Electrified Compressors and the Great Texas Blackout (a threat to grid reliability everywhere)

From MasterResource

By Ed Ireland — May 4, 2023

Ed Note: “Electric natural gas compressors contributed to the near collapse of the Texas power grid in 2021,” Ed Ireland argues below. “All U.S. power grids face the same risk.” His first-hand knowledge of this instance of ‘deep decarbonization’ politics gets to the why-behind-the-why of the still-debated Texas blackout, the worst electricity debacle in the history of the industry.

“The anti-fossil fuel movement started pressuring North Texas cities and towns to require electric compressors on natural gas pipelines based on arguments that the air pollution from natural gas-powered compressors was causing increased asthma and other health problems…. I said that electrifying natural gas pipeline compressors was a terrible idea that could affect the availability of natural gas when it was needed most, such as during bad weather events. Unfortunately, I lost that debate….”

A recent article in The Electricity Journal pointed out that the natural gas pipeline network in the U.S. is vulnerable to electricity outages. How can that be? Surprisingly, critical parts of the U.S. natural gas pipeline grid now depend on electricity.

The study, which the authors say is the first rigorous effort to identify the number of U.S. electric compressor stations, examined data from 2008 to 2020 and found that:

During times of high gas demand, electric outages that disable compressors at these stations can significantly reduce gas available to downstream generating stations. In some cases, the resulting outages could be as large as or larger than the most severe single-cause failure currently considered in electric reliability planning (emphasis added).

Of these outages, they determined that several areas of the country were especially vulnerable to electric outages:

California, the Midwest, the Gulf Coast, and the East have high levels of installed electric compressor capacity. New hydraulic models, verified by past events, show that disrupting power to a single pipeline compressor station can force a loss greater than 2 gigawatts of downstream gas generators (emphasis added).

It is not generally known that natural gas pipelines have, little by little and under the radar, become increasingly dependent on electricity. Recall the parable of a frog in a pot of water that is gradually heated to boiling, but the frog overlooks the danger until it is too late. This describes the electrification of natural gas pipelines that occurred so slowly that it was virtually unnoticed.

The electrification of gas pipelines occurred as the compressors, which are required to keep the gas moving through pipelines, were changed from natural gas to electricity. Compressors are necessary to keep the natural gas moving through the pipeline network. The average distance between compressor stations in interstate pipelines in the U.S. varies, but compressors are usually required every 50 to 100 miles. If any of these compressors fail, the entire pipeline shuts down completely.

Based on their findings, the authors suggest that electric utilities immediately incorporate the identified facilities into critical facilities lists. The authors’ findings support the recommendations of a recent study by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine:

In contrast to well-established reliability reporting and standards for the electrical system, the gas system has almost no reliability transparency or oversight.” Establishing a federal gas reliability organization, comparable to what is now done for electric power, could improve gas reliability by establishing appropriate reliability reporting, incident investigation, and minimum industry standards.


From the beginning of natural gas pipelines, compressors were powered by natural gas. That made sense because the pipelines were full of natural gas, so pipelines powered themselves. But gradually, compressors were electrified so slowly that, to follow the parable, they, like the frog, didn’t notice what was about to happen.

I observed the early phase of the movement to replace natural gas-fired compressors with electric gas compressors starting around 2010 when I was Executive Director of the Barnett Shale Energy Education Council, headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas. As the Barnett Shale developed in the early 2000s, thousands of natural gas wells were drilled, many in urban areas, and pipelines and compressor stations were constructed to carry the natural gas to markets.

The anti-fossil fuel movement started pressuring North Texas cities and towns to require electric compressors on natural gas pipelines based on arguments that the air pollution from natural gas-powered compressors was causing increased asthma and other health problems. In 2012, the Denton City Council invited me to participate in their project to rewrite city ordinances that regulate natural gas drilling and pipelines.

I distinctly recall a public meeting in which I said that electrifying natural gas pipeline compressors was a terrible idea that could affect the availability of natural gas when it was needed most, such as during bad weather events. Unfortunately, I lost that debate, and the City of Denton changed its city ordinances to require electric natural gas compressors within its city limits. Similar ordinances quickly spread to other municipalities within the state of Texas and eventually to other natural gas-producing states that pipelines pass through.

As shown in the map above, the use of electric compressors on gas pipelines has now become so pervasive that the entire interstate natural gas pipeline network is effectively compromised. An interruption in the generation of electricity can cause some natural gas pipelines to shut down, which interrupts other parts of the natural gas pipeline grid and potentially shuts down multiple pipelines.

An early indicator of the problems caused by the electrification of natural gas pipelines was Winter Storm Uri which hit Texas and much of the nation in February 2021. This was detailed in my article “The Texas power grid was minutes from collapsing in 2021 and declaring an emergency in 2022.”

Here’s what happened. The entire state of Texas was hit by Winter Storm Uri, which resulted in all 254 counties in the state experiencing below-freezing temperatures, with much of the state temperatures in the teens and below zero in some areas for almost an entire week. Freezing temperatures affected all forms of electrical generation, starting with frozen wind turbines, freeze-offs at natural gas wells, and even problems with coal-fired generators and nuclear power generation plants.

As the temperatures dropped and people turned up their heat, the demand for electricity exceeded the supply, and rolling blackouts were ordered to maintain the integrity of the electrical grid. The grid operator, ERCOT, ordered rolling blackouts to balance supply and demand. Unfortunately, some local electricity companies did not have good information on the location of natural gas wells and compressor stations, so some blackouts shut down natural gas wells and pipeline compressors. In turn, this reduced the natural gas supply to gas-fired power generators. This caused a death spiral in electricity generation to the point where the Texas grid was within 4 minutes and 37 seconds of completely collapsing.

After Winter Storm Uri, ERCOT and the Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) recognized that they did not have good data on the location of critical natural gas pipeline infrastructure, including natural gas wells with on-site compressors and the location of all natural gas pipeline compressors that operate on electricity, in addition to the critical customers that depend on electricity to maintain their supply of natural gas.

The RRC highlighted the importance of this information by establishing a new department, the Critical Infrastructure Division, which maintains up-to-date data on all infrastructure required to maintain natural gas supplies to power generators. The RRC published new rules that require gas pipeline operators to provide that information and keep it updated on an ongoing basis.

While Winter Storm Uri caused the Texas power grid problems in 2021, such problems can be caused by the destabilizing impact of wind and solar on power grids, for example. If a sudden decline of wind and solar results in disruptions of electricity, natural gas pipelines can be shut down, which causes a domino effect of more power outages. With more power grids sounding alarms about the instabilities caused by wind and solar, power grids are increasingly facing blackouts and the resulting shut-downs of natural gas pipelines that, in turn, can cause a loss of electric generating capacity.

Where do we go from here?

U.S. power grids have been warning that they are destabilized by wind and solar power generation. Add to that the potential problems they may face as a result of the electrification of natural gas compressors, and the tenuous situation becomes clear.

More power grid operators need to consider their own versions of the rules that ERCOT and the Texas Railroad Commission are implementing.


Ed Ireland, adjunct professor at TCU’s Neeley School of Business, received his B.S. from Midwestern State University and Ph.D. from Texas Tech University. This analysis was originally posted at Thoughts About Energy and Economics (free subscription).

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May 5, 2023 2:35 am

Please note that a robust and reliable natural gas infrastructure is contrary to the political goal of degrading and eliminating a robust and reliable natural gas infrastructure.

May 5, 2023 3:33 am

It seems to me, in the UK, that most gas compressors, be it CH4, CO2 or even H2 are powered by electricity – as are wind turbines, and they appear to cook the books.

“Large wind turbines require a large amount of energy to operate. Other electricity plants generally use their own electricity, and the difference between the amount they generate and the amount delivered to the grid is readily determined. Wind plants, however, use electricity from the grid, which does not appear to be accounted for in their output figures. “

So there’s one major difference; turbines cannot work without a functioning grid in place to begin with. Why is that?  

Yaw control, blade-pitch control, lights, controllers, communication, sensors, metering, data collection, etc. Heating the blades, heating and dehumidifying the nacelle, oil heater, pump, cooler, and filtering system in gearboxes, hydraulic brakes, thyristors, magnetizing the stator, and using the generator as a ‘starter’ motor.

It’s quite a list and it could well be that at times a wind turbine consumes a very large percentage of its rated capacity in its own operation.

If only we could get rid of them.

Rich Davis
Reply to  strativarius
May 5, 2023 5:01 am

Yes, they are a bit more complicated than the federal tax code, but to make up for the complexity, they have a useful lifetime that is a quarter to nearly a third as long as a natural gas or coal-fired power plant.

What’s more, they provide power to the grid up to 40% as often as a nuclear plant. So backup power sources are only used 60-70% of the time. Admittedly the power isn’t always needed when it’s supplied, but the wind itself is FREE.

Seriously peeps, what’s not to like? Windmills provide a good excuse to cut roads through old growth forests. Remember those spotted owls we’ve been trying to eradicate? And let’s not forget the beautiful power lines that criss-cross wilderness areas lending an air of civilization.

These quixotic monuments reduce the risk to small rodents of being eaten by majestic raptors, since their bird shredding prowess is unsurpassed. At sea, they are steadily ridding the waters of annoying whales.

Most importantly, large corporations are in some cases avoiding all tax payments through the subsidies that they provide. (Politicians, too benefit from the graft, er contributions that the big corporations make to get the gravy train rolling).

These benefits make tripling the cost of electricity to consumers and reducing grid reliability a clear and compelling bargain for the average Joe. Only a far right MAGA monster would resist this progress.

Reply to  Rich Davis
May 5, 2023 5:54 am

they have a useful lifetime”

No, I disagree.

They lose on average 3% capacity per year, so even after as little as 11 years you are down to two thirds capacity and falling.

Reply to  strativarius
May 5, 2023 7:15 am

Well, I agree with Rich, their capacity to kill things is steady throughout their whole lifetime. Their electricity production is largely irrelevent.

Reply to  strativarius
May 5, 2023 10:16 am

I think you missed his sarcasm 🙂

Rich Davis
Reply to  strativarius
May 6, 2023 4:12 am

Some of you far right wing MAGA monsters would probably say that windmills have no useful lifetime because they raise the cost and lower the reliability of the grid from day 1 of use, while possibly reducing beneficial atmospheric fertilization over many years, after accounting for the CO2 emitted during construction.

Why do you hate progress so much? Thank Gaia we have big oily boob to defend against your smears.

Iain Reid
Reply to  Rich Davis
May 6, 2023 12:04 am


you said :- “So backup power sources are only used 60-70% of the time”

It depends on what you mean by back up.
There are plants that run infrequently at times of peak loads but for the grid to operate with a large amount of connected renewables requires synchronous generators to balance supply and demand, in the U.K. it’s Closed cycle gas turbines. These provide a lot of power when wind is weak and vice versa, much like a see saw.
However they also provide inertia and reactive power so much of the available capacity is running at low load. This is very uneconomic and detrimental to efficiency and plant life. However it is necessary for grid stability. A portion of that capacity will be running with no load just to be available when wind output drops off as it does. Due to wind output being based on a cube of the wind speed it doesn’t take much drop in wind speed to bring a much larger drop in output.
Technically and economically it’s a very poor way to run a grid, and the apparent reduction in CO2 emissions from renewables is not as large as may be popularly percieved.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Iain Reid
May 6, 2023 3:57 am

Let me amend my statement to incorporate your comments, Iain.

Some argue that windmills are more than a bogus tool for subsidy farming. Some actually argue, albeit not entirely convincingly, that the net effect of windmills and all of the other systems necessary to counteract their effects on grid stability may actually be reducing the amount of CO2 emissions to a significant degree. Angry evil MAGA far right maniacs disagree of course.

Reply to  Rich Davis
May 6, 2023 10:05 am

However, the smart, Mensa, Sensible MAGAS know that you are spreading AWEA Propaganda.

Rich Davis
Reply to  usurbrain
May 6, 2023 10:45 am

Ur 2 funny Mr. Brain.
Satire…look it up.

Reply to  Rich Davis
May 6, 2023 11:17 am

Obviously, that is NOT Satire.
Get a Brain.

The negative one gives you away.

Last edited 1 month ago by usurbrain
Reply to  Rich Davis
May 6, 2023 9:08 am

50 years working in the Nuclear Power industry, Utilities and Navy. After the navy I tested electrical systems at NPP and Coal power plants. During this time, I frequently spoke with Utility Dispatchers and Utility Distribution technicians and engineers. Commercial power plants RARELY use their own power

Reply to  Rich Davis
May 6, 2023 10:01 am

@Rich Davis. Take a freshman course in Business Management.

  1. Generated power AND Consumed power are metered separately.
  2. Profits are made on Generated power. The higher the generated power the higher the Profit.
  3. Consumed power is an EXPENSE and tax deductible.
  4. Read “http://www.aweo.org/windconsumption.html”
  5. Add up the typical power used by a WT. Hint, greater than 15%.
  6. That power is used every hour, every day all year, some even when in maintenance.
  7. Even if only 10% LOLOLOL That is 10% of Name Plate Rated Power (NPRP) subtracted from the annual generated power which has a less than 33% annual generation.
  8. HS Math tells me that all you get then is 23% of NPRP, annually or a 23%CF.
Rich Davis
Reply to  usurbrain
May 6, 2023 10:26 am

Hi usurbrain,
I think you’re responding to points made by other commenters?

Anyway, all of my comments here should be understood as satire, in case your brain didn’t register that, or you weren’t using it for some reason. 😜

I’m sure my wife is right when she says “You think you’re funny, but you’re not!”

Reply to  Rich Davis
May 6, 2023 11:26 am

Your wife is correct. Obviously, you are not good at Satire. Avoid the confusion, add a “/Sarc off/” at the end. Good satire takes a Very high IQ – Mensa level and higher, [derogatory comment omitted]
Good satire takes a Very high IQ.

Reply to  usurbrain
May 6, 2023 8:27 pm

Good satire takes a Very high IQ

I guess we need to add: Good satire takes a person with an IQ above naught to recognize.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Drake
May 7, 2023 10:24 am


Don’t be too hard on him. Looks like a mild case of Asperger’s. Takes things too literally, has difficulty recognizing humor, doesn’t realize when he’s being rude.

Some very high IQ people have that disability. I’m sure he has to be pretty smart to do all that nuclear engineering work.

Reply to  Rich Davis
May 7, 2023 3:44 pm

An entire decade of global spending for renewable energy has only increased its usage across the world by “one per cent”, says One Nation Chief of Staff James Ashby.
“We have pumped $3.8 trillion into renewables across the globe over the last ten years,” he told Sky News host Paul Murray.
“82 per cent of the globe is run off fossil fuels, and you know over the last ten years how much $3.8 trillion has moved that needle – one per cent.
“One, lousy, per cent – it ain’t going to happen.”

$3.8 Trillion X 82 = $311 Trillion ~25% of which is in the USA. that would be $77.9 Trillion over twice the National Debt and 28 times the typical annual budget.
Net ZERO will result in bankrupting the USA.

Reply to  strativarius
May 5, 2023 5:08 am

At the point of utility interconnection, wind plants consume about 1% of their plant rating as load. A 300 MW plant consumes 3 MW. This is for sites that don’t have electric blade heaters to avoid icing.

Solar plants consume a little, too. For transformer no-load losses and and to reset the solar tracking to morning positions.

When running, these plants prefer to use their own power to run these systems. It is generally much cheaper than buying power from the grid.

Reply to  vboring
May 5, 2023 5:55 am

As I pointed out: “Other electricity plants generally use their own electricity”

Reply to  strativarius
May 6, 2023 10:17 am

I have worked at over five power plants in Startup and Maintenance Outage TESTING. All HAD seperate Generator (GRID) metering and House Load metering. Generated power went DIRECTLY to the GRID at a very high voltage. House Load, (the pumps and compressors and coolers, computers) was from a seperate substation at a lower voltage and often from a completely different power company. Maade no difference as Generation was INCOME, House Load was an Expense and Tax Deductible. To take the House Load from the Generated (GRID) line would add another transformer, one rated at the higher voltage and very expensive, and DECREASE PROFIT. 

Last edited 1 month ago by usurbrain
Frank from NoVA
Reply to  vboring
May 5, 2023 6:59 am

‘Solar plants consume a little, too. For transformer no-load losses and and to reset the solar tracking to morning positions.’

Thanks for bringing this up. I note from looking at 2022 hourly solar generation data on the PJM website that there is a very consistent amount of ‘negative generation’, i.e., about 5-6 MW, from 5 pm to 6 am every day.

Reply to  vboring
May 5, 2023 12:14 pm

An article, a few years ago, by a person who had been trying to get information on turbine electricity use and whether it came from the grid or not. At least some of the time it has to come from the grid so the main question was “is it being metered and charged for, or is it another hidden subsidy to wind power? (“proprietary, not available to the public”). I would not be surprised if the article was published here, on WUWT.

Not being able to get actual data, he compiled a list of potential electricity usage based on publicly available engineering specifications. While no particular aspect of that usage could be active at all times, the potential total usage was somewhere around 40% of generation if I remember correctly; definitely far above 1%.

Reply to  AndyHce
May 6, 2023 10:22 am


Reply to  AndyHce
May 6, 2023 11:37 am
Reply to  strativarius
May 6, 2023 11:14 am

Back in the late 70’s NJ was hit with a cold spell that set a record going back several decades. During that time the demand for NG was so great that PSE&G had to stoke coal they had for electrical generation to make “Coal GAs” and increase the NG pressure to a pressure needed to deliver the Gas to their customers. With Bidens War on FF just how is PSE&G or JCP&L going to provide NG in a comparable situation? I know that there have been only minimal improvements in NG pipelines in the last 40 years.

Ron Long
May 5, 2023 3:42 am

What a great update by someone directly in the know as regards a wake-up-call event. This issue of risk due to electricity availability is also applicable to the nuclear power industry. Remember at Fukashima the electric grid was compromised by the initial effects of the tsunami, then the back-up generators on-site were flooded and came off-line. Then the radioactive rods could not be pulled and the temperature went critical, resulting in large steam explosions. There needs to be adjustment in new nuclear reactors, like ceramic ball or downward escape tubes where power rods fall if the electricity is cut, so they don’t have to be pulled. The problem is that the CAGW Looney agenda will not allow upgrading anywhere, so the downward spiral continues.

Matthew Bergin
Reply to  Ron Long
May 5, 2023 5:57 am

Those reactors were built in the 60’s. If they had upgraded the reactors at Fukushima to the generation 3 reactors this issue would not have happened.

John Oliver
Reply to  Matthew Bergin
May 5, 2023 9:28 am

Yes I am always surprised that so many nuclear plants had such obvious points of failure. So many of these” accidents “ could have easily been prevented. Penny wise and pound foolish- I don’t know the the reason; but was really damaging to the reputation of a transformational power source.

Reply to  Matthew Bergin
May 5, 2023 9:55 am

When Fukushima happened, I was shocked to learn about the rods and the above ground storage of the spent rods. I was trained in Nuclear Engineering and worked for Duke Power. The other thing was half of Germany’s nukes were the same design as Fukushima. Duke used the B&W design with rods that automatically drop and shut down the reactor when power fails. The spent rods are held in basins in the ground. The two designs were developed at the same time.

Germany was looking for an excuse to eliminate nuclear power and they used it. This will prove to be a fatal error as they proceed on this deadly path.

TMI was a duplicate B&W plant, poorly run. The reactor was subject to a hydrogen bubble that could not be cleared.

Reply to  Mason
May 5, 2023 5:20 pm

That is an interesting take, that Germany was looking for an excuse to eliminate nuclear power. I do not buy it. I cannot believe that a group of specialist engineers would co-operate to build major plant with a known fault when there was an alternative design. Also, the resistance to nuclear in my reading of history was not strong enough at the time of building to force this choice. So, do you have links in support?
Geoff S

Gregg Eshelman
Reply to  sherro01
May 5, 2023 10:00 pm

The anti-nuke people do everything they can to block upgrades of older nuclear power plants. The less they get upgraded, the more likely there will be problems and when there is a problem they’re ready to jump out of the weeds screaming “We told you nuclear power isn’t safe!”.

The reason why things like the Fukushima control rooms looked like they were 40 years old, is because they were 40 years old – when they should’ve had major updates at least once a decade.

The same has been done with coal, oil, and gas fired power plants. Bush Jr. tried to get regulations passed to allow older power plants to upgrade their pollution controls as much as *practical*. But the anti-everything people blocked it. They demanded that if any upgrading was going to be done, it would have to be brought up to the same standards as a new power plant.

Of course to “upgrade” an old power plant built in past decades to current standards would require knocking it down and building a new one. So of course that wasn’t going to happen because if a plant gets demolished the same people would do everything they can to stop its replacement being built.

So older power plants kept right on polluting instead of being upgraded to pollute much less.

Ashby Lynch
May 5, 2023 3:59 am

It seems like everyone else is installing diesel generator backup. What are the roadblocks to that approach in this cadr?

Reply to  Ashby Lynch
May 5, 2023 10:24 am

They could even install, oh, I don’t know, natural-gas-powered backup? It’s sitting right there in the pipes 🙂

Ashby Lynch
Reply to  stevekj
May 5, 2023 12:19 pm

Yes, it seems like you could have a two or three day supply of compressed gas on site.

Reply to  Ashby Lynch
May 6, 2023 8:32 pm

Why bother, you have a PIPELINE FULL??

May 5, 2023 4:12 am

Good article. Shows the complexity of energy distribution systems and the policy damage of “green/ CO2” mandates.
Another slant on the conversion of natural gas compressor stations to electric:
In the ’90’s in Pennsylvania pipeline owners realized that electric compressors were much cheaper to operate and maintain than gas engines. And less irritating/damaging to the local areas.
I recall 1-2 year paybacks. It was a great load for utilities (2MW, continuous load!)..a win-win situation.
Of course the transmission source was within the PJM grid control area, and was as yet undamaged by deregulation and the wild CO2 mandates.
It was also the time when natural gas was being advocated and promoted by the same organizations that became the CO2 fiends. Government, too, was mostly neutral and more focused on lowest costs.
How times have changed.

Reply to  nyeevknoit
May 5, 2023 5:53 am

“…..owners realized that electric compressors were much cheaper to operate and maintain than gas engines.”

Just so. In practice, they are not only cheaper, but are remotely monitorable/controllable. The trend began well before AGW became a thing. And in the particular conditions of 2/21 in Texas, electric powered facilities had a fuel source much more reliable than field conditioned natural gas. Gas that has not yet been fully purged of heavy ends and dehydrated to less than 0.5# H2O/mmscfg (i.e. field, not residential quality) is not what you want in those conditions.

The concern about outages is also mostly bogus. Changes in prioritization can easily address it.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  bigoilbob
May 5, 2023 7:05 am

‘Changes in prioritization can easily address it.’

Good point. Also, may need to install diesel powered stand-by generators for critical gas infrastructure.

Curious George
Reply to  bigoilbob
May 5, 2023 8:08 am

“electric powered facilities had a fuel source much more reliable”
So why did they fail?

Reply to  Curious George
May 5, 2023 8:59 am

Mostly because the electric power was not properly prioritized. And since the fields are closer to the electric power sources than are Houston or Dallas, they are also naturally more reliable for this use.

Gunga Din
Reply to  bigoilbob
May 5, 2023 8:44 am

but are remotely monitorable/controllable.”

That is not unique to electric compressors.
And fossil fuel backup generators for electric compressors and the fossil fuel compressors themselves can be remotely monitorable/controllable along with being more dependable.
The pinwheels failed so the gas lines’ electric compressors failed.

Reply to  Gunga Din
May 5, 2023 11:07 am

That is not unique to electric compressors.”

Yes, but via electrons.

along with being more dependable…”

Nope. Not in normal use, and certainly not in Texas 2/21 conditions. Please read why, for comprehension.


Rich Davis
May 5, 2023 4:14 am

Where do we go from here?

The consensus from within the handbasket is that things are getting hotter.

Peta of Newark
May 5, 2023 4:32 am

OK so they’ve run their experiment, what was the result?

i.e. Did the kids stop getting Asthma

Steve Case
Reply to  Peta of Newark
May 5, 2023 5:41 am

I love it when someone asks what should have been the obvious question (-:

Matthew Bergin
Reply to  Peta of Newark
May 5, 2023 5:58 am

Good question.

Reply to  Peta of Newark
May 5, 2023 6:13 am

Asthma is a reaction to clean air?

It was never a real thing until later. That’s quite the conundrum.

“Trends in asthma indicators from population surveys (prevalence) and routine statistics (primary care, prescriptions, hospital admissions and mortality) in the UK were reviewed from 1955 to 2004. The prevalence of asthma increased in children by 2 to 3-fold, but may have flattened or even fallen recently. Current trends in adult prevalence are flat. The prevalence of a life-time diagnosis of asthma increased in all age groups. The incidence of new asthma episodes presenting to general practitioners increased in all ages to a plateau in the mid 1990s and has declined since. During the 1990s, the annual prevalence of new cases of asthma and of treated asthma in general practice showed no major change. Hospital admissions increased from the early 1960s, more so in children, until the late 1980s and have fallen since. Asthma mortality showed two waves, a shorter and more intense one in the mid 1960s and a longer and less intense one in the late 1970s and early 1980s.”

Last edited 1 month ago by strativarius
John Oliver
Reply to  strativarius
May 5, 2023 10:49 am

Indoor smoking? Except for exceptionally polluted area maybe indoor air pollution was a bigger driver of asthma stats, but a complex situation study wise. But green loony bin will always conflate distort cherry pic hide data etc etc to get their way.

John Oliver
Reply to  John Oliver
May 5, 2023 10:55 am

more homes and buildings got year round climate control in 1960s on( closed windows year round!) prior to that kids atleast got a break from the indoor smoke when the windows were opened in spring summer fall

Reply to  strativarius
May 5, 2023 5:40 pm

Why am I surprised by bureaucrats making regulations to reduce disease incidence before the cause of the disease is established. Guessing is replacing studying.
Society is paying a large and increasing price, including early deaths, by trendy home-made treatments of Science and Logic by people unqualified to have standing.
The emergence of experts in the politicisation of Science was largely based on the deliberate corruption of the Scientific Method in the global warming fiasco. It is past the time to return to it.
Similar degrading of the professionalism of Engineering is illustrated here, the stupidity of using a sub-system known to fail, to combat failure. Simply stupid and amateurish.
Come on, Scientists, Engineers, Medical Researchers, you have a duty to be strong and demanding when you see the basics being perverted politically by people less capable than you are. Geoff S

May 5, 2023 5:16 am

These systems need better regulations. It is illegal to publish detailed transmission line maps because of national security.

Detailed gas infrastructure maps could easily be used to cut gas and power to tens of millions of people by identifying one or two sites to target. Right now, anyone with a little smarts and a pair of bolt cutters could cause chaos.

Doug S
May 5, 2023 5:30 am

So the moral of the story is don’t let a room full of under-educated, social workers and town busy bodies override the recommendation of the engineers when discussing the operation of your critical infrastructure. Thanks for the post Ed, very important that people understand this.

Joe Crawford
Reply to  Doug S
May 6, 2023 6:51 am

You nailed it!

May 5, 2023 5:41 am

So, the solution to address the vulnerabilities to humans (and industry) caused by replacement of gas-powered compressors with electric compressors is to make sure that electricity suppliers have better information on the locations of the electric gas compressors (so as to preferentially supply those compressors with electricity, to keep the gas flowing – which likely would not have sufficient resolution to assure that enough/most-important compressors got what they needed to be worthwhile).


And if the electric grid fails, e.g., should the electricity being generated by (intermittent, unreliable) wind and solar sources, or should transmission lines automatically shed overloads, what then?

The fundamental purpose of having gas-powered gas compressors is to make the gas network independent of the electric grid – so that people won’t freeze, can cook, and, if they have their own gas-powered generators, have electricity, should the more-vulnerable electric grid go down.

Joe Crawford
Reply to  Nik
May 5, 2023 6:36 am

The first thing I would look at is reinstalling natural gas powered electric generators to drive the electric pumps. My guess is that it would be easier to get the local governments to accept them only as backup rather than have them admit it was stupid to require electric pumps in the first place. You might even be able to get the local governments to pay for them through rate increases since they caused the problem :<)

Last edited 1 month ago by Joe Crawford
May 5, 2023 7:49 am

As more and more residential backup generators are switching to natural gas every day that demand when the electric grid goes down will have increased exponentially by that next big failure.
The backup of gas ran compressors to the electric compressors is critical as are the necessary improvements of protecting the infrastructure from EMP events whether natural or manmade.
We know it is only a matter of when such will occur not a matter of if it will.

Premium Cracker
May 5, 2023 9:37 am

Rolling blackouts my ass. It was near total blackout for three days in my neighborhood south of Downtown Dallas.

Rich Davis
Reply to  Premium Cracker
May 6, 2023 5:32 am

A very slow roll

May 5, 2023 9:59 am

Excellent article. I grew up near one of the gas booster stations. In the 60s it was converted to gas turbines from IC engines. I lived thru the great Texas blackout. I note the yellow in California, New York and the Gulf Coast. With the plans for California and New York, it is just a matter of time before these states face a total and unrecoverable blackout.

Bob Hunter
May 5, 2023 11:38 am

If I remember correctly, ERCOT (they were in CYA mode) blamed the electric grid problem on freezing natural gas pipes. First of all, most of the pipe is 6 ft below the surface and not affected, any freezing was the exposed pipe that relied on electric heaters to prevent any H20 in the exposed pipe from freezing.
I live in Alberta where the temperature gets far colder, I have never heard of pipelines freezing here.
Albeit, Alberta had 2 grid alerts this past winter when the temperature was around -40.
During the alerts, wind and solar were operating at combined capacity at less than 2% of their maximum. Unfortunately their is enormous pressure to move to more wind and solar generation.

Last edited 1 month ago by Bob Hunter
May 5, 2023 1:49 pm

Very nice report, very informative.

Martin Cornell
May 5, 2023 8:01 pm

“Frozen wind turbines” are almost always mentioned, as in this case, in factors describing winter storm Uri. But in fact, the high-pressure cell that descended over the central USA including all of Texas, caused the wind to stop. It was nature, not the lack of freeze protection, that caused the turbines to stop.

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