h/t Rich Lambert – “… solar generation performed as expected but was not available to meet the peak demand since the peak occurred before sunrise. …”
Apologies and acceptance from Duke Energy over recent rolling blackouts
JANUARY 3, 2023
- A series of systemic failures in Duke Energy’s two utilities triggered outages over Christmas across North Carolina and South Carolina.
- Duke Energy’s “nuclear fleet” was reliable, but solar generation was unable to meet peak demand because it occurred before sunrise.
Duke Energy executives repeatedly apologized and owned up to the situation that caused thousands in North and South Carolina to be without power during a bitter cold snap leading up to the Christmas holiday weekend. The admissions came during a hearing Tuesday before the North Carolina Utilities Commission.
According to testimony before the NCUC, high winds had already left 300,000 without power during the day of Dec. 23 before a severe cold snap later that night and into Dec. 24. Company officials called the weather combination “unique,” saying they used rolling blackouts for the first time in the utility company’s history.
“I want to express how sorry we are for what our customers experienced,” said Julie Janson, executive vice president, and CEO, of Duke Energy Carolinas. “Winter storm Elliott was an extremely powerful event with a unique confluence of high winds, extreme temperature drops, and other conditions that forced us to curtail power as a last resort. We regret not being able to provide customers as much advance notice of the outages as we would have liked, and we acknowledge that the outages themselves lasted far longer than we expected.”
“The power that we purchased did not show up, therefore, we were confronted with the hard truth that our energy demand would soon be eclipsed by our capacity,” stated Bowman. “At that time, we made the only decision that we could. For the first time in our company’s history, we began rolling service disruptions.”
Duke Energy’s “nuclear fleet” was reliable during the storm, according to Preston Gillespie, Duke Energy’s executive vice president and chief generation officer. Still, he said, in a few cases, insulation and heat tracing did not prevent instrumentation lines from freezing which caused a reduction in generation.
…Read more: https://www.carolinajournal.com/apologies-and-acceptance-from-duke-energy-over-recent-rolling-blackouts/
To her credit Duke Energy’s CEO Julie Janson seems genuinely contrite for failing her customers.
Let us hope Duke Energy and North and South Carolina learns from this experience, and they ditch the useless solar energy and build more “reliable” nuclear power plants.
Renewable advocates in other states should also take note. You cannot rely on power purchased from other providers, when others are struggling with their own power shortages, and you can’t rely on renewable energy – it always lets you down when you need it most, like just before sunrise on a bitterly cold December morning.
Update (EW): Fixed a typo in the title, changed “Apologies” to “Apologises”.
No sh*t Sherlock! Weather dependent sources will go down in bad weather, period. As we learned inTexas in 2021, but still do not appreciate, as there is still too much wind on the grid.
Apologizing gets easier and easier as we shall see. A more honest response would be “sorry, but the nummies you voted for slagged the frigging grid with 14th century technology for grinding flour.
Eventually, the apology will degrade to bummer dude.
Maybe the greenies should learn to grow wheat?
The problem is too little dispatchable capacity. Wind should be a virtue signalling optional extra, paid for by those who want their power to be more expensive, with payments including the costs of extra grid capacity and any curtailment of dispatchable power.
HIGHLY SUBSIDIZED, EXPENSIVE, INTERMITTENT, VARIABLE Solar is a nothing burger from late-afternoon/early-evening (peak hours) to about 9 am THE NEXT DAY.
ANY GROCERY CLERK UNDERSTANDS THAT
The WOKE Duke MANAGEMENT folks, top to bottom, are guilty of poor planning.
The WOKE management of Duke should be ousted and replaced with realists
The simple solution is to have adequate oil and gas storage near dual-fuel power plants
I think the management of Duke understands all that. I also think they have operated and planned the way they have because their ratepayers and the states they operate in want renewable power, and want a lot of it. It is very hard to go to the Public Utilities Commission (or whatever it is in a given state), and tell them you disagree with their orders and state law. With state laws being what they are with Certificates of Necessity, and approval for units to be included the rate base, a utility can’t afford to build and operate facilities it can’t charge its customers for.
I am not saying they and others didn’t make mistakes, but the shortfall in power was largely driven by the demands of the states, ratepayers, and the federal government. both inside of Duke and outside where they had purchase contracts. You simply can’t demand that utilities and the states they operate in meet high percentages of renewable power, and then complain when they have it and it fails to perform.
As I commented below, I used to work for Duke. Utilities have to do what the state orders or will allow, when it comes to generating capacity. If the goal of all concerned is to keep the power flowing no matter how adverse the conditions, things will go well. If not, then they don’t.
I appreciate this “angle,” but I don’t think “the ratepayers” are the ones asking for it. It’s the idiots in government all the way down.
Further, to the extent “the ratepayers” DO support expansion of worse-than-useless “renewables,” it’s because they are deliberately and constantly misinformed about the “ability” (NOT) of the latest virtue signaling, worse-than-useless “renewable” installation to “power x number of homes,” when in reality it can do no such thing.
And THAT is where utilities need to be proactive – they need to step up and indicate that the more “renewables” go into the grid, the more electricity will increase in price and the less reliable it will be.
Because “the ratepayers” might be deluded enough to vote for “doing something” about the “climate” Boogeyman, but they never voted for “more expensive electricity PLUS brownouts or blackouts as a ‘bonus’.” Some clarity from an authoritative source on the latter might lead to less of the former.
I was in Austin for four 7-degree/F days without power in Feb 2021. Luckily, I had natural gas for my stove and hot water and kept my water running to prevent freezing. I could take a hot shower and heat my house with my stove and cook. I had combo CO/CO2 detectors; so, didn’t worry about heating with the stove.
The media narrative that natural gas and wind “caused” the outages is patently false. While both wind and natural gas had significant outages because of freezing temperatures, natural gas recovered and increased output by over 400%, singlehandedly staving off a blackout in Texas. Wind did NOT recover because after the front blew through, THERE WAS NO WIND, and the absence of wind output — a quarter of the Texas grid — prolonged the outages.
This is not my opinion, these are the facts as reported by the ERCOT 2021 Fuel Mix Report (link below) for anyone that bothers to look:
Link denied to me for being outside the US, or perhaps just outside of Texas. Or perhaps because I did too much sleuthing for their taste when they blew it.
I can’t wait to read the media’s coverage of the first Anal-Bowen event to occur down under.
Will it be reported with front page gusto or as a by-line on page 36, amongst the classifieds.
I think we all know the answer to that.
Bowen got lucky. As JoNova noted Sydney had an extraordinarily cold Summer in 2022, first time in 163 years since records began that temperatures at the Sydney Observatory never hit 32C / 90F.
Electrical generators were not the idiots who made policy decisions that got us to this point. Duke is being overly contrite for something that occurred primarily in the halls of mindless power under the influence of greedy thoughtless saboteurs of modern society. Who could have foreseen the collapse of solar power when Sol is below the horizon? – just about any grade schooler with an IQ above 50.
Not entirely true. Recently, a non-technical, and very politically short-sighted, but not generally dumb individual, made fun of some politician who while pushing back against so much ‘renewable” installation. The politician stated that she and her constituents did not want to be left in the dark just because the sun wasn’t up yet. The fun maker said something along the line of ‘she is so stupid she believes solar can’t provide electricity just because it is dark’. When I attempted to get some clarification of what she was trying to tell me, she became defensive and declared “we need to not talk about this anymore”. Some of these people are just terribly ignorant of such topics; they have some screwy ideas but no idea why they are screwy ideas.
This is similar to the Oz PM saying (paraphrased):
“Solar panels on your roof charging your car overnight”
probably where the rumor started
The virtual-certainty that this would happen makes me reluctant to believe that these industry executives do not expect it. The alternative is that they wish to protect their livelihoods in such a way as to be able later to claim that it was unexpected. They are thus ALL shown to be lying to save their skins, when in fact they should all be dismissed and replaced by technical realists! For whom the first urgent action should be the cessation of more solar and windmill construction while coal- and gas-fired generation is accelerated.
I’m happy to give her the benefit of the doubt, unless anyone has evidence she’s a bad actor. I’m sure she was aware of the possibility, maybe the contrition is she didn’t push harder for energy policy sanity.
January 6, 2023 6:36 pm
The virtual-certainty that this would happen makes me reluctant to believe that these industry executives do not expect it.
January 6, 2023 6:43 pm
I’m happy to give her the benefit of the doubt…
Mike Lowe nailed it, Eric Worrall didn’t.
She didn’t push harder? Julie Janson is the CEO for God’s sake!
Why don’t you stop carrying water for these stinking people?
Duke energy’s largest shareholders are Vanguard followed by State Street and BlackRock. All three are net zero advocates, so Julie would have had a lot of pressure to follow the narrative.
Interestingly Vanguard quit the Net Zero Asset Managers group on Dec 7th, possibly due to pressure from GOP legislators.
So yes, Julie is CEO, but she also has to answer to a bunch of woke accountants who own the company.
I’m cautiously optimistic. Given Vanguard getting cold feet over participation in the Net Zero Asset Managers group, just maybe they’re ready to listen to a little common sense feedback regarding the guidance they give to energy companies they own, at least when it comes to protecting the value of their investments from damages lawsuits and from aggrieved customers, and legal sanctions from GOP lawmakers who want to prevent further grid management incompetence.
Why is there no talk of serious financial consequences hitting these shareholders in Duke Energy.? Do they somehow have ‘protection’ from “Big Brother” and it’s NET ZERO EMISSIONS Policies?
To me it smells of Communism.
The consequences if any will be expressed through reduced earnings and possibly a dip in share price, if Duke Energy has to pay any compensation, fines, or is required to perform network upgrades to prevent a repeat.
There is another issue why the utility companies are reluctant to push back on these policies that they know pose risks to reliability. The politicians that mandate the nonsense are also the ones who control the public service commissions that approve the rate cases for the utilities. Those commissions can make or break the company rate requests, down to the line item of executive salaries.
Please see my comment above. You are exactly right–they are only doing what they have been ordered to do.
I used to work in the utility industry–specifically for Duke and one other. This was and is the way you have to do business. It works fine if everybody has the same goals–to keep the lights and heat on, even in the most adverse conditions. If the goal is something else–well, you get something else.
While I appreciate that “flak” may be received from “investors,” Duke’s CUSTOMERS are the parties it has to serve, “woke” investors be damned.
And it will be pretty hard to justify any “action” against a CEO who is protecting the value of shareholders, which CANNOT be done by undermining Duke’s ability to reliably produce its product.
Fiduciary duty cannot come in second to political bullshit.
Where’s Daisy Duke when you need her?
Gone to seed …. like most of us !!
It costs a lot less to apologize than to prevent. Remember, there are heavy fines for not meeting the renewable energy targets. Leaving your customers freezing in the dark, not so much.
That is a problem only voters can address.
Right now, voters want renewable power. They just don’t think it leads to power outages.
Hopefully more voters are connecting the dots between those pushing and implementing the “solutions” to global warming and why they are waking up freezing in the dark.
Where do the utilities have a choice?
It is unconscionable that Mr. Sun does not arrive as needed. How dare it!
A presidential decree is needed to compel sunrise to occur an hour prior
to the grid’s need.
This should have been done the same day Bandon cancelled
the Keystone XL project.
Apology doesn’t fix the problem.
“The power that we purchased did not show up…”. A new motto for the Department of Energy.
Maybe they should have all the pinwheels face the same direction and power them at night using all those grid scale batteries (that will, someday, be everywhere) to speed up the Earth’s rotation so that the Sun rises sooner and the solar panels can take over and recharge the grid scale batteries?
If we’re going to do geoengineering to stop global warming, we might as well do something that makes sense! /Sarc
Any competent electrical power engineer knows that the instantaneous electrical demand has to be met every second. Anything short of that leads to load shedding or worse – system collapse. There is no excuse for not providing sufficient power to meet every foreseeable circumstance. It’s as simple as that! And in this context, relying on intermittent power sources will always lead to failure, because the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow or the energy storage batteries go flat and so on.
An Energy Company ‘apologising’ for their abject failure is an indication of gross incompetence, people should be sacked and the system fixed. It’s not difficult unless there is some underlying agenda to kill fossil fuel. Perhaps a kinder analysis is that like many utilities, Duke has become fixated on its models to the extent that the models have become the “real world.” In which case they should take note of a second rule .. “Models are always wrong.”
One other thing. Duke Energy would be well advised to do proper research about the weather and solar activity because from available information that is easily found, the sun in moving into a grand solar minimum that could last decades. If so, these ‘abnormal’ weather patterns could become more normal with disastrous consequences unless proper dispatchable power is available when needed.
Duke, like other utilities, has been ordered to build the kinds of generating capacity that the voters, ratepayers, shareholders and state legislators want. It is not the most reliable capacity, and in crunch situations, that comes out, and not in a good way. Believe me, they know the limitations of what they have been ordered to do. The people who ordered it, not so much.
An apologie is an excuse to avoid taking action to fix the problem.
Now they know all they need do the next time is say how sorry they are while they keep getting the fat paycheck.
As a matter of disclosure, I worked for Duke many years ago and Duke stock is the largest single investment in my IRA.
For those who missed it in the links, the reason Duke was short on capacity was because the governor would not let them build gas plants.
Executives at large utilities do not publicly blame governors for failure to protect the citizens or cause power to be more expensive if they are smart. However, they do put the information out there and let readers figure out who to blame.
During the 2000/2001 rolling blackouts, Califonia Gov Greyout Davis publicly blamed Duke. Letters from Duke CEO pleading with Davis to issue permits and press releases showing that LADWP was the biggest profiteer never made it to the public.
Davis got recalled and Duke decided not to do business in a state to stupid to learn.
In the US, power companies serve the public and if the public wants rolling blackout they will get them. I would be surprised if the public served by Duke wants rolling blackouts and will learn.
furthermore this has nothing to do with wind and solar. I was in the control room of a new nuke being tested at 100% power when a winter weather occurred. That plant prevented grid collapse when it was 40 below. However, the PUC would not let the plant in the rate base because it was not needed.
On my next bill the power company apologized. Sorry we has to make your electricity with expensive oil and sell the cheaper power to NYC.
The PUC and the governor got the message in their bill.
Thanks for the background Kit. My crystal ball tells me despite being CEO, Julie’s hands are tied when it comes to generation mix decisions. Maybe she’ll get a bit more leverage in the wake of the blackout.
Thank you Kit. I am also a former Duke employee, and hold a fair amount of stock. I keep it because they are a well run utility. The system is set up the way the states want it, putting things in the rate base they like, and not allowing what they don’t.
It looks like (going by the graph in the article) they had the same problem 2 days in a row. It also looks like they had goold old coal blasting away for days on end. Imagine how bad things might have been if they had swapped it out for ruinables.
The take away from this mea culpa piece from Duke is, ‘we can control perfectly energy provision under our command, such as nuclear and FF but have no control at all over energy sourced from others or from variable weather energy generating systems.
Oh, and an acknowledgement that solar panels do not work in the dark.
Winter storm Elliot was described as a unique set of circumstnces, unique until the next one that is?
We usually get about two “arctic excursions to the Gulf” a year in the U.S., so at least the Obsessed Storm Namers won’t run out of names for arctic cold fronts.
I’m sticking with dates as the means to designate an arctic cold front.
Elliot just doesn’t do it for me (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it), and naming arctic cold fronts is unnecessary as there is only one arctic cold front at a time coming through, unlike hurricanes, where there can be a number of active hurricanes at the same time, so naming hurricanes is a better choice.
I remember when The Storm Cha … er … The Weather Channel started naming winter cold fronts. They tried to get NWS to go along with them but they refused.
It is kind of stupid. (Why not name summer storm fronts?)
Notice that they don’t name blizzards. There have been blizzards that have “earned” a name. History has given them names.
But “Furious Flurries Fred”? Nonsense.
and since the last one
We’re sorry. Now back to installing more unreliable power.
I hope not.
Do you actually thing there is even the slightest chance not?
At least they moved to rotating power cuts in good time, unlike Texas in 2021 which left it too late, making the problems far more widespread.
The key lesson is you need to have dispatchable capacity to meet demand. If your bill payers are prepared to pay extra to layer renewables on top, good luck.
From the artcle: “A series of systemic failures in Duke Energy’s two utilities triggered outages over Christmas across North Carolina and South Carolina.
Duke Energy’s “nuclear fleet” was reliable, but solar generation was unable to meet peak demand because it occurred before sunrise.
Duke Energy executives repeatedly apologized and owned up to the situation that caused thousands in North and South Carolina to be without power during a bitter cold snap leading up to the Christmas holiday weekend. The admissions came during a hearing Tuesday before the North Carolina Utilities Commission.”
The shortage of electricity didn’t occur because the demand happened before the sun came up. The shortage happened because Duke Energy had no backup plan for supplying electricity when the sun doesn’t shine.
Poor planning, not the time of day, was the cause of these rolling blackouts.
Wind and Solar have to have 100 percent conventional backup (coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear) for the grid to function properly. Duke Energy obviously doesn’t have 100 percent backup, and so we get rolling blackouts.
If this way of business isn’t changed, then we can expect more rolling blackouts in the future from Duke Energy and every other producer of electricity that doesn’t back up unreliable Wind and Solar 100 percent.
And, since Wind and Solar require 100 percent backup for the grid to function properly, what’s the point in building more Wind and Solar? We should just build the 100 percent conventional backup and trash the idea of Wind and Solar.
“And, since Wind and Solar require 100 percent backup for the grid to function properly, what’s the point in building more Wind and Solar? We should just build the 100 percent conventional backup and trash the idea of Wind and Solar.”
I am a Duke customer in northwest SC (Oconee County). We lost power Christmas Eve morning around 7 am with the temperature in the low teens. When I reported the outage on Duke’s website, I was informed that I was part of a known outage and that “crews were working to restore service”.
The naming (winter storm Elliott) of a to-be-expected weather event (a few days cold snap in the winter) in the CEO’s comments, coupled with the message that “crews are working to restore” a service that was intentionally shut off due to Duke’s over-reliance on unreliable sources of power, feels a lot like trying to shift blame for an outcome that Duke could have avoided had they focused on their business; reliable power generation, rather than trying to help slay the imaginary climate change dragon.
The only fix to this man-made collapse of reliable electric service is for all the customers to unite and speak with one voice that reliable electric service must be provided at all times.
Legislatures and governors are accountable–elect new ones!
Companies are forced by appointed regulators to accept unreliable solar/wind and
contracts that cannont or won’t deliver. Governors can change them.
Their investors and stockholders should also unite to support legal actions as necessary to repel insane, damaging, potentially deadly shortfalls in electric service.
One state action will help. Many states’ actions will fix it.
Our lives and livlihoods depend on having available reliable 24/7/365 electric service.
“The power that we purchased did not show up, therefore, we were confronted with the hard truth that our energy demand would soon be eclipsed by our capacity,” stated Bowman.
Surely, it is that the ‘capacity’ (to provide power), would be eclipsed (over-ridden) by the ‘demand’.
Is ‘my’ logic off, or is Bowman’s?
Should have read “our capacity to produce electricity would soon be eclipsed by the demand for electricity. ”
They can’t even get the apology right.
“… solar generation performed as expected but was not available to meet the peak demand since the peak occurred before sunrise. …”
Please point us to any “apology” w.r.t. renewables. They apologized for a “system failure”. As in Texas, renewables “performed as expected”. Also as in Texas, the “failure” was in not providing backup in these parts/thousand extreme events.
In Texas, that should have been done by girding up the natural gas to electricity infrastructure. That capacity is largely already there on nice days. Some chemical injection lines on well tubing, well site heat tracing, gas production units and/or well site dehydrators, instead of/in addition to low bid liquid drop outs, remote and live monitoring of liquids collection in general, replacement of pneumatic valves with e valves (per EQT, who knows how to produce gas in the cold), modernizing of natural gas storage (per Gavin, in California), prioritization of electric service to gas and gas associated well sites and gathering facilities.
All in all, the practical, lowest cost solution for Texas, as recommended in two mostly ignored studies. Duke needs to ponder this, as did ERCOT, but actually act on the recommendations…
What proven reliable energy did the unreliables replace?
What Government regs required that the compressors in Texas for Natural Gas be electric instead of fossil fuel?
“What proven reliable energy did the unreliables replace?”.
Renewables aren’t “unreliable”. Yes, their output is weather and time of day dependent. But we know – or should have know that. You have to do the work of deciding whether the fact that they use free fuel is worth it.They replace mostly fossil fuels. FYI, natural gas – a fossil fuel – “let us down” in Texas, w.r.t. what we expected it to do, more than renewables. A home generator is “reliable”. So, how thoughtful would it be to run and maintain it 27/7/365, so it will be “there when you need it”? Not rhetorical, please respond…
“What Government regs required that the compressors in Texas for Natural Gas be electric instead of fossil fuel?”
I don’t know. But FYI, most natural gas wells are now highly electrified. Monitoring, actuation, low to medium heating requirements, all require electricity. They are almost as likely to stop producing with natural gas powered well site/gathering system compressors as with those compressors with electric prime movers.
Do we pay dollar bills to the earth trolls guarding the oil as it comes up the well? Simply, it costs to harvest energy sources, whatever they may be.
I have no idea what you’re trying to say here. Your next comment is much more intelligible.
You were implying that wind has a special status of being free. It doesn’t. It has a low marginal cost. So does oil production when the well produces naturally under its own pressure.
“You were implying that wind has a special status of being free.”
Please don’t respond to what I didn’t say. I said that the fuel was free. I also said that every user needs to pen and pencil costs.
“So does oil production when the well produces naturally under its own pressure.”
A flowing well might well have low daily costs.* But in toto, maintaining PD production takes CAPEX and OPEX. In our sweetest play, the Permian, producers are up against enough old fashioned, non Biden, geologic and petroleum engineering/economic realities dictate enough “capital discipline” that they will not replace the 2022 PDP SEC oil reserves in 2023. So, Peak Permian – and therefore Peak CONUS – oil is upon us. Since much of the gas used in Texas is oil associated, by bu bye to that too, soon
*FYI Permian water cuts are such that these wells – even new ones – are few and far between. Most are lifted. Lift tech has improved greatly in the 55 years since I first pulled slips over the Sooner Trend, under age. But it’s still costly…
You think that there are no costs in keeping wind turbines operational?
The Ghawar field produced for decades at a cost of below 25 cents/bbl. Even with inflation the costs remain under $5/bbl.
“You think that there are no costs in keeping wind turbines operational?”
No. that is why I’ve said twice now that life cycle discounted cash flows, with ALL external costs included, need to be compared to possible alternatives for any such project. Solar and wind provide free fuel, for the 3rd time.
“The Ghawar field produced for decades at a cost of below 25 cents/bbl.”
Operative word, “produce(d)”. As probably the worlds most profitable and prolific field, it is many decades old and declining. It is utterly unrepresentative of modern, hyperbolically declining US oil shale fields. It is a textbook water flood, and has the sharpest, best defined flood front of any reservoir in the world. But it is a hallmark of oil’s past, not of it’s future.
The best look at Saudi’s fossil fuel future in not in oil at all. Rather, it’s in it’s Jafurah shale gas play. They have the geology, the expertise, the CAPEX, the indentured $300/month labor force, and the Ben Dover attitude to the environment and worker safety to pull it off. Important, but historically tiny and emblematic of the late maturity of fossil fuel extraction, even within the kingdom.
Of course, our mirror shaded, journalist chopping, women hating “Partners in Peace” would be lost without the $50+B/year we spend to subsidize their political/military risk, via the 5th fleet in Bahrain. Bigger pic, most of the remaining prospects are in conflict areas.
The claim has repeatedly been made in print that EPA regulations required the compressor change from gas powered to electric powered.
Being weather dependent is the poster child for unreliable. Yes Solar and wind, especially wind power is unreliable. I don’t have to link the wind to power generators to observe that, here at least, it varies greatly quite often, blowing hard, blowing soft, blowing not at all, over and over for hours at a time. Large clouds moving across the sky, brightening and dimming the day time, are also not unusual.
“Yes, their output is weather and time of day dependent.”
Let me spell that for you:
Yah, I only get power from a fuel free source – by far the largest cost of any electricity – part of the time. Boo hoo…
RU one of my grade school grand kids?
The problems in Texas were not caused by difficulties with gas gathering onshore (which were real in themselves, but no more critical than an offshore hurricane leading to production shut-in would be). There was plenty of dry gas in storage that was being pumped to power stations before the big trip knocked out power supply to key compressors, starving the stations of gas. It was the loss of power to compressors that prevented a more rapid recovery (and indeed progressively led to other stations being starved of fuel, making recovery like a game of whackamole).
The reason why the big trip occurred was that ERCOT ran out of dispatchable capacity as wind output fell, and all it took was one trip with no spinning reserve to cause the cascading blackout and automated load shed. They failed to do what Duke did, which was to initiate rolling power cuts to maintain a reserve.
“…before the big trip knocked out power supply to key compressors, starving the stations of gas.”
The “big trip” was in turn, cased by improperly prioritizing electricity to those compressors. I trust you on Texas’s failure to institute the “rolling blackouts” that would have enabled that.
Yes, wind output fell, but who expected it not to? For this low probability, high impact event, the gas powered electricity should have been brought on line in time to stop this. I.e., a failure of planning, and lack of connectivity outside the ERCOT grid.
Bigger pic, inadequate gas to electricity backup in the first place. After all, if you got rid of wind turbines, you would need it anyhow. So why not spend relative pennies on the dollar to have it in place without having to use and maintain it 24/7/365?
“There was plenty of dry gas in storage that was being pumped to power stations..”
I’ll also trust you on this. However, in general, gas storage tech is low bid, last century. Converted fossil fuel wells with inadequate cement/hydraulic isolation, antique downhole safety systems. It was in California until Gavin dope slapped it a few years ago, after their big leak.
They were using every available gas generator, and running many of them beyond nameplate. There was none to be brought on as reserve. That’s the point. Not enough capacity. None to spare in neighbouring regions either.
The Gulf Coast is replete with salt cavern storage for gas and crude. It’s where most of the SPR is held too. The storage worked well. It supplied 156bcf in a week.
You really should stop wasting your time arguing with the boob. If you ignore him, maybe he’ll get bored and go away. He never says anything remotely rational.
“They were using every available gas generator, and running many of them beyond nameplate.”
They weren’t using them if the big trip knocked out gas compressors, per your previous post. But that’s my point. If you get rid of wind, you must increase gas to electricity capacity to use most of the time, and in all weather extremes. If you keep wind, you must increase gas to electricity to use hardly ever, and in all weather extremes. One depletes dry and associated gas reserves over an order of magnitude faster. Plenty enough to overwork producers, even though they would be moving far along on the marginal cost curve, and would charge more /mscfg.
“The Gulf Coast is replete with salt cavern storage for gas and crude. It’s where most of the SPR is held too. The storage worked well. It supplied 156bcf in a week.”
As I said before, glad to hear it. The deliverability problem was then elsewhere.
It doesn’t work like that. As wind penetration increases it displaces baseload generation from coal and nuclear. The increased amplitude of intermittent production means that gas needs are essentially unaltered in overall volume although the capacity need increases to replace baseload on windless days. Only when wind capacity expands to the point where a large proportion of output is curtailed does it start to displace gas, and marginal additions displace less and less gas, making their effective cost a multiple of their supposed lCOE, because very high percentage of their output is useless.
“It doesn’t work like that. As wind penetration increases it displaces baseload generation from coal and nuclear.”
Not based in fact. Coal and nuclear were flipping and burning before wind added capacity.
Coal is too dirty, even if you don’t believe in AGW. The costs to clean it up are prohibitive, especially when you add in the so far avoided asset retirement asset retirement costs, and the clean up of ash pits. There’s also the shirking of miner health care and the shorting of their pension benefits.
Even if you think that nuclear is safe (I do) every facility in the CONUS hosts nuc waste in their respective back 40’s, “temporarily” stored. Until the DOE finds a state willing to take it (they’ve been looking for the past 2 years, in a new attempt), it’s a non starter.
Read the TT article I provided. Texas mostly uses gas for baseload electrification. period. And cutting wind power means using more of it, at higher incremental cost if you use it almost all of the time.
Again, you have 2 choices in Texas, if you want reliable electrical delivery in extreme conditions, you either (1) gird up the natural gas to electricity infrastructure for scale and extreme condition reliability, when wind power declines, or (2) get rid of the wind power and gird up the natural gas to electricity infrastructure for scale and extreme condition reliability, and use it almost all of the time.
Yes based in fact. It is exactly what has happened in the UK and Germany. And Texas, come to that.
In as much as coal had to be replaced by something, wind played a part. But coal was doomed in the US no matter what. Reread the reasons why in an older post. Both natural gas and renewables made more sense in the aughts. This is why the use of both forms of energy increased.
Also, if you can observe between the 2 charts provided, in spite of your claim otherwise, Texas nuc stayed rock steady.
So will nuclear be expanded or even replaced when it reaches end of life?
Coal lost out through the costs of internittency. Warm up or kept warm to cover wind intermittency is costly.
The point you are trying to deflect from is that wind has not lowered gas use, which was your initial claim.
“The point you are trying to deflect from is that wind has not lowered gas use, which was your initial claim.”
Wrong. My initial claims were that:
Coal declined in use in the US mostly because of regulatory stupidity and cheap (shale) natural gas.
There is nothing “prohibitive” about modern pollution controls for coal plants, only the idiotic regulatory environment stops coal.
Coal is better baseload power than gas, since unlike gas it can be stockpiled.
Wind and solar, on the other hand, are worse-than-useless.
I read the Tribune article which mainly consisted of ERCOT propaganda defence full of half truths and assumptions before any proper investigation had commenced (dateline Feb 16th 2021). What does not lie is the record of grid frequency and generation data. Those clearly demonstrate the facts I have relayed.
“I read the Tribune article which mainly consisted of ERCOT propaganda defence full of half truths and assumptions before any proper investigation had commenced (dateline Feb 16th 2021).”
Trans: The article does not jibe with my prejudgments.
Yes, it committed the faux pas of getting it right prematurely. That’s why it meshes with the 2 ERCOT reports, after the last 2 large, weather extreme initiated, Texas power outages. Happy to post them….
The article does not report all the facts. It is quite clear from the frequency trace that ERCOT failed to ensure adequate reserve was maintained, with frequency running persistently low after 1 a.m., and progressively sliding lower until the big trip and automated load shed, after which the frequency actually rebounded to the high side at 60.6Hz, demonstrating how out of control the control room was.
The official report is a cover-up of that reality.
“It is quite clear from the frequency trace that ERCOT failed to ensure adequate reserve was maintained, with frequency running persistently low after 1 a.m., and progressively sliding lower until the big trip and automated load shed, after which the frequency actually rebounded to the high side at 60.6Hz, demonstrating how out of control the control room was.”
All reported by ERCOT, if you had actually read it. And all part of the core problem, the inability to maintain natural gas to electricity deliverability.
“The official report is a cover-up of that reality.”
Q symptomatic. The report fully covered reality, just not your fervently wished for alt.reality. This is generally true, with WUWT cherry picking commenters. I still get a kick out of commenters whining about how their formerly trusted sources are letting them down, and now they have to fort up like a Branch Davidian to stay pure. Especially rib tickling are the tales of woe about betrayal by radical liberal organizations like All Of The Weather Organizations In The World, the Society of Petroleum Geophysicists, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, and so on….
the inability to maintain natural gas to electricity deliverability.
A.k.a a capacity shortage. Why do you have to try to obfuscate? It must be to maintain your quaint myths. You’re the real Branch Davidian here.
Yes, it’s called depending on wind power.
And the “big trip” was caused by wind, which was providing 30% of TX generation, face-planting when the winds went calm in the wake of the storm.
Spin it any way you like (not “you” in this case). The failure of wind power was the domino that started the whole mess. Replace that 30% with coal plants and you in all likelihood have no issue.
What pretzel logic. “Performed as expected” doesn’t mean much when the “expectation” is “produces nothing.”
And any generating “source” that produces nothing at the whims of the weather or time of day is worse-than-useless.
The “system failure” was introducing worse-than-useless wind and solar into the grid, when it solves no problems, creates lots of new ones, and drives up costs while degrading reliability.
““Performed as expected” doesn’t mean much when the “expectation” is “produces nothing.””
“Performed as expected” doesn’t mean much when the “expectation” is “produces nothing a few parts/thousand of the time.”
“And any generating “source” that produces nothing at the whims of the weather or time of day is worse-than-useless.”
Not with free fuel – by far the largest cost of any electricity production – it isn’t. Folks, this is the repeated “I’m going to run and maintain my Generac 24/7/365, so it will be READY WHEN I NEED IT” bad wiring.
The last para of yours is just a Gong Show wrap up of the failed assumptions you already made…
Nonsense. You have to look at the whole system costs of integrating wind. The first few turbines make little difference to overall costs, so the cost is approximated by LCOE calculations. Add more and you start to need to invest in additional grid stabilisation to cope with flicker. Add more and you start hitting the operating regimes of other plant on the grid, which gets forced to operate at reduced efficiency and with more frequent ramping that imposes wear and tear and adds to maintenance cost. Reduced running hours means that capital cost must be recovered from reduced sales volumes.
Add more and you reach the point at which wind has to be curtailed to ensure adequate inertia is available. Add more and it has to be curtailed because it exceeds demand in low demand hours and storage is unable to cope economically. Add more and the hours of curtailment increase, and the amounts of curtailment in .ow demand hours also increase. Overall curtailment increases quadratically, and wind needs to recoup its costs from uncurtailed output. Meanwhile periods of surplus imply zero or negative spot prices, requiring subsidies to keep inertia providing generation operational. Supply on windless days is barely affected by all the increased wind capacity. Storage, other than as an aid to grid stabilisation remains uneconomic.
The marginal useful output from adding more wind farms falls sharply. The result is that just the raw cost of useful power from wind (ignoring the on costs for extra transmission capacity and dented economics for other generators etc.) becomes a rapidly escalating multiple of LCOE. It can reach 10 times LCOE and still fail to replace the need for almost 100% backup generation.
DukeDark Energy Apologises for Winter Storm Renewable Energy Failure, Rolling Blackouts
The Anthony Albanese, the Australian Prime Minister has to be excused for saying :
“Solar panels on your roof charging your car overnight”
because he is a diagnosed imbecile whose nickname is “Sleazy”.
I tried looking at what happened to Duke over the Christmas period
It seems they under-forecast demand on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but initially managed to meet the demand. There are signs that some of their intertie purchases may not have shown up later on: a lesson in having your own capacity. There is also some reduction in gas generation, and also for coal. No wind on their lot it seems. Solar is just not a factor – it remained derisory for days either side of Christmas.
If you check the various grid websites on a regular basis, you might note that they regularly underforecast demand. It seems to be a feature of their forecasting programs. However, if they had the reliable 15% reserve capacity that was an industry standard when I worked in the utility business, underforecasting would not be the problem it is now.
It is my understanding that the overbuilding of renewable capacity has resulted in reduced availability of reliable generation, and the two sets of generation don’t mesh well together if the renewable capacity isn’t available when needed. That is an observation that applies grid wide, not just to an individual utility in the grid, since you should, by rights, be able to rely on your contractually obligated neighbors.
I am a SC resident and was fortunate not to be part of the rolling blackout. But I am likely one of the users using plenty of power that day. Our home uses a heat pump for cooling and heating. Well, heat pumps don’t work too well when the temperature drops to 6F. So what happens is the system switches to all-electric heat. On a typical winter day, our home draws about 30 KWh, but on 12/24/22 it was close to 120 KWh. The day before and after were also pretty high close to 80 KWh.
I don’t think Duke actually has much independent solar power, most of its solar power is likely from homeowners who have solar panels on their roofs. And fortunately, it has little wind power since we don’t have much wind here.
Now that is a very important measure of the consequences of relying on heat pumps. They may just about make sense in the Southern US where extreme cold is rare, but covering quadrupled demand is always going to be difficult. Trying to do the same at more northerly latitudes, especially replacing gas fired heating, would be chaotic.
Duke has been pushing solar hard for quite some time. I see ads constantly from them about it. We’ll see if this changes anything.
The main cause of this problem was an electricity shortage in the Eastern Grid, especially in and near the area of the Tennessee Valley Authority. The main causes of this shortage were record high demand and insufficiently winterized power plants freezing up. Somewhat similarly in Texas in February 2021, the main problem was power plants freezing up because of Texans not preparing for a normal part of normal Texas weather.
Nope. Once again it is a lack of dispatchable capacity that is to blame.
This Yahoo News article doesn’t state the cause of lack of dispatchable energy. An article at https://www.tennessean.com/story/news/local/2022/12/23/why-tennessee-valley-authority-ordered-rolling-blackouts-in-nashville/69754538007/ says the cause of the trouble was demand 35% above normal and a few coal and natural gas power plants being down due to freezing temperatures.
Given that neighbouring TVA also had to institute rolling blackouts because of a lack of capacity it seems everyone was relying on everyone else to provide capacity. 35% above normal in winter is likely similar to an aircon peak in summer, so not out of the range of expectation.