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University of Houston: More Renewable Energy to Prevent Another Texas Ice Storm Outage

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

According to the University of Houston and Houston Advanced Research Centre, more investment in renewable energy will prevent a repeat of the deadly power outages during last year’s ice storm.

Energy experts say renewable energy will be key in making Texas’ electricity more reliable in 2022

To learn more about what’s expected in 2022 for clean energy, Houston Public Media spoke with Gavin Dillingham, Vice President of Research for energy with the Houston Advanced Research Center. 

KYRA BUCKLEY | POSTED ON JANUARY 7, 2022, 1:20 PM

Experts watching Houston’s energy industry say the pandemic has accelerated the transition away from fossil fuels and towards renewable energy — and demand is growing worldwide for clean, affordable energy. 

It comes as leaders in Texas are working to increase reliability of the electric grid after last February’s deadly winter storm caused widespread outages across the state. 

Growth in renewable energy will be key making the grid better able to handle sharp increases in energy demand, like what happened during Winter Storm Uri.

To learn more about what’s expected in 2022 for clean energy, Houston Public Media spoke with Gavin Dillingham, Vice President of Research for energy with the Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC).

Read more: https://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/articles/news/in-depth/2022/01/07/416801/in-2022-expect-renewable-energy-to-be-key-in-discussion-around-how-to-make-texas-electricity-more-reliable/

My first reaction was to wonder what they are putting into the drinking water in the University of Houston. Anyone can tell just be looking at the output graph (above) that renewables performed dismally during the ice storm. Solar energy dropped away to almost nothing, and wind turbines froze solid.

I’m not denying winterising wind turbines might have saved a few from freezing, but there are other problems.

New York Times wrote a frantic defence of wind last February, which hilariously claimed that “… Blades of some Texas wind turbines did freeze in place, but wind power is estimated to make up only 7 percent or so of the state’s total capacity this time of year in part because utilities lower their expectations for wind generation in the winter in general. …“.

If utilities do “lower their expectations” for wind power generation in winter, there seems no point chasing more wind.

Solar is also a poor performer because in winter the days are shorter and the angle of the sun is lower, even without the added bonus of winter storm clouds darkening the sky or ice and snow covering the solar panels.

So the question is, how could more investment in renewables possibly improve the situation? No amount of investment can capture renewable energy which does not exist, in a winter environment which appears to be consistently hostile to the harvesting of any form of renewable energy.

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FrozenOhio
January 10, 2022 10:04 am

Wut? lol

Bryan A
Reply to  FrozenOhio
January 10, 2022 4:05 pm

Looking at the numbers in the chart, wind appears capable of producing 22GW but looks to have averaged around 5GW (around 22%) but was running between 1GW and 8GW at any given time. It also appears that the peak day used around 70GW. Solar contributed an inconsequential 1-2GW for 5 of the days shown and no more than 5GW at it’s peak on it’s best day.
If 70GW is needed, and Wind produced an average of 5GW then approx 15 times the current wind capacity would be required to meet the demand of the 2 weeks indicated. 15 times 22GW is 330GW of wind.
Solar which produces 5% at best for 20 % of the day or about 1% daily would need 100 times what is available or around 500GW and would still not produce usable generation from 3pm to 8am daily during winter.
More of a Bad Option is really only more of a bad option
More Wind Turbines would have been more frozen turbines back in February.
AND…
No matter how much Unreliable Wind and Solar you have, you still NEED to have 100% back-up reserves available 24/7/365 or be prepared to let your co constituents freeze in the dark

MarkW
Reply to  Bryan A
January 10, 2022 7:02 pm

Presumably the best wind and solar sites are utilized first. Increasing wind by a factor of 15 and solar by 100 inevitably means that the new sites are going to be on average, less productive compared to existing sites. Also as wind farms get larger, the individual wind mills start stealing power from each other, so each additional tower produces less energy on average compared to the existing towers.

Net result, wind will have to increase by a lot more than a factor of 15, and solar will have to increase by lot more than 100.

Bryan A
Reply to  MarkW
January 10, 2022 9:22 pm

Solar alone would need to increase not by a factor of 100 but by a factor of 600. Because Solar only produces Nameplate Capacity from 10am to 2pm (4 hours per day), ramping up fast from 9-10am and falling of quickly from 2-3pm, 6 times Nameplate is required to produce the energy needed in a 24 hour period. (Your entire 24 hours worth of energy needs to be gathered and stored between 10am & 2pm). That is just to replace CURRENT ELECTRICITY USAGE. Now consider the additional capacity needed to replace Natural Gas and Fuel Oil energy with Electricity for…
Heating
Cooking
Water Heating
And increased additional capacity to replace Gasoline & Diesel fuel in Transportation, Shipping and Air Travel
Of course you could increase the capability of Solar PV by installing the more expensive and heavier motorized Sun tracking panel mounts (but not on rooftop solar) and it requires an additional power source to actuate the tracking motors

Ann Banisher
Reply to  Bryan A
January 11, 2022 9:59 am

Adding more only makes the power swings bigger. You can triple the top number, but 3 x 0 is still zero.
Same with wind, when it’s windy, it will produce more, but when it is not, it will still produce nothing.
The gas production chart would look like an EKG.

TonyG
Reply to  Ann Banisher
January 11, 2022 11:36 am

Adding more only makes the power swings bigger. You can triple the top number, but 3 x 0 is still zero.

Such a simple concept, but one that entirely eludes them.

Robert Hanson
Reply to  TonyG
January 11, 2022 1:22 pm

Math is hard….

Bryan A
Reply to  Robert Hanson
January 11, 2022 10:31 pm

Climate Science is a Weapon of Math’s Destruction
And Climate Scientists are the Tools

TexSwede
Reply to  Bryan A
January 12, 2022 9:13 am

I have downloaded the data on wind generation from ERCOT and US IEA for 2021 hourly generation data for Texas. If you define high demand as hours where demand exceeded 65,000 MW (or 65 GW), Texas had 424 hours that met that criteria. Wind had an installed capacity of of 32,018 MW during 2021. On February 14, 2021 at 2100 hrs, the weather was deteriorating. Total demand was 69,324 MW and wind was producing 7,642 MW or 24% of its installed capacity. At 0200 hrs on 2/15/2021 demand was 63,910 and wind produced 5,205 MW or 16.26% of its capacity. At that time, ERCOT started shedding demand and blackouts ensued. Later that day at 2000 hrs, wind produced a staggering 649 MW (2.03%) of its installed capacity. Had wind been able to generate even a consistent 35% of installed capacity, the emergency would have been avoided. Of the 424 high demand hours (>65GW), wind produced less than 25% of installed capacity (8,004 MW) in 225 of those hours (53.1%). Most of those hours were summer afternoons when demand in Texas often exceeded 72,000MW. The Giccone/Lehr premise that for every MW of renewables on the grid, there must be an equal or greater amount of reliable (gas, coal or nuclear) MW on the grid 100% of the time or your grid is not reliable. Oh, and using averages gets you blackouts during high demand. On average, a man with his head in the oven and feet in a freezer is quite comfortable.

stinkerp
Reply to  FrozenOhio
January 10, 2022 4:22 pm

Add more of the least reliable power to make power more reliable. Yeah, that makes sense. In Opposite World.

John the Econ
January 10, 2022 10:09 am

If first you don’t succeed, try, and try again!

Remember folks, these are the “smart” people.

Don
Reply to  John the Econ
January 10, 2022 12:43 pm

Formerly the best and brightest while promoting zero defects.

climanrecon(@climanrecon)
Reply to  John the Econ
January 10, 2022 1:04 pm

These are the “bought” people. With very few exceptions academic studies of renewables are marketing materials.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  climanrecon
January 10, 2022 2:39 pm

With asterisked PhDs to boot

Paul Johnson
Reply to  John the Econ
January 10, 2022 2:19 pm

It’s UofH, not exactly the best and brightest.

H.R.
Reply to  Paul Johnson
January 10, 2022 7:55 pm

Do you have data or is that just the Aggie in you talking?
😜

John
Reply to  John the Econ
January 10, 2022 5:18 pm

these are academics
could not cut it in the real world so go to academia
There BS don’t smell

Harkle Pharkle
Reply to  John the Econ
January 10, 2022 7:23 pm

Yes, they are! Just ask them!

Tom Halla
January 10, 2022 10:09 am

Weather dependent sources are just that. I did read up on “winterizing” bird choppers, and apart from requiring that the turbine be turned off, the methods used could not credibly deal with several days of freezing rain. And very little wind, which no amount of weatherizing could affect.

Last edited 17 days ago by Tom Halla
AWG
Reply to  Tom Halla
January 10, 2022 1:46 pm

I would be curious as to how far a windmill turned trebuchet sling a couple hundred kilos of ice.

MarkW
Reply to  AWG
January 10, 2022 7:04 pm

How much do most wind turbine blades weigh?
I’m wondering how tossing a couple a couple of hundred pounds off just one blade, will affect the balance of the entire system?

roaddog
Reply to  MarkW
January 11, 2022 7:29 am

The blades will explode. At least based on past observations.

wadesworld
Reply to  Tom Halla
January 11, 2022 7:32 am

I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure the winterizing add-ons sold for wind turbines take the form of heaters. Those heaters require power and you can’t depend on the wind turbines to provide it during startup. So where does the power to run those heaters come from? I’m guessing typically from either the fossil-fuel-powered grid or diesel generators.

John Tillman
January 10, 2022 10:10 am

How about insulating wellheads, using gas instead of electricity to run the pipeline compressors (as before Obama), and stockpiling coal?

Nukes would be more reliable than wind, especially factoring in the cost of weatherizing the turbines.

Devils Tower
Reply to  John Tillman
January 10, 2022 11:32 am

Also, planners need to realize that heat pumps do not work cold. And when backup electric kicks in watch out.

This includes the new low temp version. They will stay on cold but the minimum low temp output drops like a rock. Read the fine print of the warrenty. The regulatory and academic organizations that say otherwise should have conspiracy fraud charges filed. Find me an attorney general that will prosecute…. I will file charges

Ron Long
Reply to  John Tillman
January 10, 2022 11:35 am

john, nukes are great and I’m all for them. However, when the grid crashes the only dependable solution is to have your own personal backup generator and enough fuel to last a week or so. Funny think about backup personal generator, it works if it’s too cold or too hot.

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  Ron Long
January 10, 2022 11:53 am

How does that work for folks who live in high-rise apartment buildings. Are they just out of luck?

John_C
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
January 10, 2022 12:08 pm

Lots of companies have backup generators, maybe high rise building codes need a backup power provision?

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  John_C
January 11, 2022 9:44 am

And force a retrofit to existing buildings?

Pillage Idiot
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
January 10, 2022 12:54 pm

It would be even more efficient/cost effective to do it at the scale of high-rise apartment buildings.

If I ran a luxury high-rise in Miami, I would buy a “hospital type” diesel back up generator and advertise that our apartments will have electricity after hurricanes and other emergency outages.

You could probably get a premium price on the rents and pay out your system in less than a year!

AWG
Reply to  Pillage Idiot
January 10, 2022 1:55 pm

You would have to separately meter at a much higher rate, or you will be cleaned out on diesel fuel storage and consumption costs. At 1kW/100sqft, a 100,000 sqft high-rise will need 1MW of generating power.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
January 10, 2022 1:09 pm

Just guessing, but I should think if you lose your source of heat in any large building- the temperature would drop slowly?

observa
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
January 10, 2022 2:02 pm

Yes all huddle together in a couple of apartments in the middle of the complex or spread out to the ones with balconies and generators. In the event of a freezeout your green energy retailer will have the details on their website.

Gary Pearse
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
January 10, 2022 2:43 pm

Pot belly stove and a closet full of briquettes.

MarkW
Reply to  Gary Pearse
January 10, 2022 7:07 pm

Along with access to adequate venting.

AndyHce
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
January 10, 2022 2:47 pm

Apartment complexes, or high density trailer parks, are the only option for a very large portion of the population. There isn’t any room there for generators or the fuel supply for same.

MAL
Reply to  AndyHce
January 11, 2022 9:05 am

My high density trailer park lots go for about $200,000 my house and lots worth $240,000. If I were to put a stick built on said lot the house would be worth about $400,000 to about 500,000. I would guess my neighborhood is out of reach for a “very large portion of population.” It always location, location. Building code make most homes out of reach for “a very large portion of the population.” The first home I liven if had tar paper for the first few years of it life. Later is had redwood siding, something very few can afford of get now days.

Devils Tower
Reply to  Ron Long
January 10, 2022 2:12 pm

Big problem in brave new all electric world…

Try heating an all electric house with a backup generator.

oeman 50
Reply to  Ron Long
January 11, 2022 7:13 am

This is apparently not well known, but the grid is the normal power supply to the emergency cooling systems for a nuclear power plant. There are relays that continually monitor the incoming voltage and frequency and, if they drop below a their setpoints for more than a specified time, it will trip the unit and put start eh emergency power supplies, usually diesels. So if the grid gets too wonky, nukes can’t save it. And the grid has to be stable before you can restart the nuke.

MAL
Reply to  oeman 50
January 11, 2022 9:10 am

That a design problem of the grid, simple prioritizing, what part of the load to shed first and what unstable power system to shed next would fix that. Any grid should keep coal and nuclear running period, even if they have to feed said power into the ground. The US also need circular grids, not signal end grids like we have now.

bigoilbob
Reply to  John Tillman
January 10, 2022 12:51 pm

How about insulating wellheads.”

FYI, most “wellhead freezing” is from hydrate formation in the tubing during bottoms up, and/or choke freezing. A combo of chemical injection down the backside or thru flex tubing banded to the production string, and/or a heated circuit of glycol, from the natural gas powered gas production units and /or dehydrators greatly minimizes these problems. Better remote sensing also helps

“…using gas instead of electricity to run the pipeline compressors (as before Obama)”.

  1. Obama had nada to do with this shift. Remote controllability, monitoring, reduced maintenance Uber al.
  2. I simple reprioritization of high demand shut ins, along with any requisite grid hardening, would have largely solved this problem.
Mr.
Reply to  bigoilbob
January 10, 2022 1:57 pm

Yep, and in 50 years time the designers & engineers of power generation plants will look back and observe –

why didn’t these people just use their natural gas to generate electricity instead of faffing about with windmills?

Derg
Reply to  bigoilbob
January 10, 2022 2:10 pm

No, Obama just promoted and closed coal plants throughout the US with his war on coal. But again, you think Benghazi was started by an internet video so very hard to believe anything from you.

Robert Hanson
Reply to  Derg
January 11, 2022 1:34 pm

I seem to remember Obama saying: “Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket”

Fraizer
Reply to  bigoilbob
January 10, 2022 2:31 pm

I kind of agree with BOB here with the following caveats:

hydrate freeze protection is generally done on a per event basis with methanol injection. It’s good for limited but not extended periods. Gathering lines are typically handled with portable units so good for short term protection (hours) but not days. Not economically feasible to provide extended protection except in key areas.

First line of defense is electrical heat trace and insulation. This is largely already done, but does not account for extreme events.

EPA has made it impossible to use gas engine compression in many areas. So like it or not the gas system is dependent on the grid.

bigoilbob
Reply to  Fraizer
January 10, 2022 3:23 pm

hydrate freeze protection is generally done on a per event basis with methanol injection. It’s good for limited but not extended periods.”

Methanol is a chemical, per my comment. It’s injection can certainly be used for the duration of any extreme event. In practice, most hydrate plugs are from intentional or accidental choke points.

“First line of defense is electrical heat trace and insulation. This is largely already done, but does not account for extreme events.”

It certainly works in temps as cold as experienced in Texas in 2/21, in other states. Where it is not installed, it works less well.

“EPA has made it impossible to use gas engine compression in many areas. So like it or not the gas system is dependent on the grid.”

AGAIN, proper prioritization of shut ins would mostly solve this problem, per the link posted by Mr. Middleton in this thread line.

MAL
Reply to  bigoilbob
January 11, 2022 9:12 am

Tax policy had more to do with it than anything. States wanted to tax the gas used, the accounting nightmare end use the gas/oil through out the chain. Metering each site was to costly.

Joseph Zorzin
Reply to  John Tillman
January 10, 2022 1:07 pm

Just curious if anyone here knows- but just how often do wind turbines need servicing? Are the turbine mechanics working on them often? How much more often in bad weather? I’d think it’s not a fun job. And, I should think that a hurricane or tornado would easily destroy a bird chopper. A video showing that would be awesome and a powerful message.

Gene Connelly
January 10, 2022 10:12 am

N+1; or N+2, etc never gets you the reliability you need with weather dependent resources

Rud Istvan
January 10, 2022 10:16 am

Doubling down on the obviously stupid is not a good look. Shows how ‘gone’ the wamunists are.

Bryan A
Reply to  Rud Istvan
January 10, 2022 4:14 pm

Too true…
Doubling down on Stupid is Twice as stupid

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Rud Istvan
January 10, 2022 5:10 pm

It shows those proposing more windmills don’t understand the problem with using windmills for the grid.

Retired_Engineer_Jim
January 10, 2022 10:25 am

These professors and doctors should be prevented from any further contact with students, and should send their degrees back to the conferring universities with a letter of apology. Then they could becom used-car salespersons.

Zig Zag Wanderer
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
January 10, 2022 3:37 pm

I wouldn’t buy a used car from them

H.R.
Reply to  Zig Zag Wanderer
January 10, 2022 8:15 pm

So… telemarketers then?

TheLastDemocrat
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
January 12, 2022 8:04 am

Prevented – by whom?
This flied in the face of Academic Freedom.

Will all research have to pass through some committee in the Dean’s Office to be approved before release?

In one sense, a Dean’s main job is ensuring financial stability in the institution. This depends on funding sources. A blend of public and private. So, public funding is tied to politics. Private funders will have their political views. Now, we would have two avenues of political influence that did not exist before.

This would make things more political, not less.

I stick with the “liberal” best answer: let people claim what they want. If they have some data to support their ideas, even better than a good argument.

Then, let the rest of us review and consider and critique what they say. Lousy ideas will fall on their own merit, versus relying on some government panel to ensure reasonableness and validity.

meab
January 10, 2022 10:30 am

It’s clear to every thinking person that Texas had a problem because they have ALREADY spent too much money on unreliable renewables and not enough on reliable, dispatchable energy with on site fuel storage (nuclear, coal) or Nat Gas with well head power generation that’s not dependent on the grid. There will be times when it’s cold and the wind isn’t blowing.

If you donate to the Univ. of Houston you should threaten to withhold your donations over this – there are lives at stake.

Harkle Pharkle
Reply to  meab
January 10, 2022 7:32 pm

Texans love to expound on their independence, freedom, and their ability to withdraw from the union. They take great pride in not being like the rest of us. Looks like for all of that talk they’re just as screwed by their policies as everyone else. They can heat their homes and their gas pipelines with hot air.

David Middleton(@debunkhouse)
Editor
January 10, 2022 10:36 am

February 2021 was a Black Swan. It was >20 °F below normal in the DFW area for nearly a week. Texas’ energy infrastructure is optimized for weather that’s too hot, rather than too cold. All facets experienced problems. Solar and wind totally failed. While natural gas, coal and nuclear experienced problems, natural gas and coal were able to ramp up, unfortunately not as much as they were designed to do.

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The 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

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

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The ice storm hit Wednesday night and it just kept getting colder. By Sunday, February 14, it was snowing and temperatures were 41 °F below normal…

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Wind power across the entire Mid-Continent failed as the temperatures plunged.

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The primary failure was on the part of ERCOT. Had they initiated rolling blackouts on the afternoon of Feb 14, the disaster would have been mitigated to a large degree. It would have been a scaled up version of 2011… Bad, but not disastrous.

The solution is not more wind & solar. Nor is the solution to redesign Texas’ energy infrastructure to withstand Arctic weather. Black Swans can’t be prevented or prepared for… However, ERCOT should have been able to react and adequately respond to it.

Last edited 17 days ago by David Middleton
Leo Smith
Reply to  David Middleton
January 10, 2022 10:46 am

The solution is not more wind & solar. Nor is the solution to redesign Texas’ energy infrastructure to withstand Arctic weather.

thermal power stations oddly have a tendency to stay warm and not freeze, and get more efficient in cold weather…

David Middleton(@debunkhouse)
Editor
Reply to  Leo Smith
January 10, 2022 11:00 am

Correct. A lot of the boilers in Texas are actually outside. Over-heating in summer is the main problem. The four reactors at the two nuclear generating stations were actually operating at >100% of summer capacity because it was so cold. Unfortunately one of the two reactors at the South Texas generating station had to be taken offline due to a frozen water intake… Just north of Corpus Christi,

While there were way too many weather-related disruptions of thermal power plants and natural gas distribution, those disruptions could have been managed if ERCOT had commenced load shedding earlier than it did.

https://www.texaspolicy.com/the-texas-power-outage-started-with-bad-policy/

Dave Yaussy
Reply to  David Middleton
January 10, 2022 11:09 am

Thanks, David. I always appreciate your fair-minded analysis of wind energy and fossil fuels, including your evaluation of what went wrong last year in Texas.

David Middleton(@debunkhouse)
Editor
Reply to  Dave Yaussy
January 10, 2022 11:31 am

Everything went wrong to varying degrees. Wind works very well in Texas, except when it doesn’t… usually when it’s very hot or very cold.

Devils Tower
Reply to  Dave Yaussy
January 10, 2022 11:37 am

The EROC just needs to plan that green enery and green systems will disappear when you need them the most

Last edited 17 days ago by Devils Tower
bigoilbob
Reply to  David Middleton
January 10, 2022 1:49 pm

Good link, with which I agree. They appear to define “unreliable” as in reduced deliverability in freezing, sleety, icy conditions. Certainly true. This is probably why they decry not wind power itself, but ERCOT’s failure to buffer it with on demand, “reliable” sources. Now, I wonder what form of energy conversion/transmission is ideal for that. No, actually I don’t.

Let’s way back 10 months and recall who else has been saying the same thing….

Gary Pearse
Reply to  David Middleton
January 10, 2022 3:15 pm

“Wind power across the entire Mid-Continent failed as the temperatures plunged.”

I grew up in Winnipeg, where the cold air that gripped TX passes through. 35 to 40 below when I was a school boy. What stands out in my memory is that on such days, the coal smoke from house furnaces invariably went straight up like a solid pillar, not a breath of wind.

One day in the mid 1970s in Edmonton, Alberta on business, it was 50 below F (yeah, the “Ice Age Cometh” was very real). I watched a flock of pigeons scared up from a roof downtown, about half of them fell on the street dead. I then noticed dead pigeons all over downtown.

MAL
Reply to  Gary Pearse
January 11, 2022 9:25 am

When I lived in Fargo I watch the pigeons warm up on my neighbors chimney why was lined since he had gas heat and not a high efficient furnace. Oh by the way in 1997 we went for 72 hours with the high temperature reaching more than -22F. I had seen fifty below when I lived in western North Dakota in the 1980s, radio tires have flat spots on them at that temp. I have seen -45 more time than I can count growing up in Northern Minnestupid. It was not Minnestupid back then. -20 back then sis not stop us from going ice fishing the little wood stoves in our fishouses would keep us warm enough so the holes would not freeze over and the gloves and coat could come off.

bigoilbob
Reply to  David Middleton
January 10, 2022 1:15 pm

The primary failure was on the part of ERCOT. Had they initiated rolling blackouts on the afternoon of Feb 14, the disaster would have been mitigated to a large degree.”

Which actual experts agree? Actually, I agree that reprioritization of shut ins would have remediated lots of the losses, but who claims that it would no longer have been disastrous?

“The solution is not more wind & solar.”

Agree. Wind and solar solve other problems.

“Black Swans can’t be prevented or prepared for…”

That one certainly could have been. Easily. And the failure to plan on and to implement mitigation plans for this low probability./extremely high impact event, was/is inexcusable.

You seem to have forgotten the point you made in your last post about how little gas goes to electricity normally. Hardening that fraction of the system to replace wind power (which should not have been counted on from the get go) with gas generated e power would have been relatively easy. Many other states do so. All it would take is for the Lubner’s in charge to grow spines and put in common sense hardening regulations on the infrastructure. The current smooch, smooch, faith based begging will cause more deaths – “Black Swan” or not.

Derg
Reply to  bigoilbob
January 10, 2022 2:13 pm

“The solution is not more wind & solar.”

Agree. Wind and solar solve other problems.

What problems do they solve?

David Middleton(@debunkhouse)
Editor
Reply to  bigoilbob
January 10, 2022 3:02 pm

There was no way to fully prepare for the unprecedented cold weather conditions, in a state where hot weather is the problem. Nor could ERCOT have prevented the need for load-shedding.

ERCOT should have been prepared to initiate load-shedding. Even before the freeze started to restrict thermal power plant output, it was clear that demand was going to exceed capacity. I literally watched that happen on the ERCOT website Sunday afternoon. I was shocked that they didn’t initiate rolling blackouts until very early Monday morning when it was too late. The inexcusable thing was failing to properly react to the Black Swan when there was still time to avert a total goat frack.

Whether or not Texas should have allowed the grid to be so heavily dependent on wind and natural gas is a whole different ballgame. It’s a great combination 90% of the time. When it’s not working so well, nuclear power and coal look extremely appealing. MISO and SWPP had nearly identical wind power failures and nether was able to ramp up natural gas as quickly as ERCOT did. However, SWPP and MISO have a lot more coal-fired generation than ERCOT.
comment imagecomment imagecomment image

Whether or not the natural gas infrastructure should have been better prepared to deal with an essentially unprecedented deep freeze wasn’t a relevant question on February 14, 2021. Improving the overall resiliency of the grid would be a great idea going forward… But that would mean more coal and nuclear power.

Rmoore
Reply to  David Middleton
January 10, 2022 2:13 pm

Maybe the climate is getting colder slowly so the horned toads do not notice they are beginning to freeze.

Reply to  Rmoore
January 10, 2022 4:14 pm

re:: “Maybe the climate is getting colder slowly so the horned toads do not notice they are beginning to freeze.”

The 1989 event in Texas rivaled the 2021 event. No one talks about the “pre-internet” 1989 event though …

MAL
Reply to  Rmoore
January 11, 2022 9:28 am

Horned toads can survive in North Dakota a slight freeze in Texas won’t bother them.

meab
Reply to  David Middleton
January 10, 2022 3:13 pm

David,

I take issue with this event being a Black Swan event that can’t be prepared for. I lived through a colder event than this in Feb. 2011 that hit New Mexico and Far West Texas. Temps in Angel Fire and Eagle Nest, NM hit -36 F (36 below zero, almost the same in C). New Mexico had to shut off Natural Gas to about 30,000 customers as demand for Nat. Gas exceeded supply. El Paso set its all-time lowest maximum temperature. Four Corners set its all-time lowest temp. It hit -16 F where I lived. Nat gas in my house stayed on but my gas boiler failed when it blew its pressure relief valve, turning my garage into an ice rink, and my house’s back-up 5,000 watt electrical resistance heater could only get the house to the high 40s F – even when running continuously.

https://www.latimes.com/world/la-xpm-2011-feb-05-la-na-gas-shortage-20110205-story.html

https://www.nerc.com/pa/rrm/ea/Pages/February-2011-Southwest-Cold-Weather-Event.aspx

According to NERC (not in the above reference), there were other cold events in the Southwest in 2010, 2008, 2006, 2003, 1989, and 1983. ERCOT had to resort to system-wide rolling blackouts in 1989.

This type of cold event is not without precedence in the Southwest US.

David Middleton(@debunkhouse)
Editor
Reply to  meab
January 10, 2022 3:29 pm

New Mexico and Arizona aren’t as heavily dependent on wind & natural gas. Y’all have a higher percentage of generation from coal and nuclear power than we do.

I’ve lived in Dallas County since 1981. We’ve had other cold events, but none compared to Feb 2021.

2011 was somewhat similar, but not as cold for as long a period of time.

1983 was really cold for an extended period of time… Lots of water mains froze and burst. However, back then, most of Texas’ electricity came from coal-fired power plants.

The only way this Black Swan could have been prevented would have been for Texas to generate most of its electricity from coal-fired and/or nuclear power plants. In which case, the grid would have been resilient enough to handle this:
comment image?w=618

However that option was taken off the table decades ago.

Reply to  David Middleton
January 10, 2022 4:19 pm

re: “We’ve had other cold events, but none compared to Feb 2021.”

1989.

I lost JUST as many landscape plants (same ones; they grew back) then as this time (in Feb 2021).

David Middleton(@debunkhouse)
Editor
Reply to  _Jim
January 11, 2022 3:33 am

I don’t remember 1989 being nearly as bad as 1983 or 2021, in terms of temperature. My recollection of 1989 was that snow and ice were the problem. Of course, back in 1989, like 1983, coal was the dominant source of electricity.

Reply to  David Middleton
January 10, 2022 5:41 pm

From:

ERCOT Emergency Operation
December 21 – 23, 1989

Introduction

The cold weather that swept through Texas on December 21 – 23, 1989 placed severe operating conditions and heavy demands on the electric utilities which comprise the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT and which serve 85 % of the electrical demands in Texas. … some of the coldest temperatures Texas has experienced in over 100 years caused customer demands on all utility systems to approach or exceed all-time peaks. These demands, when coupled with gas curtailments and the large numbers of generating unit outages caused by weather-related problems, required, for the first time in ERCOT’s history, the system-wide interruption of service to customers.

Weather-related emergencies of the 1989 Christmas weekend were not isolated to ERCOT. Nationwide, utilities were experiencing operating problems due the extreme weather conditions. In Florida, for example, 11 utilities interrupted customers with rolling blackouts which were sustained for up to three days.


Coldest Temperatures Reached [1989]

The temperatures on the morning of Saturday, December 23rd were in -7 deg F Abilene, -4 deg F in Wichita Falls, -l deg F in Dallas, +6 deg F in Austin, and +7 F deg in Houston, with wind chill factors down to -35 deg F. The Severe Cold Weather Alert was still in effect throughout the State, and utilities were maintaining all available units on-line.

https://tinyurl.com/2p8tkr72

Reply to  _Jim
January 10, 2022 6:37 pm

Okay, nerc website wants to not play nice. Go here:

https://www.texastribune.org/2021/03/03/ERCOT-congress-investigate/

and search for “decades-old report detailed.” That link will work to get the 1989 report.

Last edited 17 days ago by _Jim
meab
Reply to  David Middleton
January 10, 2022 10:37 pm

Nope, not really:

Texas power sources:

  • Coal (16.6%)
  • Natural Gas (52.1%)
  • Hydroelectric (0.4%)
  • Wind (19.6%)
  • Nuclear (8.7%)
  • Biomass (0.3%)
  • Solar (2.0%)
  • Other (0.2%)

New Mexico power sources:

  • Coal (37.2%)
  • Natural Gas (35.7%)
  • Hydroelectric (0.5%)
  • Wind (20.9%)
  • Biomass (0.1%)
  • Solar (4.9%)
  • Geothermal (0.2%)
  • Petroleum (0.5%)

While New Mexico does get more power from coal, it gets none from nuclear and New Mexico is actually slightly more dependent on unreliable renewables than Texas. The duration of the 2021 cold event was very similar to the 2011 event and the 2011 event was actually colder in some places. There was also a similar event in Texas in 1989.

The 2021 event was in no way unique nor was it a Black Swan. It’s detrimental to planning for these types of events that occur every 10 to 30 years to falsely assume that they only happen extremely rarely.

MAL
Reply to  David Middleton
January 11, 2022 9:29 am

“Y’all have a higher percentage of generation from coal and nuclear power than we do.” The green are working on fixing that, God help us.

Reply to  meab
January 10, 2022 4:17 pm

re: “I take issue with this event being a Black Swan event”

Middleton would appear to be unknowledgeable about the “pre-internet” event in 1989, about which there was also written a report, one copy of which still exists somewhere in the capitol so I have read. The 2011 event wasn’t quite so severe as the 2021 event was.

Last edited 17 days ago by _Jim
Reply to  David Middleton
January 10, 2022 4:11 pm

re: “The Arctic blast was essentially unprecedented…”

1989.

The report (for that even) exists, in paper form, in the Texas capitol …

Ireneusz Palmowski
Reply to  David Middleton
January 11, 2022 2:18 am

The relationship between the stratosphere and the troposphere has widely been recognized. During winter, tropospheric planetary waves propagate into the stratosphere along the westerly jet (e.g., Charney and Drazin 1961). More recently, the converse relationship that the zonal mean zonal wind anomalies slowly propagate from the subtropical upper stratosphere to the polar region of the lower stratosphere and the troposphere during the boreal winter, is also noted (Kodera et al. 1990). It has been shown that SSWs occur in association with slowly propagating zonal mean zonal wind anomalies, and the related changes in the troposphere exhibits the Annular Mode (AO) (Thompson and Wallace 1998) like structure (Kodera et al. 2000). Baldwin and Dunkerton (1999) also showed that the downward propagation of the AO from the stratosphere to the troposphere occurs in association with SSWs.
http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/tcc/tcc/products/clisys/STRAT/readme.html
A major stratospheric sudden warming (SSW) ended in the Northern Hemisphere at 30-hPa around 13 February 2021

Leo Smith
January 10, 2022 10:44 am

They aren’t even trying to make sense any more. They are simply heaping blatant lies on top of blatant lies in the hope that no one sees through them.

Renewables aren’t dead, but my God, the smell….

Last edited 17 days ago by Leo Smith
markl
January 10, 2022 10:44 am

These people are out of touch with reality. The “if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again” approach only works if you change your strategy. Meanwhile the people suffer. Another bad winter blackout should seal the deal with windmills in Texas.

Bruce Cobb
January 10, 2022 10:44 am

From the school of thought that says “when you’re in a hole, dig faster”.

RevJay4
January 10, 2022 10:51 am

Well, that was easy to read. Just saw the word “expert” combined with “university” and I was prepared to be entertained. With my BS warning system going off like the klaxon on a diving submarine, I was not disappointed.
The graph accompanying the article pointed out in fine fashion the absolute dimwittedness of the current level of those employed at the universities everywhere.
My one regret in this life is that I didn’t pursue an education in weather prediction(climate change). I could have been comfortably retired by now.

ResourceGuy
January 10, 2022 11:01 am

Maybe this visual will help, but I doubt it with hit-and-run reporting and trolling. Don’t look up Griff.

Bob Hunter
January 10, 2022 11:03 am

A suggestion from this CDN boy — More reliable & cheaper to insulate your natural gas valves and don’t rely on electric heaters to stop freezing on the equip above ground. ie use propane heaters.

bonbon
January 10, 2022 11:08 am

It is no surprise – after all Houston TX was Enron”s sandbox in 2001, on the side of the angels as CEO Skilling said, until it wasn’t and imploded in seconds.
Both frantic scams are financial driven – a green bubble is desperately needed, and as COP26 did not deliver anything except Sharma’s whimper, Wall-street is flailing.
These bubbles leave huge budget deficit craters, for tax-payers to eat. Until the next bubble. It should be clear that high finance could not give a whit for deplorable collateral damage.

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  bonbon
January 10, 2022 11:59 am

Is finance too important to be left to the financiers?

MarkW
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
January 10, 2022 7:16 pm

In bonbon’s mind, if it isn’t run by the government, then it’s another Enron.

MarkW
Reply to  bonbon
January 10, 2022 7:15 pm

Fascinating how every financial miscue is exactly like Enron, in your “mind”.

I’m guessing that in your mind, it’s either communism, or Enron.

H. D. Hoese
January 10, 2022 11:12 am

It is becoming clearer that these types are in some sort of mental “lockdown” whatever the cause. From the Vice President of Research for energy with the Houston Advanced Research Center. “And so these are 1,000 watt systems – so fairly small systems – but they can provide basic necessities during a short power outage, one to two day power outage.” Boy Scouts used to know better, taught survival.

The good news, based on two checks as late as 6 January, is that I have not seen any more whirley parts coming into the port of Harbor Island, part of the Corpus Christi system, although there is a small stock remaining. Port now seems dominated by petroleum type vessels. As others noted there is no benefit from freeze protection when the wind dies. Boy Scouts probably used to know that also.

John Bell
January 10, 2022 11:23 am

Typical liberal reaction to something not working – we need more of it! Leftists are nuts.

ResourceGuy
January 10, 2022 11:26 am

When do they get knocked off Facebook and Twitter for being unreliable and harmful?

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  ResourceGuy
January 10, 2022 12:00 pm

Isn’t this misinformation?

Boris B.
January 10, 2022 11:42 am

Natural Gas is renewable, the earth keeps making more and more of it. I believe that the Blue cities should follow their green dream and be 100% renewable and let the chips fall where they may. The officials should have to stick it out with the common folk and suck it up.

DHR
January 10, 2022 11:43 am

There are none so blind as those who will not see.

Harkle Pharkle
Reply to  DHR
January 10, 2022 7:56 pm

Never underestimate the ability of the human mind to cling to a belief in the face of clear and obvious contrary evidence.

– Bruce Ploetz

Chas Wynn
January 10, 2022 11:46 am

Wind generation is intermittent, so by definition, it’s unreliable for the purposes of bulk electricity system dispatch. Period. No experts required.

David Anderson
January 10, 2022 12:02 pm

The most discouraging thing is they are incapable of learning from their mistakes. They make a dog’s lunch of things, their response is to make 2 dog’s lunches.

Harkle Pharkle
Reply to  David Anderson
January 10, 2022 8:13 pm

Most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions they have delighted in explaining to colleagues…and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.

– Leo Tolstoy

Pflashgordon
January 10, 2022 12:15 pm

This story is from the University of Houston’s PBS/NPR affiliate, who are about as reliable as the NYT or the Grauniad. The source of the story, Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC), is a smallish non-profit research center that has realigned their mission and staffing from that of their founder, George P. Mitchell, a petroleum engineer, oil&gas industry pioneer and early developer of fracking. Now that he is dead, the HARC has become a “woke” center that drools sustainability, climate change, renewable energy, diversity and equity. Of course we would expect their spokesman to promote this unreliable, uneconomical “renewables” nonsense. They are in the pay of the “Green Blob.”

Bob
January 10, 2022 12:16 pm

This article tells you all you need to know about the state of higher education in the US today. It is not only lousy but embarrassing.

leowaj
January 10, 2022 12:18 pm

This is exactly how the leftist Marxist machine works.

  1. Suggest “improvement”
  2. “Improvement” put under test by externality.
  3. “Improvement” fails.
  4. Do “research” about failure
  5. Go to step 1.

The output of this algorithm (if you want to call it that) is… dollars. Dollars that the university makes, that is.

Last edited 17 days ago by leowaj
True Conservative
January 10, 2022 12:20 pm

What was Einstein’s definition of insanity … oh yeah, “doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”!

Reply to  True Conservative
January 10, 2022 1:53 pm

It’s worse than that. Having Einstein point out my error is OK (“it takes an Einstein to catch my errors”).

But in fact that’s an adage of Alcoholics Anonymous (origin unknown). They know all about dysfunctionality. Not so flattering for wind advocates to need their guidance.

richkbarn
January 10, 2022 12:53 pm

i happend to be in Texas during Winter Storm Uri. The wind didn’t blow. If wind was as low as 1000 Megawatts improving capacity by 100% would provide 2000 Megawatts with the same exact weather pattern. Not the answer.

Kenw
Reply to  richkbarn
January 10, 2022 3:00 pm

What is a “winter storm Uri”???

Pflashgordon
Reply to  Kenw
January 10, 2022 4:58 pm

Exactly my question. I’m from Texas and nobody was calling it that at the time, except maybe the Wx Channel who are always “Uri”-nating on themselves.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Kenw
January 10, 2022 5:33 pm

That’s what I wanted to know.

Were there 20 named storms similar to the Feb. 2021 arctic cold front, before they got to “Uri”? They do start their storm naming with “A”, don’t they?

Shouldn’t this be called Arctic Storm Uri? Not that I favor naming weather fronts. I think it is a stupid idea which is used as a means to hype human-caused global warming by equating these weather fronts to hurricances. Next thing you know, they will be naming tornadoes.

AWG
January 10, 2022 1:44 pm

Note to self: If you see a University of Houston job candidate, immediately delete the résumé.

Furthermore, I would like to fleshed out the correlation between the Plandemic and the retreat from thermal energy to unreliables.

January 10, 2022 1:47 pm

The article does nothing to support the headline, other than hand-waving to a undiscussed DOE experiment of micro solar plus storage. But it contains this howler:

Storage is competing very well against natural gas peaker plants and actually are lower cost than the natural gas peaker plant.”

Perhaps true, but it’s a daft comparison – batteries providing hours of energy vs. a gas peaked plant that can run for long periods of time.

Devils Tower
Reply to  Larry
January 10, 2022 3:01 pm

Small gas plants are dime a dozen

Here is a link to a sat view of 8 units that back up the local nuke plant in central ill

Lee Energy facility
1674 Red Brick Rd, Dixon, IL 61021

https://goo.gl/maps/3Re2irLGgxCiUwHV6

Note the token solar panels also. Curious to compare usage at site.

If you are good navigating Google street view you can drive by and take a look on I88

Last edited 17 days ago by Devils Tower
MarkW
Reply to  Larry
January 10, 2022 7:19 pm

Wouldn’t surprise me if the grid storage he was comparing against, was the storage that was designed purely to provide frequency stability.

whiten
Reply to  Larry
January 11, 2022 1:07 am

And that;

“Is not even wrong.”

cheers

Steve O
January 10, 2022 2:09 pm

Energy experts say unreliable energy will be key in making electricity more reliable in the future.”

Ireneusz Palmowski
January 10, 2022 2:10 pm

Because of the eastern QBO, I predict with high probability a SSW in late January (even though the stratosphere temperature over the Arctic Circle is low). Strong planetary waves appear in the upper stratosphere.comment imagecomment image

Last edited 17 days ago by Ireneusz Palmowski
Rmoore
Reply to  Ireneusz Palmowski
January 10, 2022 5:03 pm

Well OK then. Falsifiable. ‘Alia Acta zest’
Had to look up QBO to make sure I had the right pro-nouns.
In this instance what does ‘SSW’ refer to please? Hard for me not to think of SouthSouthWest.
Also what is the source of the figures please?

Ireneusz Palmowski
Reply to  Rmoore
January 11, 2022 2:10 am

The relationship between the stratosphere and the troposphere has widely been recognized. During winter, tropospheric planetary waves propagate into the stratosphere along the westerly jet (e.g., Charney and Drazin 1961). More recently, the converse relationship that the zonal mean zonal wind anomalies slowly propagate from the subtropical upper stratosphere to the polar region of the lower stratosphere and the troposphere during the boreal winter, is also noted (Kodera et al. 1990). It has been shown that SSWs occur in association with slowly propagating zonal mean zonal wind anomalies, and the related changes in the troposphere exhibits the Annular Mode (AO) (Thompson and Wallace 1998) like structure (Kodera et al. 2000). Baldwin and Dunkerton (1999) also showed that the downward propagation of the AO from the stratosphere to the troposphere occurs in association with SSWs.
http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/tcc/tcc/products/clisys/STRAT/readme.html
A major stratospheric sudden warming (SSW) ended in the Northern Hemisphere at 30-hPa around 13 February 2021

John
Reply to  Rmoore
January 11, 2022 1:05 pm

Sudden Stratospheric Warming(SSW) is my guess, maybe this is the link for what is being referred to:
https://www.severe-weather.eu/global-weather/polar-vortex-returns-usa-europe-winter-2021-2022-fa/

Ireneusz Palmowski
Reply to  John
January 12, 2022 2:44 am

“To see a practical example, look no further than last winter. We witnessed strong stratospheric warming this year in early January, which was during a west QBO, and might come as a very slight surprise, as negative (east) QBO is usually more favorable for such an event.
On January 5th, the preliminary date of the Sudden Stratospheric Warming event was marked, as the winds around the polar circle have reversed. The stratospheric warming wave has crawled over the entire North Pole in the stratosphere, effectively splitting the cold-core of the polar vortex into two parts.
One part of the broken polar vortex has moved over North America and one over the European sector. At this point, this does not have much to do directly with the winter weather on the surface, since this is at a 30km altitude. But the weather influence followed quite soon after.”
https://www.severe-weather.eu/global-weather/polar-vortex-returns-usa-europe-winter-2021-2022-fa/

Steve O
January 10, 2022 2:14 pm

Run a series of simulation models with different energy source configurations. Use the last 10 years of weather data. Run an optimization. See what it all tells you. Will adding unreliable sources of energy increase reliability, or will adding reliable sources of energy increase the reliability of energy supply?

I guess there’s no way to know for sure until you run the numbers.

Paul Johnson
January 10, 2022 2:17 pm

So long as the shortfall of renewables is predictable, that gives us time to buy a portable generator.

Peter W
Reply to  Paul Johnson
January 10, 2022 4:59 pm

Make certain you have enough fuel for several days of continuous operation.

Peta of Newark
January 10, 2022 2:21 pm

How could they say anything else?

Because within the Dark Age that we’re currently in, for Uni of Houston to step out of line and say anything different, Uni Of Houston would be summarily cancelled.

And everybody within that august institution, Damn Well Knows It.

Pflashgordon
Reply to  Peta of Newark
January 10, 2022 5:03 pm

But the HARC, an independent research institute, not part of the university, is who said these things. Their founder, an oil & gas pioneer and legend, would be rolling over in his grave.

2hotel9
January 10, 2022 2:30 pm

Yes! Investing in renewables will stop the next outage. More gas, more coal, more hydro and more nuclear. THEY ARE THE FUTURE!!!!!

Gary Pearse
January 10, 2022 2:36 pm

Oh no, I thought it would be coming g out of Austin, not Houston. I hope energy authorities and operators are more logical than woke professors.

H. D. Hoese
Reply to  Gary Pearse
January 10, 2022 3:18 pm

Hang on, just got something that may indicate that the University of Texas is sill at it.

Kevin kilty
January 10, 2022 3:12 pm

All this appears to prove is that universities are unlikely to provide solutions to problems going forward. They mainly promote groupthink.

Pflashgordon
Reply to  Kevin kilty
January 10, 2022 5:04 pm

Agreed. Most are woke and should go broke.

Willem Post
Reply to  Kevin kilty
January 11, 2022 12:27 pm

Why risk tenure?
It is much safer to teach wind, solar nonsense.
The gullible students question nothing, even the smarter ones remain quiet.
Why risk a bad grade?

After they graduate, they will go through the motions the same way, even after retirement

THERE IS NO HOPE, BECAUSE THEY CONTROL THE MONEY AND WE, SKEPTICS, DO NOT

Last edited 16 days ago by Willem Post
Doonman
January 10, 2022 3:40 pm

Zero times anything still equals zero. It doesn’t matter how many non producing assets you have.

I’d advise everyone to stay away from the University of Houston as long as they refuse to admit this truth.

D Clothier
January 10, 2022 4:29 pm

Back in the not so ancient days, when I went to engineering school with those remote students who run the Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant in Glen Rose, nuclear energy provided close to 40% of all power to the grid, 35% was natural gas, and 25% was coal. I remember specifically because at the pre-deregulated time any pricing changes had to be approved by the State regulators. The price of natgas had risen 25% and they were trying to justify a 25% price increase for electricity rates. They got a smaller increase approved and later an even larger fee added for T.Boone Pickens wind grid expansion.

Pflashgordon
Reply to  D Clothier
January 10, 2022 5:11 pm

As if GHG emissions really matter, but our present day emissions are substantially the fault of the environmental activists, who successfully shut down the rapidly expanding nuclear industry following Chernobyl and Three Mile Island. If it weren’t for the enviros, Canada could confidently look forward to the perpetually frozen existence that they so seem to love.

Insufficiently Sensitive
January 10, 2022 5:26 pm

If the new University of Austin is up and running, we need seriously to hear from them on this dingbat proposition.

If the University of Houston were running a bilge pump, it would discharge INTO the boat.

Joel
January 10, 2022 6:35 pm

I like to plot data.
Here is the ERCOT data from that storm.
Wind was doing OK prior to the storm as was solar.
After the storm hit, demand sky rocketed while wind and solar collapsed.
Anybody who looks at these graphs loses all respect for so many experts and trusted media sources who say solar and wind were not the problem.
BTW, I was challenged by a liberal engineer about this and he said send me the data. I sent him this graph. No, he said, send me the data. I did. He never got back. Later, I asked him about the data. He vaguely said he couldn’t see what I was talking about, mentioned some vague scaling problem,and that was the end of the subject.
This is a smart guy. They live in a bubble of denial. He works for the US govt and can’t possibly have the “wrong” opinion.

TX.png
Pat from Kerbob
Reply to  Joel
January 11, 2022 12:47 pm

The issue is there was no storm, in the way people think of it.
As the arctic high moves in, along the edges you get some weather as that is the boundary between warm and frigid, that gave some freezing rain and snow, but once the system arrives everything stops. Cold dead air.

My weather channel app shows wind speed hour by hour, i was looking at different part of texas and various times over the next few days, was your basic dead air everywhere.

No wind, no wind power. Doesn’t matter how much you install

Shoki Kaneda
January 10, 2022 7:09 pm

Because doubling down on failure always ensures success.

John Sandhofner
January 10, 2022 7:31 pm

“because utilities lower their expectations for wind generation in the winter in general.” They must have data that tells them winds are not as plentiful in the winter. You can cover all of Texas with wind-turbines but if the wind doesn’t blow you got nothing. Why is this hard to understand? Can lefties be this stupid?

Joel O’Bryan(@joelobryan)
Reply to  John Sandhofner
January 10, 2022 10:52 pm

yes. They are of the no limiting principle mindset.

jeffery p
Reply to  John Sandhofner
January 11, 2022 7:01 am

Yes, yes they can and are. They fall in love with ideas Iin this case fantasies) and never ask questions, never reflect, never open their minds to contrary facts.

Joel O’Bryan(@joelobryan)
January 10, 2022 10:45 pm

The reality of Multiplication by 0 eludes the liberal arts majors.

Iain Reid
January 10, 2022 11:16 pm

Just what qualifications do these ‘experts’ have in power generation and grid operation?
From what I have read from a few academics commenting on power is that they don’t seem to understand the basics?

jeffery p
January 11, 2022 5:08 am

Just keep adding more and more and more and more. Never ever look at the world from outside your ideological POV.

jeffery p
January 11, 2022 5:25 am

It took a little digging, but it seems Dr Gavin Dillingham’s Doctorate is in Political Science and his Bachelor’s is in Psychology (https://www.linkedin.com/in/gavindillingham/#).

He’s not a scientist. He is a Certified Climate Change Professional, however. Interestingly, this is abbreviated as CCP.

roaddog
January 11, 2022 7:29 am

More windmills not spinning – why didn’t I think of that?

roaddog
Reply to  roaddog
January 11, 2022 7:38 am

I’m struck by how similar adding more non-functioning renewables to an inadequate grid is to getting booster shots of a vaccine that doesn’t create resistance to Omicron, to address an outbreak of Omicron.

If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Chad
January 11, 2022 8:27 am

Other than the linked article, I’m not able to find another connection to the Univ. of Houston. I could see a connection to RICE, via their Pythias Analytics group and its Climate Risk Assessment tool. I didn’t spend a lot of time on this though.

I was perusing the HARC financials and it appears that they get ≈50% of their donations from a single donor who is “like-minded” in their cause. Most of the HARC research appears, upon cursory perusal, to promote renewable and some climate-change-is-humanity’s-fault narrative. So it shouldn’t be surprising that they are calling for “carbon neutral” energy generation.

Some questions I would ask:

  1. Who are the “energy experts” at HARC?
  2. Why do they “…say renewable energy will be key in making Texas’ electricity more reliable in 2022”?
  3. What do the energy generators say to the same question?

It would seem the issue was probably a confluence of “poor capacity planning” and “extreme weather”. Why not, instead:

  • Select electricity generating systems that have the ability to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for 365 days out of the year. Or barring that capability, select electricity generating systems that approach that capability to within “Five Nines” reliability.
  • Plan for electricity generating systems that can scale with an increase in the demands being placed upon them. Such that the baseload capacity of the grid never exceeds ≈80% of its capability. (a suggestion only…an actual max amount would need to be computed based upon a variety of factors)

This would necessarily mean you would have “idle” capacity, to the tune of around 20% (using my guess) of the generating capabilities of the system.

Yes, this would exclude Wind and Solar from the electricity generating systems as they are not able to provide continuous duty generation of electricity. But, this would not exclude individual home/business owners from utilizing those technologies to reduce their demand upon the baseload generating facilities. Let them pay for those technologies if they wish to use them. Do not make the baseload consumers foot the bill for those sorts of generating systems when they cannot provide continuous duty operations.

Jim Gorman
Reply to  Chad
January 12, 2022 12:16 pm

20% idle is a little high but not unreasonable in a grid that allows maintenance time for generating units. Refueling nuclear plants or working on generators in a steam plant is not something done overnight. Offline for a month for some maintenance is not unreasonable.

Pat from Kerbob
January 11, 2022 12:39 pm

Continue to be amazed at how these people avoid the obvious.
Freezing is a non-issue, they can be built to not freeze. We had wind turbines operating at -38C last week here in Alberta.

They cannot be built to turn when there is no wind.

Winter is the time of death. Media fixated term “polar vortex” implies some sort of movement but these events are arctic high pressure systems and except around the edges they are wind desert areas. They can cover huge geographic areas and move slow, the one last february took 9 days to pass over AB in which time our wind rarely exceeded 5%.
9 days!!!

So if Texas has 30GW of wind installed now, they can beggar future generations and destroy the environment by increasing that 10 times to 300GW and they still won’t have enough power next time.

Someone needs to explain a mathematical concept of zero to them (tell them its arabic and so its woke to use a concept invented by a visible minority), as in any number times zero is still zero.

ScienceABC123
January 11, 2022 4:47 pm

Let me put this simply… When it comes to reliable power in Texas, natural gas is hard to beat, very hard to beat!

Andy Pattullo
January 11, 2022 7:59 pm

Yes and smoking more cigarettes can help with the discomfort of lung cancer. Taking advice from people like this is a first step on the path to oblivion.

Willem Post
January 12, 2022 2:43 am

Widespread Environmental Destruction due to BBB bill

If Biden’s $4.490-trillion BBB bill becomes law, there would be a vast amount of environmental devastation all over the US, including:

1) On hundreds of miles of pristine, 2,000-ft-high ridge lines, for mounting 500-ft high wind turbines, in New England. The video shows the massive destruction require to install 500-ft high wind turbines on ridge lines in New England. See video


2) On at least 100 square miles of New England meadow land for mounting solar systems, that would produce almost nothing for a few days, after a snow fall, and nothing from about 4 pm in winter, and 5 pm in summer, to about 9 am the next day. The video shows the massive destruction required to install a multi-MW solar system on a wooded area with wetlands. See video


Such destructions would be common-place, and would create huge turmoil among nearby people, all while China, India, etc., continue burning at least 8 billion metric ton of coal, each year, as agreed to during the Glasgow, COP26
https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/wind-and-solar-provide-50-percent-of-future-new-england

If all of New England were to disappear, it would not make one bit of difference regarding global warming and climate change.

China consumes about 50% of the world’s coal consumption of about 8 billion metric ton
https://yearbook.enerdata.net/coal-lignite/coal-world-consumption-data.html



EF014E5E-B4E5-439C-98CA-70130B9C5A61-1641625319.1298-300x180.jpeg
TheLastDemocrat
January 12, 2022 8:08 am

I am really surprised to see this headline.
University of Houston said no such thing.

Universities do not make these types of statements. A research group at UH made these statements.

There could be another research group in the next building over saying the opposite.

I always hate hearing “news” headlines: “Harvard says coffee disrupts sleep.” Harvard didn’t say anything. And neither did JAMA.

People who do not know how the world of research works believes Harvard does research and sends out findings. And, we can trust a headline because “Harvard” said it.

Nope. Doesn’t work that way.

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