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‘Unplanned’ Outages Slam Texas Power Plants as Temperatures Soar

‘Unplanned’ Outages Slam Texas Power Plants as Temperatures Soar

Texas operators’ group now investigating causes of power plant breakdowns.

In February, we reported that a winter storm left millions without power throughout the American midwest. The outages hit Texas hard, especially after pursuing wind-power options that failed in the extreme cold.

Now, as a massive heatwave strikes the region, the state faces blackouts all over again.

Temperatures are expected to reach 37 degrees Celsius in Houston as a heat wave that’s expected to drag on through the end of the week blankets the western half of the US. The extreme weather is testing Texas’s power grid just four months after a freak winter storm blacked out millions of people across the state and left more than 150 people dead.

Another hot day is expected today, with locations all across North & Central TX expected to warm into the mid to upper 90s this afternoon.

The searing weather marks the first heat-related stress tests of the year for U.S. electricity grids as a historic drought grips the western half of the nation. It comes nearly one year after California witnessed its own rolling blackouts during a heat wave last summer.

A large number of power plants have unexpectedly shut down, clearly not rising to the conditions. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) promised to investigate the many repair and maintenance issues.

The company, which controls about 90 percent of the state’s power, urged residents to reduce their electric use throughout the week, saying demand was reaching supply levels.

The conservation alert comes only four months after the state plunged into a freezing blackout that left millions without power in winter storms that killed at least 150 people.

In a press release, officials said the problem was the result of “a significant number of forced generation outages combined with potential record electric use for the month of June.”

Several plants have been taken down for repairs and maintenance issues, around three to four times the usual number for this time of year, according to NBC5.

The broken plants put Texans at risk of power outages and blackouts as temperatures are expected to continue to rise.

“We will be conducting a thorough analysis with generation owners to determine why so many units are out of service,” ERCOT Vice President of Grid Planning and Operations Woody Rickerson said. “This is unusual for this early in the summer season.”

Meanwhile, ERCOT pleaded with residents Monday to limit their electrical usage.

Officials with the nonprofit group, which oversees 90 percent of Texas’ energy production, asked residents to set their thermostats higher, turn off lights and avoid using larger appliances until Friday.

A spokeswoman for the group told reporters that the outages accounted for more than 12,000 megawatts, enough to power 2.4 million homes. Some areas of the state, including Dallas and Tarrant counties, were warned about poor air quality and potentially dangerous heat, with the heat index approaching 110 degrees.

The index in Houston also topped 100 degrees.

Long-time Texas residents might choose to blame all the Californians who moved there. Californians, on the other hand, will feel right at home.

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Comments

“The outages hit Texas hard, especially after pursuing wind-power options”

Correction gas power failed, then the back ups couldn’t be brought online due to the overall system being designed for warmer temperatures. Wind power was expected to provide very little power its a gas state FFS.

    Paul in reply to mark311. | June 17, 2021 at 7:15 pm

    Wrong again, liar.

    Texas leads the US in wind power generation, by a country mile.

    https://www.chooseenergy.com/data-center/wind-generation-by-state/

      mark311 in reply to Paul. | June 17, 2021 at 7:53 pm

      Nope, all you’ve shown is that Texas produced a lot of wind relative to other states. That doesn’t address the premises of my claim.

      The below is a good source, one of the central problems with asserting that wind was the problem is that in ERCOTS extreme wind scenario wind was only expected to provide GW of power, that’s vs natural gas which provides something like 30-40 GW.

      https://reason.org/wp-content/uploads/texas-power-failures-what-happened-what-can-be-done.pdf

        mark311 in reply to mark311. | June 17, 2021 at 7:54 pm

        *wind provided 2GW in the extreme weather scenario

        CommoChief in reply to mark311. | June 17, 2021 at 9:38 pm

        Mark,

        Thanks for the link. I did notice that the report showed over half of wind turbine capacity was unavailable due to frozen turbine as early at 10 FEB.

        Personally, I believe our policy makers are far too ‘captured’ by the financial backers of the competing ideology divide; fossil fuels v renewable.

        What is missing is how to minimize impact on Citizens. How about much stronger financial incentives for replacing windows and adding insulation? Both result in lowered demand from the grid.

        Why isn’t nuclear power, clean and reliable in it’s most modern versions more prominent in the discussion? Resistance from all sides to that for some reason.

        Micro grids do make a great deal of sense, IMO. As well we should differentiate costs between generation and transmission to include billing. So If I install solar I usually only get billed for transmission costs/grid tie fee with a minimal amount of electricity over my generation.

        That reduces average demand, though not perhaps extreme demand conditions via weather. It does provide a cost structure, via grid tie/transmission fee to the operator to make capacity available to those users.

        IMO, we have too many dedicated interest groups throwing around funds that obscure the more common sense proposals. My ideas of financial incentives for residential users to add insulation and new windows? We can’t afford that because we provide incentives Tesla divers and tax breaks for every kind of production side expense. No money available for reducing demand side of the ledger.

          mark311 in reply to CommoChief. | June 17, 2021 at 10:14 pm

          The claim isn’t that wind didn’t fail, its that all the power generation failed due to it being not designed of the cold. In other words its a design issue

          Market forces are driving it in part, coal is a dead industry, its not got a lot of profit in it and doesn’t make much sense from an investment point of view. Renewables just have more scope for improvement and capacity increase although clearly there needs to be an energy mix.

          Id totally agree, improved efficiency is a big part of the process. wasting heat or preserving heat is a massive thing and making that work for each household makes a lot of sense. I don’t know what the building laws are like in the US is there a minimum requirement for insulation etc?

          I do think nuclear is good, but it is very expensive and the storage costs of the waste is a big issue too. There has been discussion around mini nuclear sites in the UK but never took off .

          Micro grids, yeah sure the UK has done it for years. The tariff scheme encouraged people to invest, its reduced considerably now as the market has gotten of its feet but its well worth while. I save about a third of my electric cost from PV, pay back in I guess a total of 10 years all going well.

          I’m not really convinced the richest country in the world couldn’t afford to subsidise a scheme for improving insulation. It would take time but its achievable through building standards, and incentives.

          CommoChief in reply to CommoChief. | June 18, 2021 at 9:07 am

          Mark,

          It’s not that we couldn’t. It’s that we can’t afford it when we already spend on so much else. If I have $100 I can afford a nice dinner out, but if I bought 4 overpriced coffee, gave the kids lunch money, bought gas the same day I can no longer afford the nice dinner out.

          At wind, it went earlier which removes that generation capacity. It didn’t create the problem, just exacerbated the supply problem.

          Coal maybe, though if a provider has an existing plant with modern technology located in or near coal supply to reduce transportation costs it is efficient. It is certainly reliable.

          Nat Gas was an issue of lacking on site storage at the generation end to mitigate pipeline interruption, IMO.

          All the various generation inputs are valid. They all work. The key is to use them in concert. The problem is each location in a continental size Nation like US has different requirements for demand and climate.

          A one size fits all solution that might work in a smaller sized Nation like UK simply won’t work in the US. Too much variation in climate, temperature, rainfall ECT.

          mark311 in reply to CommoChief. | June 18, 2021 at 12:10 pm

          @Commochief

          Gov doesn’t quite work like that. There is no set budget, its defined according to a balance of risk when borrowing and returning as well as perception. This is why Republicans open the wallets to things like defence, law enforcement and prisons and not other things whereas Democrats spend the money on something else. Trumps tax reform is an example of that since its projected to increase the deficit not reduce it.

          “All the various generation inputs are valid. They all work. The key is to use them in concert. The problem is each location in a continental size Nation like US has different requirements for demand and climate.”

          Well that’s true but surely it means you have way more space for much more ambitious sizing of wind , solar etc. You have a massive land resource advantage over the UK and its proving more able to deliver on cheaper electricity. Texas is unique in that it isn’t linked up to get those advantages (although still large it should be able to make use of its various micro climates).

          Its question of degree and willingness to get on with it. Money isn’t really the issue given the cost of doing nothing is considerably higher just in financial terms. The US has underinvested for many years in key things it seems, shame really. If the US just bit the bullet and invested it could be a much bigger player in the renewables market.

          CommoChief in reply to CommoChief. | June 18, 2021 at 1:10 pm

          Mark,

          Govt does work like that; adhere to fiscal realities. It might be deferred but it will happen.

          The US is now well over 115% of GDP. We have increased out debt by 100% in the last decade. Eventually that will have consequences.

          Every budget, public or private, has competing priorities. One example is interest payments on debt. This percentage of mandatory payment will rise sharply if interest rates rise and crowd out discretionary spending.

          Federal budget in 2019 $ 4.45 Trillion
          Federal interest payments $ 575 Billion

          That’s about 1/9 of the budget just for debt service. That’s also prior to the additional spending and new dent created for Rona relief packages.

          Even Nations with large incomes and wealth do have an upper limit on total spending. We can differ about what that spending should be allocated for: guns v butter but there is a total limit.

          I would point out that total US defense spending might be reduced were most European Nations to increase their own defense spending. Germany would be the prime example of a ‘free rider’ in terms of capacity to spend for defense but choosing not to do so in order to spend on domestic programs.

          As for investment in solar/wind ECT. That’s what the Trump administration was pushing for. Returning manufacturing of these to the US from overseas in general and China in particular.

          We offered significant tax credits for installation of solar; up to 30% of cost. States added their own tax incentives on top. IMO, we should offer the same for insulation, window replacement and weatherization measures either along side or in place of Solar/wind.

          After all solar and wind are not viable everywhere while reducing demand by increasing overall efficiency is universal.

          mark311 in reply to CommoChief. | June 18, 2021 at 3:40 pm

          Well gov can and does borrow money. And it decides how to spend it. The issue is one of degree and what to spend that money on. Sure I get your point about deficit payments but the fact is the US spends tiny sums on things like infrastructure. At some point that becomes an issue. Now more than any other time with the interest rates spending makes sense. (within reason). The added bonus of course is that gov spending tends to stimulate the economy so it’ll be interesting to see by how much.

          German defence spending – that’s fair

          I’m not clear what policies Trump did to promote solar? Could you point me to specifics?

          Sounds like we broadly agree about efficiency measures. Perhaps not all the details but still good to know we share some common ground.

          CommoChief in reply to CommoChief. | June 18, 2021 at 8:07 pm

          Mark,

          Define infrastructure. The other point on the subject of infrastructure spending is you can’t make the mistake of only looking at Federal spending. In the US most of our traditional infrastructure; roads, bridges ECT is funded by State and local government.

          Borrowing? Sure as I stated the Federal debt has basically doubled in the last ten years. Our debt service for on budget Federal is about 8%+ of each years spending.

          Here’s the 2019 Federal budget
          Defense 16%
          Social security 23%
          Medicare/Medicaid/chip/ subsidies 25%
          ‘Safety net programs’ 8%
          Veterans benefits/Federal pensions 8%
          Interest on debt 8%

          Military spending is only 16%, that’s the gun. Butter by contrast is 64%.

          We spend way more on social programs than most people believe, almost 6x as much as on defense.

          The Federal credit card is nearly maxed out. Higher interest rates by even one point will be very consequential.

        txvet2 in reply to mark311. | June 18, 2021 at 8:54 pm

        That Reason piece has been thoroughly debunked, which is why I’m not surprised you keep using it.

    MattMusson in reply to mark311. | June 17, 2021 at 7:35 pm

    The temperatures were the lowest on record since the last solar minimum. The cooling water intakes at the nuclear plants froze solid so the nuke plants had to be taken offline

      JusticeDelivered in reply to MattMusson. | June 18, 2021 at 11:49 am

      If that is true, then those lines should have entered much deeper water. I find it hard to believe that engineers made that kind of mistake.

        CommoChief in reply to JusticeDelivered. | June 18, 2021 at 1:20 pm

        Probably not the engineering. Likely was bean counting accounts and executives who accepted the higher risk for a lower installation and maintenance cost.

        They save money, shareholders are happy, they get bonuses based on higher stock prices which went higher because of their penny pinching. Everybody’s happy…. until the day arrives that demonstrates the results of the penny pinching.

        That said it was a freakishly low temp. Until we know what actual level of risk, in terms of preparation and the costs involved we should probably cut them some slack.

        However, if shown they would have had similar results at slightly higher temperatures….. nail them to the tree of woe.

    txvet2 in reply to mark311. | June 17, 2021 at 9:30 pm

    I don’t know where you get your stuff, but wind was and continues to be a primary energy source in Texas, not a backup, and wind was the FIRST thing to fail in February. There were a lot of other subsequent causes for the rolling or full time blackouts, but the original failure was wind generation. All of which has NOTHING to do with what’s going on now. Our problem is, was, and will always be idiotic government bureaucrats making rules (enforced as “laws”) about stuff they know nothing about. This is the first time in memory that we’ve had electricity shortages in June, and it has nothing to do with any shortage of NG generation. The big problem is likely the HUGE influx of out-of-staters running away from their socialist workers’ paradises, and the failure of the federal and state bureaucracies to ALLOW the construction of efficient power generation plants (coal and NG), instead demanding and subsidizing even more wind and solar projects – such as the one planned for Morning Star Ranch in Val Verde County, a place similar to the San Antonio area, where there is virtually no wind at all most of the time during the summer.

      mark311 in reply to txvet2. | June 17, 2021 at 10:02 pm

      ERCOT, as in the people who run the Texas grid. Gas provided 47.4% of Texas’s power in 2019, Wind provided 20%.. The link you provide doesn’t really help your case either since it misses the point entirely. That all forms of power failed DUE TO THE COLD. In other words the power generation wasn’t designed for the cold temperatures. It also doesn’t actually talk about what wind power was expected to take, in other words the planned scenario was that wind wouldn’t take the load typically, sure wind was picking up more slack before hand and why not that’s the great advantage of wind its free. That’s doesn’t change the fact that all power generation basically failed in that time frame. No one is blaming gas, no one should be blaming wind, a lot of people are blaming the lack of consideration for designing against cold conditions.

      I have to say wats up with that is a shit source, not really into climate denier sources, the amount of crap they spew out makes rather discredited.

      I never made a claim on the current situation just pointing out that the assertion in the article about wind being the problem in the February cold snap is pure bull shit.

      Given the situation is ongoing aren’t you a tad premature in making any kind of assessment That’s really telling arriving at your conclusion before you could possibly know what the answer actually is.

      Coal is a dead industry, market forces are pushing it to extinction, natural gas has more scope for awhile at least. As for renewables if Texas had used the correct design it wouldn’t have been a problem would it.

        Colonel Travis in reply to mark311. | June 17, 2021 at 10:36 pm

        Market forces are not pushing coal to extinction, it’s jackasses who want to get filthy rich on renewables, which do not have the power advantages of fossil fuels. They fool the gullible into thinking the switch is not just viable but morally good.

        Even Warren Buffett famously said there is no reason to build wind farms except for the tax credits. Sorry, this is not market forces at work, this is crony capitalism.

          mark311 in reply to Colonel Travis. | June 17, 2021 at 10:45 pm

          Sounds like you’ve paraphrased market forces to me.

          Wind/solar is becoming cheaper that most fossil fuels, Why is coal still doing so badly after 4 years of Trump then?

          Renewables work very well for many parts of the world. I don’t get why you are so attached to fossil fuels?

          Colonel Travis in reply to Colonel Travis. | June 17, 2021 at 11:19 pm

          Yes, we all know “the market” means manipulating the system and crowding out entire sectors because “the market” simply wants it that way. I have paraphrased “the market” perfectly. It just goes where it goes, la dee da, you can’t spell market without m-a-r-k! I’m talking with the dumbest person on the internet.

          I’m attached to what works best, makes the most sense and what brings people out of poverty the fastest. You are attached to fantasyland. Who the F would prefer to pay for fossil fuels if renewables performed exactly the same? Who? Ya think there might be more at play here than just obstinance?

          When you make us solar powered factories to produce millions of tons of concrete and inexplicably heat iron hot enough to make millions of tons of steel and crank out countless strands of fiberglass without any fossil fuels and dig out all those rare earth minerals with your solar backhoes and have fleets of solar trucks to litter the entire precious landscape, which you allegedly wanted to protect, with endless vistas of windmills and panels, come and get me.

          mark311 in reply to Colonel Travis. | June 18, 2021 at 7:48 am

          “Yes, we all know “the market” means manipulating the system and crowding out entire sectors because “the market” simply wants it that way.”

          The market is an expression of varying forces that in there totality push products, services etc into specific directions like for example coal which no longer warrants investment, there is an opportunity cost to investing in it. Investors think they will get more money out of something else like renewables for example. Coal in of itself isn’t valuable it doesn’t provide a social good (in context of being a redundant fuel source nor is it a good product. That’s not opinion that’s just what market forces indicate.

          Yeah when I said you paraphrased the market I meant you pretty much copied what I said using different words.

          Yeah exactly the market goes where it goes and that doesn’t feature coal in a big way.

          Dumbest person on the internet, yeahhhhhhh /s

          “I’m attached to what works best, makes the most sense and what brings people out of poverty the fastest.”

          Sorry what. You are suggesting coal will bring people out of poverty, that’s nuts given job creation is associated with renewables not coal. An industry that has been shedding jobs for years. How exactly does your poverty reduction mechanism work? OMG exactly who the fuck would pay for fossil fuels if renewables worked, funny that since there is a massive global trend to guess what renewables.

          Solar powered factories already exist

          https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/13/on-a-sunny-day-this-german-factory-runs-completely-on-solar-power.html

          Concrete and steel are separate and distinct questions compared to energy production. That’s a blatant conflation.

          I wont come and get you, because if I did that the climate would be fucked, which has real consequences. People are trying to solve a difficult problem and you are in the way of that for pretty poor reasons.

          Voyager in reply to Colonel Travis. | June 18, 2021 at 11:08 am

          Apparently the CEO of Blackrock decided they were going to use their massive federal pension investments to start strong-arming oil and gas companies into going *green”

          They are a large part of the reason the Texas grid is so over dependent on wind and solar now.

          I wonder if their mass housing buying spree now is an attempt to recoup the losses from all of that.

      MattMusson in reply to txvet2. | June 18, 2021 at 7:50 am

      The Wind ALWAYS blows in Dallas and there is plenty of cheap, desert (not suited for agriculture) land close to the Metroplex. Because of that, Dallas was slated to be the first US City run primarily upon green energy.

      Most US cities have intermittent winds or are too high in altitude like Denver, for Wind utilization. And, it does take lots and lots of cheap low grade land close to the city to make Wind viable.

So, did they import morons from Commiefornia to manage their power grid or something?

All these quoted officials are thrilling and dramatic, but something is profoundly wrong with this story’s framing. Mid-90’s in mid-June is nothing unusual, folks. The temperatures are purely within the norm. I remember a June in recent history, when every single day was pushing up to or over 100°F, every single one (we had visiting relatives form the UK and they were miserable).

So why is this being framed as if the state is burning up? Come on Texans! Pull your boots on and get busy fixing the problem – which is likely due to the steady influx of more people from other states! Some leadership and direction from the State Capital would be beneficial: Energy Demand forecasting is not rocket science.

    RobM in reply to Aggie. | June 17, 2021 at 8:45 pm

    You are missing the point, possibly purposely so. HIGH 90s’, no wind and high humidity. Abnormal for June in Texas? Not the least. But significant because there was no wind and no wind power. Texas has lost more than 10 coal fired power plants in the last 10 years. Many older NG plants too. All due to the craptastic reverse incentives to subsidize solar and wind and make baseload power expensive or untenable to maintain or upgrade for the new-green technologies mandated over the last 20 years.

    This crap this winter and again now, NEVER happened in Texas before… until… the decisions were made to sell out to the Green lobby and go after windmill farms and large solar projects…. and brag about shutting down dirty coal and dirty NG plants. All during the last 25 years, Texas’ population keeps growing, and more industry and companies moving here. Totally predictable… and it was… and it was all ignored by the global warming green zealots.

    amatuerwrangler in reply to Aggie. | June 17, 2021 at 9:54 pm

    Mid-90s? Oh, please. I’m a time zone west in So Utah and its been 100s for a week (about 2 weeks or so ahead of schedule). Yesterday — 112; today cold-snap 108; over 110 predicted for balance of week, but they have been over estimating on a regular basis. We are on an “alert”, requesting no unnecessary appliance use,, set AC high (we made it through today w/out it, 85 inside), don’t heat up house with oven (no baking). I’ve been led to believe that Texans were of sterner stuff.

      The Friendly Grizzly in reply to amatuerwrangler. | June 17, 2021 at 10:57 pm

      .

      I’ve been led to believe that Texans were of sterner stuff.

      So THEY say.

      Colonel Travis in reply to amatuerwrangler. | June 17, 2021 at 11:49 pm

      Put Southern Utah on the gulf coast and tell me 98 feels delightful.

      90 degrees at 80% humidity is the equivalent to 110F at typical Utah humidity levels.

      85 degrees at 80% humidity is around 97 degrees at your humidity.

      In fact Utah. Is so dry that your “85” is effectively several degrees cooler if you’re hydrated an have fans.

      Once you are above 80% humidity, fans and sweat are no longer effective at regulating body heat. At that point it’s more effective use the excretion pathways: I.e. drinking lots of ice water and caffeine to encourage frequent restroom breaks. That pulls heat out of your warmer core area. And, as long as you’re drinking mostly water, your kidneys won’t hate you for it.

      Why yes, I did live in an unairconditioned house in Texas for many years. Why do you ask?

I’ve got a spare generator for sale!

In the next episode, we will report on how fire extinguishers only work when there is no fire with a bonus report on how suddenly light bulbs only work in broad daylight.

JusticeDelivered | June 17, 2021 at 8:20 pm

Typical house, 10KW solar panels, 40 Kwh batteries, about 3 tons mini split high efficiency air conditioner = 24 hr cool house, no air conditioning power bill and ample power in Texas.

Unlike many people here, I think that some alternative energy sources have merit. Solar power is pretty much in sync with seasonal peak air conditioning loads.

    healthguyfsu in reply to JusticeDelivered. | June 17, 2021 at 9:50 pm

    In South Texas, that can work. North Texas has more forest cover and can’t get quite as much. They can still get a good bit, though. Also, where I live in Virginia you’d have to send the tree huggers screeching to the hills to cut down enough trees for solar power to “work” here.

    There are solar farms popping up but guess what they are leveling to build them. Whole forests of pine and other trees that soak up CO2 in the carbon cycle.

      JusticeDelivered in reply to healthguyfsu. | June 18, 2021 at 3:47 pm

      “When it comes to solar energy per acre, a photovoltaic solar plant which on average produces 1 GWh per year, will require around 2.8 acres of land. Therefore, we can say that for every acre, the plant produces an average of 0.357 GWh or 357 MWh of energy per year”

      “A mature tree absorbs carbon dioxide at a rate of 48 pounds per year. In one year, an acre of forest can absorb twice the CO2 produced by the average car’s annual mileage.”

      “In 2019, power plants that burned coal, natural gas, and petroleum fuels were the source of about 62% of total U.S. electricity generation, but they accounted for 99% of U.S. electricity-related CO2 emissions.”

      “How much carbon dioxide is produced per kilowatt hour – This equaled about 0.92 pounds of CO2 emissions per kWh”

      It seems to me that non tillable land used for power production is a reasonable tradeoff in terms of loss of carbon sequestration.

      In my case, I have over a hundred acres, about half of which is covered trees I planted 30 years ago.

      Many people want their one acre plot, and also want to tell people who own land that they should pay taxes on wetlands so that their wells continue to produce fresh water , and now they may want others to bear the cost of sequestering their carbon emissions.

      Personally, I think that I should not have to pay taxes for non tillable or wooded land, they should be paying them.

    johnny dollar in reply to JusticeDelivered. | June 17, 2021 at 10:29 pm

    Isn’t that about 60-70 thousand dollars worth of solar and batteries?
    Doesn’t really seem viable for most people.

    Colonel Travis in reply to JusticeDelivered. | June 17, 2021 at 10:52 pm

    We looked into getting solar panels on our roof. It didn’t make economic sense, the leases you are tied to are insane. 20 years? No thanks. The cost even with subsidies? Almost $17,000? Sorry, this is my “free” electricity? I would break even close to the 20 year mark, and that is only if the panels retained full efficiency their entire lifetime, which is impossible. I live outside of DFW, where we have extreme heat, cold, ice, snow, rain, wind hail. All this stuff does not increase the lifespan of panels.

    Talk to me in 200 years and I’ll reconsider.

    Its also in a zone that regularly gets hail in the spring. So, big vulnerable rooftop solar arrays pretty regularly need to get repaired or replaced.

    And just to be the cherry on top, the ones they’re trying to sell everyone are bound to the grid: if the grid goes down, you cannot use them.

    The whole thing is a giant scam.

      mark311 in reply to Voyager. | June 18, 2021 at 12:11 pm

      “And just to be the cherry on top, the ones they’re trying to sell everyone are bound to the grid: if the grid goes down, you cannot use them.”

      That’s nuts, and inherently stupid.

        Voyager in reply to mark311. | June 18, 2021 at 1:24 pm

        Doesn’t matter to the builders. It’s cheaper to build and gets the same subsidies.

        No-one got caught by it until this winter, when the grids went down. And by then, you’re already on the hook for the life of it, along with the repairs and everything else.

        That’s what I mean by solar is a total scam right now, and screws over anyone who buys into it.

          mark311 in reply to Voyager. | June 18, 2021 at 3:49 pm

          It works completely differently in the UK. There is an agreed tariff based on when you installed the panels. Used to be very high and dropped gradually as the market expanded. The PV companies incentive was the profit on the installation not on running it. So the profit from running was high but so was the profit from installing it kinda balanced out. Both prices are a lot lower now.

      JusticeDelivered in reply to Voyager. | June 18, 2021 at 12:21 pm

      1) Go ground mount, easier maintenance.

      2) Buy a hybrid system which can operate both off grid and grid tie, or better use an off grid system and a transfer switch where you only draw off the grid when conditions require more power than you are producing.

      3) Many utility buyback rates for grid tie are taking you peak load expensive power and giving you cheap off peak power in exchange.

      4) I am looking at buying cheap land where utilities are not available. Lower land cost more than offsets the Solar electric cost.

Lucifer Morningstar | June 17, 2021 at 8:38 pm

Temperatures are expected to reach 37 degrees Celsius in Houston . . .

Big deal. Where I live we’ve had 90℉ weather the last week. And today was 105℉. And we didn’t see any “unplanned outages” in the state. Period. Texas simply needs to get its act together, dump the unreliable green alternatives, build some gas/coal powered generation plants and be done with it.

    All the politicians bought into the green boondoggle… left and right. Abbott, was literally getting awards and bragging about our wind farms right up until the big freeze killing 700 Texans. There is maybe 10 politicians in state government that are making noise about this… the rest are cashing their windmill checks and telling everyone to turn their thermostats up and down as needed for the greater good.

      mark311 in reply to RobM. | June 17, 2021 at 8:55 pm

      As I’ve pointed out wind power wasn’t the issue, The cold took out all power to the state during the cold snap. Given that Gas is the primary power source for for the state its a tad disingenuous to label wind as the problem.

        RobM in reply to mark311. | June 17, 2021 at 9:40 pm

        that’s simply not so. There were a lot of factors, but wind/solar and the downstream effects of them being north of 25% of the grid ( ie, dozens of coal and older NG plants retired early over the last 15 years ) making what was left VERY vulnerable to a abnormal event. Instead of energy in depth and lots of it available, we have a 20% margin now, at all times.. and if the baseline has issues, the renewables are completely unreliable…. just like everyone knows they are. They are for social peacocking… nothing more. Grift. I’ve lived in Texas for over 30 years and we NEVER had issues like this until the last 4 years.. and it’s been getting more fragile, not more robust.

          mark311 in reply to RobM. | June 17, 2021 at 10:20 pm

          There was one primary factor, the power generation kit wasn’t designed for the cold. All power generation had issues. Its as simple as that. Wind turbines can work just about anywhere, only place with a problem Texas.

          Voyager in reply to RobM. | June 18, 2021 at 1:44 pm

          The limitation of wind power there is tha lubricants have a limited temperature range they can function over. Lubricants that don’t decompose during Texas summers are also not viscous during sub-zero weather.

          Basically, a wind turbine that will survive a Michigan winter will disintigrate during a Texas summer, and a wind turbine designed to survive a Texas summer will seize during a Michigan winter. Basic fluid physics, that you just can’t get around.

          So, it was expected that the wind turbines would not work during a freeze.

          The idiocy was having that be such a large percentage of the power generation that the remainder could not keep up.

          So it was not an unexpected failure, rather perverse incentives and overall bad design of the grid that caused it.

          mark311 in reply to RobM. | June 18, 2021 at 3:55 pm

          @voyager

          Whilst it’s true about the lubricant wind turbines can have cold weather packages installed. This is simply insulation and heating elements of the turbine to prevent freezing. The operating temperature stated by some turbines is between -20 and +50 degrees Celsius. It could have been designed for no at all

        Speaking of gas……

Not only is it not particularly hot, it’s been an unusually cool spring, at least in this area. The “problem” seems to be plants taken offline for “maintenance”, if you believe anything these leftists tell you.

    RobM in reply to txvet2. | June 17, 2021 at 9:42 pm

    miserably humid, everywhere and no wind. Mid to high 90’s and 70%+ humidity = everyone drawing a breath running their AC so they can sleep at night. I guarantee anyone moving to Texas from California is not ok with mid to upper nineties and our humidity and calm winds. Is there are part of California that has that?… for a week straight or more?

      Voyager in reply to RobM. | June 18, 2021 at 1:29 pm

      Yeah. I basically lose about a quart of water a night from sweat, even with the AC at 75. There are salt lines on the pillows. It’s about three days before the bedding smells like nightmare fuel and needs to go through the wash.

RobertEvans | June 17, 2021 at 9:05 pm

Why does this article talk about both Celsius and Freedom units?

    johnny dollar in reply to RobertEvans. | June 17, 2021 at 10:31 pm

    Excellent question !

    A “Freedom Unit” is a unit of power generated by Mark311 pedaling a stationary bicycle with a small generator attached.

    We may laugh at him, but, he’s got power to operate a fan all night long – as long as he keeps pedaling.

      as long as he keeps pedaling. No as long as he keeps talking (gas)

      You remind me of a kid at school laughing at the kids with brains. Then the kids with brains get jobs and have successful careers and gradually forget those other kids never even existed because they don’t even really matter. Being laughed at by a 10 year old pre-pubescent teen with the brains of a small potato isn’t exactly cutting.

Joey Williams | June 17, 2021 at 10:34 pm

Is everyone as unable to see the REAL problem as it seems?

There’s a shortage of electricity because of generating plant closures. So, the response is to commission a study of why those generating plants are closed.

What freakin’ good will that do? How many light bulbs, air conditioners, refrigerators, etc. will that study power?

Why isn’t anyone *acting* to do something about restoring generating capacity? That would actually help matters, unlike untold man-hours and millions wasted on a study.

FIX THE PROBLEM – don’t get lost in worrying about the reasons.

Doh!

    Joey, you’re not seeing the forest for the trees: this is intentional!

    Here in CA, the government reduced generation capacity by 25% when they shut down nuclear, oil and gas plants. Obviously, the goal changed from providing ample supply of power to run an economy to shrinking the size of the economy. We are literally being shoved back into the dark ages. If only we could burn wood, whale oil and make wax candles like in the dark ages but that’s been banned too.

    mark311 in reply to Joey Williams. | June 18, 2021 at 10:20 am

    “There’s a shortage of electricity because of generating plant closures. So, the response is to commission a study of why those generating plants are closed.”

    Well if your generating power plants are prone to say a specific design fault you might want to know abut that before bringing online anymore of that design. Its basic due diligence otherwise you might end up with more power plants sat useless. What a waste that would be.

    If you don’t know what the problem how do you fix it

Our county produces more than 60% of its power from solar, hydro and biomass. The remainder by bunker oil or naphtha. The alternate fuels create their own issues. Solar only works in daylight, hydro does best other than in summer, and the backup generators all petroleum must be kept purring to take up any slack. This created a real problem because we would have entire large electrical routes blow fuses and switch off. The problem was turned over to the tiny software branch at our local electrical cooperative…and three local engineers managed to create a software program that instantly turned off one energy route to favor another, in less than a second. No more surge demand blackout.
BTW, numerous other electrical coops and commercial enterprises have come here to acquire and learn the system.

As an aside, Texas really needs to adopt a solar photovoltaic system to encourage more home owners to install the same for AC and perhaps other applications. It gives a great deal of independence from the grid and saves our residents hundreds of dollars per home.

We do not have wind. It kills birds. Including very rare birds. End of story. We don’t want it. It is a boondoggle.

    RobM in reply to puhiawa. | June 18, 2021 at 12:33 am

    We didn’t want wind in Texas either. No one got a chance to vote on it. They just started doing it. The Government paid out handsome subsidies to any and all. 50 years from now they’ll be paying someone to go around cutting down the windmills.

      And here is the end result:

      Felling of 90 Mitsubishi 1000A Wind Turbines:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jyfms05WNoY

        Thanks for that one

        I hope I live long enough to see the locals here who wanted 145 Monuments to Gaia get stuck with the tab for felling them

        The developer who sold the idea to local pols convinced them that $250,000 put in escrow would take care or decommissioning

        145 units, 395 feet tall. 20 year lifespan with 18 year break even point

        And then, finding a site to dispose the blades when there is no market for recycling them. Incineration is hugely expensive

          murkyv in reply to murkyv. | June 18, 2021 at 8:24 pm

          That’s $250K for the entire complex. 145 units

          I doubt that covers knocking down and cleaning up just one of them,

      UserP in reply to RobM. | June 18, 2021 at 1:21 am

      More like 10 years. Some new solar products will be out in the near future and that will keep repeating every few years as the technology advances. I think there will be more emphasis on different approaches to solar energy and less on wind.

        UserP in reply to UserP. | June 18, 2021 at 1:25 am

        But the cost effectiveness of all of this is dubious as there is no free lunch (except for those who come here illegally)

          puhiawa in reply to UserP. | June 18, 2021 at 2:22 pm

          We pay way more for electricity than almost all other places, but are now the second cheapest in Hawaii. We pay less because we are less reliant on fossil fuels. However the cheapest power plant by far is the coal plant on Oahu. We are just too small to use coal even if the public allowed it (the public owns the utility and can vote about matters)

Patrick Brady | June 18, 2021 at 4:49 am

Let the State of Texas re-commission the TX coal plants that have been mothballed over the past 5 yrs. Then operate them without the EPA’s blessing (sovereign immunity from EPA capricious retribution). TX electricity supply +5-10%.

Problem solved.

F**k the EPA. Oh…. and cut off electricity to EVERY EPA Office and the HOMES of (likely virtually working) EPA staff in TX. They need to do their share to conserve.

Wind power generation is exempt from the reliability standards that coal and gas meet. Could that be because it is an unreliable source?

Further, gas and coal plants are not investing in maintenance and improvements when the Marxists threaten to shut them down.

This mess is planned by the Democrats. This is not an unintended consequence of “market” forces. It is intended due to deeply corrupt political forces.

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