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Massive Winter Storm Frosts Texas Causing Blackouts and Higher Energy Prices

Massive Winter Storm Frosts Texas Causing Blackouts and Higher Energy Prices

The Texas grid failed.

See correction at bottom

We have often written about the environmental impact that green energy policies have had, include the effects of wind energy technologies on bird populations and the quality of life in adjacent properties.

A massive winter storm in Texas has frosted the wind turbines that are a crucial source of alternative energy, causing power outages and heating electricity prices.

Ice storms knocked out nearly half the wind-power generating capacity of Texas on Sunday as a rare deep freeze across the state locked up turbine towers while driving electricity demand to record levels, the state’s grid operator reported.

Responding to a request from Governor Greg Abbott, President Joe Biden granted a federal emergency declaration for all 254 counties in the state on Sunday, authorizing U.S. agencies to coordinate disaster relief from severe weather in Texas.

The winter energy woes in Texas came as bone-chilling cold, combined with snow, sleet and freezing rain, gripped much of the United States from the Pacific Northwest through the Great Plains and into the mid-Atlantic states over the weekend.

Some parts of Texas resembled California.

Large swaths of Dallas, Houston and other cities are being plunged into darkness for an hour at a time — and in some cases longer — as surging demand for heat pushes the state’s power grid to the brink. Outages are expected to continue into early Tuesday, grid operators said during a briefing Monday.

“Every grid operator and every electric company is fighting to restore power right now,” said Bill Magness, head of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which runs the state’s grid.

The average spot price for power across the Texas grid hit the state’s $9,000 per megawatt-hour price cap shortly after 9:30 a.m. CT.

Perhaps the best part about all the “green energy” reduction in fossil fuels is using a fuel-burning helicopter to deice the blades.

Interestingly, another hazard associated with wind turbines in winter is “ice throw.”

…[A] 2006 publication by G.E. Energy, a maker of large wind turbines, warns that “rotating turbine blades may propel ice fragments some distance from the turbine — up to several hundred meters if conditions are right.”

Its recommendations include placing fences and warning signs around turbines, and locating them a safe distance from buildings or roads. They also recommend deactivating turbines when ice begins to form.

A Swiss report last year, titled “Wind Turbine Ice Throw Studies in the Swiss Alps,” focused on a turbine near a ski area. That report found ice throw to be a “significant safety risk.” The most dangerous place for ice was underneath the turbine, but about 5 percent of fragments landed more than 80 meters — or 260 feet — from the turbine.

Environmental activists always accuse the fossil fuel industry of lying about risk and ecological impacts. When it comes to wind energy, one has to question the motivation behind those who decided to set-up the Texas power grid to heavily rely on a source of energy with demonstrable issues in severe weather conditions.


Correction: The image originally used, pulled from the video at the bottom of this post, was not of a windmill in Texas. We have substituted a new image. Additionally, it is disputed that loss of windmill power caused the blackouts, as other energy production facilities also failed, so we have modified the headlines.


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caseoftheblues | February 16, 2021 at 7:07 am

Hey let’s outlaw 85 percent of our energy and increase grid load by tens of millions by having open borders…. says every Democrat

    And every car an electric.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to caseoftheblues. | February 16, 2021 at 11:49 am

    Electric heat only makes sense in places where it is used infrequently. That is probably the case in Texas and other southern states. It is dirt cheap to install, and expensive to operate.

    There are catalytic natural gas and LP heaters which are also inexpensive, and those would be perfect for instant no electric use in southern states. They are quiet, come in 10-30K BTU, are designed for wall mounting, but it is easy to make a small free standing base.

    Redundancy, I have gas and diesel generators, electric and LP cooking, and electric, LP, gasoline and diesel heaters.

    A little foresight can save one a great deal of grief. Foe me, this makes what could be an unmitigated disaster slight inconvenience.

      Redundancy! What a concept! /s

      I used to live in Northern Virginia, where the lights would go out for thousands of people with every thunderstorm. I knew a guy who had a generator, and when the light went out, his was the only house in the area with lights. This was in an expensive enclave, too.

      This kind of thing has not historically happened in Texas. Somebody has failed the local citizenry.

      henrybowman in reply to JusticeDelivered. | February 16, 2021 at 9:31 pm

      “There are catalytic natural gas and LP heaters which are also inexpensive”

      Until Democrats ban fracking.

      We cook with natural gas. We also heat and cool with a two stage heating and cooling dual fuel HVAC plant. My ~3kw generator will easily power the fan and controls in the gas furnace in a power failure. I didn’t go as far as you with redundancy simply because our energy supply is exceptionally reliable but we’re better set than 95% of the neighbors.

Gee, if only there were a way we could increase the temperature of the Earth slightly, they we could fix this.

    Milhouse in reply to henrybowman. | February 16, 2021 at 7:47 am

    Yes, that would be a wonderful thing. The earth could do with being a degree C or so warmer than it is. We wouldn’t want much more than that, but that small warming would be a good thing, if we could manage it. What a pity we can’t.

There is more to this story than just wind turbines. Power generation in Texas in general was affected

“Power plants with a combined capacity of more than 34 gigawatts were forced offline on Monday, including nuclear reactors, coal and gas generators and wind farms, Dan Woodfin, a senior director for grid manager Electric Reliability Council of Texas said.”

What the ratio is between wind power loss compared to other generation forms I don’t know.

    The Friendly Grizzly in reply to mark311. | February 16, 2021 at 7:40 am

    Other things were being adffected; not just power grids and not just Texas. I qas doing a dealer search for a particular model car (a plug-in hybrid, ironically…) and NONE of the dealer sites could bring up in-stock inventory. This was from Johnson City Tennessee (where we are not getting slammed by the weather) for a 500 or so mile radius.

    I find I disagree with mark311 on a lot of points he makes, but in this case, his observation is valid correct.

    Sure, “green energy” IS a scam, but this weather is not the sole reason for failures. I am fairly sure much of that generationg capacity (nuclear, oil, etc) that went off-line did so due to excessive demands created by this weather.

    r2468 in reply to mark311. | February 16, 2021 at 7:52 am

    I tried to verify your claim. One article mentioned that natural gas plants are typically not operating during the winter and are primarily used in summer time. Another article speculated the power plants went off line. I wonder about the agency responsible for reliable power issuing a statement about how reliable their power generation. Maybe they are spinning while their wind turbines are not.

      FiftycalTX2 in reply to r2468. | February 16, 2021 at 9:25 am

      The cover up of “nuclear plants going off line” is just BS. The greenies are desperate to NOT blame the UNRELIABLE “wind power”. Due to the tax breaks and cheap land Texas has more windmills than any other state. And we are supposed to get 25% of electricity from them. Unless the wind doesn’t blow or the windmills get FROZEN. And solar doesn’t provide any energy when there is NO SUN and they are covered in snow.
      BTW, I’ve been dealing with power outages (rolling blackouts is BS) for 3 days and my home inside temp was 50 degrees. I’ve already contacted by state Rep and Senator to END t he subsidy for “green” energy.

        Mine was at 44 this morning when the power came on for my hourly ration (hourly for me – the shutoffs have ranged up to 2 hours). Congratulations to the left. They’ve finally succeeded in charging forward to the 19th Century – heating with wood fires and lighting with oil lamps. The long term solution to the problem is simple and obvious. Drillers are flaring off natural gas at the wellhead in the Permian because they don’t have a market or transportation. Meanwhile the government is subsidizing more of these oversized windmills and solar installations and making a couple of Texas billionaires even richer. What we need is more generating plants built in the Permian so that energy can be transported safely and quickly elsewhere without fighting the inevitable leftist whining about pipelines. Of course, that isn’t going to get the temp in my house up over 55 this morning before they shut off the power again. People here keep talking about revolution or secession. If leftists had their oxen gored like this, they’d be rioting in the streets and lynching the management at NBU but we just huddle together and try to stay warm. The revolution has been stillborn.

          JusticeDelivered in reply to txvet2. | February 16, 2021 at 12:02 pm

          People need to take responsibility for not being prepared. I suspect that many more people will be better prepared in the future.

          txvet2 in reply to txvet2. | February 16, 2021 at 12:14 pm

          The one thing I can see that you can do is to install backup generators. I’d been looking into that before this calamity was even on the radar, but after this prices are going to go through the roof.

          The Friendly Grizzly in reply to txvet2. | February 16, 2021 at 1:18 pm

          Are wood stoves allowed where you live? I presume you live in one of the People’s Republics like Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts, or California.

          JusticeDelivered in reply to txvet2. | February 16, 2021 at 1:53 pm

          Think about getting an old RV with at least a 6KW Onan generator. They come in LP and gasoline versions. They are low RPM and last a very long time. Older ones have a mechanical governor and have a better gen head. They are easier and less expensive to maintain.

          You could leave it in the RV, add the L30F twist lock receptacle, connecting L1 & L2 & neutral. Install a transfer switch on the outside of your house. Buy or make a 3 wire minimum 10 gauge with Gnd. flexible male – Female cable. You can buy these as generator extension cords. If the cable is over 100′ you need to go to 8 gauge up to 200′, and 6 gauge up to 300′.

          txvet2 in reply to txvet2. | February 16, 2021 at 2:10 pm

          Grizzly: If you’re responding to me, I live north of San Antonio now, although I’ve lived and worked in other areas of Texas at one time or another. As far as wood stoves, I don’t know. I have a fireplace with built-in blowers. Works for heat in the living room but doesn’t do much for you when you need to use the “facilities”.

          txvet2 in reply to txvet2. | February 16, 2021 at 2:11 pm

          J.D.: Sounds like good advice, although somewhat complicated. I’ve got a gas generator now for emergencies, but it’s worthless in this weather. The oil gets so thick you can’t even crank it.

          RobM in reply to txvet2. | February 16, 2021 at 6:59 pm

          I went 28 hours. Just got it back around 3pm today. Yesterday the house held at 41. DFW area, we got to -3 outside this morning… when I rolled out of bed the house was 31. Ha. The ONLY saving grace was I have a gas range to heat water and a old fashioned water bottle. That thing kept me warm all night and 6 blankets. Both my cat and my small dog wanted under the covers last night. Crazy. And no, I didn’t sleep well. My feet were cold until about 4am cause I kept getting up to make sure the faucets were still dripping.

          DSHornet in reply to txvet2. | February 17, 2021 at 9:09 am

          txvet2 – If the generator is broken in for at least ten-twelve hours run time, use dino or semisynthetic 5W30. AFAIK, all modern engines will be happy with it if broken in properly.

          My generator is strictly for backup use for the most essential loads but it will handle what I need – gas furnace, TV setup, computer and Spectrum service (until their standby batteries run flat, at which point it will be local antenna and cell phones), toaster oven or microwave, some lights, battery charger, etc. I have enough gasoline for intermittant use for about five days. If an outage lasts longer or I can’t get gasoline, we have bigger problems.

    Milhouse in reply to mark311. | February 16, 2021 at 8:11 am

    Maybe. But unless Mr Woodfin’s statement is corroborated, or there’s an explanation for why this weather would affect coal and nuclear plants, I’m skeptical.

    One thing that has happened, though, is that there are fewer such plants than there should be, because wind plants, with their enormous federal subsidies which they get regardless of demand for their product, have been driving them out of business.

      txvet2 in reply to Milhouse. | February 16, 2021 at 10:11 am

      I agree. People don’t seem to realize that there may be a thin layer of (fairly) conservative leadership in Texas, but the bureaucracy is and always has been as leftist as anywhere else. You can’t trust anything they say.

      JusticeDelivered in reply to Milhouse. | February 16, 2021 at 12:08 pm

      I cannot see any reason that Coal and nuclear plants are affected, except that there simply is not enough capacity. That could easily cause a cascading overload, plants shutting down like falling dominos.

      healthguyfsu in reply to Milhouse. | February 16, 2021 at 12:42 pm

      Every now and then you nail a point with a sledgehammer and bust the bullseye and the surrounding area.

      Greenies can’t see the collateral impacts of their projects. It’s like another greeny project (marijuana, which I’m in favor of legalizing). What I don’t like about marijuana is that the crowd in favor is a group of fanatics that refuse to see any downside. Weighing the risk/benefit suggests it is worth it to legalize, but there are downsides that one side will completely and zealously work hard to ignore.

      henrybowman in reply to Milhouse. | February 16, 2021 at 10:53 pm

      “One thing that has happened, though, is that there are fewer such plants than there should be, because wind plants, with their enormous federal subsidies which they get regardless of demand for their product, have been driving them out of business.”

      This is the same reason that electronic vehicles are “gaining market share” — Democrats have banned or fatally hobbled everything else. Along with light bulbs, toilets, and (in NJ) “smart guns.”

      Oh yeah, also your entire health care/insurance system.

    I’ve seen some reports that natural gas demand skyrocketed and pushed pipeline capacity to the maximum causing a problem of heating homes and running gas turbines.

jumpedupneobarb | February 16, 2021 at 7:18 am

This is just a preview of life under the Green New Deal. Energy prices will be much higher and real incomes lower. When a big winter storm hits, people in poorly supplied areas or on fixed incomes will die from the cold. What’s the quote about “We’ll have fewer socialists, but they’ll be BETTER socialists?”

The natural gas wellheads have also frozen up.

We’re going on 30 hours with no power at my house in Austin. And one of the well pumps froze and cracked at our place in the Hill Country.

We’ve got a fire blazing in the fireplace, four blankets on the bed, and even the dog is sleeping under a blanket….if he wasn’t so old we’d have him on the bed keeping our toes warm.

Looks like another 24 hours before it starts to thaw.

    txvet2 in reply to Paul. | February 16, 2021 at 2:13 pm

    It’s up in the high ’20’s here and the sun just came out, so we may get a little thaw – just enough to turn the snow into ice. I’m still stuck at home until at least tomorrow.

      Paul in reply to txvet2. | February 16, 2021 at 5:41 pm

      Our power finally came back on about an hour ago. Like you said, things thawed just a bit in the sunshine this afternoon so we put the Tahoe in 4X4 and made our way over to the inlaws to check on them. It’s going to get really slick out there tonight.

        txvet2 in reply to Paul. | February 16, 2021 at 7:43 pm

        Forecast for tonight looks like things may be ready to start warming up overnight, but freezing rain forecast here until late morning.

    RobM in reply to Paul. | February 16, 2021 at 7:02 pm

    I read today that the well heads froze up due to switching to electric pressurization of the gas lines instead of the old gas-fired ones. The grid went down and the pressure dropped and froze. This whole mess is tied to green initiatives messing with reliable infrastructure.

Bucky Barkingham | February 16, 2021 at 8:01 am

According to today’s news it’s not just wind power which has failed due to the weather. It’s reported that many gas fired plants are off line and some reports also say nuclear power production is low. However answers as to why the non-wind power sources are offline are hard to find. All they say is the freezing temps knocked the power plants off line.

Once this crisis passes we can expect much finger pointing by politicians and special interest groups instead of a rational analysis of what went wrong and how to fix it. As usual the public suffers the most from inadequacies of leadership.

Who killed Ashli Babbitt?

    Gas would be because it comes directly from the well, and the wells have been frozen. But I want some corroboration before believing that coal and nuclear have been affected. Something more than the same statement by one person that seems so far to be the entire basis for all the reporting.

      MarkS in reply to Milhouse. | February 16, 2021 at 8:21 am

      I would like an explanation as to why natural gas heads are freezing and preventing gas usage, considering natural gas doesn’t liquify until -260 degrees F

        MattMusson in reply to MarkS. | February 16, 2021 at 8:29 am

        Its the pumps and fixtures, not the gas itself.

          Voyager in reply to MattMusson. | February 16, 2021 at 11:09 am

          That’s what I’ve been hearing too, and the local municipal Keita have been warning residents to check their gas fixtures to make sure they don’t get damaged by the ice and snow accumulation either.

          Just sounds like the piping and fixtures weren’t built for that level of cold or snow and are just breaking.

          And you don’t need to many plants to have a cracked gas pump to bring down an over-stressed electric grid.

        Lausyl in reply to MarkS. | February 16, 2021 at 11:58 am

        Natural gas coming out of a well isn’t pure. It is mixed with some water vapor. That is what is freezing.

          txvet2 in reply to Lausyl. | February 16, 2021 at 2:28 pm

          That still doesn’t explain everything. This weather is exceedingly rare in S. Texas, but in the Panhandle and western areas, it isn’t all that unusual in the winter. They should be prepared.

      Brave Sir Robbin in reply to Milhouse. | February 16, 2021 at 9:31 am

      The loss of nuclear power may have to do with something called “load rejection”. When the power generation from wind generators suddenly went dark along with surging demand, the combined event basically attempts to over-suck power from those systems still producing electricity causing a breaker trip and power plant isolation to protect the generators. You cannot just dump electric power into a void. You have to fill the load.

      Think of a pipe system with a pump that seeks to keep the pipes filled. The pump has a certain capacity and operates under a certain existing water pressure in the pipe system. If the water pressure in the pipe system collapses, the head pressure on the pump disappears the pump can over-rev and self-damage in an attempt to keep the pipe full. So a governor trips and shuts down the pump.

      You have to get the pipe pressure back up to a certain level before you can turn the pump back on, or it will just trip the governor again if you try and restart.

      I suspect this is what is happening with the electrical generators in TX. The electrical grid is over dependent upon wind power. When that suddenly and simultaneously died, voltage in the system fell too low, and the other generators on the system could not replace load, so they tripped out and cannot be restarted until system load can be resynchronized which may require the wind turbines to come back online.

      This problem would apply to both coal and nuclear plants. It means there is not enough non-green generating capacity to fill the line.

        Brave Sir Robbin in reply to Brave Sir Robbin. | February 16, 2021 at 9:39 am

        Load rejection is a known risk of over reliance on wind power. Mitigation is broad distribution of power generation into the grid. This means to rely upon wind you have to way over build capacity or have non-green sources producing power to fill base load as wind generation fluctuates.

        If you cannot maintain base load from wind and it it goes down, then there is a cascading effect in the grid as other generators also have to be shut down until to can get enough load back on line.

        Synchronizing and integrating wind power into the electrical grid is a highly complex and fragile undertaking because its production is both variable and unpredictable. Power grids like steady and predictable demand and supply.

        You have it exactly right. All the things being said are absolute bullshit. Texas over expanded without expanding their consistent energy infrastructure. They under designed their ability to buy from other sources. And since 85% of homes in Texas are heated with gas I can guarantee the electricity demand is higher in the summer.

        They need to shut down the top 10% of industrial consumers until this is resolved. They haven’t.

          mark311 in reply to starride. | February 16, 2021 at 10:13 am


          Usually summer would be peak but the unusually cold conditions have caused an anomolous peak now. This hasn’t been designed for at a system wide level.

          You are correct in that Texas doesn’t have load sharing capabilities so peaks and troughs can’t be flattened out by neighbours or indeed internally. As I understand it Texas has three separate grids which aren’t connected.

          The subsidized wind farms drove a bunch of base-load suppliers out of business b/c they couldn’t make the numbers work. Less baseload was available and when the farms went down, as stuff tried to come online it tripped , one after another because demand was so high. Totes preventable. Hearings should be instructive if they call the right people.

          henrybowman in reply to starride. | February 16, 2021 at 10:57 pm

          @RobM — this is just like reading a sequel to Atlas Shrugged. Government subsidizing and relying on untested s*t that just doesn’t work in the clutch.

        JusticeDelivered in reply to Brave Sir Robbin. | February 16, 2021 at 12:36 pm

        There are synchronous generators, I have one here which is 50 KW, but they have to be brought online slowly. Today most renewable power sources are connected to the grid with a synchronous (grid tie) inverter. If the grid is down, those inverters have nothing to synchronize to, and they simply shut down. Many people who have bought solar electric only have a grid tie inverter, so when the grid goes down they cannot access power from their solar panels.

        Anyone who is installing wind, hydro or solar electric should get a hybrid inverter which will work stand alone or grid tie.

      mark311 in reply to Milhouse. | February 16, 2021 at 9:33 am

      I’m not clear either on what processes are driving a decline in coal and nuclear. As a general statement I’d suggest it might be a design issue. It’s unusually cold and perhaps the plants or infrastructure is not designed to cope with those kinds of temperatures. Ice can cause all sorts of problems, tends to break stuff due to expansion. But I’m no expert.

      I think natural gas is the main power source for Texas so that’s probably the main driver along with an increase in energy demand.

        Brave Sir Robbin in reply to mark311. | February 16, 2021 at 9:50 am

        My guess is the sudden loss of wind power and boasted demand has created a situation where there is not enough non-green power generation capability to fill the void. These other systems cannot continue to generate electricity under those conditions. This is why you have rolling blackouts. Areas of the grid are isolated out to match the existing generating capacity. Without sufficient grid isolation, non-wind generators would also need to shut down, causing more blackouts and potential cascading effects in the system leading to more generator shutdowns, etc. The design problem likely, therefore, is with (1) the wind turbines, and (2) the electrical grid that was not adequately adapted for a suddenly total loss of load from the wind generators.

        If nuclear and coal cannot generate enough electricity to meet demand across a grid by themselves, you cannot run them, either. You have to isolate the grid to a section these generators can supply, so you get down line supply failure.

          An interesting Twitter feed that highlights some of the issues.

          We know from the official stats that power drops are from both wind and gas.

          So, because wind power is intermittent, it’s almost always backed by comparable wattage Natural gas surge plants, that can spin up quickly to handle the load.

          What I’m hearing is that the wind turbines weren’t expected to work in extreme cold, but rather that the natural gas surge plants failed due to the freeze.

          I haven’t seen anything about the coal or nuclear plants being impacted by this weather.

          Brave Sir Robbin in reply to Brave Sir Robbin. | February 16, 2021 at 1:05 pm

          “So, because wind power is intermittent, it’s almost always backed by comparable wattage Natural gas surge plants, that can spin up quickly to handle the load.”

          My contention is that in this particular case, because of the almost total failure of wind-power generation AND the large spike in demand, AND (potentially) problems with natural gas supply, AND issues that prevent load isolation in the Texas power grid, all combine to create a situation in which oil, coal, and nuclear power generation capacity is not sufficient to replace the lost load and increased demand, leading to load rejection so those plants cannot generate either.

          And you cannot “spin up quickly to handle the load.” If the load is not there on demand, the load generators trip and quit. You have to maintain excess base load when you have wind-power being injected into the grid because it is variable, which means unless you have a lot of it, it’s pretty useless and must be covered by excess non-wind capacity. In this case, all the wind failed at once while demand spiked, and non-wind capacity did not exist to cover the load loss, and so the other non-wind generators in the system tripped and cannot be brought back on line until their is sufficient load capacity to fill the demand on the grid. Until then, mass rolling blackouts as power is rationed over the grid. You get a few hours, then they cut you off and give someone else a few.

          “What I’m hearing is that the wind turbines weren’t expected to work in extreme cold, but rather that the natural gas surge plants failed due to the freeze.”

          I think this is unlikely. I think the wind turbines failed suddenly, near simultaneously, and system wide, leading to load rejection by the back up natural gas burners. Because there is not enough replacement load due to the demand spike, they cannot be synchronized and stay down.

          “I haven’t seen anything about the coal or nuclear plants being impacted by this weather”

          The same phenomena also can effect the coal, oil, and nuclear facilities. It’s not the cold, per se, but the failure of the wind-turbines in the cold, the demand spike, and limitations in the Texas power grid that make filling the load to meet demand difficult (not enough interconnection internally or externally to non-Texas suppliers.)

    nuclear power plants can’t be cranked up to full power in short time. I thought natural gas was more flexible.

Texas gets really cold. How come the natural gas wells are freezing up? It’s not like natural gas works only used in warm areas. More Explanation and facts are needed.

    MattMusson in reply to r2468. | February 16, 2021 at 8:36 am

    Reminds me of the time we were running a herd up north of Odessa when a blue norther came in. It go so cold that the campfire froze. The old camp cook wrapped up some of those frozen flames and stored them in his chuck wagon. After that, when he needed to start a fire he just unwrapped one of those frozen flames and put it on his fire stack and waited for it to thaw out.

      I wish there was a way to capture and convert all the hot air in TX. We could to fsolve the problem right away. Joking aside I hope Paul gets his power back soon. This is a dangerous situation.

    Voyager in reply to r2468. | February 16, 2021 at 10:57 am

    So, this is a 100 year freeze in Texas. Monday’s High was a full degree lower than the lowest previously recorded Low, and it is going to be that way for several more days.

    So, yes it gets cold, but it has never been this cold for so long before.

Murphy rules!
Power only goes out when you need it;
the campfire only goes out when the Greeblies start closing in.
(or is it the other way ’round?).
Nothing changes.

Dallas has so many wind turbines because the wind ALWAYS blows in Dallas. There are NO big state incentives. Wind power is just cheaper and cleaner than coal in that environment. It made financial sense. Until… it got cold.

Dallas was supposed to be the first major US city to run on Green energy.

    Milhouse in reply to MattMusson. | February 16, 2021 at 8:44 am

    There are big federal incentives. Big enough that they can drive the price of electricity negative.

      FiftycalTX2 in reply to Milhouse. | February 16, 2021 at 9:36 am

      And Texas has a provision that allows school districts to not tax windmills in their area. The state picks up the tab via moving sales tax to the school districts. The last estimate was windmill companies had saved $6.9 billion in taxes by this provision.

    mark311 in reply to MattMusson. | February 16, 2021 at 10:03 am

    Interesting thank you

    Brave Sir Robbin in reply to MattMusson. | February 16, 2021 at 10:05 am

    This is a classic case of what happens with over reliance on wind power. The engineering mitigation is to build a broad supply base, that is, a national generation grid with a very high degree of excess capacity. So, technically, if you need one wind turbine to generate X amount of power, you really need four or five broadly distributed so at least one can always be counted on to run and push enough power to keep the grid filled no matter the demand.

    Remember, also, that the further you try and transmit electricity, the more loss you have on the line. So if you are trying to get power from wind blowing in Oregon to Texas, you lose a tremendous amount of electricity so you may have to run three windmills in Oregon to supply what one is required to supply locally in Texas.

    Again, the mitigation is multiple simultaneous grid entry points broadly distributed across the entire system. Very hard to do with a variable supply source like wind.

Relatives are in the middle of contracting their scrubland for turbines. It’s incentivized from top to bottom. This is a family that has been in oil/gas leasing and production for 75+ years.

IMO, solar is a viable option at point of use; on your own roof. Many caveats.
1. Battery bank on site
2. Super insulation
3. Use of propane for heating and water heating and a freezer

Wind in certain areas with similar caveats.

Attempting to push commercial amounts of power generated from wind or solar just isn’t viable as a stand alone option. The source isn’t reliable enough. Wind must be above and below certain limits to work. Solar is very dependent upon orientation of the existing roof.

As many others have stated the grid is interdependent. Once the input from wind and solar fell it caused the demand on other sources to spike which caused their failure. Add in issues of freezing temperatures and well heads for NG fail.

Personally, I have no interest in completely opposing renewable energy. However, the subsidies should be redirected from large scale generation to the end use consumer.

Since consumers don’t have a viable lobbying program while the grifters of large scale ‘renewable energy’ very much do, the consumer will get stuck sending higher taxes to flow into subsidies to the grifters while also paying higher energy costs.

    mark311 in reply to CommoChief. | February 16, 2021 at 10:15 am

    I agree to an extent, you can also use things like air source heat pumps. Solar is great as a top up solution ie to heat water and reduce peak bills. It’s much more difficult to has a zero carbon house but it is possible.

    Solar: 20 year lifetime, manufacturing environmental costs, disposal $ and environmental costs, difficulty replacing shingles, won’t power AC near sundown, not cost effective without subsidies paid by my taxes, all made in China, no emergency power without expensive batteries made with lithium and cobalt mined by children, can electrocute line workers if the failsafe cutoff doesn’t fail safe.

    But other than that … great idea.

      CommoChief in reply to gibbie. | February 16, 2021 at 5:16 pm


      Points granted. Many problems with solar and wind.

      My point framed as point of use v commercial scale. Point of use has it’s own merits. Unless you are going to require power to be run in remote rural areas by the electric company. Ratepayers will be subsidizing that mandate.

      That is the trade off. Subsidies will flow to someone, the question is to who and how much. IMO, smaller subsidies to individuals are less distorting and less disruptive than large subsidies to commercial entities.

Sounds like rolling blackouts can be a characteristic of wind and solar generation because they don’t produce power all the time. Maybe people experiencing this will have something to say about more green power in the future. Reliability is a good thing in my opinion.

    hopeful in reply to r2468. | February 16, 2021 at 11:39 am

    let us fervently hope so

    CommoChief in reply to r2468. | February 16, 2021 at 11:58 am

    Maybe a way to mitigate the reliability issue is to require the purchase contract to have minimum of mega watt to be delivered.


    Virtuous green energy Inc receives massive subsidies from feds and maybe the state. Ok fine. Now they need to produce and sell the generated electricity.

    Utility regulators could require all contracts to have a minimum level of reliability. So Utility company can buy as much wind and solar as they want BUT the contract would require the producer to deliver say 80% of the power purchased in order to protect consumers/rate payers which is their function.

    So either the wind or solar co must provide their own back up generation plan or buy on the open market to replace wind and solar when unable to deliver or be liable to consumers for any foreseen consequences. Deaths, injuries, food spoiled ect.

      jolanthe in reply to CommoChief. | February 16, 2021 at 12:33 pm

      Sorry about the accidental down vote. Touched my screen wrong scrolling. I liked your comment.

      Brave Sir Robbin in reply to CommoChief. | February 16, 2021 at 1:34 pm

      The problem is that you have to provide a minimum guaranteed continuous power, and this cannot be done locally with wind power. It it only potentially feasible with a widely distributed national grid with huge excess capacity to keep a minimum load on the entire system. Without non-wind alternatives to maintain base load and meet demand spikes, this massive over capacity is shocking. You will need at least several wind-turbines tied into the grid to ensure the power equivalent to one is constantly available.

      Example: The wind in Georgia dies down, and more turbines in Tennessee are brought on-line where wind is blowing to maintain load. But it’s not a one-for-one replacement, either, because of transmission loss. So you have to have more than twice the capacity in Tennessee to meet the demand when Georgia cannot do it. You also have to have twice in Georgia to take the slack when Tennessee cannot generate. But there are times when the wind in both Georgia and Tennessee is still, so you need another doubling (plus) capacity in Oklahoma to supply the national grid when Georgia and Tennessee are both down, and with transmission loss, that’s five times capacity. And then, you have turbines that are in maintenance, so that’s six times capacity required. Then, you want to run every car in America on these things. We will have to build windmills everywhere, and people will not tolerate it. All the good places for wind farming will be used up first, causing diminishing returns as additional capacity is installed – seven or eight or nine times required capacity now. Every segment of the coast will have wind mills. Every scenic ridge line will be spoiled. The rich woke folks who like scenic coasts and ridgelines will not allow this, nor will they allow them in their cities.

      So it will be all pushed into the flyover land of the deplorables to live in the unsightly industrial wind farm wastelands. With all the land use restrictions, there will not be enough land for it all, either. The costs to build all this overcapacity and associated infrastructure will be bankrupting and also result in horrible negative environmental and quality of life consequences for those living in and around these massive wind farms.

      But as long as the wind blows somewhere, theoretically, yes, it could work.


        My point was two old.
        1. Every State has a body that regulates utility companies, usually the commissioners on these boards are elected. Many folks don’t pay attention to these offices.

        2. Force the wind or solar commercial generators to provide the electricity. If they say they going to deliver 100 mega watts or whatever then they must have reliable sources of generation for 80% of that amount.

        Small scale, point of use solar and wind in some locations is viable. Most places it simply isn’t possible. Large scale commercial solar and wind can’t be depended upon to meet demand under certain conditions.

        Hell, the sun goes down and no solar. Yes you could have batteries or if the terrain was cooperative you could use a series of holding ponds and hydropower at night after using solar to pump water up top. Not really cost competitive nor would the greens likely allow a permit for all that.

        Wind is even worse for reliability.

That’s a pic of an exercise years ago. More fake news.

Gotta say, looks to me like Nemesis is slapping her horse

This part is bad, but the thaw may be worse for homeowners when the frozen, busted pipes start to thaw.

Karl Denninger and his commenters address the answers to your questions about why traditional power generation is failing in Texas. As I understand it, politicians nationwide have handicapped traditional power generation by forcibly tying it to green power generation.

    FOTin1943 in reply to Egghead. | February 17, 2021 at 11:16 am

    That is so true in New Mexico. Elected Ds in the legislature and, now, a D governor, are hell bent on wind and solar — in large part at the expense of federal and state taxpayers, those who work and retired workers. They want no gas or oil, though the state’s budget depends on revenues from that production in NM FOOLS!!

And this is why solar/wind is useless. If you use it you have to build enough backup capacity to take over when the sun and the wind aren’t there; so the new plants are not replacing old plants, they’re in addition to the old plants, which are sitting idle most of the time but still have to be paid for. So what’s the point? If you need enough reliable capacity to carry 100% of demand, then just build that and be done with it. The only reason to even try with the wind and solar is political.

Solar power will be a practical idea only when we get solar power satellites working. “They smell of roast beef every time we go by / and the hawks and the falcons are dropping like flies…”

    How Dare You?™

      henrybowman in reply to Paul. | February 16, 2021 at 10:49 pm

      She went in front of the UN and accused its members of stealing her future. I hope whoever is in charge of that gets on with it, because she really is tiresome.

    mark311 in reply to Milhouse. | February 17, 2021 at 8:57 am

    That’s not quite correct. Solar power can provide quite a bit in combination with wind. The weather factors that affect both are different so that helps spread the load somewhat. Additionally on a grid wide level energy storage becomes an issue but there is quite a bit of infrastructure that’s being planned in this regard. A well designed energy grid should be able to minimise the requirements from things like coal and gas. You are right in a sense but it’s a question of delivering the infrastructure along side the reduction in carbon intensive power generation. I think there is an argument for nuclear and some natural gas but the ratios will change over time.

    drednicolson in reply to Milhouse. | February 17, 2021 at 3:09 pm

    The collection array, the delivery system, an accumulator to power the delivery system, and an orbital profile to maximize solar exposure.

    A microwave projector targeting a series of seawater basins, flash vaporizing super-hot steam to run turbines. Additional steam produced by running more water over the heated salts left behind, while the satellite charges for another go. That’s one theoretical delivery system.

    Most obvious issue, of course, would be having what’s essentially a thermal death ray in orbit.

      Jordin Kare was working on such a project before he died; a few years ago I heard him talk about progress they were making, and it sounded like they might be getting close to solving some of the problems, but I can’t remember many details. I vaguely recall something about using a very large antenna (square miles of it) so the beam can be diffuse enough not to be harmful.

We have been without power on the East side of Houston for over 36 hours now. They aren’t rolling the blackouts, they are just blacking out large areas. This is not due to equipment failure, it is an area of about 10 square miles (over 1 million customers) where they just turned off the power to be able to provide power to other (more critical)areas.
One of the issues the power plants (natural gas, coal, etc.) in SE Texas had is that they typically don’t install the level of insulation and heating elements to keep pipes, valves, and instrumentation warm during hard freezes. Since we rarely see temperatures below freezing for more than a few hours at a time, they feel it is not economical to provide this level of freeze protection as is done in areas that regularly experience prolonged periods of freezing weather. You might note that most of the Texas Gulf Coast Refineries and Chemical Plants also went off line during this freeze for the same reasons.

    As it appears that we’re in a cooling trend again, they’re going to have to rethink that approach. This may be rare occurrence compared to the past century or so, but if the predictions of some climatologists are to be believed,the future looks cold.

Be careful of the helo deicing photos and videos floating around. At least a few are from a 2016 deicing test rather than what is actually going on today in Texas. Fake news is running rampant on both sides these days. Cheers –

My nephew has worked on wind turbines in Boston and in Norway. I asked him about the problem of turbines freezing up. He says it’s not a problem when you winterize them. Looks like some penny-pinching idiot said it will never be that cold in Texas. “We don’t need no stinkin’ winterization!” Well, it happened and you put Texas’s billion-dollar economy in jeopardy over a few dollars saved. Thanks a billion.

Wind does not always blow, the sun doesn’t always shine 12 hours a day, there is not always enough water to produce hydroelectric energy, provide water for production of food, nor protect the fish, BUT……….. The USA has over 300 years of coal reserves and achieved self sufficiency with oil and natural gas but our prior Socialist President (Obama) and the prior radical EPA wanted to screw the taxpayer even more with non cost effective and burdensome regulations like 54 MPG for automobiles that nobody wants. We have cleaned up the emissions in transportation and we would be better served by eliminating the ethanol mandate, expanding natural gas for transportation, continue development of hydro, and build reliable nuclear power plants with a reasonable permitting process. Solar, wind, and other forms of alternative energy are not sustainable energy sources without financial subsidies from tax payers that make little financial sense. Energy storage from alternative energy is still a problem. Wind and solar generation will not be able to meet the increased demand of electrification, because the land and battery storage requirements are unrealistic and technologically unfeasible. Wind and solar are basically a waste of money and provide no EC during power failures unless you are not tied to the grid and use expensive batteries Their required subsidies cannot be justified. Using coal, natural gas, petroleum, and nuclear power continue as much cheaper and sustainable solutions.
We do not need to bankrupt taxpayers and our economies for the globalist plan to place humans in their designed habitrail environments! Coal, nuclear, petroleum, and natural gas provide needed energy 24/7 without the sun or the wind as America requires. CO2 is a weak greenhouse gas, and not strong enough to be a problem. We need to focus on the enormous benefits of increased concentrations of CO2 on plant life. Unlike the highly uncertain computer climate models with political manipulated data, it is a scientific fact that our carbon emissions have dramatically greened the earth. CO2 should be viewed as an asset rather than a pollutant.
Climate change is a false narrative. The world has proven that it goes thru cyclical changes through out its history. Man contribution to these changes is minute and has little to no effect and cannot alter what the world does on its own. These changes evolve and like a pendulum shifts back and forth.