Gas Power Saves Texas from Blackouts, As Wind Power Collapses Again!

From NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

By Paul Homewood

Over the weekend the US declared a Grid Emergency in Texas, as temperatures plummeted.

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/us-declares-texas-grid-emergency-180011531.html

https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/texas-power-prices-spike-more-165419011.html

The emergency order from the US Energy Department allowed the state’s grid operator to exceed certain air pollution limits to boost generation amid record power demand in the state. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, whose service area includes 90% of electric customers in Texas, requested the emergency order Friday, warning it may need to resort to blackouts. TRANSLATION  – fire up more coal and gas plants!

Fortunately a repetition of the blackouts last year was avoided. But as we can see, it was gas power which came to the rescue, as wind power collapsed to virtually nothing at the same time as demand surged:

https://www.eia.gov/electricity/gridmonitor/dashboard/electric_overview/balancing_authority/ERCO

Texas has 35 GW of wind capacity, but output was running below 5 GW throughout Saturday, and down to 2 GW for much of the day. This certainly was not due to lack of wind, quite the opposite in fact. Whether wind power collapsed because of the winds being too strong, or because of freezing up, I do not know. But either way it was a weather related issue.

Thankfully ERCOT was able to call on ample gas power capacity, both to replace the loss of wind power and meet surging demand, which peaked at 74 GW, about 15 GW more than normal.

Without that gas power, Texas would have faced a catastrophe.

You can forget about importing power from other regions as well, because the Arctic weather covered about two thirds of the country, so there would have been no surplus renewable power anywhere.

Joe Biden still wants carbon-free electricity by 2035. How many millions of Americans will freeze to death if he gets his way?

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John Shewchuk
December 26, 2022 6:07 pm

Can wind turbines be burned as a power source?

Bryan A
Reply to  John Shewchuk
December 26, 2022 9:49 pm

The heat generated from burning the wind turbine might be sufficient to produce a quantity of steam capable of generating electricity at least equal to the amount that can be relied on over the course of the wind turbine lifespan

joel
December 26, 2022 6:24 pm

You just don’t get it.
ERCOT will announce that wind and solar met expectations and that NG fell short of expectations.
Geez.

wilpost
Reply to  joel
December 27, 2022 8:07 am

With enough heavily subsidized, expensive, grid-scale battery systems, all heavily subsidized wind and solar would work great, but no one would be able to afford it, except the private plane/private yacht flyers.

BATTERY SYSTEM CAPITAL COSTS, OPERATING COSTS, ENERGY LOSSES, AND AGING
https://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/battery-system-capital-costs-losses-and-aging

This article has nine parts

Solar electricity increases with the rising sun, is maximal around midday, and decreases with the setting sun.
 
The Owners of traditional generating plants, to avoid grid disturbances, are required by ISO-NE, the NE grid operator, to reduce their outputs when solar is present, which decreases their annual production, kWh/y, and increases their costs, c/kWh, plus increases wear and tear of their plants, i.e., those services are not “for free”; they are charged to ratepayers.
 
Electric grids with many solar systems have major midday solar output bulges, that are counteracted by the traditional power plants reducing their outputs. Combined-cycle, gas-turbine plants, CCGTs, perform almost all of the counteracting (aka balancing) of the variable wind and solar outputs.

Those plants have to increase their outputs during the peak hours of late afternoon/early evening, when solar will have gone to sleep until about 8 or 9 AM the next morning.

Last edited 1 month ago by wilpost
Tom Halla
December 26, 2022 7:00 pm

But as wind is subsidized, we get too much of it, and less gas or refurbished coal plants. There has been quite a lot of investment in wind, which regularly fails.

Dick Meyers
December 26, 2022 7:05 pm

The morons over at democraticunderground.com will be slitting their wrists.
They were so hoping for s disaster that they could hang around Gov Abbot’s neck.

Scissor
Reply to  Dick Meyers
December 26, 2022 7:12 pm

Consider making a donation. Call 1-rzrs(4)morons.

Kevin
December 26, 2022 7:16 pm

Just build more wind and solar power. /sarc

Bob Meyer
December 26, 2022 7:35 pm

According to Newsweek, the major losses in power were from coal and gas. In the first part of the article we learn that

“Many Texans experienced power outages on Friday amid strong winds and the brutally cold temperatures, with more than 77,000 customers losing power, according to PowerOutage.us. As of Sunday afternoon, a little more than 5,000 customers were without power.”

Later on we learn that no Texans lost power according to ERCOT.

As usual, there is no attempt to reconcile the two claims, most likely because natural gas saved people from freezing to death and that simply cannot be allowed to be known.

https://www.newsweek.com/greg-abbott-faces-texas-grid-emergency-power-plants-fail-1769570

Chris Hanley
December 26, 2022 7:40 pm

One of the top reviewers (Brian) of Alex Epstein’s Fossil Future on Amazon gave the book one star concluding his long negative review: “This is a book that can easily be dismissed by simply looking out your window and seeing the impact of the climate crisis”.
So there you go all you deniers in US just look out the window 🥺 .

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Chris Hanley
December 27, 2022 4:51 am

“by simply looking out the window”

I guess Brian thinks he can see CO2 just like Greta does.

It’s so simple, isn’t it, Brian. Just look out the window. What a moronic statement!

Brian, nothing you can see out your window confirms that CO2 is anything other than a benign gas, essential to life on Earth, or that CO2 needs regulating or control.

When you “look out the window”, Brian, you are not seeing what is there, you are seeing what is in your fevered, CO2-addled, imagination.

Bill Parsons
December 26, 2022 7:40 pm

Curious about this failure of wind. What is the problem with turbines in strong wind and snow conditions? Or were there downed power lines again?

vboring
Reply to  Bill Parsons
December 26, 2022 8:30 pm

Wind turbines can be damaged by too much wind – the gearboxes can’t take. It is possible to design better equipment, but it would be more expensive. Wind plants typically have contracts that do not compensate them sufficiently to install the more expensive equipment.

davezawadi
Reply to  Bill Parsons
December 27, 2022 1:40 am

Its much more complex than that vboring. There is a wind speed range over which a turbine blade can extract useful energy from wind, even with variable pitch operation. To work at higher or lower speed requires a significantly different blade contour. Too much wind and they will snap, too little and nothing happens. Then there is the problem of ice on the blades, once there they will not work at all, and given enough ice (which could be many tons), again they may be damaged or break off. The weight may well not be very even and the lack of balance will damage all the mechanical parts with very large vibration forces. Freezing solid is also possible. Its not money, its engineering!

Reply to  Bill Parsons
December 27, 2022 3:56 am

The winds failed to cooperate on Saturday and Sunday. So the wind turbines “performed about as expected” with inadequate windspeed. On Friday, the coldest day, wind worked OK, but solar flopped because it was overcast.

Coal & nuclear provided steady baseload, covering ~25-30% of demand and natural gas covered everything else. At no point did demand even come close to ERCOT’s available capacity. The relatively minor power outages were local and largely due to wind damage to transmission lines.

It doesnot add up
Reply to  David Middleton
December 27, 2022 5:40 am

Hit the play button at the link and watch the wind die.

https://www.ventusky.com/?p=31.4;-99.4;5&l=wind-10m&t=20221222/0000

Time is I think GMT, not CST, so allow 6 hours.

Last edited 1 month ago by It doesnot add up
Bill Parsons
Reply to  It doesnot add up
December 27, 2022 7:51 am

Good interactive graphic. Shows the collapse of available wind over the days 23 – 26.

Reply to  Bill Parsons
December 27, 2022 8:55 am

In Dallas, Thursday morning, the temperature dropped from 43 °F at about 9:00 AM to 21 °F at about 11:00 AM. By Friday morning, it was down to 11 °F.

On 12/22, ERCOT had ample wind power. The day-ahead outlook for 12/23 showed almost no available wind power.

I took these screenshots Thursday morning at ~11:25 AM CST.

comment image
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You can see solar beginning to flop due to overcast skies…

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And the Saturday outlook for wind power was dismal…

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The same thing happened back in Feb 2021; except it affected the entire mid-continent and lasted almost a week.

Wind works just fine in Texas in spring and fall, when the winds are steady and demand is at the lowest. It doesn’t work so well in summer and winter.

In Dallas, Thursday morning, the temperature dropped from 43 °F at about 9:00 AM to 21 °F at about 11:00 AM. By Friday morning, it was down to 11 °F.

On 12/22, ERCOT had ample wind power. The day-ahead outlook for 12/23 showed almost no available wind power.

I took these screenshots Thursday morning at ~11:25 AM CST.

comment image
comment image

You can see solar beginning to flop due to overcast skies…

comment image

And the Saturday outlook for wind power was dismal…

comment image

The same thing happened back in Feb 2021; except it affected the entire mid-continent and lasted almost a week.

Wind works just fine in Texas in spring and fall, when the winds are steady and demand is at the lowest. It doesn’t work so well in summer and winter.

Last edited 1 month ago by David Middleton
Barnes Moore
December 26, 2022 7:58 pm

Anyone thinking wind turbines can power an industrial society should watch a video of the end to end process of building one. I just watched part of a Mike Rowe hosted “How America Works” episode where they showed giant blades being off loaded from a large ship onto tractor trailers for transport to the site. The ship had no sails, the cranes used to hoist the blades onto the trailers did not run on batteries, nor did the trucks hauling the blades. Thats just one small part of the overall process. When watching something like that, any sensible person would immediately know how completely imbecilic all of it is.

doonman
Reply to  Barnes Moore
December 27, 2022 1:47 pm

Not to mention the high carbon steel towers required to support the turbines under wind load.

Nik
December 27, 2022 4:12 am

Without government (i.e., taxpayer) subsidies (direct, indirect, and regulatory), there would be no industrial-scale wind and PV farms. This tells you all you need to know about “renewables.”

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Nik
December 27, 2022 4:59 am

Exactly right, Nik.

Without government interference in the market, there would be no large-scale “renewable” power generation.

Want to know why your electricity bills are soaring? Answer: Government interference in the marketplace.

And for the record: It has been claimed that the last arctic blast was the worst in a decade, but the artic blast of February 2021, was much worse, at least in my area, than this latest arctic cold front. In February 2021, the temperatures here got down to -12F. This latest arctic cold front got us down to +3F. A much milder arctic storm.

Last edited 1 month ago by Tom Abbott
Loren Wilson
Reply to  Tom Abbott
December 28, 2022 10:11 am

Last year in Houston it was colder and for longer. I call it the St. Valentines Day massacre. I was watching the committed reserves number on the ERCOT dashboard and they had a lot of committed reserves, unlike last time. it looks like ERCOT actually got the memo this time that they had to be prepared. I am sure that cost some money but well worth it. I did not have any power outages at my house nor lose water.

corev
December 27, 2022 5:54 am

Texas’ ERCOT again proves that relying upon renewables REQUIRES at least 100% LONG TERM BACKUP for baseload.

Adding new backup sources adds to overall pricing for generation. That adds to inflationary pressure. What doesn’t rely on electricity? Accordingly, you see what has been a major cause of the world’s current inflation, which has been compounded on bad decisions on sourcing their electricity fuel.

To compare electricity costs only the Full Cost of Electricity (FCOE) https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=4000800 should be considered for comparisons.

B Zipperer
Reply to  corev
December 27, 2022 8:04 pm

corev
Thanks for the link! It was a fabulous read with lots of links.
It details all the reasons that we should NOT be using LCOE to compare costs
of energy sources [especially wind/solar vs dispatchable oilo/gas/nuclear/hydro].

And one of my favorite quotes from it:
” • The IEA confirmed in December 2020 (IEA 2020c, p14): “…the system value of variable renewables such as wind and solar decreases as their share in the power supply increases”. This would also remain true if the price of renewable capacity (cost item 1: Cost of Building) continues to decline or even were to reach zero. For example, it doesn’t change the conclusion even if the price of solar panels produced with coal power in China partially using forced labor reaches zero (Murphy and Elima 2021). This would also remain true if wind or solar technology would reach an impossible 100% quantum efficiency.”

Wow.

It doesnot add up
December 27, 2022 5:54 am

In fact ERCOT managed to export nearly 1GW to SWPP during the demand peak. Not possible without the fossil fuel contribution.

JC
December 27, 2022 6:00 am

TX NG is saving the day in TX and PA NG is saving this chilly day in PA from the high expense of Grid power. Complicating the day is free e-charging stations rapidly e-liminating the choicest parking spots and reserving them for the EV e-lite., The parking spots for horse and buggies have been either eliminated or pushed to the outer fringes of the parking lot in a community of 14% horse and buggy Mennonites.

rah
December 27, 2022 10:08 am

According to Joe Bastardi, this winter is not over for Texas. He just tweeted:

“I was trying to warn them about this again. Was texting people down there December 11 and then every other day. We have a big company in Texas so we forecast the weather for them. A word to governor abbott beware mid /Late January”

Mason
December 27, 2022 1:44 pm

Paul, during the first hours of the arctic blast wind was near 20 mph and the wind generation was near 24 GW. As the front moved thru, the wind gradually dropped, eventually getting down to 5 mph. I watched the grid website and the wind speed website over the 2 days in question. It was fascinating!

donklipstein
December 27, 2022 7:18 pm

Regarding “This certainly was not due to lack of wind, quite the opposite in fact. Whether wind power collapsed because of the winds being too strong, or because of freezing up, I do not know.” I noticed this got posted about 2 days after the start of the lack of wind power, while the most conveniently available weather histories of National Weather Service stations including wind readings only cover the past 3 days. I noticed the one for Dallas Love Field at https://w1.weather.gov/data/obhistory/KDAL.html saying wind was calm (with one exception of 3 MPH) at every hourly reading from 21:53 12/24 to 08:53 12/25. The first reading above 10 MPH after that was at 18:53 12/25.

donklipstein
December 27, 2022 7:31 pm

Regarding “You can forget about importing power from other regions as well, because the Arctic weather covered about two thirds of the country, so there would have been no surplus renewable power anywhere.”: As I documented in another comment, there was a lack of wind that explained the drop of wind in Texas. That happened the way that happened in February 2021, with the windless central part of an Arctic high pressure air mass going over Texas. It was plenty windy elsewhere in the US that got this Arctic cold, but that didn’t spend time in the middle of the Arctic high pressure area. For that matter, most of Texas has their main impediment to importing power from elsewhere being having their own Texas Grid, independent of the Eastern Grid and the Western Grid.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  donklipstein
December 28, 2022 4:02 am

North of Texas the wind was too strong for the windmills to operate. From Oklahoma to South Dakota the winds were in the 20’s mph gusting to 40 mph. Fossil fuel was the mainstay almost everywhere. There wasn’t much left over to share.

donklipstein
Reply to  Tim Gorman
December 28, 2022 10:22 am

Wind turbines work quite well at wind speeds of 20s to 40 MPH. Ontario Hydro says their wind turbines work best at 50-60 km/h which is about 31-37.5 MPH. And that the maximum wind speed for their turbines working at is 90 km/h which is about 55-56 MPH. University of Rhode Island says wind turbines work at up to 55 MPH.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  donklipstein
December 29, 2022 3:02 pm

Then why was every windmill around here idled? Static testing of a turbine in a wind tunnel is not like operating in a gusty outside environment where the load and wind direction is constantly changing as the weather front progresses and snow and ice buildup happens.

posa
December 29, 2022 7:39 pm

Imagine the savings and efficiencies of building an energy grid powered by 2-3 reliable energy sources that are available more or less 24/7/365… instead of investing billions and billions of energy sources that largely sit idle.

niceguy12345
December 30, 2022 5:55 pm

It’s always “every energy source has had failures” (during a particular weather event); that is, no energy technology is 100% reliable.

That some energy sources at all generators but one online in the crisis while others had almost zero output is a detail. None was at 100%.

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