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Old 02-26-2021, 07:40 AM   #141
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Originally Posted by Reverse_snowbird View Post
We probably should wait until a final report on this outage.

Too many people 'know what happened' and at this point, it doesn't seem that even the people who maintain the grid don't really know what happened. They probably need to know that to prevent the same thing happening in the future.
I agree. Input from “guessers” should be disregarded.
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Old 02-26-2021, 07:50 AM   #142
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I had a front-row seat to that for 17 years. The only time some capital expenditures were made was "when the wheels fell off".
I've had that same seat for 31 years now. I work in organizational risk management, and it's not that the managers don't understand the risks, it's just that they are willing to "take-a-gamble". And more often than not that pays off for them with big bonuses and stock upticks.

You are absolutely right Mike. As long as we continue to incentivize "cost-cutting" and gross margins over investment for the future we will be in a continuous loop of:

OMG! I can't believe what was inevitable actually happened.
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Old 02-26-2021, 08:13 AM   #143
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Of course we talk a good game here yet every Space X rocket launch generates 750,000 lbs of CO2. That's the equivalent of 38,280 automobiles in an entire year.

{don't believe me? Google it}
I did

SpaceX Carbon Footprint
The Falcon 9 rocket runs on fossil fuels, namely Rocket Propellant 1 or RP-1, which is highly refined kerosene.

Each launch burns 29,600 gallons or 112,184 Kilograms, with each Kg of fuel releasing 3 Kg of CO2, so each launch releases 336,552 Kg of CO2.

A flight from London to New York City has a carbon footprint of 986 Kg, so a SpaceX launch is the equivalent of flying 341 people across the Atlantic (Jacob calculated 395). It sounds terrible, until you realize that that is about the number of people that fit into one 777-300, which can carry 45,220 gallons of fuel. So overall, one transatlantic flight of a 777 is considerably worse than a flight of the Falcon, and they do this hundreds of times a day.
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Old 02-26-2021, 08:53 AM   #144
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There are many excellent points. Texas failure appears to be due to lack of winterization of all: solar, wind and natural fossil resources. ERCOT and Public Utility Commission are all at fault. Texas needs to keep oil and gas as our main sources and only supplement with green energy. There are still communities in Central Texas without power or fuel. These Rural coops have miles of power poles on the ground due to ice damage. There has been a huge financial loss to some grocery stores, and livestock owners. I was very worried about all the RVers trying to stay in their homes.There have been deaths due to freezing exposure. RVers should consider moving to a motel if available or get out before the storm.Texans knew this was coming. Leave!
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Old 02-26-2021, 08:57 AM   #145
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....
RVers should consider moving to a motel if available or get out before the storm.Texans knew this was coming. Leave!
Leave to where? Central America? Kansas?
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Old 02-26-2021, 09:01 AM   #146
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Maybe....

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In the 50's as kids we used 2 tin cans and some kite string for our walkie talkies and that system was more robust than the Texas power grid. Went from no power to rolling outages at intervals. I think heads will roll.
“Predict the future by the past”
Remember the 2011 Super Bowl ice storm? A huge report was bought and paid for and it outlined the solutions. What was done? Zip.
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Old 02-26-2021, 09:25 AM   #147
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Alaska is not connected to any other grid. The difference is, we're prepared for events like this. Be glad you're not on the one or both of the national grids. Because when they go down, at least you'll be alright. Now that all those out-of-state ERCOT board members are gone you can prepare your grid for the next weather calamity.
I am glad to see changes at ERCOT as well. Unfortunately, ERCOT has no authority to order providers to winterize. They can only make recommendations. I think the state is actually going to have to spend money to fix this problem, either the industries’ or ours’.

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Old 02-26-2021, 09:29 AM   #148
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I'm in Quebec and our electricity is almost %100 percent renewable and operates from about -40f to 104f. It's not the green thing that's the problem.
What is used to heat homes there? I’m guessing it’s not electricity.
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Old 02-26-2021, 10:03 AM   #149
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Leave to where? Central America? Kansas?
I heard Southern Florida wasn't freezing.
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Old 02-26-2021, 10:08 AM   #150
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Old 02-26-2021, 10:25 AM   #151
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I am glad to see changes at ERCOT as well. Unfortunately, ERCOT has no authority to order providers to winterize. They can only make recommendations. I think the state is actually going to have to spend money to fix this problem, either the industries’ or ours’.

Battchief

They can also put "specific performance" clauses in the purchase contracts with power suppliers. Clauses that provide for huge financial penalties if power is interrupted due to the power suppliers failure to prepare for freezing weather or foreseeable weather events.

Nature will always cause interruptions but power companies that maintain emergency stocks of power poles, wire, transformers, etc can get the power system back online than those who take the "we haven't seen the need in years to keep spares on hand so we'll just order as needed so we can save money (and put it in our bonuses)".

And then there are maintenance issues. Remember the issues recently in CA where wear items on power lines were ignored for decades and eventually led to devastating fires.
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Old 02-26-2021, 11:30 AM   #152
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"Green" wind and solar contributed to the failure. It was not the only cause of course but the windmills did freeze and solar did get covered in snow. I was not making a political statement but wanted to comment on how important it is to protect the power grid. Sorry if I offended...
The loss of wind power during this storm in Texas was not about "windmills" (wind turbine generators) being an unreliable source. Turbines continued to work just fine here in Minnesota where the temperature ranged from 0 to -25F and we had plenty of snow. They also continued to work fine further north in Canada as well as in Antarctica during this period of time. This is all about Texas power companies being unprepared. Deliberately unprepared by failing ton install blade heaters and follow deicing protocols.

This response is not about anyone being "offended." It's about getting the facts right so people can understand what happened and prepare for the next event.
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Old 02-26-2021, 12:21 PM   #153
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Are we not lucky we never had to rely on electric vehicles to get around in and keep warm.
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Old 02-26-2021, 12:32 PM   #154
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At the end of the day, no matter how prepared we are, Mother Nature is always going to win! Political affiliation doesn’t make you immune to it either.
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Old 02-26-2021, 12:46 PM   #155
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Are we not lucky we never had to rely on electric vehicles to get around in and keep warm.
My Volt keeps me nice and warm. Even when the main battery is depleted. That's when the gas powered engine kicks on.

Considering that I rarely drive more than 50 miles per day it surprises me when the engine does come on.

Now for those who have "electric only" vehicles I can see a problem. No backup plan.
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Old 02-26-2021, 12:55 PM   #156
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Quoting the first response above: "The failure was not based on Green Wind and Solar. That is Fox News propaganda. Failure was based on gas plants and fossil fuels no being able to to get to the generating stations."
The issue was not that our gas and fossil fuel plants were unable to get to the generating stations. The sole problem was that those in charge of our energy management for the grid, ERCOT, decided they were more concerned about elevated levels of emissions than they were about lives. They would not allow the power generators to provide us the needed power because it might cause us to exceed the emissions levels and pay fines. On top of not allowing access to the fossil fuels which could have kept all of Texas powered through this freak storm, they also raised the rates per kilowatt hour to over 6000x the normal rate. This, they say, was to make sure our citizens did not waste electricity. The result was that the majority of the state either had power completely shut down in single digit temps, or we went through rolling blackouts with our power out 50% to 70% of the time. Our water supplier could not power the pumps, therefore we also lost our water for an entire week. Even those like us who had taken precautions with heating well houses and preparing high risk water lines against freezing could do nothing without power. We have massive numbers of individuals who have frozen pipes and damaged heat pumps that could not cycle on/off properly, so they froze up and will require replacement. The worst though was the number of deaths as a result from their stupid decision and greed. The mayor of Galveston had to hire a refrigerated truck for holding bodies of the dead once their morgue was too packed to hold any more. It will be weeks or months before all of the medical examinations can be completed to determine whether these people (mostly homeless and elderly) died of hypothermia or carbon monoxide poisoning, but both as a result of ERCOT's decision. There were a number of board members who do not even live in the state of Texas. At least 4 of them resigned this week. Our state has seen this type of weather before and had no problem getting through it when all we depended on was our fossil fuel supply. If you really care to know facts, and you won't get them from any of the mainstream media channels, I would be happy to share some links. Nobody is pointing fingers at the wind turbines and solar as the cause of our problem. We just learned a very hard lesson that those are not "reliable" power sources during crisis such as this one. By the way, our governor has already announced that a criminal investigation will take place over how ERCOT handled this emergency and those deaths will be on their shoulders.
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Old 02-26-2021, 01:04 PM   #157
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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 haven’t had temps this cold in 30 years or more.
I live in N Texas and we have had weather this cold in 2011, with similar but less severe problems. At my place, it was -2 in 2011 and -4 in 2021. The difference is that this time it was statewide--temps around 10 degrees in Houston and 20 degrees in Brownsville, so this time it stressed the entire grid. They investigated and made recommendations--few, if any of which were followed.
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Old 02-26-2021, 02:29 PM   #158
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I want to add to my post above to help others understand how/why some of this is handled so differently in Texas than most other places. All the posts from Northerners reporting that their wind turbines have heated blades need to consider that this type of severe weather event is extremely rare here. The last time was 10 years ago. It simply does not make sense to spend tax dollars on heated blades and road equipment for ice and snow that will only be utilized maybe one or 2 days a year. As for the road equipment, sitting for 363 days a year in storage, that also costs tax dollars, is not a wise investment. Also, our water lines are not buried as deep as up North. While we do get "white stuff", we rarely get actual snow and, when we do, it usually melts by the following morning. What we do get is ice in the forms of freezing rain, sleet, hail, and even something called frozen fog. A friend shared a picture of "snow" in her yard, then explained that she went to pick some up only to realize it was solid ice. The only equipment we have are sand and de-icer spray trucks. They do their best to treat the main roads but this is why we are encouraged to just stay off the roads during these times. What we also experience is when this ice begins to melt off, if it has not dried by the end of the day, it will refreeze and be even worse the following day. And as for planning for this event, we prepared as we always do because we have never experienced such widespread power outages before. We did what has always worked for us in the past but we never had ERCOT withholding power from us in the past. We could only manage to keep our home around 48 degrees throughout the week. Thankfully, we have a small propane fireplace in our living room, so we were able to block the door with a blanket and keep our living room from 58 to 62 degrees. Without water, toilet tanks hold one flush, there is no water for hygiene, cooking, laundry or dishes. Fortunately, we do prepare when there is a chance of frozen water lines, so we filled our water jugs that we use for dry camping. Thank God we did! But even when used extremely frugally, 21 gallons of water is not much. So when you think you "know" what was going on down here, just ask and we will tell you the truth. Just so you know, just 2 days prior to this storm our outside temp was in the high 70's. And just 2 days after the event, our high was 82. I was sitting outside wearing flip flops.

Oh, and instead of pompously acting like we somehow failed during this storm, how about instead being compassionate and just wishing that our power is restored and that none of us lost friends or family members because of the freeze.
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Old 02-26-2021, 03:33 PM   #159
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If we cared about safety we would outlaw left turns at intersection, and only allow right turns. This practice would save thousands of lives per year. Isn't saving one life not enough to change the practice of left turns?
However, this practice would not be practical, so it is about risk assessment and our appetite for risk. It is that simple.

Do we plan for 30 year storms or 100 year storms? Texans will be the judge. Not much different than how California decides to manage their water or forest fires.
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Old 02-26-2021, 04:28 PM   #160
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<snip>

Why does Texas produce so much power when it doesn't export much to other states? Part of the answer is all the manufacturing and other production and another part is the distances between the wind generation and the customers. There are substantial losses with long distance AC power transmission. That is why the interconnection with other states is through high voltage DC transmission lines that are point to point. You cannot drop a connection to some point along the line with a transformer but you achieve much lower losses despite having to convert AC to DC and then DC to AC.

<snip>
DC power transmission is very inefficient. Direct current is not easily converted to higher or lower voltages. DC power suffers more energy loss than AC power over the same distance. The total amount of voltage has nothing to do with the total amount of loss. This is why Thomas Edison had to build more generators closer together using heavier cables when Edison was building the first power grid. It's also why Edison was at war with Nikola Tesla and George Westinghouse.

"Tesla's AC systems eventually caught the attention of American engineer and businessman George Westinghouse, who was looking for a solution to supply the nation with long-distance power."

"The Westinghouse Corporation was chosen to supply the lighting at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and Tesla conducted demonstrations of his AC system there. Two years later, in 1895, Tesla designed one of the first AC hydroelectric power plants in the United States at Niagara Falls. The next year, it was used to power the city of Buffalo, New York. This feat was widely publicized throughout the world."

https://www.history.com/news/what-wa...f-the-currents

https://www.energy.gov/articles/war-...ac-vs-dc-power

FWIW, The car shredder I operated before I retired was powered by two 600 volt 2500 amp DC motors with the combined output of 4200 horsepower. These motors were repurposed General Electric D-32 diesel locomotive generators. Input voltage was 3 phase 4160 vac converted to 600 vdc. Each of the twenty-four 0000 stranded copper cables (12 cables per motor) had to be no longer than 20 feet in length. The motors could have the rotational direction reversed with no loss of horsepower or speed up to 600 rpm. Reverse direction was limited by the control software to 20 rpm. The reason why DC voltage was used is the torque is the same at 20 rpm as it is at 600 rpm.

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