GM Volt Forum banner

21 - 40 of 62 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
125 Posts
For the earlier commenter who'd asked for information to back up claims about the Texas electricity production drops across various sources, here's that info and sources for it.

For the TX weather induced electricity production drop that led to blackouts:
  • Natural Gas was responsible for ~53% of the production drop
  • Coal was responsible for ~21% of the production drop
  • Wind was responsible for ~24% of the production drop
  • nuclear was responsible for ~8% of this production drop
  • Solar grew in production ( who have thunk it?) responsible for -5% of the production drop ( so actually a gain)

The grid operator, ERCOT, had planned for a worst case peak demand of ~ 61GW. This turned out to be low, the grid delivered a bit more than this, ~68GW, at the peak before failures started happening and they estimate demand would have been 5GW higher still had generating capacity not started going offline, forcing the blackouts.

After production started going offline because of weather, there was only about 46GW produced against the demand of ~ 73GW,so a production shortfall of about 28GW, and drop in production from the peak of about 17GW.


The graphs in the articles show these changes in production, I'll summarize them here:
  • production from natural gas dropped by about ~9GW, about 24%, from ~38GW to ~29GW
  • production from coal dropped ~3.5GW, about 32%, from ~ 11GW to ~ 7.5GW
  • production from nuclear dropped ~1.25GW, about 25%, from ~ 5GW to ~3.7GW
  • production from wind dropped roughly 4GW, about 57%, from ~ 7GW to about ~3GW
  • Solar production seems to have increased roughly 0.8GW, about 160%, from ~ 0.5 GW to ~ 1.3GW

Before Weather induced production changes
after Weather induced production changes
Analysis of the production drop
source​
production, GW​
share of production​
production, GW​
share of production​
production drop, percent​
Production drop, GW​
share of production drop​
gas​
38​
61.8%​
29​
65.2%​
-24%​
9​
53%​
coal​
11​
17.9%​
7.5​
16.9%​
-32%​
3.5​
21%​
nuclear​
5​
8.1%​
3.7​
8.3%​
-26%​
1.3​
8%​
wind​
7​
11.4%​
3​
6.7%​
-57%​
4​
24%​
solar​
0.5​
0.8%​
1.3​
2.9%​
160%​
-0.8​
-5%​
total
61.5
100.0%​
44.5
100.0%​
17
100.0%​


sources:

How Texas’ Power Generation Failed During the Storm, In Charts - The New York Times (nytimes.com)

Extreme winter weather is disrupting energy supply and demand, particularly in Texas - Today in Energy - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) ( This was the source of data in the article above)

Why is the power out in much of Texas? Frozen instruments at power plants, not wind farms, are the main factor - The Boston Globe

-Lumos

2014 Gen 1
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
Pulling out of Paris Accord may help stuff ballot boxes but it doesn't help the people of Texas, the people under ever increasing tornados or under ever increasing hurricanes.
That's bogus science, as in recent years CO2 levels continue to be higher than the year before, but no longer are we seeing a matching global warming trend. Its also silly to think of CO2 as a pollutant, considering that peak biomass in Earth's history was during the Carboniferous Period. Due to massive volcanic activity at the time, which dwarfs industrial man-made output, CO2 levels were a whopping 5x higher than today, and yet life thrived more than in any other climate in Earth's history, both on land and at sea. The small increase in CO2 has also if anything seen an increase in plant growth rates, with satellite and AI estimates showing that forestation today is at higher levels than we've seen since the start of the industrial revolution. I remember the fear mongering as a child about how polar bears would be extinct before the year 2000, and yet they're talking about removing them from the endangered species list since populations are quite healthy now despite every year having higher CO2 levels than the year before.

Its also silly to act like every uncommon weather pattern is proof of global warming, as Japan was saved twice from a massive Mongolian invasion long before the industrial revolution due to freak tsunamis that happened twice in a row, killing tens of thousands in the Mongolian armada. The Mongolians blamed deities, but today we'd likely just blame it on global warming as the catch all for things we don't fully understand.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
Lumos, these numbers are bogus, and, yes, the media lies. For example they claim that wind contributed 6.7% of ERCOT's total power output, but its rated at producing near a quarter, and natural gas is rated at producing 33-35% of our capacity, and yet it was producing 65%.

Use some common sense, as those pushing an agenda are known to spread misinformation to achieve their goals. Remember, these are the same media corporations that were filming their crews in canoes as people behind them were walking in perhaps 2" of water and told us that protests were mostly peaceful while fires were burning in the background.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
I've watched some local TX news to get a better idea on things. Turns out the question if fixed rate or variable rates. They said most folks were on fixed rates but some outrages ones like you mentioned.
Near lifelong Texan here, and this has happened before and its criminal. Some are enticed into these plans that offer no risk to the sellers and dump it all on consumers that naturally aren't field experts, where they buy at raw market rates constantly and with no warning on massive fluctuations. While 99% of the time this might save a little, it puts consumers in tremendous danger for spikes that may even only be hours long.

These spikes aren't otherwise typically a problem for consumers or producers, as they monitor prices and only trade in large quantities as needed. Luckily, shopping for fixed rate plans on powertochoose.org is pretty simple, and they have put in place systems to make it more difficult for providers to hide crazy hidden fees that was also a problem for a while.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
what i heard is that everyone was using natural gas to keep warm in uninsulated homes to a point that their wasnt enough gas left to run power plants
Yes, but also poor disaster planning. So because Texas is so rich in natural gas, the plants have very little on-site storage capacity, so when over reliance on gas due to the winter storm caused pressure to drop and some wells also froze, plants had to shut down. Basically, the head honchos in charge used a lot of cost cutting measures knowing that it means they don't have any margin of safety. Nothing against natural gas, it saved our butts, but some heads at ERCOT need to roll.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,290 Posts
Wouldn't play well IMO, as Texans have been very excited about wind and solar, with some of the most ambitious projects in the nation with it rapidly increasing to the point its about 30% of our total capacity... but alas it proved its unreliability again.
At this capacity it needs to be winterized. To not winterize solar and wind is criminal negligence.

Solar doesn't produce much in the winter, especially typical non winterized versions for Texas that would be covered in snow on overcast days with the nights being the coldest where solar doesn't help. Heating also requires so much power that I doubt their powerwall would help, unless it was only to run the fan for a natural gas heating system which makes way more sense in Houston for heating purposes. That could work, as that's what we used our gasoline generators for to keep us from freezing.
Powerwall owners in northern climates would disagree with you. Also, inside 24 hours after the storm ended solar was providing 11 GW of power while the Natural Gas plants were still shut down due to no fuel.

Hopefully what Texans have learned is that nuclear power is the most robust power source in areas that are not earthquake prone, which Texas certainly is not, and should see more investment. IMO solar and wind aren't reliable enough to make up even more of our grid than they already do, and we should transition the coal contribution all to nuclear, and leave natural gas as its generally reliable and hugely abundant here. Natural gas was the only thing that worked for us all week when power was out, and its very efficient for heating. I'm insisting our next home have a natural gas whole-home generator backup system with gas dryer and stovetop.
Only if they use current generation nuclear power plants that can consume just about any radioactive material and with the nuclear waste only needing to be stored for a decade or so. Older power plants really need to be decommissioned and cleaned up.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jbakerjonathan

·
Registered
Joined
·
125 Posts
J Smith,

Please take a look at the U.S. EIA link I'd posted - they are not a media organization. Here's the link again:
Extreme winter weather is disrupting energy supply and demand, particularly in Texas - Today in Energy - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA)

Skepticism is good, agreed there's lot of misinformation. Going to source material is needed, and that's what we have here.

Looking into these numbers some, they sure seem sane to me:
- Wind suffered the largest percentage drop in production of all the sources, but because it's not nearly as large a contributor state's whole production, it was only the 2nd biggest contributor to the production drop. But this is certainly not a good look for wind
  • a nuclear plant near Galveston went offline. Nuclear is great for its steady, predictable output - to have one go offline because of this weather is an embarrassing failure.
  • natural gas being >60% of production is common in many areas in the US these days. Natural gas has become less expense that other fuels, and the country as a whole is becoming too reliant on it.

I'm in the northeast, the big nuclear plants here are 40ish years old, so they'll end of life soon ( a smallish one was decommissioned 2 years ago, I think I'm the only one who saw that as a bad thing), and that'll take our natural gas usage for electricity even higher. Our electricity is often above 60% from natural gas ( real-time data here), I'm not surprised to see TX's supply from gas that high, too, especially at very high peak demand. If we lose more nuclear plants in this area we're going to have production concerns whenever natural gas supply is low - things were close to rolling blackouts around here several years ago b/c home heating gas use consumed most of the available gas delivery capacity during a cold snap.
We're far too dependent on natural gas for electricity, if not because of supply issue, but because of economic ones - natural gas won't always be a low cost fuel - fracking has made it very low cost, when this stops being true people are not going to like their energy bills.



Really what these production drops show are that all sources suffered large drops ( solar is so small a contributor we can leave it out of the discussion.) The discussion should not be on which was the biggest letdown, but on making the system robust to this sort of weather. It's possible for all these sources of electricity to produce robustly in cold weather, TX doesn't need to have weather vulnerable electricity production.

- Lumos
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,668 Posts
The province of Prince Edward Island gets 97 to 98% of their power from wind turbines. It's pretty reliable there. Have to move on to some other excuse for bad infrastructure.

Talk about bogus science. J. Smith takes bits and pieces and sometimes just plain wrong info to come up with wrong conclusions, flying in the face of what scientists the world over are saying.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
At this capacity it needs to be winterized. To not winterize solar and wind is criminal negligence.
At what point is it even cost effective though, and all that "free" money from subsidizing it is coming out of our pockets.
Powerwall owners in northern climates would disagree with you.
At least the basic laws of physics agree with me. Making heat from battery power is very inefficient, just try cranking the heater up on any EV, and the capacity of powerwalls simply isn't that high. Tesla advertises that it can run an electric furnace for half an hour, now add a water heater and stovetop for cooking to that, quite a bit short of a week.

A natural gas generator is far more cost effective in Texas, and will ensure hot showers, warm homes, and enough capacity to run crucial appliances indefinitely.
Only if they use current generation nuclear power plants that can consume just about any radioactive material and with the nuclear waste only needing to be stored for a decade or so. Older power plants really need to be decommissioned and cleaned up.
I don't see why, France has been recycling their nuclear waste since I was a kid, and produce 80% of their power from it. Blame Carter for banning recycling, and the Simpson's for fear mongering to the point its become a 'not in my backyard' part of our culture.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
Winterizing gas electricity production sounds great until it's 120+ degrees outside and everybody and their dog is running A/C full blast for 24 hours a day to avoid heat stroke... I'd like to see the numbers of power failures if someplace like New York got somewhere around 9 days of 110-120 degree heat, which would be a similar situation to what happened here in Texas.

This was just a few days in the 90s...Tens of thousands of New Yorkers lose power as extreme heat bakes East Coast

Good, Fast, Cheap...pick two. You can't always have it all...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,091 Posts

·
Administrator
Joined
·
20,422 Posts
Winterizing gas electricity production sounds great until it's 120+ degrees outside and everybody and their dog is running A/C full blast for 24 hours a day to avoid heat stroke... I'd like to see the numbers of power failures if someplace like New York got somewhere around 9 days of 110-120 degree heat, which would be a similar situation to what happened here in Texas.

This was just a few days in the 90s...Tens of thousands of New Yorkers lose power as extreme heat bakes East Coast

Good, Fast, Cheap...pick two. You can't always have it all...
Winterizing the power supply grid has no effect on summer use any more than insulating your home for winter would negatively affect the house in a hot summer. For example, winterizing wind turbines means installing sensors to detect out of balance blades indicating an ice buildup. The blades would have heating elements built in, and is used to melt the ice from the blades. Neither the sensors nor the heating element would affect use in a hot summer. Same for gas lines, sensors, insulation, heating elements.

But winterization for reliability in freezing temps does have a cost. Cheap is the opposite of reliable. Reliability costs more.
 
  • Like
Reactions: scottf200

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
But winterization for reliability in freezing temps does have a cost. Cheap is the opposite of reliable. Reliability costs more.
They are still an inherently unreliable power source though, as we had an issue a few years back where there was really high demand on a very hot day that was almost perfectly still air, so the turbines weren't doing much. They also don't like the opposite extreme when hurricanes roll in and winds are too high, and their maintenance costs can escalate when they are placed offshore for obvious reasons due to increased access difficulty and salt spray. I know they are economical right now, but I think its only artificially so due to government interference rather than what their normal market value would be. Insulating the water lines to a nuclear plant is a lot less complicated IMO, and they can last 80 years or more before having to be replaced.
 

·
Registered
16,17 volt
Joined
·
945 Posts
simple solution
run power lines connected to the rest of the u.s. grid
dont put all your eggs in one basket
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
simple solution
run power lines connected to the rest of the u.s. grid
dont put all your eggs in one basket
There isn't one single US grid, no such thing exists.

There are a few US grids, but unlike the other independent grids, the Texas one does not cross state lines and so is not under the thumb of the federal government and Texans have control over their own power.

Texas also already is connected to other grids, but only on an emergency basis, both to Mexico and to the Eastern grid. We also trade resources like natural gas, which was one of the first things the governor stopped was the export of natural gas during the crisis out of state since Texas needed it more at the time.

There's some misinformation being spread intentionally to use the disaster to try and remove states rights and put them under federal rule, and that isn't necessarily great either as we've seen with the Western grid they not only have quite high electricity prices but have their own issues with blackouts and brownouts during the golden states completely predictable heat wave. You know what they say, never let a good crisis go to waste!
 

·
Registered
16,17 volt
Joined
·
945 Posts
There isn't one single US grid, no such thing exists.

There are a few US grids, but unlike the other independent grids, the Texas one does not cross state lines and so is not under the thumb of the federal government and Texans have control over their own power.
guess thats my point
looks to me like texas has no control over its own power
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,668 Posts
They are still an inherently unreliable power source though, as we had an issue a few years back where there was really high demand on a very hot day that was almost perfectly still air, so the turbines weren't doing much. They also don't like the opposite extreme when hurricanes roll in and winds are too high, and their maintenance costs can escalate when they are placed offshore for obvious reasons due to increased access difficulty and salt spray. I know they are economical right now, but I think its only artificially so due to government interference rather than what their normal market value would be. Insulating the water lines to a nuclear plant is a lot less complicated IMO, and they can last 80 years or more before having to be replaced.
If that were true then how do you account for the Province of Prince Edward Island getting 97% to 98% of their electricity from wind turbines. Coastal areas have constant wind. I live on the coast. Even on perfectly "still" days of summer if I don't get out before 10am to blow off the driveway, as I blow off the debris over the cliff, the breeze will pick it up and blow it back in my face (sun warms the land, heats the air, it rises, cool ocean air come in to replace it). We were at Oceanview, Wash at the end of day, where the air was still and we walked out the quarter mile to the beach and there was a stiff breeze. There was one of three wind turbines turning as it was providing the power needed at that time for the area. Inland there are wind corridors were wind is pretty constant. But it is variable and is a cheap supplemental source not like tides, wave, hydro or geothermal sources that are constant. What astounds me most is Manitoba (were I was born and raised) is flat but gets 97% of its power from hydro and sells the excess to neighbors. Growing up I always thought every body gets their electricity from hydro. The only power company I knew of for 20 years was Manitoba Hydro. When I moved to Vancouver it was all BC Hydro (95%). Learning about other areas I was like "What? they get electricity from nuclear? Cool!"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
93 Posts
Winterizing the power supply grid has no effect on summer use any more than insulating your home for winter would negatively affect the house in a hot summer. For example, winterizing wind turbines means installing sensors to detect out of balance blades indicating an ice buildup. The blades would have heating elements built in, and is used to melt the ice from the blades. Neither the sensors nor the heating element would affect use in a hot summer. Same for gas lines, sensors, insulation, heating elements.

But winterization for reliability in freezing temps does have a cost. Cheap is the opposite of reliable. Reliability costs more.
We're talking semantics here. What you're saying in some cases and actions can be true, but in other ways could be false. There are some "protections" against effects from freezing conditions that DO have deleterious effects upon the ability to quickly and efficiently cool equipment in some instances, and like you say, anything that must "done" also incurs a cost. I still stand by my curiosity as to what would be the actual effects of such a stretch of truly extreme on some northern and unprepared power production facilities...I stand by the opinion that it might turn out to be quite "eye opening". And quite simply, the whole idea that the overall outcome of this power fiasco was driven even in any majority way by the failure of renewables is simply not factual. There were just as many failures in non-renewable sources and in many cases there were more.

In the current environment for electrical power generation in Texas, there is high incentive for producers to produce a situation that exactly mirrors that which occurred. Many of the offline generation facilities were "low profitability" units that run on coal and other sources that have very low margins. I doubt that anyone will ever get a full and true answer on this, but I can almost guarantee that most of the remaining online units were "high profitability" units that have low operating costs and high margins, and in the end, many of these producers likely made so much more profit running these units at the greatly inflated wholesale prices of the time that it dwarfed any losses incurred through the loss of their low margin facilities. So, the cost for the implementation of these "supposed" protections just doesn't provide profit motive for these companies today. It's a business and not charity...sorry, I know that sounds harsh, and it is, but it's also true. As it stands, these producers simply don't have the motivation to make massive investments to protect against these types of rare weather conditions. So, my final point is that there are a lot of fingers to be pointed when trying to place "blame" here. I don't think there's any ONE answer, and in some cases, some "answers" might turn out to be more painful than the issue...and it will simply be the can that gets kicked down the road.

My opinion is that everyone makes choices and tradeoffs in life. In this particular case, these producers made decisions that turned out to be foolish given the occurrence of the weather conditions. Politicians and citizens from all areas each made choices that led to the creation of the current climate, both physically and economically. Now, I want to be clear that I'm not "forgiving" anyone, absolving them, or even condoning them, and I do think that there need to be lessons learned and changes made, however, I do detest the elitist bend that other populations, locations, areas, geographies, etc. display that they would not have similar outcomes given a similar set of circumstances that they would also not be properly prepared for. I don't recall a ton of people from the Gulf Coast laughing or casting stones at those on the upper Atlantic during Sandy asking them why their homes weren't raised or protected against sea water incursion when that's a common thing around where they live or that there were a bunch of people running around calling them a bunch of cheapskates for not doing properly mitigating their communities against the effects of tidal floodwaters. The people that built on the land they sit on made a bet that things would be like they normally are...and now they're wrong. That's life. It just irks me that everyone wants to politicize every single thing in this world.

Meanwhile...I'm going to go back through the Inverter install posts here and start my own project on my Gen 2 and my son's Gen 1! LOL
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
98 Posts
All this talk is gibberish! Here's the real problem!!
We're talking semantics here. What you're saying in some cases and actions can be true, but in other ways could be false. There are some "protections" against effects from freezing conditions that DO have deleterious effects upon the ability to quickly and efficiently cool equipment in some instances, and like you say, anything that must "done" also incurs a cost. I still stand by my curiosity as to what would be the actual effects of such a stretch of truly extreme on some northern and unprepared power production facilities...I stand by the opinion that it might turn out to be quite "eye opening". And quite simply, the whole idea that the overall outcome of this power fiasco was driven even in any majority way by the failure of renewables is simply not factual. There were just as many failures in non-renewable sources and in many cases there were more.

In the current environment for electrical power generation in Texas, there is high incentive for producers to produce a situation that exactly mirrors that which occurred. Many of the offline generation facilities were "low profitability" units that run on coal and other sources that have very low margins. I doubt that anyone will ever get a full and true answer on this, but I can almost guarantee that most of the remaining online units were "high profitability" units that have low operating costs and high margins, and in the end, many of these producers likely made so much more profit running these units at the greatly inflated wholesale prices of the time that it dwarfed any losses incurred through the loss of their low margin facilities. So, the cost for the implementation of these "supposed" protections just doesn't provide profit motive for these companies today. It's a business and not charity...sorry, I know that sounds harsh, and it is, but it's also true. As it stands, these producers simply don't have the motivation to make massive investments to protect against these types of rare weather conditions. So, my final point is that there are a lot of fingers to be pointed when trying to place "blame" here. I don't think there's any ONE answer, and in some cases, some "answers" might turn out to be more painful than the issue...and it will simply be the can that gets kicked down the road.

My opinion is that everyone makes choices and tradeoffs in life. In this particular case, these producers made decisions that turned out to be foolish given the occurrence of the weather conditions. Politicians and citizens from all areas each made choices that led to the creation of the current climate, both physically and economically. Now, I want to be clear that I'm not "forgiving" anyone, absolving them, or even condoning them, and I do think that there need to be lessons learned and changes made, however, I do detest the elitist bend that other populations, locations, areas, geographies, etc. display that they would not have similar outcomes given a similar set of circumstances that they would also not be properly prepared for. I don't recall a ton of people from the Gulf Coast laughing or casting stones at those on the upper Atlantic during Sandy asking them why their homes weren't raised or protected against sea water incursion when that's a common thing around where they live or that there were a bunch of people running around calling them a bunch of cheapskates for not doing properly mitigating their communities against the effects of tidal floodwaters. The people that built on the land they sit on made a bet that things would be like they normally are...and now they're wrong. That's life. It just irks me that everyone wants to politicize every single thing in this world.

Meanwhile...I'm going to go back through the Inverter install posts here and start my own project on my Gen 2 and my son's Gen 1! LOL
Too much gibberish sounding like a FB thread! Here's the real problem:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
70 Posts
guess thats my point
looks to me like texas has no control over its own power
Texas has control, its just that Texans screwed up. I mean, if you ever make a mistake, would you want someone to come in behind you and say you can no longer make decisions for yourself from now on? Or would you like to be treated with respect that you can learn from your failures and grow accordingly? I guess that is kind of the feds way as they even do that with other countries, "Yeah, mmkay, we don't like how you guys are running your country so we're going to liberate you whether you asked for it or not." ;)

For example, in part of the post mortem, we found out that ERCOT leaders with little forward planning to quickly reduce demand to avoid damaging the grid cut power to areas that included power plants, kicking those power plants themselves offline. There was also a request to fire up coal plants and have them waive the carbon tax credits and other fines levied on them to try and drive coal out of business and again they said no which was so dumb considering the total damages incurred. Big woopsie, but Texas can deal with its own problem people to ensure this doesn't happen again.
 
21 - 40 of 62 Posts
Top