year round, and too much AGW impact. Also, wind has been decreasing in cost, year over year, and asset retirement costs for it will end up an order of magnitude lower than for gas. Among other things, many/most of the sites will retain their value, high enough average wind speeds, for thousands of years. Generations of continuously improved wind turbines will provide Texas with power, and the farmers/ranchers can collect rents so high that they will forget about the tiny extra effort of working amongst them.

Sorry if you’re an AGW denier. But the fact that it is real and real bad has already been quite well established, above ground. If you are so inclined to deny it, then you will undoubtedly have an echo chamber here, so that’s your good news…

fred250
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 1:50 pm

“But the fact that it is real and real bad has already been quite well established, above ground.”

.

The DELUSIONAL BRAIN-WASHING is strong with you , isn’t it big greasy blob.

AGW Denier? what is that?

Tell us what we DENY that you have real scientific proof for.

Let’s start with the basics…

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?

Let’s see your prepubescent bluster as you avoid answering.

Science is about evidence and data

YOU ARE EMPTY !!

MarkW
Reply to  fred250
March 6, 2021 9:28 pm

BugOilBoob really does seem to believe that propaganda he’s paid to promote.

fred250
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 1:52 pm

“Generations of continuously improved wind turbines will provide Texas with power,”

.

EXCEPT WHEN the freeze and/or there is no wind

You CANNOT make wind turbines with ERRATIC wind power

You need LOTS OF COAL and GAS.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 2:11 pm

bob,

Not enough gas for year round,”

Really? And what do you base this on?

“and too much AGW impact”

Really? And what do you base this on? Don’t you care about the poor children that will die when an unreliable electric grid fails?

“Generations of continuously improved”

They aren’t here yet. So what do you do *NOW*?

MarkW
Reply to  Tim Gorman
March 6, 2021 9:30 pm

Bob reminds me of those EV supporters who assure us that if only we wish hard enough then the scientists will be able to create magic batteries that finally make electric vehicles usable.

Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 2:32 pm

There is nothing to deny, but you can’t understand it.

fred250
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 3:36 pm

“and too much AGW impact.”

.

You mean FREEZING COLD because of warming,

Right blob ?

You truly are DELUSIONAL !

There is NO EVIDENCE of warming in Texas in raw data, just the opposite in FACT. !

comment image

Tom in Florida
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 3:38 pm

“too much AGW impact”
How much?

Abolition Man
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 5:03 pm

The only denier here seems to be you, bob! You constantly deny that wind and solar energy are unreliable; at least you don’t try to claim they have enough energy density to make them worthwhile investments!
You also sound like you are a believer in the Marxist religious movement, so I have to wonder if you also deny all their holocausts? You know; the one in Russia under Stalin, the one in China under Mao! There may be one going on in China right now littlebob, and you’re more concerned about a trace gas in our atmosphere that all evidence and proof shows to be beneficial! Why are you stuck in denial?

MarkW
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 9:27 pm

The only reason why there is not enough gas is because your ideological compatriots are blocking the development of more resources. As to AGW impact, prove it. The planet is still 5 to 8C cooler than it has been for most of the last 10,000 years. A grand total of none of the predictions made by your AGW nut cases have come to pass. Storms are not bigger or more frequent. Droughts are not more frequent. Floods are not more frequent. Wildfires are not more common, NOthing bad is happening.

On the other hand more CO2 is causing crops to grow bigger and faster.

I love the way you just assume that there will be these magical improvements in wind turbines that will miraculously solve the many problems with them.

This is the kind of magical thinking that progressives are particularly fond of. The belief that if the government orders something, it will happen.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 7, 2021 11:51 am

“Also, wind has been decreasing in cost, year over year”

No matter what the cost of windmills, at some point the wind will stop blowing and then the windmills won’t work and it won’t matter how cheaply they were built or how many you have, none of them will work without the wind blowing at the right speed.

Gerald Machnee
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 8, 2021 4:52 pm

The bob believes anything seen on CNN.

Lrp
Reply to  Lrp
March 6, 2021 8:39 pm

See, this is the thing. I just asked you a question, and you answered with name calling and lies.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 2:08 pm

Bob,

The recommendation is going to be that there has to be enough reliable electricity production to meet weather-related demands. That means wind and solar simply cannot be included in the calculations for power generation requirements – be it summer demand or winter demand. Wind/solar fail in both hot *and* cold weather.

If you can’t count on wind/solar under peak demand then there really isn’t any place for them in a reliable electric grid.

Just ask any hospital administrator if they would depend on a wind/solar backup system for when the electricity grid fails. 90% or more would say no, we want diesel-powered backup. The other 10% are really too stupid to be in charge of a hospital!

bigoilbob
Reply to  Tim Gorman
March 6, 2021 2:26 pm

“The recommendation is going to be that there has to be enough reliable electricity production to meet weather-related demands.”

Agree.

“That means wind and solar simply cannot be included in the calculations for power generation requirements – be it summer demand or winter demand.”

Not so likely. A more likely outcome from the investigation is that gas peaker capacity – which, along with an interconnected grid – is almost always the most practical method of adding power quickly and reliably, be made to do so. If they reach this conclusion, then it should come with concrete recommendations on how to get from here to there. Hint: That is a target rich environment. From downhole chemical injection, to adequate lease equipment, to power prioritization to make sure that the gas to electric supply system is powered, to better remote sensing, to more and better gas storage, lots and lots of room for improvement. Especially in the Texas oil/gas fields for which the operators are apparently not incentivized to provide it…

But I’ll ask you the same question I’ve asked the others – and for which I have yet to see a reply. Are you ready to withhold your prejudgments until you hear from a fair and complete Paxton investigation?

Tim Gorman
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 2:42 pm

bob,

ROFL! I don’t believe *any* government that exists today will ever generate a fair and complete investigation.

We live under the rule of a Bureaucratic Hegemony today. As with any living entity the first rule is survival. No BH today, not even in TX, is going to offer up an investigation that threatens its survival.

bigoilbob
Reply to  Tim Gorman
March 6, 2021 2:53 pm

Perfectly circular logic. I can’t prove any of my claims, but if a government investigation rebuts them, then they are, by definition, a “Bureaucratic Hegemony”.

Tim, I already gave you the ball on my 10, by hoping that KEN ******G PAXTON could do an impartial investigation. If there’s any one more in the bag for hydrocarbon biz $ boys in Texas, tell me who.

Or do you actually think that we know enough now? If so, then you are running true to WUWT form, in not wanting facts to cloud your prejudgments.

Just curious, is there ANY fact gathering process that would meet your approval?

Last edited 4 months ago by bigoilbob
fred250
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 3:38 pm

“in not wanting facts to cloud your prejudgments.”

.

You have NO FACTS.

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?

Run away and hide? or manic bluster?

Which will you choose?

Tim Gorman
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 6:18 pm

No circular logic here. You *do* know what circular logic is, right?

We *are* ruled by Bureaucratic Hegemonies today. The TX legislature only meets what, every two years? Who do you think runs the government the rest of the time? The TX BH! We’ve already seen the Deep State, i.e. the BH, in the Federal government almost pull off a coup against the President.

I’ve seen enough. TX was down to about 4 minutes from complete failure. Simply because not enough reliable production was available.

MarkW
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 9:33 pm

Speaking of someone who’s incapable of comprehending any fact that doesn’t fit into his religious convictions, along comes Bob.

Abolition Man
Reply to  Tim Gorman
March 6, 2021 5:15 pm

Tim,
Lil’ bob , like all Progressives, is a firm believer in the immaculacy of government! Politicians and bureaucrats are without sin in his mind; just as anyone who disagrees with him is an heretic, and therefore evil!
It is one of the most common delusions of the modern era; reinforced by propaganda and indoctrination from all the corporate government complex! He is probably incapable of actually learning anything for himself now; having spent too long attached into the Media Matrix! He has become Cipher; earnestly asking to be ruled over!

MarkW
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 9:31 pm

You really don’t care how much other people’s money you spend in order to make your perfect world a reality.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Tim Gorman
March 7, 2021 11:55 am

“If you can’t count on wind/solar under peak demand then there really isn’t any place for them in a reliable electric grid.”

That’s the bottom line.

Anyone who counts on wind and solar, like Texas did, will be sorry, like Texas is.

Rick C
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 1:12 pm

Engineering 101- Design for worst case conditions then add a safety factor. The safety factor applied should be chosen based on foreseeable consequences of failure. e.g. a railroad bridge may require a safety factor of 3-5 times the expected maximum load. When life is at stake higher SF’s are applied. When economic loss is the only concern a cost/benefit analysis may be factored into the SF calculation. A minimal SF may be appropriated when the only risk is inconvenience.

For an electrical grid there the worst case is maximum demand occurring when generation capacity is less than normal. So if you determine that maximum demand is, say 70 GW you should have a system capable of providing say 10% more than that when there is no sun or wind power available. The normal capacity factors for your reliable dispatchable power sources should also be considered -e.g. (90% Nukes, 75% gas, 80% coal, 95% hydro) – based on each generator’s performance history.

In the Texas situation I suspect that there was another factor that ERCOT failed to take into account. In most years, the peak demand occurs in summer due to heat waves and aircon use. Obviously there would be no demand for home heating gas to compete with gas turbine electrical generation. But at -10 to 10F temperatures over several days there will clearly be a big increase in non-electric gas utilization. Add to this the practice of doing most of the maintenance on thermal plants in the winter when demand is normally lower and a significant shortage is inevitable.

The big problem I see is that by spending billions on “renewables” it becomes politically imperative to substantially reduce fossil fuel generating capacity. You’re not allowed to replace what you remove with new nuclear or hydro sources so your safety factor is removed. When a worst case event does come along, the system will inevitably fail.

I don’t buy the green activists attempt to blame the failure in Texas on fossil fuels plant performance. These same activists are the ones demanding we “leave it in the ground”, “ban coal”, “stop fracking” and rely on wind and solar. If they have their way, Texas and every other state would be trying to replace all their coal and gas generation with wind and solar. The only currently feasible replacement for fossil fuels is nuclear fission. And that’s an expensive option that is pointless if the climate effect of CO2 are as harmless as it appears to be.

bigoilbob
Reply to  Rick C
March 6, 2021 1:16 pm

Not a lot of on the ground facts there Rick C. But your fact free opinions are widely shared in this fora. Are you, unlike ready, fire, aim Fred250 ok with waiting for a complete enough investigation to bear out or not those opinions? Not a rhetorical question. Are you?

Last edited 4 months ago by bigoilbob
fred250
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 1:54 pm

Investigation shows that the Texas grid was allowed to BECOME UNRELIABLE !

The cause of that was the idiotic attempt to RELY on UNRELIABLES.

Sorry you are too DUMB and/or BRAIN-WASHED to see that basic TRUTH.

MarkW
Reply to  fred250
March 6, 2021 9:36 pm

David and others have presented lots of facts. But they don’t count, since they aren’t government investigators.

MarkW
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 9:35 pm

Bob complaining about a lack of facts. Now that thar is funny.
To bad Bob lacks sufficient self awareness to realize just how funny he is.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 1:14 pm

I agree with bob that the graphic comparing output on two different days is not meaningful – endpoint bias and all of that. (Also need to stop confusing power and energy, but then most journos have this problem). What needs to happen is a full disclosure of the rules for energy dispatch into the grid, e.g.,

– is it scheduled in advance
– what price and who pays for it?
– what are the penalties for non-performance ?

And most importantly,

– are the rules the same for renewables and conventional energy sources?

bigoilbob
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
March 6, 2021 3:25 pm

“…are the rules the same for renewables and conventional energy sources?”

Why? We know that wind and solar are wind and sun dependent. Texas allows for that quite well, because it is (1) from a free source, and (2) reduces hydrocarbon usage, with the concomitant environmental and AGW advantages.. The name of the game is to find the best solution for every condition. Even the aforementioned 0.000? probability extreme they had last month. How’z about let them do an investigation of last month’s calamity, and come up with the best, integrated, engineered, economic solutions available?

fred250
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 3:41 pm

Best solution is to GET RID OF WIND AND SOLAR.

They have WASTED BILLIONS of dollars, and all they have achieved is destabilization of their grid.

BUILD BACK BETTER with modern COAL, GAS and NUCLEAR.

Get RELIABILITY back into the grid.

Mr.
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 4:04 pm

because it is (1) from a free source,

BoB, have you ever heard that old expression –
“you get what you pay for”

If you’re paying nothing for wind & solar power (“it’s free”), you can expect to get what ERCOT got –

NOTHING.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 4:15 pm

bob,

“Why” is a big deal. As you say, Texas allows for intermittent energy sources, but they are NOT free because they impose costs, often hidden, on the grid that are eventually born by rate payers. A level playing field, particularly with respect to penalties for non-performance, would go a long way to ensuring reliability by incentivizing suppliers to provide same. By all means wait for Paxton’s report, but in the meantime, ask yourself why you think renewables need to be subsidized.

BobM
Reply to  Frank from NoVA
March 6, 2021 7:35 pm

“but they are NOT free because they impose costs, often hidden, on the grid that are eventually born by rate payers. A level playing field, particularly with respect to penalties for non-performance, would go a long way to ensuring reliability by incentivizing suppliers to provide same.”

I’ll bet the hidden “grid costs of wind turbines” is more than the “social cost of carbon”.

MarkW
Reply to  BobM
March 6, 2021 9:37 pm

The social cost of carbon is actually negative, since CO2 is on net, good for the planet and humanity.

fred250
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 7:27 pm

environmental and AGW advantages..

.

AGW .. no evidence it exists except in Urban areas and data adjustments

“Anthropogenic GLOBAL Warming”.. DOES NOT EXIST.. period !!

Yes, the natural warming since the LIA has been a HUGE ADVANTAGE to humankind.

Increased atmospheric CO2 is also a MASSIVE ADVANTAGE to the environment, with no detriment.

Wind is NOT free, it has to be back 100% with reliable supplies, everywhere that has large amounts of wind installed have GRID INSTABILITY and HIGH COSTS.

There is absolutely ZERO need to reduce the use of hydrocarbons.

Why do you always get EVERYTHING WRONG, greasy blob ?

Last edited 4 months ago by fred250
Lrp
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 9:41 pm

There’s no proof of AGW, and the free source is unreliable and more expensive than coal, gas, and nuclear

Meab
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 1:24 pm

The probability of this weather event was not ~0., Bigboob. Not by any stretch. There was a cold spell in West Texas and New Mexico in 2011 that was even worse than this one. The 2011 event actually set *all-time* cold records in several places. The point, which seems to escape you even though it’s obvious to anyone with half a brain, is if the Government subsidizes unreliable energy generation at the expense of reliable, dispatchable energy, eventually something bad will (and did) happen. Were you born dense or did you get that way by watching MSNBC?

bigoilbob
Reply to  Meab
March 6, 2021 3:31 pm

The probability of this weather event was not ~0., Bigboob. Not by any stretch.”

I agree. I was just starting with it’s historic frequency. Weather is certain to be more various and extreme in the future.

“The point, which seems to escape you even though it’s obvious to anyone with half a brain, is if the Government subsidizes unreliable energy generation at the expense of reliable, dispatchable energy, eventually something bad will (and did) happen.”

Government “subsidies” are beside the point. For green sources they are (1) tiny, (2) diminishing, (3) well over an order of magnitude smaller than century old hydrocarbon cost communizations from the producers onto the rest of us.

More to the point, they have NO intersection with “dispatchable” investment. If that was inadequate, blame the planners not the form of energy that NO ONE in the know should have expected to perform as usual, in sub zero, icy conditions.

fred250
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 3:46 pm

LIAR,

Wind and solar only exist because of MASSIVE SUBSIDIES and mandates

You are so right, in that wind and solar have ZERO dispatchable component

BUILT-IN UNRELIABILITY !

“NO ONE in the know should have expected to perform as usual”

.

Yep, the expectation of wind and solar are BASICALLY ZERO.

They really are a “WHY BOTHER!” waste of funds.

Best to RE-BUILD with RELIABLE supplies like well maintained COAL, GAS and NUCLEAR.

.. and stop expecting NOTHING!

meab
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 4:14 pm

Now you’re just lying, BIGBoob.

There have been about 10 extreme cold weather events in Texas in just the last 50 years. You WERE NOT starting with the historical frequency, that’s a lie.

Weather is NOT becoming more extreme, that’s a lie that doesn’t even make sense. Large scale weather events are driven by temperature gradients (which create pressure gradients and wind) from the equator to pole. The temperature gradient is lessening (the North pole is warming faster than the equator).

(1) Green Energy Subsidies are not tiny – that’s a lie.

https://www.americaspower.org/its-time-to-end-subsidies-for-renewable-energy/

(2) Green subsidies are not diminishing. That’s a lie.

(3) We don’t subsidize the oil companies, that’s a flat lie. Just like all other manufacturers in the US, we grant oil companies tax breaks. The other costs were already paid by the consumer. We all paid those costs in exchange for receiving the HUGE benefits of using that oil. If you think that’s not true, you’re an ignoranus (not misspelled).
 
The total tax break granted to oil companies is about $4.4 billion per year, but $3.55 billion of that amount is the tax break that the US gives to all industries and manufacturers – for this tax break oil companies are NOT singled out for special treatment. 
 
The only tax break for which the oil industry is singled out for special treatment compared to other industries is the tax break on oil drilling costs, $0.78 billion per year.
 
According to the Bureau of Transportation statistics, Passenger cars, buses, trucks, and other vehicles drive about 3,000,000,000,000 miles per year. Divide that into the 0.78 billion dollar tax break and you get a total tax break of 0.00026 dollars per mile. Multiply that by the 15,000 miles per year driven by the average car, and the total tax break per car per year is about $4. Four dollars per year.  Listen up, the total tax break per gallon of gas is MINUSCULE. Compare that with the $7,500 tax credit on EVs.  Compare that to the total annual gasoline tax that ICE vehicles pay per car, about $375. Compare that to the $100 billion in tax breaks given to the unreliables – just in 2020. Do you see how dishonest your statement is, BIGBoob?

There’s OBVIOUSLY an intersection with dispatchable power investment. Duh. Money spent on unreliable energy sources is not available to be spent on dispatchable power. Who do you think you’re fooling? Money doesn’t grow on trees.

Abolition Man
Reply to  meab
March 6, 2021 9:23 pm

meab,
Lil’ boob has to lie; that’s what Progressives and their ilk must do in order to justify their insane beliefs to themselves and others! He will never experience the catharsis of looking at himself in the mirror and being honest; he would have to lie or admit that he hates humanity and anyone trying to build a better world and civilization. The Soviets didn’t call their allies in the West ‘useful idiots’ for no reason!

fred250
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 2:01 pm

“then it is criminal negligence.”

.

yes, we can all agree that cow-towing to the anti-CO2 agenda of wind and solar and thus…

…. DELIBERATELY BUILDING UNRELIABILITY INTO THE GRID..

… is tantamount to criminal negligence.

Last edited 4 months ago by fred250
David A
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 3:15 pm

The lesson for the rest of the sane world is to leave solar and wind for off grid applications, save billions, and make the earth green.

Oh, and anyone, sans all subsidies, can build all the wind mills they want, yet they are required to produce quotas 24 hours a day, and are penalized when they fail, and they must compete with traditional generation.

David Kamakaris
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 3:15 pm

“450% of what? This is a nonsense metric.”

Utterly ridiculous comment. Gee Bob, if only wind and solar could have increased electricity generation 450% like natural gas was able to do. Perhaps we could have avoided this catastrophic event.

MarkW
Reply to  David Kamakaris
March 6, 2021 9:40 pm

The answer to Bob’s question has been given many times over the last few weeks.
Bob either went out of his way to avoid seeing something that would threaten his religious beliefs, or he is just lying.

MarkW
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 6, 2021 9:11 pm

So we are supposed to rely on power supplies that are expected to fail whenever the weather gets bad, rather than power supplies that are expected to work when we need them.

bigoilbob
Reply to  MarkW
March 7, 2021 5:43 am

So we are supposed to rely on power supplies that are expected to fail whenever the weather gets bad, rather than power supplies that are expected to work when we need them.”

No, you are expected to plan for the best, all things considered, system that WOULD work in this (so far) highly improbable event. Dragging along antique, dirty, environmentally harmful modes of energy production that would result in more toxic AGW, unless the proven means of peaker production can not be made to work, has been voted out by Texans this century. Rather, work the problem, as the Texas regulators should have (and easily could have) done for the last 15 years.

But I directionally agree with Tim insofar as the fact is, the initial investigatory exercises are not well tuned. Ken Paxton’s, 2 in the state legislature. at least 1 in the CONUS. Jet them all in favor of one apolitical body consisting of energy business folks and technologists. Give them a short deadline – recommendations and most implementation should take place this summer and fall. And don’t let the commission fade away, per Kris Kobach’s, after IT failed to validate HIS prejudgments.

The more I read here, the more I see how most folks in this fora are terrified by the idea of a sober fact checking commission. They seem to KNOW that it would blow their 0.5 **s ideas away.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 7, 2021 10:47 am

Still lying Bob
It is not a highly improbable event.
It has happened before and worse, and will happen again.
It’s not common, but that is miles away from highly improbable.

Let’s hope your commission is unbiased although that is a highly unlikely probability.

Regardless, the only realistic conclusion is that not a penny should have been spent on wind and solar until the real power was 100 or 110% reliable.
Further, not another penny should be spent on crap renewables until the real power generation is reliable.
And then all renewable operators need to provide 100% back fir any new renewable installs instead of someone else needing to provide that backup, a massive subsidy to renewables.

bigoilbob
Reply to  Pat from kerbob
March 7, 2021 11:06 am

It is not a highly improbable event.”

I was trying to be kind those who ****ed up. 2 in 8 years is not “highly improbable”. Not only do I agree, but it will become MORE common.

“Let’s hope your commission is unbiased although that is a highly unlikely probability.”

You and the rest here, already seem to think you know what such a commission would end up telling us. So, you pre-diss them to protect your prejudgments. Fact free prejudgments like this:

“Regardless, the only realistic conclusion is that not a penny should have been spent on wind and solar until the real power was 100 or 110% reliable.”

You blithely ignore the facts that:

  1. Wind power can not provide peaker capacity in weather disasters like last months.
  2. The most practical method of providing it is from gas turbine peaker plants, fueled by producing gas wells that are properly equipped, manned, and supplied, and by gas storage fields, also properly equipped, manned, and supplied.

Pull your head out of WUWT and leave behind it’s resident group gropers. There’s a whole new above ground world to experience….

MarkW
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 7, 2021 2:35 pm

If you want to plan for all contingencies, then the last thing you would ever want to do is put renewables in your energy mix.

AndyHce
Reply to  bigoilbob
March 9, 2021 5:09 pm

“The right one is to compare what they DID with what they were expected to do.”

What if they were not allowed to do that?
(1) First, is it just a malicious rumor that an executive order redirected the gas supply to home heating, requiring some gas generating capacity to go off line right at the beginning?
(2) Second, is it another malicious rumor that regulations required suppliers to convert to electric compressors to keep the gas line full, and that quite a few could not operate because no electricity was available to run those compressors, thus forcing more gas generating capacity off line?
(3) Third, another malicious rumor says that, in Texas, by political fiat, winterizing power plants and their fuel supply was extremely dis-incentived by the unique Texas pricing system, put in place as a subsidy to wind and solar?

Was there, politically, any expectation that extended freezing weather would ever be experienced and thus needed to provided for?

Ron Long
March 6, 2021 10:48 am

Interesting report, but why did nuclear decline 26%? Most nuclear power generating plants are fairly self sufficient, and the fuel rods last a long time, and the plant can utilize its own electricity to power whatever mitigation efforts are needed to offset environmental events. I am certain that modern, fail-safe (Chernobyl experiments notwithstanding), and dependable, so why the decline?

Reply to  Ron Long
March 6, 2021 11:11 am

Texas has two nuclear sites, each with two reactors. The water return lines from the steam condensation system to one of the four froze, and it had to be taken off line. That is why the decline was about 1/4th.

fred250
Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 6, 2021 11:38 am

Easy solve, just put an outward steam sleeve around the pipe that froze.

Solving wind’s UNRELIABILITY is impossible without controlling the wind.

n.n
Reply to  fred250
March 6, 2021 12:27 pm

an outward steam sleeve around the pipe

Integrated, renewable solution for clean, green reliable energy production. Well, that, and reprocessing past the unreliable Carter era.

MarkW
Reply to  fred250
March 6, 2021 9:41 pm

Or just provide a heat source in the building that housed those pipelines.

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  fred250
March 7, 2021 8:03 am

Or electrical heat tracing
That is the second largest electrical load in the alberta oilsands, In winter

Paul Johnson
Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 6, 2021 11:43 am

Since nuclear power plants in colder climates operate through much tougher conditions, this suggests that the site-specific design criteria (as dictated by the NRC) was inadequate.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 6, 2021 12:27 pm

Hmmm. Thinking that would be a lot of condensate / flow, and not exactly cooling down from, say, room temperature. Not saying it doesn’t “hold water”, but maybe more to the story?

Reply to  Frank from NoVA
March 6, 2021 2:03 pm

According to official TX reports, freeze related disruption to a feed water pump caused an autotrip at approximately 0530.

Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 6, 2021 2:41 pm

The disruption was caused by the feed to a pressure gauge freezing up, so the gauge gave a false reading, which tripped the pumps, and in turn the reactor..

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Itdoesn't add up...
March 6, 2021 5:04 pm

Thanks, that makes sense.

markl
March 6, 2021 11:01 am

The public will never know the facts behind the power failure in Texas. A complicit media will drown the people with misdirection and misinformation. Fact is if Texas hadn’t gone whole hog into wind power and maintained and grew their energy infrastructure without it the collapse would never had happened. History says I’m correct. We/USA are entering a period where truth is determined by politics, not facts, and it will get worse if it ever gets better.

John Garrett
Reply to  markl
March 6, 2021 11:27 am

As hard as it is to believe, you are absolutely correct. The pseudoscience underlying the media’s climate crusade has bamboozled the poorly educated and the gullible.

As far as I’m concerned, NPR, PBS, CNN, ABC, Pravda (a/k/a the New York Times), WaPo, the LaLa Times, NBC, CBS, et al have now actually succeeded in killing a bunch of people with their two-decade long promotion and advocacy of the “Catastrophic/dangerous, CO2-driven anthropogenic global warming/climate change” CONJECTURE.

Their continuous proselytizing of climate pseudoscience has now KILLED people.

 No amount of attempted blameshifting, hand waving or rationalization can obscure the fact that “renewable” energy is UNRELIABLE.

 The print and broadcast media has blood on its hands.

John Garrett
Reply to  markl
March 6, 2021 12:47 pm

As hard as it is to believe, you are absolutely correct. The pseudoscience underlying the media’s climate crusade has bamboozled the poorly educated and the gullible.

As far as I’m concerned, NPR, PBS, CNN, ABC, Pravda (a/k/a the New York Times), WaPo, the LaLa Times, NBC, CBS, et al have now actually succeeded in killing a bunch of people with their two-decade long promotion and advocacy of the “Catastrophic/dangerous, CO2-driven anthropogenic global warming/climate change” CONJECTURE.

Their continuous proselytizing of climate pseudoscience has now KILLED people.

 No amount of attempted blameshifting, hand waving or rationalization can obscure the fact that “renewable” energy is UNRELIABLE.

 The print and broadcast media has blood on its hands.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  John Garrett
March 6, 2021 5:22 pm

Junk science in the service of radical environmentalism has been killing people for decades – sometimes a handful, like when you replace asbestos o-rings with nitrile o-rings and sometimes millions, like when you ban DDT in malarial sub-Africa.

March 6, 2021 11:13 am

Surprised that this fairly balanced article is from Forbes. They usually have greenish tendencies.

n.n
Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 6, 2021 12:31 pm

They’re not so green to place Green before greenbacks. Now, that would be a surprise. The Green sociopolitical myth, whether it’s unreliable energy, a blight on the environment, or an animal hazard and green displacement has run its course.

Sweet Old Bob
March 6, 2021 11:38 am

“Among the first actions by Joe Biden, the first US “climate president,” was to re-join the Paris Agreement. ”

Not . The Senate has NOT voted .

Just because Puppet Biden says so , does not make it so .

Reply to  Sweet Old Bob
March 6, 2021 12:23 pm

As posted here before and elsewhere, Paris is not a treaty and does not need senate approval. Thomas Jefferson while serving as Washington’s first Secretary of State defined a Treaty as ‘imutable save by mutual consent. Paris contained the opt out Trump used. Ergo, not a treaty.

Nor is it a Congressional Pact, which requires Congress to change laws by simple majority.

It is one of three forms of mere Presidential Agreements under article 2, enabled by SCOTUS decisions. The three are military (as CiC, e.g. Trump agreeing to a base in Poland), diplomatic (e.g. Trumps Isreal embassy move to Jerusalem), and legislative ‘implementation’ (Paris).

Jim Veenbaas
March 6, 2021 11:42 am

I believe natural gas filled the void caused by renewables during the early stages of the storm, but faltered during the later stages as lines and valves froze. The blackout wasn’t caused by renewables or natural gas. It was caused by shoddy planning and preparations for weather that might be extreme for Texas, but is rather mundane for other parts of the world.

Acknowledging this does not strengthen the arguments in favour of renewables. The very fact that renewables require backup generation from nuclear and fossil fuels is reason enough not to use them.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas
March 7, 2021 12:16 pm

“The very fact that renewables require backup generation from nuclear and fossil fuels is reason enough not to use them.”

That’s right! To successfully use wind and solar, one has to have 100 percent backup at all times. This doubles your costs. Why do that?

If you want to reduce CO2, build nuclear generators. They work in all types of weather and produce no CO2.

Gordon A. Dressler
March 6, 2021 11:56 am

Charles Rotter, something is very fishy about the horizontal bar chart labeled “Change in Power Output in Texas, Jan 18 – Feb 17th, 2021, 12 AM” that is provided near the end of your article above.

Using the horizontal axis units of MWh and the indicated % change in values over the stated timeframe, I derive the following total amounts of energy and the relative percentages by source for Texas on Jan 18 (using eyeball interpolation of MWh values, with rounding to the nearest 10 MWh):
wind: 20,430 MWh (48% of total)
coal: 5,320 MWh (12% of total)
gas: 5,330 MWh (13% of total)
nuclear: 11,540 MWh (27% of total)

I really have a hard time believing that on January 18, 2021, (a) the state of Texas was getting 48% of its total electric power solely from wind, and (b) that coal and gas together were supplying less power than nuclear . . . but maybe both were true? Or am I making a fundamental error in interpretation of this presented data?

The source of this data is clearly stated to be the US EIA . . . doesn’t mean that it is correct.

Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
March 6, 2021 1:31 pm

Here’s the EIA data hourly for the week 13-20 January.

18-20GW of generation from over 30GW of wind capacity is not impossible. Where it starts to get interesting is if they start to curtail wind generation because of insufficient inertia from the remaining generators. That happens in the UK and in Ireland. I suspect it must be close to happening in Texas overnight when demand is low.

You can see the extesnt to which gas has to perform as flex generation, accommodating the ups and downs of wind output.

Jan 13-20 ERCOT gen2021 Central Time.png
Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Itdoesn't add up...
March 6, 2021 2:31 pm

20,430 MWh energy from wind (the value I calculated in my post above) would, if level-ized over 24 hours, be equivalent to 0.85 GW constant power output.

One might be able to accumulate 18-20GW total power generation in Texas over the course of a month, but certainly not in one day (such as on January 18, 2021).

Gordon A. Dressler
Reply to  Itdoesn't add up...
March 6, 2021 3:11 pm

[My apologizes . . . in my post immediately above I accidentally hit “post” prior to completing my full comment]

1) 20,430 MWh of wind energy as I calculated for Texas for January 18 in my post above, when level-ized over 24 hours, is equivalent to a constant power generation of 0.85 GW. Therefore, one might be able accumulate 18-20 GW of power over the course of three weeks at such a constant rate (21 days*0.85 GW/day = 18 GW), but certainly not in a single day. Nevertheless, the ERCO chart that you posted does confirm that on January 18, 2021, Texas was indeed getting about 20,000 MWh, or about 50% of its total electrical load, solely from wind . . . amazing (and risky)!

2) That same ERCO chart definitely shows that coal and gas combined always supplied more energy than did nuclear for the entire time period covered, including January 18, contrary to what what my above-posted calculations show.

Thanks for including the ERCO chart with your post . . . and I agree with your other observations.

Last edited 4 months ago by Gordon A. Dressler
Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
March 6, 2021 5:50 pm

Actually, the chart I posted is of hourly figures, so MWh/h=MW. I downloaded the data, and summed over the 24 hours of the 18th:

Wind Generation (MWh) 431,622 44.3%
Solar Generation (MWh) 31,592 3.2%
Hydro Generation (MWh) 1,382 0.1%
Natural gas Generation (MWh) 205,312 21.1%
Coal Generation (MWh) 180,653 18.5%
Nuclear Generation (MWh) 123,324 12.7%
Total (MWh) 973,885

Robert of Texas
March 6, 2021 12:06 pm

The solution according to some Green Energy friends is to:

1) Build even more wind turbines
2) Build battery farms for the wind turbines – 3 days worth of stored energy
3) Place intelligent power meters into all homes so the government can turn off non-essential devices when they need to

(/Face_Palm_Slap) I don’t even know how to respond to this. They live in a different world than the one I live in. Apparently cost is not a factor, nor is government control. I wonder if these people have ever gone out to West Texas and seen the blight of wind turbines covering the hilltops as far as the eye can see? and the overrun cornfields? I don’t care about those.

My hope is now on Canada to build the first practical MSRs since the U.S. seems hellbent on ignoring them.

fred250
Reply to  Robert of Texas
March 6, 2021 12:33 pm

Let THEM be the ones that install “not-smart” meters, at their own expense of course

Let THEM be the ones who’s electricity is controlled by Government whim !

n.n
Reply to  Robert of Texas
March 6, 2021 12:36 pm

As I recall, MSR technology is effective, efficient, and safe. There were two practical limitations: dual-use and corrosion. Has the latter been resolved?

n.n
March 6, 2021 12:15 pm

The lesson is don’t be green, go green, not Green.

fred250
March 6, 2021 12:36 pm

Oh dearie me

UK yet again relying on RELIABLES

wind only 4%…

And like Texas, bulk being carried by FOSSIL FUELS
.
comment image

Itdoesn't add up...
Reply to  fred250
March 6, 2021 1:57 pm

More to the point is that the UK has once again seen £4,000/MWh prices in the balancing mechanism today. That signals a lack of adequate capacity in the system. A couple of nuclear plants have been turned down, plus little wind and once again we are running on STOR.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Itdoesn't add up...
March 7, 2021 12:23 pm

The EU and the UK are walking on the edge of disaster.

One good arctic plunge would get them all.

Wallaby Geoff
March 6, 2021 1:10 pm

Off topic and at the risk of pedantry, the US is not the “richest country in the world” GDP per capita (2020) it was number 5 (up from number 8 2019, thank you Donald). China was 59th, Russia 61st.
Is the US the most powerful in the world? I hope so, the alternative doesn’t bear thinking about.

Russ R.
Reply to  Wallaby Geoff
March 7, 2021 2:59 pm

A per capita of GDP is only meaningful when comparing similar countries. You could make the case that if Silicon Valley declared itself an independent country it would be the richest by far. But that is meaningless.
It also doesn’t take into consideration how wealthy most people in the country are. If you look at some “oil rich countries” the wealth is concentrated n few hands, while the rest of the country isn’t benefiting much from that wealth.
But change that same wealth into industrial production, where many people make a good living off the income and use it to lift themselves out of poverty. You have an entirely different dynamic for most of the people.
And yes, the US is the most powerful country in the world. Power comes from economic power, military power, trade alliances, financial stability, diversification of economic resources, and political stability. I am sure there are several other measures of power that can be added to this list. But the point is valid. Power comes from what you have done, what you are currently doing, and what the future holds for you under future scenarios.

Last edited 4 months ago by Russ R.
Itdoesn't add up...
March 6, 2021 2:11 pm

This is an extraordinary interview:

https://www.current-news.co.uk/blogs/current-chats-kiwi-powers-thomas-jennings-on-tight-margins-and-the-new-normal

Of course Mr Jennings expects to make his fortune from the price volatility that unreliable grids bring:

https://www.kiwipowered.com/about

So it is no surprise when he says “This is what progress looks like, our new normal, and is a welcome development as it shows we are moving towards net zero”.

What’s driving the tight margins this time and just how tight have they gotten?
A lack of wind is driving the tight margin. Although we don’t have data to quantify exactly how tight it got, the fact that STOR was used to tap into reserve services to manage the tightness is a good thing, as it shows how these types of services can be relied upon to step up in situations like this.
How has Kiwi reacted to the margins?
This is business as usual for Kiwi Power, our energy flexibility platform is built to make flexible assets available to grid during these times and we’re doing exactly that.
How important is battery storage during this time?
Battery storage is an incredibly important resource if large assets suddenly stop. However, the tight margins we are currently seeing as a result of low wind actually highlight the importance of reserve services. Batteries are great for tiding us over for short-term issues but can’t replace renewables for any more than a few hours at a time.
What are the limitations of batteries and VPP to cope with tight margins?
The main limitation is if the VPP is too focused on one asset type e.g. batteries. The best VPPs are agnostic to the underlying asset, instead providing the right service at the right time e.g. a fast response if a sudden short fall in generation occurs, or a long term reserve service if there is a prolonged short fall in generation.
Could we see them fully take over from gas and coal peakers over the next year or two?
What we want to see is the flexibility across the network being used to pick up these occasional short falls, rather than keeping coal as back up as this will provide the option of running it and slowing our progression to net zero.
How has National Grid ESO changed its systems over the past few years to cope with tight margins?
Previously, tight margins would have been managed by running large, centralised generation. Whilst this is still the case, the buffer of units sitting idle isn’t what it was, due to all the coal stations being decommissioned. This is why this particular tightness is of interest.
What we are witnessing is a further evolution of the grid, and a further re-enforcement that we have the capability to move to net zero with the support of decentralised flexibility.
What more needs to be done?
The big thing for me is to accept that this is the new normal; this is what progress looks like and we need to become comfortable with the fact that we have the tools, such as Kiwi Core, available to manage these situations. The future is about how we use the flexibility embedded in our network to manage these types of events as and when they materialise.
With tight margins a seemingly increasing problem, are there any concerns that it could lead to blackouts?
There shouldn’t be a concern over blackouts given the amount of embedded generation (DUKES put this at around 11GW in 2019), the question is whether National Grid is accessing this resource and using it for these occasions. We’ve seen STOR running as part of their response over the last few days, do we need more reserves to cover these eventualities?

The thing is that embedded generation includes a lot of solar and onshore wind that can’t be dispatched – although some of it can now be turned off (and be paid to do so) when it is surplus and causing problems with over-voltage and crowding out inertia providers. His 11GW figure is therefore a poor guide. Plus relying on diesel STOR as backup may get more difficult in the world of the ultra greens.

March 6, 2021 2:48 pm

The weather in Texas during the storm was extreme but not unprecedented. Similar cold snaps occurred in 2011, 1991, 1990, 1989, 1983, 1963, and 1961 and there were electrical outages in 2011 and other years.  That works out to 0.13 loss of load events per year. NY standard is 0.10 for comparison

Reply to  Roger Caiazza
March 6, 2021 3:07 pm

Unprecedented is a terminus in climate we shouldt never use.
That climatist don’t know whatever doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

Teewee
March 6, 2021 4:28 pm

For many years we have kept in 8K generator in good operating condition. We have had to use it several times following weather events. I think an alternate generator is more and more important now because we can no longer rely on government energy generation.

Reply to  Teewee
March 6, 2021 5:03 pm

Since Hurricane Wilma in 2005, every Florida gas station and major grocery store is required to have backup generation, usually natgas except at gas stations That way fuel can be pumped and frozen food is not lost in the aftermath. My Publix has a big natgas Cat generator about 8 feet up on steel stilts (the store is maybe 8 feet above mean high tide about 100 meters inland from high tide) that occupies what used to be about 6 parking spaces along its side to the loading dock rear. Live and learn.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Rud Istvan
March 7, 2021 12:27 pm

Those people in Florida are smart!

kmann
March 6, 2021 5:43 pm

What about self reliance?
If the power company can’t supply power – have a backup plan. Generator
If the gas company can’t supply gas to heat- have a backup plan. Mr Heater
If the grocery store can’t supply groceries – have a backup plan. Pantry, well stocked
If the bank or ATM can’t supply cash – have a backup plan. Fluffy mattress 🙂

If you can’t survive completely on your own for two weeks, you’re not doing something right.

Curious George
Reply to  kmann
March 7, 2021 11:53 am

This makes a perfect sense in Alaska. Not in the Harlem.

kmann
Reply to  Curious George
March 8, 2021 6:20 pm

Then do things that makes sense in the Harlem.
Just waiting for the government to fix things is not one of them.

Patrick MJD
March 6, 2021 6:03 pm

Want to see how bad for people and the environment it can get when people start having to rely on local, domestic, generation sets? Go see Lagos in Nigeria.

lee
March 6, 2021 6:28 pm

“climate czar John Kerry” – I think you misspelled “crazy”

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  lee
March 7, 2021 7:50 am

Render unto Caesar

roaddog
March 6, 2021 9:28 pm

John Kerry…the portable moron; and world’s worst negotiator.

Rod Evans
Reply to  roaddog
March 7, 2021 12:18 am

It is a pity for Kerry that he has a disposition and natural bearing, that shouts out to all who see him on his travels, “Hi, I’m a loser”!
His history of achievement also tells the same story.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Rod Evans
March 7, 2021 12:31 pm

Kerry compensates for that by thinking very highly of himself.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  roaddog
March 7, 2021 12:31 pm

Kerry is not a negotiator, he is a give-a-way artist. And a traitor to his country.

Tom in Florida
March 7, 2021 5:59 am

After all the discussions, the finger pointing, the snarks, insults, opinions, figures, graphs and everything else, only one fact is truly evident: WARMER IS BETTER1

Ian W
Reply to  Tom in Florida
March 7, 2021 6:34 am

Warmer is better – or more comfortable.
But the next way for the Holocene to go is colder- with luck not back into a full glacial period

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Ian W
March 7, 2021 10:40 am

We will be long gone before that happens.

Ian W
March 7, 2021 6:27 am

A deregulated market that rewards power generation without requiring reliable capacity ready to supply power as needed naturally tilted the field in favour of intermittent solar and wind power.

or to put things another way this was more of a contractual failure than an engineering failure. The contract with energy providers (Nuclear, CCGT, Wind, Solar etc etc) should be for a defined stable electricity supply. The grid should not be required to make up for problems with the supplier side.

All and any ‘force majeure’ clauses should be deleted.

However, punitive clauses for failure to provide the power contracted should be such that the beancounters on the supplier side are terrified of a failure (a not prenotified cut in power supplied). If Wind needs CCGT backup – it is up to the Wind generation company to set that up and ensure that it works AT THEIR COST.

The grid will assume contractually that all generation companies will generate smooth power at the contracted level(s) at all times.

This type of contract puts the risk on the power suppliers of whatever type, to continue to provide smooth power at the contracted levels. So the beancounters would have allowed:

  • insulation on water lines against the once a decade freezes.
  • wind generators to have anti-ice

Contracts should have put the cost of failure to engineer for a risk with the power suppliers not on the grid. Currently the grids are a ‘soft touch’ for the unreliable/renewables the result is the crashes that are being seen in various places (not only in Texas).

March 7, 2021 3:48 pm

Nor’easters would be disastrous to a Green America. Most of the country cannot survive and flourish with intermittent electricity.
https://www.eurasiareview.com/08022021-noreasters-would-be-disastrous-to-a-green-america-oped/

 

Summary: Most of the nation needs more than intermittent electricity from wind and solar, they need continuous and uninterruptible electricity from natural gas, nuclear, and coal to support the health and economy in their state to survive extreme weather conditions year-round. California, with its temperate climate conditions year-round, can survive dysfunctional energy policies that have resulted in the least reliable electrical power systems in the nation.

Kpar
March 7, 2021 4:09 pm

“climate czar John Kerry

I keep asking people that, when referring to Mr. Kerry, they use the appropriate title: “The Traitor John F. Kerry”.

Thank you.

Last edited 4 months ago by Kpar
AntonyIndia
March 9, 2021 6:31 pm

Political leaders in Asia, Africa and Latin America, well aware that reliable and affordable electricity for their burgeoning middle classes is a pre-requisite of staying in office,

Also the lower income classes will vote power cut increasing politicians out of power; they all know it.

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