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Old 02-18-2021, 10:27 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by TitanMike View Post
If you don't mind catastrophes like this, then don't insulate, heat, or use proper lubes.

What would it take versus the financial and human toll we'll see when the numbers are added up.

Using similar logic most large grocery stores where i live don't hsve backup power for cold/frozen food storage. Why? Because power failures are rare, right?

Since my local Walmart opened it's suffered 3 multi-day outages and has had to discard TONS of cold/frozen food. Costs in the high six figures for lost food. A large enough standby generator? Maybe $ 50k.

Our local Winco does have a generator.
There is more to disaster recovery and business continuity then the purchase of a generator. It has to be tested and maintained if not used on a regular basis and fuel storage is not trivial. Right now gas stations are closed in my area of Texas, since the tankers could not come in to refuel. Should businesses plan on 4 days or 10 days for 30 year event? Where do you store that much diesel? Hospitals and Fire stations and police station, yes, or maybe. Businesses will make those decisions based on cost analysis.
100k every 30 years lost on spoiled food is cheaper than a 50K+ all the other cost associated with having a standby generator.
It is basic risk assessment to run a business.
State wide human cost is a total different story. That risk is handled on a political basis and appropriate taxation and funding to mitigate the risk is based on the risk assessment, and what people are willing to vote for and pay for.
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Old 02-18-2021, 10:33 PM   #22
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"Everything's bigger in Texas"

...including failures.

Our successes are bigger than out failures.
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Old 02-18-2021, 10:46 PM   #23
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In Houston. In the middle of the Texas mess.

The locals ignored the every 30 years or so weather situation to save money.

More bad news. The refineries are all frozen up. That will not fix itself for a while.

Fortunately our power is back on and we got propane today. Life is good.

The entire town closed down Sunday. Some stores opened today.

Trailers on either side of us are a mess. New folks who ignored the water shutdown warning. Had buckets out in the rain yesterday. Their little batteries powering their heaters died Monday at 10 pm. Got down to 10 degrees F. Torpedo heaters out yesterday to try and thaw out pipes. Wish I could have helped! A mess!
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Old 02-18-2021, 11:02 PM   #24
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Wind turbine farms are a normal part of power generation in the cold climates of North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado and even Antarctica (shown below). Texas natural gas "freeze offs" are largely responsible for their problems.

Engineers could build a power generation infrastructure that could withstand a Siberian winter or a Death Valley summer. But the bean counters would say "not so fast".... and rightfully so. You build a system to withstand the expected weather outlier conditions.

I'm certain this extreme Texas weather event will bring that "weather outlier" discussion into new focus.
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Old 02-18-2021, 11:14 PM   #25
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I'm certain this extreme Texas weather event will bring that "weather outlier" discussion into new focus.
I look forward to that discussion.
Twice in 10 years plus another event in 1989 is a bit like the 100 year floods that have been happening every few years in Houston.
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Old 02-18-2021, 11:27 PM   #26
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Having our electric grid hardened against negative temps in Texas makes about as much sense as requiring air conditioning in every installation in northern Canada. There are several wind turbines on the property where I hunt and most of the time I see and hear large fans dedicated to cooling the equipment vs. heating it. This is likely a once in a generation occurrence. We havenít had temps this cold in 30 years or more.
You better look it up and rethink that comment, the last time Texas had temperatures this cold was 10 years ago in February 2011.
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Old 02-19-2021, 01:11 AM   #27
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Texas wasnít alone in the power outages it just so happened that it effected some of our major cities. Leading to greater numbers without power. It was the perfect storm in many ways, no one energy source is solely responsible. Even if we swapped lubricant s in our almost 11,000 and growing windmills. Monday when it got extremely cold here in west TX wind was 1-3 mph if that I wouldnít blame a windmill if there was no wind. By the time the wind kicked up the ice and cold took their toll. Between snow and clouds short days solar didnít help either. Gas wasnít working well either we have 480, 000 miles of gas lines and growing in the state. In the panhandle and other locations that see more cold it is smart to have it insulated. In south Tx where the February average high is 65 it doesnít make since. Heck it was 80 degrees two days before the cold hit. Nuclear power was cut in half as well. Coal had its problems too.
Finally human nature itís my opinion that people over compensate in the cold. For example where I live itís not uncommon for us to set our A/C on 75 during the summer day regardless of whether or not itís 90 outside or 105 outside. However in winter the colder outside the warmer inside we make it. For example if the low is in the upper 40,s or warmer we may not even turn on the heater. Once it hits the low 40ís to low 30ís the heater goes on to maybe the mid to low 60s If the temperature is In The teens or lower then might see 70-75. So in the summer we average say 30 -40 degrees or less difference between outside temp and inside temperatures when it is deadly hot. In the winter it can be 70 plus degrees different during extreme cold. Unlike AC that is some what efficient except when the compressor kicks on most electric heaters are the opposite they consume lots of electric.
We have a lot of things to fix in our state but at the end of the day it will come down to money and the money it cost the electric company is going to be passed onto the consumer and hurt those that make less or on a limited income. When they canít afford to pay the electric or gas bill.
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Old 02-19-2021, 01:17 PM   #28
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This post won't last long before being shut down!
That's not very helpful.
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Old 02-19-2021, 01:35 PM   #29
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Texas runs on natural gas and coal.
Nothing works if the valves are frozen because they aren't 'hardened' to resist freezing weather.
The national grid is divided into East, West and Texas.
And midwest too, I believe. Itís called Midcontinent Independent System Operator and goes through Louisiana pretty much all the way north. Even includes some of Texas. They have had rolling blackouts and brownouts causing relatives and friends to fire up the generators.
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Old 02-19-2021, 01:37 PM   #30
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All sources of power, and the grid itself, are vulnerable.
Massive sections of the grid were literally crushed by an ice storm in 1998.
https://www.inmr.com/ice-storm-black...act-insulator/

On the flip side, there are functional wind turbines in Antarctica.
https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/wi...es-antarctica/

The TX phenomenon, and many like it, have more to do with lack of maintenance, lack of preparedness, profits, and so on than the generation source. Dams fail. Nukes blow up and leak. ...and so on.

The general consensus in the TX debacle is that an independent, unregulated "public" utility was unprepared for the inevitable.

And for the record, fossil fuels, in the form of natural gas, were the single largest source of grid failure in TX.
https://www.newsweek.com/fact-check-...-texas-1569922
Numerous other sources echo this info.

P.S. As you raise the subject in an RV forum, one needs to ask about the viability of an RV as emergency shelter in these conditions. The answer is that few are ready for this kind of challenge. Absorption fridges don't work well in cold, only the most well prepared 4 seasons units can have functioning onboard water and sewer, and most seasonal RVs will be hard pressed to stay warm with their furnaces. Meanwhile, propane also has its limits. As temps drop to near zero, propane's efficacy also drops. https://www.powerblanket.com/blog/pr...gaseous%20form.

So had you focused your thread on RVs, it would have been worthwhile to note the limitations of the "typical" camping RV vs. the more capable 4 seasons...full-timer's RV.

And in the same vein, one must consider the limited supply of fuels one might have on hand to power generators, and the consumption rates on limited supplies of propane. Once you're out and with no grid running, you don't just go to the gas station or propane supply to get more.

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Old 02-19-2021, 01:40 PM   #31
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I look forward to that discussion.
Twice in 10 years plus another event in 1989 is a bit like the 100 year floods that have been happening every few years in Houston.
Those events were not even close to what went on the last week. Just a FYI.
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Old 02-19-2021, 01:40 PM   #32
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Not disputing what has previously said but would like to add that failure to heed warnings there were problems played a huge role too.

As people are finding out, it's not always warm in Texas. Equipment in Texas isn't much different than equipment installed in areas that see arctic like temps every year yet there the equipment didn't fail.

Insulation and proper lubricant in machinery makes a big difference. Natural Gas flows in Canada and Northern States in winter yet in Texas proper precautions and preparation was a victim of "We've never had that problem before" thinking.

Sometimes it takes a slap in the face with a cold, wet, towel to wake the decision makers up. This time the "towel" was frozen solid and they got smacked real hard. When they wake up I'm sure those that still have jobs will start corrective measures immediately.
Your take on this "cluster flop" is quite right. The ERCOT system is mainly designed around warm - weather operation (i.e., hot, humid summers). Wind and solar contribute additional electricity for that purpose (up to 33%). Regular winters are generally mild compared to conditions up north but we do get "Blue Northers" here. Really bad ones hit about every 10 to 15 years. This one was a record breaker. Now, before everyone piles onto Texas (though it is much deserved), 13 other States had similar issues as well. The Texas Governor and Legislature are investigating this. The simple answer is to require all power plants to winterize going forward. Another step would be for the power plants to have dedicated gas lines that are independent of the other systems so they can continue generating electricity even if there is a loss of gas pressure. It will take a little time to figure out. I hope that they get it right. They've had 11 years to fix this and haven't done a thing.
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Old 02-19-2021, 01:43 PM   #33
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Seems like perfect storm has a lot to do with it. I saw some video where they were using a drone like system to spray deicing agents on the windmill blades. So, part of the problem could be that as noted by Moose074, with the light winds, the blades weren't turning and were more susceptible to getting iced up as the temps fell. If the wind had been up earlier, the flexing caused during rotation may have reduced the icing.
Also saw an interview with one of the house representatives from Texas who mentioned that the nat gas pumping stations that froze up may have been required to be heated by renewable energy or electricity rather than just burning some of the gas they were pumping. So when the turbines went down, the gas had to follow. There was a move several years ago after the last cold snap down there, to "harden" all of the grid infrastructure or build a couple of coal based power stations, but he was hearing that the work wasn't done.
Like California, it is looking obvious that there needs to be enough fossil fuel generating capacity to support the base electric load requirements. Federal government incentives appear to have very negatively impacted how investment in the power grid has been spent leading to these issues.

Lot of stuff to look into.
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Old 02-19-2021, 01:43 PM   #34
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Never hurts to be prepared no matter where you live, even in South Texas where some of us have generators for possible hurricane power outages. The 2 duel fuel generators I have were used to keep us warm and from suffering as many others unfortunately did. Yes this is a wake up call that exposed our vulnerabilities and gives us a chance to correct them. As far as whether any particular power source is good or bad, it is very clear we need all of them.
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Old 02-19-2021, 01:56 PM   #35
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Luckily we had our Puma31RLQS at home and uncovered when the freeze hit. When our power went out we moved into our trailer and used our Champion dual fuel generator for power. With all slides open and fireplace on high and temp set at72 the furnace cycled every 20 minutes for about 6 minutes at 19 degrees outside temp. At 18 degrees outside and fireplace only set on high it maintained 59 degrees inside. I'm glad to know a travel trailer is livable under those conditions.
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Old 02-19-2021, 02:03 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by jimmoore13 View Post
All sources of power, and the grid itself, are vulnerable.
Massive sections of the grid were literally crushed by an ice storm in 1998.
https://www.inmr.com/ice-storm-black...act-insulator/

On the flip side, there are functional wind turbines in Antarctica.
https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/wi...es-antarctica/

The TX phenomenon, and many like it, have more to do with lack of maintenance, lack of preparedness, profits, and so on than the generation source. Dams fail. Nukes blow up and leak. ...and so on.

The general consensus in the TX debacle is that an independent, unregulated "public" utility was unprepared for the inevitable.

And for the record, fossil fuels, in the form of natural gas, were the single largest source of grid failure in TX.
https://www.newsweek.com/fact-check-...-texas-1569922
Numerous other sources echo this info.

P.S. As you raise the subject in an RV forum, one needs to ask about the viability of an RV as emergency shelter in these conditions. The answer is that few are ready for this kind of challenge. Absorption fridges don't work well in cold, only the most well prepared 4 seasons units can have functioning onboard water and sewer, and most seasonal RVs will be hard pressed to stay warm with their furnaces. Meanwhile, propane also has its limits. As temps drop to near zero, propane's efficacy also drops. https://www.powerblanket.com/blog/pr...gaseous%20form.

So had you focused your thread on RVs, it would have been worthwhile to note the limitations of the "typical" camping RV vs. the more capable 4 seasons...full-timer's RV.

And in the same vein, one must consider the limited supply of fuels one might have on hand to power generators, and the consumption rates on limited supplies of propane. Once you're out and with no grid running, you don't just go to the gas station or propane supply to get more.

Well said. We lived in Golden Colorado in a 3-season TT and I will never do it again. We were hit with a major cold front one December that dropped temperatures from the mid-40's to -10į in a matter of 30 minutes and it was a struggle to keep things running. Fortunately, I had heard this thing was coming so was able to jury rig some homemade tank heaters and insulation to keep us from freezing over. I had heat tapes on everything. The setup worked. Heated LP gas tank shrouds definitely would have helped a bunch.
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Old 02-19-2021, 02:11 PM   #37
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Be prepared and know your tolerance for cold weather.

We are now in Dallas for work and living in an RV full time since May. I do not mind temperatures getting below freezing if the next day the temperature will get back up over freezing. Over 10 days ago, I was reviewing the weather channel app on my phone and saw that the temps would be below freezing for a couple of days. We made the decision to quickly winterize the RV and move the RV to a hotel to ride out the cold weather despite the cost. The weather was so much worse and longer than even our fore planning. We are still at the hotel and have experienced the blackouts here and we still do not have hot water due to pipes breaking at the hotel. Protect your investment in your rig and always be prepared. Be safe out there please.
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Old 02-19-2021, 02:13 PM   #38
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A LOT of people in Texas have propane, natural gas or wood heating capabilities in their home. Often not the primary source, but keeps you from freezing to death in a situation like this. You think this was a catastrophe, you take away fossil fuel heating sources and put the country entirely on electricity and this would have been unimaginable.
Just imagine how much more fun this would have been if everyone in Texas had electric vehicles.
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Old 02-19-2021, 02:17 PM   #39
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Just imagine how much more fun this would have been if everyone in Texas had electric vehicles.
Perish the thought!
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Old 02-19-2021, 02:26 PM   #40
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Just imagine how much more fun this would have been if everyone in Texas had electric vehicles.
Very good point exposing electric vehicle vulnerabilities. Don't have anything against someone with an EV; but, don't take away the tried and true.
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