Texas’ Wind Power Cut By Half- Winter Storm

| February 16, 2021

Winter storms have halved the output of Texas’ wind turbines over the weekend; the winter weather leaving between 2.5 and 3.5 million people without power. Rotating power outages were initiated by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) early Monday, with thousands going without electricity for periods of time as temperatures fell into the teens near Dallas and 20s around Houston.

Renewable resource? Poetrooper sends.

Texas electric grid operator says frozen wind turbines are hampering state’s power output: report

Over 2.5 million people in Texas have been left without power from the storm’s frigid temperatures

By Lucas Manfredi
About half of Texas’ wind power generation capacity has been put on ice amid the state’s historic winter storm, according to a report.

ERCOT told the Austin American Statesman that roughly 12,000 megawatts of Texas’ wind generation capacity had been hampered as of Sunday due to frozen wind turbines. However, they also noted that unfrozen wind turbines are spinning at a higher rate than expected, helping to offset the losses.

ERCOT operates Texas’ electric grid and manages the deregulated energy market for 75% of the state,

“This is a unique winter storm that’s more widespread with lots of moisture in West Texas, where there’s a lot of times not a lot of moisture,” ERCOT senior director of system operations Dan Woodfin told the outlet. “It’s certainly more than what we would typically assume.”

It is estimated between 2.5 and 3.5 million people in Texas have been left without power amid the storm’s frigid temperatures. An ERCOT spokesperson did not immediately return FOX Business’ request for comment.

Solar power will step up and fill the breach. Oh, wait. Read the entire article here: Fox Business News

Thanks, Poe.

Category: Blue Skies, Guest Link, It's science!

Comments (83)

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  1. UpNorth says:

    This must be wrong, I’m sure that Lars will be here any minute now to explain that this is all Trump’s fault.

  2. rgr769 says:

    But, but, JoeBama and the green new dealers say we are going to get half our electricity from wind turbines. The rest will come from solar and a small percentage of unicorn farts.

    • MI Ranger says:

      I thought it would be from all those warm fuzzies rubbing balloons against them to make electricity!

      Has anyone tried to capture all that released methane from our “burgers and steaks waiting to happen”? You know kind of a “Carbon Capture technology?

    • 5JC says:

      Lars doesn’t know math or understand science. You will have to rely on me.

      Hard to explain. Must use small words. Big water and ice fall from sky. Ground very cold. Water become hard like rock, frozen. Many people so cold. Turn on hot glow wires to keep warm. But frozen water very heavy. Make trees break and fall on black snakes on poles that bring sparks from far away. No more cable TV, no more Dr. Phil or Judge Judy. Many, many people around country have no sparks. Power gods can’t make 69.2 Gw. They cut people off. Much sadness.

      So, what else is going on here?

      Texas Gov. Greg Abbott blamed private companies for the outages, and said it was impossible to prepare “for this type of event, because the last time we had this type of weather was more than 100 years ago.”

      “Texas has become the epicenter in a series of winter storms that has blanketed the central U.S. and spurred storm watches in 40 states. ERCOT hit a record winter peak demand of about 69.2 gigawatts on Sunday evening. Demand for electricity to heat and power homes, businesses and factories remained high through the evening and into Monday morning”

      We should note the normal peak demand for this time of the year is 45Gw, not 69.

      “At the same time, a number of natural gas, coal and nuclear thermal generators began tripping offline starting around 1:30 a.m. Monday, he said. While ERCOT hasn’t yet collected the data to determine the precise causes of those generator outages, a previous report from a 2014 cold snap suggests a range of causes, from natural-gas pipelines freezing up to the failure of equipment that’s needed to keep power plants operating safely.”

      “Texas is unusual in that almost the entire state is part of a single grid that lacks extensive integration with those of the surrounding states. That grid is run by an organization called ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, a nonprofit controlled by the state legislature.”

      “According to a statement released today by ERCOT, the grid entered a state of emergency shortly after 1am on Monday, meaning it could no longer guarantee enough power generation to meet customer demands. This is because roughly 30 gigawatts of generation capacity has been forced offline.”

      Wind would account for 12 gigawatts of the 30 if the power plant operators were expecting 12Gw, which they weren’t because it is Winter. In the Winter the wind farms only produce 20-40% of the other season totals.

      Even if they were running at 100% output (impossible in winter) 12000Mw X 650 homes = 780,000 customers out of 4 million maximum. This is a huge amount. The actual expected amount this time of the year was 4Gw. This is still a huge amount but does not compete with the 26Gw of production that are off line due to the diversion of Natural Gas for heating away from Natural Gas Power Plants (as well as frozen gas lines and inoperative pumping stations due to weather). Also of course the South Texas Nuclear Plant is completely off line producing 0Gw instead of it’s normal 2.4Gw.

      So it is fair to say that of the production losses 5% are nuclear, 10-15% are wind and 80%+ are natural gas. Impossible to say what the effects are for downed power lines.

      Love your headline.

      • Hondo says:

        Decent analysis. However, one quibble.

        12GW is about 30% of the installed wind capacity in TX (TX has 30GW total installed wind generation capacity, per one of the articles LC posted below). So expecting 12GW from wind during the winter is indeed in line with normal winter production expectations (between 20% and 40% of capacity).

        Also, there are two nuclear generating plants in TX. Each has two units; together, they can provide 5 GW of electricity to the Texas power grid. Why there aren’t more? Good question; ask Jimmuh the Peanut.

        One of those plants had a partial shutdown (one reactor), apparently due to secondary coolant feedwater inlet issues (commercial nuclear plants require a supply of water to cool their steam-generation loop; this water isn’t used as coolant in the nuclear reactor itself). That partial shutdown took approx 1.35 GW of electrical capacity offline; the remaining 3 reactors continued to operate normally. This partial loss meant that approx 27% of the normal nuclear generation capacity was unavailable – but 73% remained online. More reactors in operation would have limited the percentage impact, but they were never built.

        Why did that happen? Dunno. Since this partial shutdown was at the plant about 90mi SW of Houston, I’d guess that no one thought inlet freeze-up would ever be an issue and no provision was made for keeping the inlets ice-free in severe winter weather. If so, that’s IMO a marginal design for a critical utility system. But that being the reason is conjecture on my part.

        https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/energy/article/Power-tight-across-Texas-winter-storm-blackouts-15953686.php

        https://stateimpact.npr.org/texas/tag/nuclear-energy-in-texas/

  3. 26Limabeans says:

    They bought the wrong kind of windmills.
    Should have bought the kind that are heated (with electricity)
    when the weather is cold and the wind isn’t blowing.
    No shit, windmills in the north are actually heated during winter.
    And all those obstruction lights at night don’t run on fairy dust.

    • FuzeVT says:

      There was a smallish wind turbine on top of the hill right by the HQ building on Camp Foster in Okinawa. For most of the time I was there (4 years) it didn’t turn. When it did, my joke was that the purpose of the thing was to create enough power to light the hazard warning light that was on the top of it. It probably failed to do that. The good news is, that we had about 6 electrical powered car charging stations in the front of the building. The turbine may as well have been to supply them electricity because no one ever used those things in four years, either.

      Good news we could report to congress how green we were.

  4. 11B-Mailclerk says:

    Re: wind turbines

    And just like that, the ecofreaks forgot about endangered birds dying.

    I certainly hope this wakes up Texas to just how stupid is this “Green” (Red) stuff. If this was really about “carbon” or CO2 they would be screaming for modern nuclear power plants.

    • 26Limabeans says:

      I live in the shadow of a large windfarm. Now in it’s 4th year of a projected
      ten year life. Four years ago this area was blessed with with many Bald eagles
      and Osprey. They would hang around the ice fishing spots and wait for someone
      to fling a frozen unwanted junk fish across the ice where they would swoop down
      and take it back to their roost. It was a beautiful thing to watch.

      Have not seen either species in at least two years.
      Must be climate change.

      • E4 Mafia '83-'87 says:

        According to US Fish & Game, between 140K to 500K birds are killed each year by wind turbines. Another 6K birds are incinerated by solar plants…but ya know the environment and shit.
        Not to mention all this “green energy” is NOT energy on demand. Its energy only under certain conditions.

        • A Proud Infidel®™ says:

          Those fucking wind turbines have by now likely killed more birds than DDT, but since the Al Gore Junior crowd wants them, they’re acceptable.

          • 5JC says:

            Yeah it is crazy, like almost .007% of the bird population. Pretty soon if things aren’t brought under control they will kill as many birds as coal plants or oil fields.

            They will never catch house cats of course. Those bastards are like the Khmer Rouge, they kill everything.

            • 11B-Mailclerk says:

              Eagles and other large raptor are hardest hit.

              Cats are food to those, not threats.

              But thanks for exemplifying the hypocrisy of the “ecology” types that freak out over bird deaths, then don’t.

            • Mason says:

              So wind turbines are about as deadly to birds as COVID is to us?

    • Hondo says:

      . . . . how stupid is this “Green” (Red) stuff. If this was really about “carbon” or CO2 they would be screaming for modern nuclear power plants.

      Bingo.

      More people died in Ted Kennedy’s car than have died in all US commercial nuclear power plant accidents in history. It’s the most eco-friendly energy source that exists today.

      Thanks again for screwing over your country, Jimmuh the Peanut.

      • FuzeVT says:

        All of the greens watched Chernobyl and got the message. The two messages they got were Trump is a dictator – see what his lies cost?! And two, that nuclear is bad.

        The lessons they should have learned are 1) this is what one party rule gets you – the state (i.e. party) can’t be wrong – EVER (just like the Dems now). And 2) the Soviets didn’t care about anything when it came to individual lives. Their disregard for safety sicked untold thousands and poisoned a huge swath of the earth.

        Good series, though, when you watched it as an indictment of Soviet rule.

      • 5JC says:

        “More people died in Ted Kennedy’s car than have died in all US commercial nuclear power plant accidents in history.”

        This isn’t actually true, unless you have an odd definition of “nuclear power plant accidents”. People die in work place accidents all the time at power plants, including nuclear power plants. Nuclear power plants in the balance are generally quite safe, one of my sons works at one and I don’t worry about his safety at all.

        Most energy related deaths occur in the collection of the raw energy. Coal is of course the most dangerous one of all. Deaths from coal mining typically exceed deaths in all other energy sectors combined.

        • SFC D says:

          I’m gonna go out on a limb here, but I’m thinking Ol’ Poe was talking about deaths due to reactor accidents, be it radiation or steam explosion. I’m also thinking you knew that and chose to make a meandering detour.

          • Hondo says:

            Ol’ Poe? Thanks for the compliment, SFC D, but (with apologies to Popeye the Sailor): “I yam who I yam.” (smile)

          • SFC D says:

            This is what I get for typing pre-coffee. I mistakenly attributed the wrong person. Hondo, my apologies. Other than that, my post stands as is.

            • Poetrooper says:

              Thanks for the compliment here as well, SFC D. Hondo and I tend to think alike on most things.

              Just not the F-35…😜

          • On Jan. 3rd, 1961 the US Army low power reactor No 1 (SL-1) blew killing three people

            • SFC D says:

              The original post was “commercial nuclear power plant accidents”. SL-1 was an experimental reactor, and blew as a result of either incompetence or sabotage, depending on what reports you read.

              • Hondo says:

                Bingo. SL-1 was both not a commercial reactor (it was military) and experimental.

                From what I read when studying nuclear engineering in college, the incident was a combination of operator error/unauthorized maintenance procedures and bad luck. The linked Wikipedia article closely follows what I read about the incident more than 40 years ago.

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SL-1#Accident_and_response

        • Hondo says:

          I am using “US commercial nuclear power plant accident” to refer to the nuclear plant operations at same. That meaning is quite obvious, and is the context in which anyone with three or more working brain cells would interpret what I wrote unless they were being intentionally obtuse or argumentative for no reason.

          You are correct in saying that it’s entirely possible that someone has slipped, fallen, and hit their head with fatal results at one of them in the US at some point in time, or in some other form of non-nuclear-related accident. Now, can you cite such an example? After all, you’re the one making that claim. Got proof?

          • 5JC says:

            I think I knew what you meant to say but; it wasn’t what you actually said. I wouldn’t want to make an assumption about what you are thinking.

            Proof? sure, some incidents:

            On July 27, 1988, at Comanche Peak nuclear plant in Texas, a worker was electrocuted while performing maintenance in a battery charger room.

            On October 15, 1990, a worker fell to his death at Crystal River Nuclear Plant in Florida.

            On March 31, 2013, a generator in the non-nuclear area of Arkansas Nuclear One fell and killed one worker.

            On September 13, 1988, a worker was electrocuted at Wolf Creek Nuclear Plant in Burlington, Kansas.

            On October 14, 1987, a worker was electrocuted at Wolf Creek Nuclear Plant in Burlington, Kansas.

            On September 18, 2008, a man was electrocuted while conducting maintenance at Monticello Nuclear Plant in Minnesota.

            As I said Nuclear Power plants on the balance are very safe. They get tons of more oversight than all other power plants from the Federal Level. My son had to attend several hundred hours of safety training before working and he doesn’t work anywhere near the reactor.

            • Hondo says:

              Thanks – though links would be preferred rather than merely posting descriptions of incidents that can difficult to verify.

              But unlike at least one commenter, at least you’re willing to provide data that backs your claims.

            • OWB says:

              Were any of these deaths due to the nature of the power source or could they have occurred at any other industry plant due to accident of any sort? Ya know, like tripping on something, a safety violation, or whatever else account for accidental deaths in a work places.

  5. Sapper3307 says:

    Ice throw from wind turbines deadly.
    https://youtu.be/Ni4g99e9X2k

  6. Sapper3307 says:

    And Fossil fuel powered helicopters de-icing wind turbines.
    https://youtu.be/-90g8SrOtgQ

  7. Sapper3307 says:

    And California’s green energy bird/bat choppers.
    https://youtu.be/Q4ma2ztFoYs

  8. Ret_25X says:

    Texas discovers wind generation is a fart and the Army discovers men and women are not, in fact, the same.

    What’s next? Will Kaleefornya discover that San Francisco is, in fact, literally covered in human crap?

    • Hondo says:

      There’s a reason that California is nicknamed “The Granola State” by sane people: get rid of the fruits and nuts and all you have left is flakes.

  9. KoB says:

    Have the unicorns fart on the turbines. The heat from those gases may help unfreeze them. Or you could move the Kongress Klown Kritters next impeachment session to Texas. All of that hot air will defrost everything right quickly.

    Was studying on this last night. This wake up call will be followed by another one next month. The wholesale price of electricity spiked at a 10K% increase, natural gas spiked 4K% higher and a barrel of Sweet West Texas Crude oil jumped to $60. Here’s a linky talking about that.

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/markets/oil-electricity-prices-spike-on-rare-texas-winter-storm/ar-BB1dI2JK

    • Ret_25X says:

      funny how the “no more fossil fuel” types own so much stock in fossil fuel producers.

      It’s almost as if their government mandated shortages profit them…..

      Now where is Dumbkopf when we need him to explain how raysis electricity is……

    • 5JC says:

      Biden fucked us on the energy markets on day one with his idiotic EOs. Expect a continued climb in oil, gas, transportation and all energy prices for the foreseeable future.

      Basically he took the US economy and threw it in a dumpster.

      • The Other Whitey says:

        Remember, he’s “the most popular presidential candidate in history!” (and I’m a Chinese jet pilot).

      • Mason says:

        He “fixed” Trump’s errors.

        Remember Obama just wrote; “At the end of the day we Americans loved our cheap gas and big cars more than we cared about the environment.”

    • MI Ranger says:

      This all kind of talks to the bigger problem in Texas. While diversified power generation is great, there are too many intermediaries between the customer and those generating it (brokers, Power companies, and distribution networks).

      I think I fell asleep in those economics classes about deregulation and problems with the Government managing things. Everyone complains about the monopoly of power companies everywhere else but at least then the government can hold single provider responsible to the customers and ensure even those without power can be heard!

      Had a great time watching Milton Freedman and some Thomas Sowell speeches and discussions on the Boobtube over the long weekend!

  10. David says:

    Two fold issue… natural gas is in short supply since low temperatures are causing more gas heat use.

    Power came back a half hour ago, about the time the outside temp rose from -3 to -2. Fingers crossed…. house is all electric.

    • David says:

      Hours later: rerun of “I Dream of Jeannie” opens up with interesting guest star: Chuck Yeagar. With dark hair…not sure I ever saw him with ANY hair before.

  11. USAFRetired says:

    Saw an article yesterday that Texas refineries had to cut back production due to instability of power. As such expect an increase at the pump

  12. OWB says:

    It’s winter. Sometimes winters are very harsh. This certainly seems to be one of them. Shame on those of us who were raised to stock up on stuff just in case this was the year we got snowed in/flooded/otherwise stranded at home for a while.

    Go ahead, snowflakes. Rain down upon us. I’ll just sit here snug in my winterized home with plenty of overstock provisions watching the hysteria from those unprepared.

    Getting tired of paying for the folly of others. There are any number of things I would rather spend my money on. Oh, well.

  13. LC says:

    It’s not ‘wrong’ that frozen wind turbines are hampering the energy output in Texas, but it is only a part of the story.

    Texas is facing a shortage of ~30GW of power right now, and ERCOT is saying that 12GW is hampered due to frozen turbines, leaving an 18GW shortage even if wind generation were operating at full capacity. That is, the majority of the shortfall isn’t in wind, it’s elsewhere.

    Here’s an article with a bit more info:
    https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/02/texas-power-grid-crumples-under-the-cold/

    Wind isn’t a panacea and frozen turbines are a (known) problem, but it’s probably not the biggest problem here. And, frankly, there might not be a good solution if this is indeed a ‘black swan’ type of occurrence. Systems are engineered to handle some deviation outside the mean, but the further out you go, the more expensive it gets to handle increasingly rare extremes. At any rate, it’ll be a while before we get a full understanding of what went wrong. In the meantime, here’s some information on the 2011 winter outage there:

    https://www.powermag.com/ferc-nerc-february-blackouts-in-the-southwest-could-have-been-avoided/

    • Hondo says:

      What it boils down to is that Texas energy suppliers bought 30GW of generating capacity that provides <20% of that amount of power during severe winter weather (data from yesterday in the article you linked indicates peak production from wind power was less than 6 GW from approx 30 GW of total installed capacity). That only makes sense if they were getting those generation assets for a song - or were responding to political pressure/inducements to use them vice more conventional means.

      Had half of that wind capacity been installed as conventional generation vice wind, there's a good chance Texas wouldn't be in the same fix it's in today - e.g., they'd be facing a much smaller shortfall. Given fuel, properly designed and installed conventional generation sources can generally operate at or near full capacity 24/7/365.

      We're reaping the "fruits" today of Jimmuh the Peanut's asinine decisions regarding US commercial nuclear power during the late 1970s.

      • LC says:

        So, either they got a good deal (‘for a song’), or Texas bowed to some clean energy pressure from the AOC-loving crowd, and nobody in the famously red, gas-guzzling state raised a stink about it? If those are the choices, I’m inclined to go with the first one.

        And, from what I recall seeing not too long ago, wind prices -measured not as peak capacity, but as kw/hr of sustained throughput – are pretty competitive with other options these days. Not everywhere, of course, which is why places like ERCOT keep track of wind speeds and locations.

        I guess what I think it boils down to is that, again, wind power issues aren’t the major factor in Texas’s current woes, and I’m inclined to think, absent evidence to the contrary, that Texas’s increased purchase of wind power is due to it being economically viable, both directly, and indirectly in the sense that a diverse energy portfolio is in itself a good thing to mitigate against issues with any one source.

        I do agree that if nuclear power were less stigmatized, we’d be better off. Not sure we can throw that all at Carter’s feet, though.

        • Hondo says:

          Carter and his cronies indeed deserve most of the blame. His administration killed reprocessing, and provided at best lukewarm support for the nuclear industry during and after TMI. In short: he sold us down the river to curry favor with the enviro-whacko crowd. And as a trained nuclear engineer, he damn well knew (or should have known) better.

          France didn’t make those mistakes. If I recall correctly, they now get about 80% of their electricity from nuclear sources.

          Now regarding your assertions about wind power: did you ever hear of something called “Federal subsidies”? From 2009 to 2017, “renewable” energy received over 50% of all Federal subsidies related to energy production (by inspection of the relevant chart, some years between 60% and 75%). You really think that fact – and the fact that it reduced the overall cost of installing wind power systems greatly – didn’t figure into the decisions to install wind power in TX?

          Yeah, it did. It made them a bargain – even if they were a bad idea from a reliability of service perspective. And they were “green”, so the companies also got good PR out of the deal.

          • LC says:

            I’ve got no real problem with ending the federal subsidies on wind power (and, oil/gas/etc). They served a purpose of stimulating the growth there, and I think that growth was beneficial in cutting the cost of wind power development and leading to a diversified supply of power. So did they factor into the development? Probably. Was it a good thing? Seems so. One thing I’ll have to look up if I find the time later is the total subsidies by type over the years – I’m certainly inclined to think oil and gas have benefited more from this effect than wind, even in renewables have been the focus in the past decade or so. Wanna take that bet?

            And, as more information comes to light, it seems the major problem in Texas is, again, not the wind power, which is currently hitting ~4GW of the projected ~6.2GW of power, but rather the fact that the natural gas power production is down a whopping 26GW:

            https://techcrunch.com/2021/02/15/severe-weather-blackouts-shows-the-grids-biggest-problem-is-infrastructure-not-renewables/

            Now, to be fair, that’s an anonymous source to us, but talking to someone who knows a fair bit about energy and policy. The problem isn’t the renewables, it’s the infrastructure itself being unable to cope with a rare situation like this.

            I doubt we’ll get any confirmation until an investigation, but if you’re having delivery and infrastructure problems with natural gas, it’s damn good to have some power coming from another source, like wind.

            • Hondo says:

              Um, no. The link you posted originally gives an installed capacity figure for wind in TX as 30GW – not 12 GW. The 12 GW figure might be what they “expect” on a good day in the winter, but that’s still not the capacity. The installed capacity is what the system is capable of generating when operating at max output.

              It’s also entirely possible to die of hypothermia in far less than 3.6 days. Tell me: how would you like to do completely without heat and lighting (and the ability to cook food) for about 3 1/2 days in sub-freezing weather?

              You also obviously didn’t look at the chart I linked. As I noted above, the chart clearly shows that since 2009, “renewable” energy sources have received well over 50% of Federal subsidies for energy production. Fossil fuels are included in that chart.

              • LC says:

                I think we’re talking different things — yes, Texas has installed capacity of just over 31GW/hr from wind, and the original article claimed that 12GW of capacity, not expected, was frozen. That is, 18+ GW of capacity from wind was still working fine. Here’s the exact quote from the Fox Business Article:

                …roughly 12,000 megawatts of Texas’ wind generation capacity had been hampered as of Sunday due to frozen wind turbines.

                The actual numbers are still unclear, since daily data varies so much. Look at the data from February 6th-8th, and they were getting 18 – 22 GW/hr of output. Look at the 9th – 12th, and they were getting ~6-7 GW/hr. In January, they averaged ~10 GW/hr, which seems higher than the ~ 7.5 GW/hr they see on average in a year.

                When they’re factoring in costs, though, they definitely look at expected output, not theoretical max (eg, ‘capacity’). This is true in other industries, too – gas turbines have an efficiency rating, and when they spec out what they’re buying, they look at expected output to meet demand, not physics-defying zero-loss rates.

                At the end of the day, again, some fraction of wind turbines are offline, seemingly because ERCOT took few if any cold-weather precautions, but if we go by January’s numbers, they achieved roughly 30% of conversion from capacity – with 12GW in capacity down, that translates to almost 4GW. The other 26GW of capacity they’re missing seems to be from sources, primarily natural gas, where they’re having supply, pressure and generation problems because, once again, they seemingly didn’t make any efforts to winterize their gear, like the 2011 fiasco suggested.

                And I’m not sure why you’re implying I’d be just fine with people freezing and/or dying from hypothermia — this is a severe issue, absolutely. It needs to be fixed. Almost as if, maybe, some standards that cost money -like, requiring winterization of equipment- are worth it from a societal point of view, if not a strictly economic one.

                Finally, I did look at the chart – I’m well aware of the fact that since 2009 the renewables have gotten a lot of federal money, and fossil fuels are far lower. Without doing the math, I’ll reiterate my bet: Do you think if we sum up the subsidies over time that fossil fuel generation has gotten, it’ll be less than the sum of what renewables have gotten? If so, I’ll pull up the numbers and do it. I’m inclined to think they probably got more, and that goes directly to cost, too – subsidized infrastructure, regardless of when those subsidies are made, reduce cost.

                And, as I said, I’d be fine with phasing them all out.

                • Ret_25X says:

                  debating the merits of wind power is like debating the merits of electric cars….idiotic.

                  both are coal and diesel powered and net drains on actual capacity.

                  I love the urban elite argument on wind power subsidies being just to start the industry. Nope, there would be no wind industry if the market ran freely. The only reason wind energy exists is because the taxes of working class people can be transferred to the urban elite in the form of “subsidies”.

                  If you are a modern liberal, you are a thief.

        • 5JC says:

          Carter is such low hanging fruit you can blame practically anything on him. It is always a turtle race between him and Johnson to the worst president in my life time, although if Biden lives long enough he might take the lead.

        • Poetrooper says:

          The lesson to be learned here, LC, in ol’ Poe’s estimation, and the reason I sent the link to Ed is this:

          Just what kind of fix would Texans be in right now if they had followed the wishes of environmentalists and converted the majority of their power generation to wind?

          These current events are a hard lesson in and clear demonstration of the reality that wind and solar are inherently unreliable under certain weather situations, more so than fossil fuel sources and incomparably more so than nuclear. This is, of course, something that saner folks have been saying all along because it’s grounded in common sense and human experience.

          I don’t expect any hardcore enviros to be swayed by this very painful lesson but I’ll wager it’s influencing the thinking of many of the more environmentally pragmatic among us who may be having second thoughts their past willingness to simply go along to get along.

          Do you honestly think the fossil fuel industry won’t use the nationwide coverage this event is garnering to buttress their quests for public support against broader use of renewables due to unreliability?

          • Poetrooper says:

            “…thoughts ‘about’ their past willingness…”

          • LC says:

            I just put a link above that claims (no proof yet) that while wind is down (~4GW out of an expected ~6.2GW, so I’m guessing the 12GW is the capacity number), natural gas is where the main issues lie, with power generation down 26GW.

            So, the rephrase your loaded question, had Texas put all of its infrastructure on natural gas right now, and that is delivering a lower percentage of peak than wind, … wouldn’t they be worse off?

            This is an issue of infrastructure, I think. If storms like this happen once every ten years, do you put in the effort -and thus cost- to winterize everything to not be impacted? Ten years is ~3600 days, so if this outage lasts 3.6 days, that’s 0.1% of the time where this was impacted. If they could only spend 0.1% to handle this, that’s a no-brainer. If it costs 2% to handle it -20x the relative amount- what should they do?

            And absent a few crazy people, nobody is suggesting we just have wind turbines everywhere, and no plan for outage when they’re iced, or calm days, or anything like that. Yes, these technologies are unreliable… but evidently so is natural gas under the current circumstances. Everything has a degree of unreliability – that’s why you engineer in some capability to handle that. That’s the common sense and human experience aspect.

            I’d be fine with a mix of nuke, gas, solar, wind, etc. No zealotry here. Converting fully to wind has obvious risks, and converting fully to gas has other risks. But if the fossil fuel industry wishes to push this fiasco as indicative of problems with wind power, they better first explain why the heck the majority of the loss in service seems to be in natural gas, not wind.

            • Poetrooper says:

              “I’d be fine with a mix of nuke, gas, solar, wind, etc.”

              No coal? Frozen coal still burns and it is plentiful in America. Plus it is now possible to build coal-powered electric generating plants with stack scrubbers that greatly reduce their harmful flue gas output.

              I’m for smart application of ALL methods of power generation as long as it’s done wisely and not because it’s a ding-a-ling, pie-in-the-sky obsession of a small but highly vocal group of zealots as well as a means of lining the pockets of cynical exploiters of those gullible fanatics.

              Gore and Kerry come to mind…

            • Hondo says:

              See my comment above. As an earlier article you linked clearly states, wind generation capacity in TX is 30GW – not 12GW. The latter might be what’s “expected” to be produced on a good winter day, but that’s not the generating capacity.

              Capacity is defined as full design output. Fossil and nuclear plants can generally produce their rated output 24/7/365. Wind, hydro, and solar cannot; they’re literally dependent on the weather to produce anything. And in general we can’t store the excess electricity generated during favorable times for later use in grid-scale quantities (local storage is feasible under some conditions, but not in general).

              • 26Limabeans says:

                When the Mars Hill Maine wind farm reached five years
                of operation the company (First Wind) put out a statement
                celibrating the milestone and gave a figure for the amount
                of megawatt hours it had produced. A little quick math
                showed that Maine Yankee (nuke) could have produced the
                same amount in thirty days.
                So they tore down Maine Yankee.

          • 5JC says:

            So wind is not more “inherently unreliable” than NG or Nuclear under certain weather conditions. The state lost 50% of it’s nuclear power generating capacity, 50% NG capacity and 50% wind capacity.

            Why you hate windmills so much Poe? What they do to you? They steal your old lady or something?

            • Poetrooper says:

              “They steal your old lady or something?”

              Hell, Miz Poe hates ’em more than I do. She’s a sweet thang from West Texas whose daddy was an oil man who started out in the oil patch at the bottom and ended up working all over the world managing some of the world’s largest offshore operations and being a partner in his own drilling company.

              Young Poe was raised in the oilfields of Oklahoma and am the only male member of my family who never worked on a drilling rig. I wanted no part of the oil patch because it’s such a boom or bust business, but it has made a few members of both our families and many friends wealthy, and provided good livings for many others. We still own a piece of a Texas well that brings in a modest little monthly stipend.

              Having lived many years in West Texas and New Mexico, we’ve seen first hand the rise of the vast wind turbine farms and what a blight they are on those wide open landscapes. Liberals argue that oilfields are visually polluting but they’re nothing compared to wind farms.

              Have you ever seen an abandoned wind farm? Talk about visual pollution–all those sagging collapsing behemoths in various stages of decay make an oilfield look like a well-tended golf course.

              Once an oil or gas well has been drilled, the drilling rig, the most visual aspect of oilfield operations, is removed and many oil companies then camouflage paint the remaining structures: the pump jacks, collection tanks, pipes and so forth to blend in with the landscape, making them as unobtrusive as possible, even far out in sparsely populated desert areas. Nothing remains towering high above the horizon.

              Not so wind farms, which are a very visually in-your-face, vista spoiling industry which is why libs like John Kerry are so opposed to having them in their backyards.

              Now, if wind-sourced energy were as efficient, inexpensive and reliable as fossil-fueled energy, I could be a bit forgiving on the aesthetics, but since they most definitely aren’t, I tend to be critical.

              And you oughta here Miz Poe…

            • Hondo says:

              The state lost 50% of it’s nuclear power generating capacity, . . . .

              Um, no. The actual loss in nuclear generation capacity was about 27% – and that’s because one reactor shut down due to weather-related issues. See my comment above with links that gives more detail and my conjecture as to why that happened.

  14. Anonymous says:

    How’s that hippie renewable wind energy working out, eh?

  15. 26Limabeans says:

    I just want to say this computer is powered by
    the mighty Saint John River as it flows through New
    Brunswick Canada. No birds were harmed but maybe a few
    fish were inconvenienced. If so then their guts probably
    became chum out in the Atlantic to feed the Mackrel along
    the Maine coast. It’s a win win all around.

  16. Andy says:

    This shit sucks. First morning power goes out about 0500 and then this morning at 0150. Luckily I have a couple of generators for this reason but it sucjs even worse getting out of the warm bed to start the gen when it’s a feels like below zero temp. But, it is either run the Gen or my wife doesn’t dialysize so it is a no brainer in every sense. This is not supposed to happen in Houston. Did I mention this shit sucks.

  17. SFC D says:

    Arizona catches blowback from Texas cold snaps. Had record-setting cold in Sierra Vista in 2011 IIRC, at the same time El Paso was getting frozen. Natural gas is piped to southern AZ from El Paso, where demand was something like 200% above normal. That left a greatly reduced supply in Sierra Vista. Huachuca shut down to reduce the load, 50% of Sierra Vista was without gas for about 3 days. Plumbers and landscapers made a fortune that year. Everything froze.

  18. STSC(SW/SS) says:

    Feeling the effects of Progressivism this weekend and the start of the week. Long lines at the store. Work is closed due to electrical outages and power has been on and off since Saturday.

    Just think, Biden wants to make this worse.

    Eat shit and die you fucking progressives.

  19. Poetrooper says:

    Food for thought on this topic from an intelligent Texan huddling under a blanket, without power, deep in the heart of the Peoples’ Republic of Austin:

    https://www.americanexperiment.org/2021/02/robert-bryce-this-blizzard-exposes-the-perils-of-attempting-to-electrify-everything/

  20. 11B-Mailclerk says:

    One of the giant red flags of a failed state is: Can’t keep the power on reliably.

    The Proggies want to turn that dystopian condition into a virtue signal of “progress”. Texas just got a taste of business as usual in Calizuela.

    “See! We are saving the Earth with renewable energy!”

    “I can’t see, dipshit. The lights are all off again. Go get another candle.”

    Cowboy up and build some pebble-bed or CANDU reactors, or some Gen5 design. Maybe meanwhile build some natural gas fired plants to cover the load that frozen turbines and snow-covered solar isn’t delivering and won’t next time either.

    • Fyrfighter says:

      Don’t forget to repeal that carter bullshit about reprocessing the fuel to make it even more efficient..

      And F@$K the green weenies!

      • 11B-Mailclerk says:

        CANDU and some more modern designs have enhanced burn-up of trans-uranic radwaste isotopes. The remainder is much less of a long term problem.

  21. Graybeard says:

    Briefly have power & checking in.
    We’re under rolling blackouts in the GB Compound, but are warm enough. Haven’t had to get the propane heaters out yet.

    We are on a co-op, which is doing a yeoman’s job keeping us supplied as they can.

    Was down to 10 on the front porch, a tad lower on the fencepost thermometer, yesterday a.m.

    And… we’re back on a blackout. Gotta go shut down the UPS again.

    Ice and snow here. It is been here since Sunday evening/Monday morning. Forecast to be snowing still tomorrow. Freezing rain right now – which is worse for the linemen I know.

    I have never been a fan of the windfarms, this is a good “I told you so!” moment.

    • LC says:

      Stay safe, Gray, but I have to quibble:

      I have never been a fan of the windfarms, this is a good “I told you so!” moment.

      The power issues are almost certainly more due to problems with natural gas, and non-winterized generation and distribution, than wind:

      https://www.texastribune.org/2021/02/16/natural-gas-power-storm/

      • Ret_25X says:

        no, the problem is ENTIRELY caused by the urban liberal’s demented hatred for energy production and laws requiring “green” production.

        As there is no shortage of natural gas, coal, etc, but an artificial shortage of generating capacity, any time there is even the smallest disruption…well, you get what you played for.

        Only government intervention creates scarcity in the modern economy.

        As Milton Friedman said; “if the US government were put in charge of the Sahara desert there would be a shortage of sand in 5 years.”

        • LC says:

          Did you even read the article? There’s nothing about ‘green’ production in it; here’s a quote:

          By some estimates, nearly half of the state’s natural gas production has screeched to a halt due to the extremely low temperatures, while freezing components at natural gas-fired power plants have forced some operators to shut down.

          Those sneaky urban liberals were able to convince Texas not to winterize their gear, despite past warnings to do so. Evil geniuses, the lot of them.

  22. OWB says:

    Nothing scientific about this mini tirade, but gonna share it anyway.

    A few years ago I drove into a huge wind farm. Had no idea it was there as I was only transiting through the area. Both sides of the highway for about 10 miles, give or take a few, wind turbines as far as the eye could see. Some turning, some not.

    It was fascinating. What was alarming was my physiological reaction. And there most definitely was one. It just can’t be healthy to have your heart rate elevate, for instance, just being among the turbines. Could not imagine being around them all the time and really would not want to discover if you get used to it. Or whatever the other options might be.