Texas Tribune: Not enough done to prevent another winter blackout

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to the Texas Tribune, the state government has not done enough to secure the supply of gas against another winter deep freeze.

“People should probably be worried”: Texas hasn’t done enough to prevent another winter blackout, experts say

Mitchell Ferman and Jon SchuppeTexas Tribune and NBC News

MIDLOTHIAN — After last winter’s freeze hamstrung power giant Vistra Corp.’s ability to keep electricity flowing for its millions of customers, CEO Curt Morgan said he’d never seen anything like it in his 40 years in the energy industry.

During the peak days of the storm, Vistra, Texas’ largest power generator, sent as much energy as it could to power the state’s failing grid, “often at the expense of making money,” he told lawmakers shortly after the storm.

But it wasn’t enough. The state’s grid neared complete collapse, millions lost power for days in subfreezing temperatures and more than 200 people died.

No matter what Morgan does, though, it won’t be enough to prevent another disaster if there is another severe freeze, he said.

That’s because the state still hasn’t fixed the critical problem that paralyzed his plants: maintaining a sufficient supply of natural gas, Morgan said.

Read more: https://www.texastribune.org/2021/11/29/texas-power-grid-winter-storm/

If only there was a cheap, readily available power station fuel which could be stockpiled in a large heap using a bulldozer, which didn’t need expensive containment measures like enormous gas cylinders, or government intervention in the supply chain to secure supply, so even if extraction and shipping breaks down due to weather, power stations would have enough fuel onsite to keep operating until the crisis passed.

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Jim
December 2, 2021 6:05 am

Coal!

joe
Reply to  Jim
December 2, 2021 6:14 am

winner winner chicken dinner

Gilbert K. Arnold
Reply to  Jim
December 2, 2021 6:23 am

My thought exactly!

Last edited 1 month ago by Gilbert K. Arnold
Ed Reid
Reply to  Jim
December 2, 2021 6:27 am

Coal piles can freeze.

John K. Sutherland
Reply to  Ed Reid
December 2, 2021 6:38 am

bulldozers.

Ed Fox
Reply to  John K. Sutherland
December 2, 2021 9:36 am

If only there was something to put under the dozer oilpan to preheat and get it going in cold weather.

Doug Huffman(@doughuffman)
Reply to  Ed Fox
December 2, 2021 5:08 pm

Leave it running.

As a teenager in the Sixties a job was to start a half-dozen antique Caterpillar diesels. It was not easy but they all started and were running smooth by the time the operators arrived for work.

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Doug Huffman
December 3, 2021 6:04 am

I used to work at a truck terminal on the weekends. The tractors (cabs) would be lined up idling all weekend to eliminate the starting problem. They idled at such low RPMs it was kind of funny to listen to them.

yirgach
Reply to  Ed Fox
December 3, 2021 5:58 am

Spent fuel rods.
Seriously, around here the a lot of logging goes on in the winter using Detroit Diesel powered skidders. Starting one of these babies up at -10F means lighting a small fire underneath the engine.

Fred Harwood
Reply to  John K. Sutherland
December 3, 2021 5:21 am

Dynamite!

Derg
Reply to  Ed Reid
December 2, 2021 7:13 am

Use solar panels to warm them up 😉

Reply to  Ed Reid
December 2, 2021 7:50 am

Coal-fired plants dealt with freezing temperatures for decades and it was seldom a problem. As Mr. Sutherland hinted, D18 dozers can break up a lot of frozen coal.

griff
Reply to  Robert Cherba
December 2, 2021 9:41 am

and so can gas plants – if you take the steps to winterize them, as long since recommended for Texas.

also a grid connection out of state would be a brilliant idea…

Bryan A
Reply to  griff
December 2, 2021 9:53 am

And what happens when the adjacent States are in the same COLD situation and have meager to zero excess energy available to export?
Nuclear is the best option next to Coal

David Middleton(@debunkhouse)
Editor
Reply to  Bryan A
December 2, 2021 10:38 am

Particularly when their wind power also failed, not because the wind turbines were frozen… But because there wasn’t enough wind.

Wind power failed just as badly in MISO and SWPP as it did in ERCOT.
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MISO and SWPP didn’t experience as severe power failures because they have far more coal-fired generation than ERCOT.
comment image

Last edited 1 month ago by David Middleton
Tom Abbott
Reply to  David Middleton
December 2, 2021 11:59 am

“MISO and SWPP didn’t experience as severe power failures because they have far more coal-fired generation than ERCOT.”

This is true.

There’s a coal-fired powerplant about 20 miles from me. We didn’t have any blackouts in this area.

The power failures that were experienced can be laid at the feet of the inoperable windmills. No wind, no electricity. And this particular no-wind situation covered a huge area of the U.S. and into Canada.

Alan Robertson
Reply to  Tom Abbott
December 2, 2021 1:29 pm

Meanwhile, Oklahoma Gas and Electric has been trying to convince the Corporation Commission to agree to allowing the company to add ~$800 Million- $1 Billion to ratepayers’ bills, to offset extraordinary gas costs, during that storm.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Alan Robertson
December 3, 2021 4:41 am

I think everyone’s bill is going higher. Texas is going to be hit extra hard.

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  David Middleton
December 2, 2021 12:56 pm

Yes, as i pointed out at the time this system spent many days over us on the canadian prairies before slamming texas, i posted the link to the Alberta grid stats showing that wind generation averaged less than 5% rated for a couple weeks.
Because massive winter high pressure systems are dead calm when they settle over you.
Doesn’t matter is we had 10x as many turbines, no wind no power.

As to gas, does the southern usa have a different spec for dehydrating the gas

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Pat from Kerbob
December 3, 2021 4:45 am

And I was paying attention to your comments, and is the reason I include Canada in my comments about the area where the windmills failed for lack of wind. Thanks for the information.

There was not enough wind to power the windmills from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. For days. That’s one heck of a big high-pressure system!

Steve F
Reply to  Pat from Kerbob
December 4, 2021 4:09 pm

The gas is specified to supply a specificBTU at the custer. So all gas has the same specs for moisture, CO2 and other contaminants. however that said the raw gas from the well must be piped to a processing plant to remove water CO@ and contaminants The freezing problem occurred between the well and the processing plants.

Drake
Reply to  griff
December 2, 2021 9:53 am

The only winterization necessary would be to reverse the Obama EPA requirement to power gas facilities electrically off the grid instead of from natural gas generators on site.

stinkerp
Reply to  Drake
December 2, 2021 1:29 pm

Not according to the study group informing the Texas legislature. Valves freezing aren’t fixed by powering the facility from natural gas generators. Severe cold is simply a freak occurrence that they didn’t plan for. Now they are. Lessons were learned and they’re fixing it but some of the fixes take time. Patience, grasshopper.

Steve F
Reply to  stinkerp
December 4, 2021 4:13 pm

Freak occurrence?? Extreme cold weather historically occurs about once every 5 years in texas last years cold spell wasn’t the longest or coldest in texas history.

David Middleton(@debunkhouse)
Editor
Reply to  griff
December 2, 2021 10:18 am

Now that’s funny!

If only there was a cheap, readily available power station fuel which could be stockpiled in a large heap using a bulldozer, which didn’t need expensive containment measures like enormous gas cylinders…

David Middleton(@debunkhouse)
Editor
Reply to  Eric Worrall
December 3, 2021 12:56 pm

From a regulatory standpoint, it’s almost impossible to build a coal fired power plant in Texas, or just about anywhere else in the US.

On top of that, the utility companies can make more money with natural gas and unreliables than they can with coal… ven if they can’t keep the lights on.

MarkW
Reply to  griff
December 2, 2021 10:33 am

Funny how griff has discovered the wonders of grid interconnections when it comes to Texas. However apparently they make no impact when it comes to England or Germany.

The winterizations that failed were for windmills and solar panels.

Ron Long
Reply to  MarkW
December 2, 2021 11:12 am

And the grid connection to the nuclear power energy from France was down for repairs. Depend on grid interconnections? No thanks.

Abolition Man
Reply to  MarkW
December 2, 2021 11:16 am

MarkW,
It often seems like the griffter has modified his horse blinkers by adding a cylinder; much like a SCUBA mask, but extending a foot or two out from his face!
This allows him to focus more completely on the problem directly in front of him, but it does make viewing the the forest nearly impossible!

stinkerp
Reply to  griff
December 2, 2021 12:53 pm

Let’s stop with the knee-jerk “griff man bad” reactions. He is absolutely right about winterizing natural gas plants to mitigate problems with equipment freezing. The Texas legislature, not just a bunch of mindless leftists and climate alarmists, has required just that.

https://www.kut.org/energy-environment/2021-11-01/texas-power-plants-need-to-winterize-but-what-does-that-mean

And adding grid connections to other states to help with demand is also a sound idea.

Coal? In theory it makes sense but then you have to build more coal plants because you can’t burn coal in a natural gas plant. Modern coal plants produce very little pollution, but that CO2 is a concern for CO2-worriers. And coal mining, transportation (no pipelines, sorry), and storage have their own risks. Coal is not the answer to everything.

Alan Robertson
Reply to  stinkerp
December 2, 2021 1:37 pm

If you merely look at the above map from David Middleton, you will see that much of Texas is connected to other grids. Then, if you add in the fact that the Obama administration mandated that natgas compressor stations switch to electric motors, rather than using their previous natgas engines, you would realize that much of your defense of the sad one’s ramblings, is also wrong.

Reply to  stinkerp
December 2, 2021 7:21 pm

We still have natural gas.and coal co-generation plants in New Hampshire, I believe two are along the Merrimack river. (Hopefully, Eversource will not decommisssion them.) Just a thought…remember to order anthracite, not bituminus…you’ll love the burn!

Iain Reid
Reply to  stinkerp
December 2, 2021 11:28 pm

stinkerp,

yes, it is not a complete answer but it reinforces the system by having an alternative to gas. Yes there will be a bit more CO2 but energy security is far more important.
I have said many times that the U.K.is being reckless in prematurely closing viable coal power plants and putting all their fuel eggs in one basket, namely gas. I believe that recent the gas shortage and price increase in Europe reinforce my view.

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  griff
December 2, 2021 12:54 pm

Griff, help me out here. Why would Texas have felt no need to winterize? How did they ever come to the conclusion that temperatures are going to continue rising forever and that people wouldn’t know what snow was?
Surely you can theorize?

Bryan A
Reply to  Pat from Kerbob
December 2, 2021 2:24 pm

At least, this time, Griff isn’t trying to push More Wind as the solution. For ERCOT more wind would simply have meant More Frozen Windmills and even Less Available Generation as More Wind would have made for More Conventional Generation retirements and less available back-up

To bed B
Reply to  Robert Cherba
December 2, 2021 10:14 am

The Russians have an open pit mine where winter maximum temperatures are below -20 C.

MAL
Reply to  To bed B
December 2, 2021 1:57 pm

There are open pit mines in North Dakota they work in -20F or below weather. once you rip off the top four feet of frozen ground it no longer frozen. The Prairie Rose bucket weighs 244,000 pounds and can pick up a 160 tons of dirt in one bite. Frozen ground is not a problem for it. The top soil is remover first by scrapers and cats. If I remember right the coal bed is over a hundred feet down. Once the land is reclaimed you cannot tell if land had been mined. Much of it is now growing wheat again.

Ben Vorlich
Reply to  Robert Cherba
December 2, 2021 10:14 am

In the build up to the UK miners strike PM Thatcher spent two years ensuring that UK power stations had enough coal stockpiled to last two years.

I drove past Ratcliffe on Soar** everyday commuting to work for the year of the strike and there was enough coal to last at least another year even if there were no deliveries of coal.

The thing about coal is that when it was used for domestic heating every house would have its own stock. A heating system using smokeless fuel is independent of outside supplies, if the worst comes to the worst burn the furniture.

** Still keeping the UK grid going to day with 4% of demand.

Reply to  Ben Vorlich
December 2, 2021 12:50 pm

I looked out across our village this evening and noted smoke rising from a considerable number of chimneys. Bagged coal is in short supply at local garages (gas stations). The ‘sheeple’ might publicly proclaim support for the “Climate Emergency” but they wont suffer being cold.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Ben Vorlich
December 2, 2021 3:27 pm

I was glad to see that RATS had pre-qualified for the capacity auction for 22-23, but only at 513MW.

https://www.current-news.co.uk/news/battery-storage-sees-significant-increase-to-8gw-in-t-4-capacity-market-pre-qualification-results

Overall that looks as shaky as a Texas grid though.

Rah
Reply to  Ed Reid
December 2, 2021 8:17 am

Sure they can freeze, but that never stops them from loading the coal into the crushing tower and fueling the boilers. Only a person that hasn’t a clue about the actual operation of a coal fired power plant would think that was a real problem.

At some stations that are serviced by rail in cold environments they actually turn the rail car upside down and vibrate it to dump the coal into a hopper where a conveyor belt line or lines transports it up to dump either in a pile or directly into the crushing tower.

MAL
Reply to  Rah
December 2, 2021 1:59 pm

That the way the coal plant near Monticello Minnesota does it. The cars are not unhitched when they are dumped.

Sara
Reply to  Jim
December 2, 2021 9:01 am

Make sure your house has a fireplace and that your stove is a gas stove, so that you can gather round the family fire and cook food on the stovetop. Make sure, also, that you have a supply of kitchen matches on hand, to light the burners. And oil lamps: gotta have oil lamps. They last longer than candles and do the job that people with windmills in their heads can’t do.

Wasn’t civilization fun while it lasted???? 🙂

MarkW
Reply to  Sara
December 2, 2021 10:35 am

Child: Mommy, what did we use for light before candles?
Mother: Electricity.

Robert Hanson
Reply to  MarkW
December 2, 2021 5:05 pm

“make sure your stove is a gas stove”

Now illegal to install in California. If you have one it’s grandfathered in, but you can’t build a new house with one, or even do a major remodel with one. So ironically, since a gas fired generator is now illegal, so you will just have to manage with an electrical generator during blackouts.

Oh, wait….

Chaswarnertoo
Reply to  Jim
December 2, 2021 11:34 pm

Large stockpiles of it!

Doug Danhoff
December 2, 2021 6:14 am

Even though the greenies ultimately are to blame for this potential problem . It comes down to a failure of state and local governments if there is a similar freeze .
One would hope each person also had prepared at their personal levels with extra fuel, generators , etc.
So far this has been A Texas problem, but don’t fool yourself …with dependable power being replaced by fantasy power , we will all be facing blackouts in time.

joe
Reply to  Doug Danhoff
December 2, 2021 6:18 am

just a matter of time here in Michigan

Sara
Reply to  Doug Danhoff
December 2, 2021 9:03 am

Power goes out at least once every winter in my AO.

It ain’t the grid that’s failing, either. It’s the windmills in the minds of the greenbeaners.

AndyHce
Reply to  Doug Danhoff
December 2, 2021 3:13 pm

What percentage of the population has the money, or the space, for “extra fuel and generators, et.” Only the more fortunate.

joe
December 2, 2021 6:17 am

hopefully the good people of Texas will be spared the punishment of leftist green policy this winter.

D.Bird
Reply to  joe
December 2, 2021 7:12 am

Looks like a repeat of last year to me. We have the same pattern of cold fronts making it to the gulf since the ice storm. Very unusual for Houston.

Pflashgordon
Reply to  D.Bird
December 2, 2021 10:51 am

There is nothing at all unusual about our fall weather here in Texas this year. Cold snaps every few days, followed by pleasant warmups and just about the right amount of rain. There may be broader circulation patterns that do not bode well, but we are enjoying excellent tee-shirt weather, maybe a light jacket or sweater in the early mornings. Our part of Texas is several days past our average 1st frost date with the lowest temperatures so far several degrees above freezing.

Steven L. Kennedy
Reply to  Pflashgordon
December 2, 2021 11:15 am

Most Winters in San Antonio we’re ready for shorts by February

Michael S. Kelly
Reply to  Steven L. Kennedy
December 2, 2021 1:37 pm

Here in northern Virginia, the weather is most unusual. It’s 4:35 pm on December 2, and the current temperature is 64 F. Sunset is in 14 minutes! This is shorts weather.

Go global warming!

MAL
Reply to  Michael S. Kelly
December 2, 2021 2:43 pm

Down here we put the shorts away when it get below 80. Of course were do have nearly four months of three digit temps every summer. Hot is when it above 110 F. It presently 82 and I will be wearing long pants this evening.

Jeffery P
Reply to  joe
December 2, 2021 8:39 am

Avoiding a repeat is up to the weather.

Steven L. Kennedy
Reply to  joe
December 2, 2021 11:17 am

There’s a lot of hate for Governor Abbott, and a lot of people moving here from blue states so I am worried. Also too much blame going to NG when it was NG that saved the day, such as it was. Renewables failed totally but Texas plans another 35GW of them !!!

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Steven L. Kennedy
December 2, 2021 12:04 pm

“Renewables failed totally but Texas plans another 35GW of them !!!”

That’s what Texans ought to be mad about. Good money after bad.

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  Steven L. Kennedy
December 2, 2021 1:01 pm

It doesn’t matter if 350GW is the planned number. No wind in the middle of massive winter cold high pressure system means no power means blackout.
No capacity market means no power when you need it

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Pat from Kerbob
December 3, 2021 4:48 am

Yes, it doesn’t matter how many windmills you have on hand, if the wind doesn’t blow, then all of them are useless. If you don’t have an alternative power-generating source, then you are going to be in big trouble.

Tom Halla
December 2, 2021 6:18 am

Having electric compressors on gas lines, as per an Obama era ruling, did not help, either.
Restarting or building coal plants certainly would help reliability, as wind falling from some 27% of the grid to 4% in still air and freezing rain did not help grid stability. And before the gaslighting greens make claims about wind in some much colder climate, there were several days of freezing rain, while turbine deicers could possibly deal with an hour or so, and produce no power when being decked.
Most of the problem was the market distortion caused by subsidy miners invested in weather dependent sources not being required to pay for the backup conventional sources required.

bigoilbob
Reply to  Tom Halla
December 2, 2021 7:59 am

Electrification of natural gas facilities is the best thing to happen to them since the orifice meter. Simple prioritization of electric power to them will completely solve last February’s problem.

Joe Crawford
Reply to  bigoilbob
December 2, 2021 9:30 am

Not when the storm (e.g., wind or ice) takes down the power lines :<)

bigoilbob
Reply to  Joe Crawford
December 2, 2021 10:42 am

Downed lines were a tiny fraction of the cause of the 2/21 disaster. Frozen gas lines and other equipment in the natural gas to to electric infrastructure was the biggest single cause. Also, the most remediable.

Dave Fair
Reply to  bigoilbob
December 2, 2021 12:29 pm

What about no wind generation in an bureaucracy-designed energy-only market?

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  bigoilbob
December 2, 2021 3:19 pm

I don’t think so. Well production of gas was certainly impacted, but there was a storage drawdown of 156bcf in a week of dry, processed, stored gas, and all available gas generation was being supplied until the grid starting falling over with cascading trips, which did knock out pipeline compressors between storage and power stations.

South Central Gas Storage chart.png
bigoilbob
Reply to  It doesn't add up...
December 3, 2021 4:57 am

Again, simple prioritization of supply could have prevented this. That’s why this is one of the few changes that have ben implemented, post disaster.

DHR
Reply to  bigoilbob
December 2, 2021 9:42 am

I suspect gas-powered pumps are more economical. Why is electricity better bigoilbob?

Drake
Reply to  DHR
December 2, 2021 10:00 am

Probably because regulators found a way to make the new “infrastructure” help transmit electricity from remote wind or solar plants at the expense of the oil/gas companies by requiring oversized power lines.

bigoilbob
Reply to  DHR
December 2, 2021 10:36 am

Good ?. Better control. Less maintenance. More reliability. Yes, you can discern some increase in $/mcf compressed, but compression uses a very small fraction of the heat value of the gas being compressed. Also, you have electrification already because modern natural gas facilities are almost all electronically controlled and monitored. Even near the wells. Much better than 40-50 years ago…

bigoilbob
Reply to  bigoilbob
December 2, 2021 11:02 am

A little expansion, DHR. Many gas compressors are, indeed, better off running on nat gas. Mostly bigger ones at gathering stations and down the line. Less at individual wells. The name of the game is proper monitoring and optimization, which goes for the natural gas to electric infrastructure in toto. That’s why the biz has gone in so far to electrification.

MAL
Reply to  DHR
December 2, 2021 2:46 pm

Because it easier to tax. Gas power require the company to meter the gas used and report it. Now you see the problem. Once you add the meter and the paper work gas suddenly becomes more expensive. Cost of the meter and the paper eat up any savings. Reliability be damn.

Drake
Reply to  bigoilbob
December 2, 2021 9:58 am

So there you go again boob, just do what we say that costs alot of your money, what it caused a problem?, than do something else we say that will cost you and your customers even more money!! And if that doesn’t work we will have another expensive fix for you to pay for!!!!

BTW boob, who is going to pay for the decommissioning of all the wind and solar facilities? You always seem to fail to answer that question. But I will continue to ask it.

bigoilbob
Reply to  Drake
December 2, 2021 10:39 am

“… a lot of money”.

A tiny fraction of the ~$130B and well over a hundred lives lost in that single disaster. And also the low cost solution. Natural gas is our best bridge fuel. Much too valuable as an emergency fuel to be wasted on day to day generation. Should we use Generac’s for all of our needs, 24/7/365?

Pflashgordon
Reply to  Drake
December 2, 2021 10:55 am

Plus, despite Bob’s hatred of the oil industry, there have been decommissioning and remediation programs in place for decades, gradually whittling down the backlog of orphaned sites from the early industry era.

I suspect there is no such program in place for so-called renewables.

bigoilbob
Reply to  Pflashgordon
December 2, 2021 10:58 am

Hard to hate something that fed my family quite well for over 40 years. We will need appropriate hydrocarbon production for decades. I just want to see it done correctly, and with best practices.

Chaswarnertoo
Reply to  bigoilbob
December 2, 2021 11:41 pm

You really are fick as mince.

Ken Irwin
December 2, 2021 6:29 am

It didn’t take long for politicians to solve the problem (by political diktat – doomed to failure)…….. Texas Bill SB1278 passed the Senate on 14th April with nebulous requirements that ERCOT maintain sufficient reserves…..

https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/06/21/texas-starts-waking-up-to-the-issue-of-the-full-costs-of-renewables/

Politicians must stop telling engineers how to run their power grids and stop interfering with the free market. They are killing people.

John K. Sutherland
Reply to  Ken Irwin
December 2, 2021 6:40 am

I saw the same problem in my utility. They replaced the engineers with ‘human resource’ types.

TonyG
Reply to  Ken Irwin
December 2, 2021 10:18 am

It didn’t take long for politicians to solve the problem

They could solve it more easily by simply outlawing freezing temperatures and winter storms.

Abolition Man
December 2, 2021 6:30 am

Eric,
Coal plants will tide us over nicely, but we really, really, REALLY need to get rid of the regulations strangling the nuclear power industry and make our infrastructure weather independent!
Then we can save the coal for more important things, like Progressive Xmas stockings!

Ron Long
Reply to  Abolition Man
December 2, 2021 6:47 am

Nuke ’em! How advanced cultures can turn their backs on such an obvious solution requires some level of misconduct to explain.

Abolition Man
Reply to  Ron Long
December 2, 2021 8:52 am

Ron,
Any advanced culture that becomes badly infected with neo-Marxism will end up with a high percentage of idiots and morons in their population! That gives the leaders free rein for good or for ill; yet somehow they always choose the evil!
You know what they say;
“Power corrupts! Unreliable Power corrupts reliably AND absolutely!”

Last edited 1 month ago by Abolition Man
Ron Long
Reply to  Abolition Man
December 2, 2021 8:59 am

Abolition Man, I agree with you, and the most compelling model is the Roman Culture destroying itself from within. Let’s go Braden!

JamesD
Reply to  Abolition Man
December 2, 2021 9:47 am

What happens when they load shed the cooling water pumps?

Abolition Man
Reply to  JamesD
December 2, 2021 11:21 am

Back generators, but try to keep them out of tsunami zones!

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  JamesD
December 2, 2021 3:02 pm

A nuclear plant produces a whole lot of electricity to power its cooling water pumps and other systems. They don’t even risk getting switched off unless the whole plant shuts down first – and then they are run on local diesel backup generation, not dependent on grid supply. Because they are essential there are backup pumps, and backup generators, and no reliance on the grid.

Michael in Dublin
December 2, 2021 6:34 am

The Texas Tribune must explain with all the global warming and snow disappearing over the Arctic why would we expect more over Texas, unless of course the narrative is false.

Michael in Dublin
Reply to  Michael in Dublin
December 2, 2021 8:24 am

The Tribune evidently did not read the report, University of Manitoba Publishes an End of Snow Prediction. (see article in WUWT)

Jeffery P
Reply to  Michael in Dublin
December 2, 2021 8:47 am

It’s all climate change. Climate change and ball bearings, actually.

Seriously, just stop overthinking it. Climate change makes the weather too hot, hot cold, too dry, too wet, etc. If the weather doesn’t exactly match the 100-year average (mistakenly called “normal”) then climate change is to blame. No questions!

Scott E.
Reply to  Jeffery P
December 2, 2021 9:24 am

I’m old enough to get that reference. G. Gordon Liddy, was it? 🙂

Jeffery P
Reply to  Scott E.
December 2, 2021 11:47 am

Yes — G. Gordon Liddy (Chevy Chase) in “Fletch.”

Robert Hanson
Reply to  Jeffery P
December 2, 2021 5:28 pm

If the weather doesn’t exactly match the 100-year average”, after that “average” has been adjusted (sic) of course……………..

Abolition Man
Reply to  Michael in Dublin
December 2, 2021 9:01 am

Michael,
Much like residents of Canada and the Northeast, snowstorms are apparently averse to spending winters in the far north; so they are leaving the Arctic and Canada to move south!
I don’t blame them! From what I hear the women in Texas are well worth the trip!

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Abolition Man
December 2, 2021 12:11 pm

I’ve been to Texas a few times, even lived there for a while, and it was well worth it. There are some fabulous sights in Texas. 🙂

Steve Case
December 2, 2021 6:38 am

Wikipedia (yeah, I know) says,  When power was cut, it disabled some compressors that push gas through pipelines, knocking out further gas plants due to lack of supply.
_________________________________________________________

What I was looking for was the story that the compressors used to be powered by gas fueled engines but had been replaced by electric motors (for political reasons) to run the compressors. After a short search, it seems to be more complicated than that.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Steve Case
December 2, 2021 8:49 am

It’s not much more complicated than that. You can build nat gas engines just as easily as gasoline powered ones. My backup generator has both a gasoline fuel jet and a nat gas (propane) one built in. Since you are running nat gas through the pipeline just tap off some to run the compressor!

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  Steve Case
December 2, 2021 1:10 pm

There are lots of reasons, but part of it is AGW OMG as gas turbines driving gas compressors means local emissions, but its also a fact that an electric motor needs far less maintenance than a gas turbine.
Advantage of gas turbine is that it uses some of the gas in the pipe to run

The only real weakness of the electric motor solution is that you need reliable supply of electricity.
OOPs

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Pat from Kerbob
December 2, 2021 2:50 pm

I doubt that is true. 50 years ago Rolls Royce were selling gas pipeline compressors (RB-211 based) designed to run for 2 years between maintenance operations in Arctic conditions. Reliability was a big selling point.

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  It doesn't add up...
December 2, 2021 3:56 pm

Big difference between a compressor and a turbine in operating characteristics.
Other than bearings a well designed and properly protected motor needs little maintenance and lasts a very long time.
There are electric motors built in 1800s still running today. Not many but some

December 2, 2021 6:44 am

There is no such thing as a “greenhouse gas”, as convection is constantly moving warm air upwards, and this process is speeded up with additional quantities of ‘denser’ carbon dioxide molecules.* In a greenhouse, heat is indeed trapped because there’s a glass enclosure blocking the exit of the warm air, but no such enclosure exists in the atmosphere. In fact, increasing any gas molecule into the atmosphere will speed up atmospheric convection, and that includes ‘warmer’ methane.

We’re told that the mechanism that warms the planet is longwave infrared radiation (LWIR), but what they don’t tell us is that LWIR can only be emitted at night! We’re then told that LWIR’s energy absorption by the atmosphere is 358.2 Wm2, while during the daytime hours the atmosphere receives 18.4 Wm2. Did you catch the ludicrous energies mismatch? That’s why in illustrations for Earth’s Energy Budget…

Google: earths energy budget pictures

…the diagrams intentionally leave out the periods of the day the two respective energy magnitudes are released, otherwise one would immediately observe that daytime temperatures are cooler than nighttime temperatures, thereby immediately identifying the ‘climate change’ canard.

Then we’re further insulted with “back radiation”. I have no objections to back radiation, but the back radiation can’t once again be LWIR. Once absorbed by electrons, LWIR has been destroyed, where LOWER energy levels are then released, such lower levels constituting microwave radiation or even lower radio waves.**

The accepted ‘climate change’ narrative is obviously a sabotage operation, whereby all the laws of physics are grossly violated. What we are experiencing is ‘climate mediation’, the cause being an increase of artificial heat sinks on the surface (cities, roads, vehicles’ metals, etc.), whereby the industrial by-product is carbon dioxide, and carbon dioxide tempers the warming process due to convection described in the footnotes.
——————————
* Thermodynamics in action…

Climate change mechanics conspires to do away with the physics of the atmosphere, where action and reaction is abandoned. When a new gas molecule is introduced into the atmosphere, dislocation takes place, where if the new molecule is denser than the atmosphere (contains less heat energy), such as carbon dioxide, the gas molecule sinks displacing upwards the warmer nitrogen and oxygen molecules, thereby immediately cooling the area of dislocation. As warmer nitrogen and oxygen molecules rise, they in turn push downwards cooler nitrogen and oxygen molecules, further cooling the atmosphere.
Conversely, if the new gas molecule has more heat energy than the nitrogen-oxygen based atmosphere (such as methane), the new molecule rises, displacing relatively cooler nitrogen and oxygen molecules downwards, which displaces upwards relatively more heat retaining nitrogen and oxygen molecules, thereby cooling the area of dislocation.

Thermodynamics in action in the atmosphere that keeps the Earth cool when increased radiation isn’t the new variable introduced.

** “…when a photon is absorbed by an electron, it is completely destroyed. All its energy is imparted to the electron, which instantly jumps to a new energy level. The photon itself ceases to be.”

Google: How are photons created and destroyed? (Advanced)

Then…

“Eventually, the “excited” electron loses the extra energy by emitting electromagnetic radiation of lower energy and, in doing so, falls back into its original and stable energy level. The energy of the emitted radiation equals the energy that was originally absorbed by the electron minus other small quantities of energy lost through a number of secondary processes.”

Google: olympus electron excitation and emission

DMacKenzie
Reply to  Dean M Jackson
December 2, 2021 11:30 am

Dean, other than say 10C daytime warming, the surface emits essentially the same amount of LWIR day or night, not 358 down to some almost zero number at night. That daytime heating corresponds to about 10% additional IR simply because the ground is warmer in daytime.
And 99.999% of CO2 molecules, when hit by an IR photon, lose that energy by collisions with the 2500 other molecules around them, rather than emitting a photon, which is “temperature increase”.
And H2O and CO2 are IR absorbing and emitting gases whether you say greenhouse gases don’t exist or not.

Last edited 1 month ago by DMacKenzie
Dave Fair
Reply to  Dean M Jackson
December 2, 2021 12:37 pm

Dean, I wish you were less longwinded in demonstrating your ignorance and illogic.

MarkW
Reply to  Dean M Jackson
December 2, 2021 2:23 pm

Maybe the reason why they don’t tell us that LWIR can only be emitted at night is because such a statement is completely wrong.
Any object that is above absolute zero emits, it doesn’t matter in the slightest what is going on in the rest of the universe.

TJ pilgrim
December 2, 2021 6:58 am

As a Texan that lives along the gulf coast, going without power for days, weeks and even months is common place due to flooding and hurricanes. The whole event is not unusual for many Texans, but in this case there is more finger pointing because it happened to people in Austin.

D.Bird
December 2, 2021 7:03 am

The collapse of the grid was due to converting the natural gas pipeline pumps running on natural gas to electric power under Obama imho. Sorry. I see this was already mentioned. There was only 1 comment showing on DuckDuck when I posted.

Last edited 1 month ago by D.Bird
Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  D.Bird
December 2, 2021 7:42 am

so is there any movement to go back to gas pumps?

Steve Case
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
December 2, 2021 8:37 am

You are expecting common sense to prevail?
Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

MarkW
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
December 2, 2021 8:52 am

Not until the EPA changes the regulations.

D.Bird
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
December 2, 2021 9:03 am

I have no clue. Checking.

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
December 2, 2021 1:15 pm

Joseph

Gas compressors. (Pumps are for fluids).

Driven by gas turbines, or by electric motor.
Switching back to turbine driven is massively costly.
Electric motors have many advantages, best to just make the grid reliable with nukes and not burn gas to compress gas.
Leaves more gas for generation plants, (peaker plants supporting nuclear base load) and home heating.

Olen
December 2, 2021 7:29 am

Politicians don’t have to read or know or have to know anything about the bills they vote on. Would be better if they did.

TonyG
Reply to  Olen
December 2, 2021 10:51 am

Politicians don’t have to read or know or have to know anything

The rest is redundant

Robert Hanson
Reply to  TonyG
December 2, 2021 5:38 pm

“have to know anything about the bills they vote on”

Often they haven’t even read the bill prior to voting. Hence “we have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it” Recently the Dems were asking people to vote yes on a  infrastructure bill that hadn’t even been written yet.

Joel
December 2, 2021 7:58 am

Not one word about the collapse of solar and wind power in Texas during that storm. How very odd.

Steve Case
Reply to  Joel
December 2, 2021 8:39 am

Not odd at all, picking and choosing what to report and what not to report based on a well defined narrative is what the news media does and does best.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Steve Case
December 2, 2021 12:41 pm

The Columbia School of Journalism improved upon the system by creating a large network of outlets that issue centrally-coordinated propaganda. What’s not to worry about in a democracy that relies on a free press?

Also, why limit it to climate topics? Or do they limit the number of topics covered?

Last edited 1 month ago by Dave Fair
Steve F
Reply to  Joel
December 4, 2021 5:00 pm

Not odd at all. although there was no wind during the freeze, that didn’t cause the blackout. There is also compared to wind a small amount of solar . texas has enough natural gas, nuclear, and coal power plants to keep the lights on when wind power was not available. It was the failure of natural gas power plants that was the primary cause.

So when the temperature droppedt natural gas power plants and natural gas processing plants were rapidly failing due to freezing pipes. Once enough natural gas power production went off line the grid failed.

Joel
Reply to  Steve F
December 4, 2021 5:49 pm

That is circular reasoning. The blackouts were caused by insufficient power in the grid. WInd power and solar power are big items in the electricity budget in TX, and a great deal of money and energy has been put into those two production types in the last 5 years in TX, to the detriment of fossil fuel production types like coal and natural gas, i.e., they have been shutting down coal fired plants in TX as wind power has penetrated the grid. Wind and solar failed completely, and stayed down for about 5 days, after the storm. Nobody even is talking about making sure wind and solar remain productive during the next big storm. They cannot do it. To blame the blackouts on solely on natural gas is ridiculous. If you look at the data, it was after a day, natural gas came roaring back on line and saved TX from real misery. If we admit we have to have 100% backup for wind and solar power in TX based on natural gas, that says wind and solar power are just impractical.

ResourceGuy
December 2, 2021 8:09 am

Try outbidding Chicago next time. That’s where the pipelines go.

Giordano Milton
December 2, 2021 8:11 am

Ditch the windmills.

Steve Case
Reply to  Giordano Milton
December 2, 2021 8:39 am

Don’t be silly.

MarkW
Reply to  Steve Case
December 2, 2021 8:53 am

How silly. Ditch the windmills and solar panels.

DMacKenzie
Reply to  MarkW
December 2, 2021 11:56 am

I have solar panels. They keep the battery charged that starts the diesel generator I use when ice has downed the power lines….

Clay Sanborn
Reply to  DMacKenzie
December 2, 2021 1:34 pm

Good one!

ResourceGuy
December 2, 2021 8:25 am

How about an online dashboard so consumers can watch as wind power output collapses.

Dan DeLong
Reply to  ResourceGuy
December 2, 2021 9:24 am

Here’s a link to the ERCOT site page that shows wind and solar current production and projections.
https://www.ercot.com/gridmktinfo/dashboards/combinedwindandsolar

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  ResourceGuy
December 2, 2021 1:19 pm

We haven’t gone totally communist in Alberta, can still see where our power comes from, this webpage updates automatically for all sources and is extremely useful, should be implemented everywhere.

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

mebebg
Reply to  Pat from Kerbob
December 2, 2021 3:12 pm

From California, the CA Independent System Operator – CAISO

http://www.caiso.com/TodaysOutlook/Pages/index.html

Can anyone explain the “price” page?

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  mebebg
December 2, 2021 3:44 pm

I think if you can figure it out, they are doing it wrong

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  mebebg
December 2, 2021 3:49 pm

Maybe this will help you with the concepts of locational marginal pricing

https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/locational-marginal-pricing

ResourceGuy
December 2, 2021 8:26 am

Also, add an export tariff on wood chips to pay for more NG and coal.

Mike Maguire
December 2, 2021 8:38 am
Mike Maguire
Reply to  Mike Maguire
December 2, 2021 8:41 am

Coal vs Natural gas:

Jeffery P
December 2, 2021 8:38 am

Texas incentivizes producing power without penalties for being offline. Producers must have incentives or penalities to provide power 24 * 7. The contracts must be rewritten.

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  Jeffery P
December 2, 2021 1:24 pm

Its the system, no capacity market, which favors instantaneous generation like wind with no back up.
Can’t change contracts without changing system, i think.

i would like to understand the evolution of ERCOT to see who it was who pushed these rules, i assume its Wind/Solar and gas interests as this system favors that fuel mix and provides the cheapest mix because there is no cost associated with capacity.

Jeffery P
Reply to  Pat from Kerbob
December 2, 2021 2:08 pm

I’d look into the influence of the late T. Boone Pickens. He pushed hard for wind power. He was a big name in Texas. I don’t know how much he had to do with the actual laws and regulations in place in Texas.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Jeffery P
December 2, 2021 2:43 pm

I met him briefly back in the days when he was an oilman just before he placed a (IIRC) 9 million barrel short position on NYMEX ahead of the oil price crash in 1985/6 – something which later became public. He had a nose for governments getting things wrong.

Jeffery P
December 2, 2021 8:44 am

Nuclear, nuclear, nuclear. Or as they say in Texas “Nukuler, nukuler, nukuler.”

This is a long-term solution, obviously. In the short-term, Texas laws and regulations must be changed to ensure producers provider power 24*7 or face severe penalties.

I’m a big fan of deregulation, BTW, but it has to be sensible and protect the consumers. Too many consumers in Texas faced huge electric bills last year because they paid market rates. Surely there is a way to notify consumers of increased costs when market rates skyrocket?

Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  Jeffery P
December 2, 2021 1:26 pm

Inform them of what, that they have to take out a mortgage to pay the bill? rates skyrocket in an emergency, by definition its not knowable when that will happen.
And what would they do, through the main breaker and disconnect their house, when its below freezing?

Jeffery P
Reply to  Pat from Kerbob
December 3, 2021 7:35 am

You’re saying the electric company doesn’t know the rate? I worked for the electric company in southern Nevada (NV Energy) and yes, they do know how much they are paying and how much they are charging people.

I lived in Texas briefly after living in southern Nevada, btw, but worked in a different industry there. I think it’s a good bet the power companies in Texas also know they rate their paying and the retail rate.

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  Jeffery P
December 2, 2021 2:37 pm

Texas needs a market in firm dispatchable power, and a market in intermittent, unreliable power. Those who opt for the latter would find themselves cut off in low wind conditions, but would pay a low price when connected. Those who opt for the premium product would be paying to ensure that backup capacity was properly remunerated to stay ready for action when required, at least for the delivery capability they contract for. It’s not really regulation that is needed – it is proper markets. They would soon reveal how much intermittent power customers were prepared on average to handle.

bonbon
December 2, 2021 9:02 am

Something went seriously wrong in Houston with the Ranch at the Crooked E – ENRON (Gore apparently started there). This unbelievable scam done with WallStreet has done irreparable damage to the very minds. If the Green New Deal gets going expect Enron bubble-babies to pop up everywhere, briefly profit, and spectacularly burst. These bubble-babies of course will need progressive accounting teams, who are likely itching to go.
Meanwhile Enron moved to the Ranch at the Crooked EU – and look at energy prices. A taste of the EU Green Deal.
Enron – what deregulation really means.

images.jpg
Last edited 1 month ago by bonbon
Ed Fox
December 2, 2021 9:29 am

We had power go out for 2 weeks in winter. Lucky we had an RV parked in the yard with full gas and propane tanks to run the genset and stove.

Last edited 1 month ago by Ed Fox
Ed Fox
December 2, 2021 9:40 am

How about EV batteries. Once lit they should be able to power up the steam boilers.

griff
December 2, 2021 9:40 am

and there you go again: another blackout looming, once again entirely down to fossil fuel

MarkW
Reply to  griff
December 2, 2021 10:39 am

Wind and solar down 90%. Gas up by 450%.
Obviously the problem is fossil fuels.

griffie has a one track mind.

David Middleton(@debunkhouse)
Editor
Reply to  griff
December 2, 2021 10:51 am

Fossil fuel and nuclear power plants were the only systems that didn’t totally fail in the deep freeze.
comment image
comment image

Mr.
Reply to  David Middleton
December 2, 2021 11:57 am

David, griff has seen all those colored squiggly lines many times before.

At day care mainly.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  griff
December 2, 2021 11:36 am

and there you go again: another blackout looming, once again entirely down to fossil fuel

It doesn’t matter how many times the facts are presented, this lying liar lies about this.

Jeffery P
Reply to  griff
December 2, 2021 11:48 am

Cut the Prozac in half griff. Seriously.

Joel
Reply to  griff
December 2, 2021 11:55 am

Griff, I am losing faith.
The message of this article was that ONLY fossil fuel can be used to get past a real cold spell of weather. Wind and Solar will play no positive role if a big winter storm with severe cold hits Texas this year. Imagine a green world where we are discussing a big impending winter storm and there isn’t any fossil to complain about.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Joel
December 2, 2021 3:07 pm

there isn’t any fossil to complain about.

griff is enough of a fossil for us to complain about

Lrp
Reply to  griff
December 2, 2021 12:59 pm

Yes, insufficient fossil fuels

JamesD
December 2, 2021 9:42 am

No mention in the article on load shedding main line compressor booster stations are load shedding cooling water pumps to a freaking nuke?

JamesD
Reply to  JamesD
December 2, 2021 9:43 am

“or”

It doesn't add up...
Reply to  JamesD
December 2, 2021 3:34 pm

No they weren’t. So thats why it wasn’t mentioned.

David Middleton(@debunkhouse)
Editor
December 2, 2021 10:54 am

What are the odds of this happening in Texas two years in a row?

comment image

Last edited 1 month ago by David Middleton
David Middleton(@debunkhouse)
Editor
Reply to  David Middleton
December 2, 2021 10:57 am

The February 2021 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

Abolition Man
Reply to  David Middleton
December 2, 2021 11:31 am

Thanks, David!
It really warms the cockles of my heart looking forward to the cooling of the Misanthropic Era!
The climate conmen need to get rich quickly before their funding gets frozen along with numerous energy-impoverished high latitude dwellers!

Jeffery P
Reply to  David Middleton
December 2, 2021 11:50 am

In this case, “unprecedented” really means “unprecedented.” That’s not usually how that word is used when talking about the climate.

Retired_Engineer_Jim
December 2, 2021 1:44 pm

Why is it the responsibility of the Texas state Government to fix the problem? Shouldn’t the utilities fix it?

MarkW
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
December 2, 2021 2:27 pm

The utilities in Texas can’t do anything without the permission of the Public Utilities Commission.
In other words, government.

It doesn't add up...
December 2, 2021 2:26 pm

You could just run the pipeline compressors on gas to much the same effect. Gas from storage was keeping up with power station demand until grid mismanagement led to major trips that cut power to electric pumping on the pipelines, starving the power stations of fuel. There was enough dry gas (not liable to hydrate icing) in store to have ridden through the incident, despite the loss of production volumes.

The real problem was lack of dispatchable capacity to allow demand to be met with sufficient reserve to handle any outages. Maybe that can be handled by trying to minimise maintenance in midwinter, shifting it to shoulder seasons when extreme demand is unlikely. But I think that is probably insufficient. So Texas is going to need a market in firm dispatchable capacity, not open to intermittent sources, to provide sufficient revenue to ensure that backup plant can afford to keep itself at the ready.

Might want to top up that storage though.

South Central NG storagechart.png
Andy May(@andymay2014)
Editor
December 2, 2021 2:32 pm

Thanks Eric. Sometimes it takes a smart Australian to see the problems right here in Texas! Thank goodness I’m not on ERCOT, I have Entergy and a backup generator that runs on natural gas. When the power goes out my neighbors hate me.

When will people notice that during the winter there is no wind? Duhhh!

Joe B
December 3, 2021 5:22 am

The single biggest reason for the Texas grid shut down – of several – was the number of compressors that went offline as rolling electricity shut downs took place. (These initial shut downs were largely prompted by the near cessation of electricity from the wind turbines).
As the compressors stopped, there was no fuel – natgas – moving downstream to the Combined Cycle plants, causing them to shut down.
This rapidly spiraled into a self perpetuating loop of offline compressors causing more gas generators shutting down.
The excruciatingly embarrassing part is that the compressor operators merely needed to pre-notify ERCOT that they were a Critical Infrastructure (like police/fire/hospital ) and thus spared the micro precise process of targeted blackouts.

Ulkair
December 6, 2021 4:33 pm

Hopefully more texas freeze to death. The more dead the more they will realize that all this alarmisim is bunk.

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