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U.S. Energy Crisis Leaves Millions Without Power in Big Freeze

U.S. Energy Crisis Leaves Millions Without Power in Big Freeze thumbnail

The energy crisis crippling power grids across the U.S. showed no sign of abating on Tuesday morning as blackouts left almost 5 million customers without electricity during unprecedented cold weather.

a man riding a snowboard down a snow covered slope: People cross the street as snow falls in North Bergen, New Jersey on February 7, 2021. © Photographer: KENA BETANCUR/AFP People cross the street as snow falls in North Bergen, New Jersey on February 7, 2021.

To prevent the collapse of their networks, suppliers from North Dakota to Texas are having to institute rolling power cuts to limit demand. The severe shortages are likely to continue throughout Tuesday and the deep freeze is forecast to remain until Wednesday at least.

Officials have reported two people dead, likely from cold, according to the AP news agency. Medical centers are rushing to administer vaccines before they go bad. Flights are grounded. More than a million barrels a day of oil and 10 billion cubic feet of gas production are shut and massive refineries have halted gasoline and diesel output.

President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration for Texas, the worst affected state, making more resources available to help.

Read More: How Extreme Cold Turned Into a U.S. Energy Crisis: QuickTake

“I’ve been following energy markets and grid issues for a while, and I cannot recall an extreme weather event that impacted such a large swath of the nation in this manner — the situation is critical,” said Neil Chatterjee, a member of the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The cold blast is just the latest in a chain of severe weather events that have shaken power grids and upended energy markets globally from Japan to France in recent months. They’ve all underscored how vulnerable the world has become in the face of increasingly unpredictable weather brought on by climate change and it’s raising questions about the global push to electrify everything from transportation to heating and cooling.

Almost 4 million homes and businesses were without power across Texas on Tuesday, based on utility outage data compiled by Another 400,000 were down in a swathe of states stretching from Louisiana to Ohio and Virginia. Almost 250,000 were without power in Oregon.

In Mexico, over 4.7 million homes and businesses went dark after Texas’s shortages triggered cascading failures. But about 65% of those affected in Mexico had seen their power restored by midday, according to grid operator Cenace.

While temperatures are forecast to rise, the weather across the central U.S. will remain bitingly cold this week. Dallas, which was forecast to see a low of 2 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 17 degrees Celsius) late Monday, will reach a high of 29 by Wednesday, the National Weather Service said. But by late Thursday, readings will drop back into the teens.

Read More: ‘This Is Extremely Dangerous’: Texans in Peril at Home, on Road

Such drastic weather conditions are rare, especially in parts of Texas. In Houston, the state’s largest city, roads were iced over and people braved long lines to refill household propane canisters. Traffic and street lights are down. Firewood is selling out. Grocery stores have run out of essentials including milk.

This week’s cold front caught Texas’s highly decentralized power market especially by surprise. The region’s grid is designed for hot summers, not ice-cold winters, but many households rely on electricity to heat their home. Utilities there haven’t had to carry out rolling blackouts since 2011.

Extreme weather events are happening more frequently, a shift that’s attributed to the changing climate. In response, electrifying sectors like transport and heating to use green power is seen as vital to elminating harmful emissions, but the world’s grid infrastructure may not be ready.

As electricity demand rises and grids rely more on wind and solar power, where supply oscillates with the weather, networks will have to increase access to back-up generation. In Texas, where both wind and gas-fired generation was hit by the cold snap, there wasn’t enough reserve power to keep the lights on.

Besides the impact on households, the cold is wreaking havoc on the energy industry itself. U.S. oil production has dropped by well over a million barrels a day, helping U.S. crude prices trade above $60 a barrel for the first time in more than year. The region’s refining complex — which produces almost half of the nation’s fuel — is struggling to limp along without power and gas supplies. Some of the largest oil refineries have shut altogether, threatening to reduce supplies of gasoline and diesel across the country.

Natural gas production has also been curtailed just as the cold caused demand to jump. At the Waha hub in Texas gas changed hands at $500 per million British thermal units on Monday, more than 100 times the price at the Henry Hub, the benchmark for the wider U.S.

Power plants with a combined capacity of more than 34 gigawatts were forced offline on Monday, including nuclear reactors, coal and gas generators and wind farms, Dan Woodfin, a senior director for grid manager Electric Reliability Council of Texas said. It’s not yet clear why. Early on Tuesday, power generation in Texas had yet to stage any significant recovery.

Read More: Texas Power Retailers in Face of Freeze: Please, Leave Us (1)

Wind power generators were among the victims of the cold weather, with turbine blades rendered inoperable due to ice — a phenomenon that reduces efficiency and can ultimately stop them from spinning. Texas estimated that more than half of its wind power capacity had come offline.

At times, parts of Texas were colder than Alaska, according to the National Weather Service. In the Dallas-Fort Worth area it was 5 degrees Fahrenheit. Houston may pick up as much as 2 inches (5 centimeters) of snow overnight, along with ice and sleet, the National Weather Service said. It will get hit by another storm bringing ice and freezing rain Wednesday.

“The southern plains are in a cold pattern,” said David Roth, a senior branch forecaster at the U.S. Weather Prediction Center. “It is going to take a while for them to break out of it.”

Among the other markets moving on the cold:

Average spot power across the Texas grid hit the state’s $9,000 per megawatt-hour price cap again on Monday.Liquefied natural gas exports from the U.S. plummeted after the freeze shut ports and wells.West Texas Intermediate futures rose by as much as 2.5%, above $60 a barrel for the first time in more than a year.Physical natural gas prices have swung anywhere between $50 to the high of $600 per million British thermal units.



21 Comments on "U.S. Energy Crisis Leaves Millions Without Power in Big Freeze"

  1. Cloggie on Tue, 16th Feb 2021 7:53 am 

    In the Netherlands we had a week of rare winter weather, a welcome distraction from the lock-down… SKATING!!!


    Amsterdam, canal skating:

    Currently, it is 13C en expectations for the coming days are 18C. Spring in February.

  2. FuckQuebecCanadaUSTrumpUSMilitaryForSpyingOnMe on Tue, 16th Feb 2021 11:00 am 

    Canada what a fucking loser nations Cannot own anything or have any kind of fun. Fuck I will enjoy watching Canada, Quebec, US burn to the ground. Canada is boring dumb ass nation.

    I still want justice for the spying done on me by Quebec, Canada. If justice is good for the negro, it is good for a Whites man like me.

    I want to know retard Legume. how many negro dick did you suck this monring before going to work.

    I want to know guidoune Guibault, how many negro ass hole did you clean before goind to work, fucking useless whore

    PM Justin Trudeau and ministers unveil proposed firearms legislation – February 16, 2021

  3. FuckQuebecCanadaUSTrumpUSMilitaryForSpyingOnMe on Tue, 16th Feb 2021 11:13 am 

    Fucking piece of shit and garbage politicians in Quebec and Canada. Here we have the bottowm of the barrle with retard Legume. guidoune Guibault and mentally challenged TrudDope. We aslo have FreeLand sucking up the dick World garbage forum and Klaus Schwab. Just fucking trash and garbage

  4. FuckQuebecCanadaUSTrumpUSMilitaryForSpyingOnMe on Tue, 16th Feb 2021 3:30 pm 

    I dont care enough to writes comments today. Fuck lego, fuck guidoune Guibault. Fuck you lego, for not respecting my right to privacy.

    Fuck corrupt price of dog shit you are lego

  5. FuckQuebecCanadaUSTrumpUSMilitaryForSpyingOnMe on Tue, 16th Feb 2021 3:46 pm 

    As-tu recommencé a boire mon tabernacle de retard Legume. J’espère que tu bois comme un soulon. J’espère que tu vas mourir d’une intoxication aigüe du foie mon tabernacle d’enfant de chienne de câlisse.

  6. FuckQuebecCanadaUSTrumpUSMilitaryForSpyingOnMe on Tue, 16th Feb 2021 4:04 pm 

    This is retard Legume. This is piece of shit that spi4d on my share my personal info with some member of his cabinet and the learer of the Block Quebecois. Just by looking at his nose, how much alcool do you think he drinks . Ostie succeux the graine de negro. Tu me fais vraiement chier mon tabernacle.

  7. FuckQuebecCanadaUSTrumpUSMilitaryForSpyingOnMe on Tue, 16th Feb 2021 4:42 pm 

    StarvingLion » Tue 16 Feb 2021, 17:52:53
    The 10-YR IS SOARING….


    I just say the 10 yr on marketWatch. Death chaos and destruction are right around the corner. Finally Canada and US died as fucking lame nations. I get to see it with my own eyes and I am gratefully for that. Bring it on, death, chaos destruction.

    You see fucking piece of shit. there is not much things that I care about in life, but my personal privacy is something that matters to me really much. You fuck with my personal privacy, I see that as you tring to kill me.

    Let’s see how long that stupid bitch survive, once the electrical grid goes off. Let’s see what kind of real life skill that stupid whore has:

    This dumb whore wants even more guns to be banned. Fuck that useless Quebec whore.

  8. FuckQuebecCanadaUSTrumpUSMilitaryForSpyingOnMe on Tue, 16th Feb 2021 5:10 pm 

    Quebec needs nurses, they will take them abroad, here comes more negros. Quebec is a diying province with a low white birth rate. Ok fuckers this give me one more reason to sit on my ass and do nothig, after it is not fault if quebecers don’t reproduce.

  9. FuckQuebecCanadaUSTrumpUSMilitaryForSpyingOnMe on Tue, 16th Feb 2021 5:39 pm 

    Higher petrol duties send strong signal for Singapore to go green: MPs

    This is the fucking leadership we have world wide. No courage no intelligence, no imagination. They refuse to tell people about peak oil. They refuse to educate people about peak oil and civilization. All fucking useless piece of shit and garbage. You fucker deserve what will happen. They try to hide peak oil with green energy crap

  10. FuckQuebecCanadaUSTrumpUSMilitaryForSpyingOnMe on Tue, 16th Feb 2021 7:18 pm 

    You fuckers are not going to give up don’t you. Hopefully I see things that are not there. No I am not blessed by god. It not because some of prediction were accurate that it means that I am blessed by god. IT just means have better logical skills. And no I am not interested in anyway. From my point of views, it is better to let both US and Canada collapse, that would probably lead to the creation of smaller nations within US and Canada. From my point of view this is a good things. Every skin color can now have it is own nation and we can finally stop this failed experiment of diversity.

    I hope I see things that are not there and that I am mentally sick.

  11. Outcast_Searcher on Tue, 16th Feb 2021 7:31 pm 

    Retards will be retards. In the mean time, when most power lines are above ground, when MASSIVE icing across a major part of the country occurs, lots of power lines will be downed, and loss of power to LOTS of homes will occur for days.

    Same as it ever was.

    But of course, retards doomers will claim doom and that this is an “energy” issue. Not that they have any CREDIBILITY to lose.

    If the spot power prices (cherry picked) for NG are a huge issue, then why are most NG contracts up a small amount?


  12. Outcast_Searcher on Tue, 16th Feb 2021 7:35 pm 

    If FuckQuebec posts a bunch of 5 year old level posts, signifying NOTHING,should anyone with a modicum of adult education care?

    If he/she thinks saying fuck a lot makes him/her credible, that points straight away to the educational/credibility issue. Not that I’d expect his/her ilk to have the brain cells OR honesty to admit it.

  13. Outcast_Searcher on Tue, 16th Feb 2021 7:37 pm 

    Fear not FuckQuebec, you are either under 10 years old re your educational level, or mentally sick. So no problem for adults in the real world who care about data and trends and can actually think.

  14. Cloggie on Wed, 17th Feb 2021 3:32 am 

    Not everything is hopeless regarding the US and renewable energy. Of all technologies, FRACKING technology could become a major asset in the renewable playbook, not because of oil & gas, but because of a spectacular new spin-off possibility of a zero-risk geothermal technology, by constructing an underground heat exchanger, rather than the risky use of aquifers as a source of heat:

    (“Chevron and BP pump millions in the Canadian geothermal startup Eavor”)

    “Eavor geothermal”

  15. Cloggie on Wed, 17th Feb 2021 3:58 am 

    Alex Jones blames the blackout on icy wind-turbines, however most interruptions come from oil & gas malfunction:

    “Winter storm kills 23 across the country and 3.5m freezing Texans STILL have no power: Gov. Gregg Abbot demands investigation into energy company that may not be able to restore heat for days”

    Some wind turbine generators were iced, but nearly twice as much power was wiped out at natural gas and coal plants. Forcing controlled outages was the only way to avert an even more dire blackout in Texas, Magness said.

  16. FamousDrScanlon on Wed, 17th Feb 2021 10:41 am 

    yabut clog, Alex is your hero.

    Are you starting to wake up & realize they are a nation of morons & hustlers?

    Start with 50 years of “deferred” infrastructure maintenance (6 Trillion for Iraq & Afghanistan no problem) plus a new climate none of it was built to handle.

    Heating Arctic may be to blame for snowstorms in Texas, scientists argue

    The wintry weather that has battered the southern US and parts of Europe could be a counterintuitive effect of the climate crisis

    It’s neither counterintuitive nor a surprise.

  17. Cloggie on Wed, 17th Feb 2021 11:24 am 

    “yabut clog, Alex is your hero.”

    He isn’t, never said so. Most of his opinions are cringe worthy, especially those about history, but I find him interesting that at least he puts up resistance against “The Globalists”. Without him, Trump would not have been president.

    “US conservatives falsely blame renewables for Texas storm outages”

    “Announced Blackout”

  18. Dooma on Thu, 18th Feb 2021 8:55 am 

    Now they can pry guns from the cold, dead hands of Texans.

  19. rockman on Thu, 18th Feb 2021 1:55 pm 

    Here’s a partial explanation. But there ae many physical problems that are not covered. Here’s one of the big questions: winterizing the power plants. Easy: up north many of the power plants are in buildings heated by the natural output of the plant…IOW free heat. Try that in Texas then during summer and much of the electricity would run ac’s to keep the plant from burning up when temps hit 95F+.

  20. Lord Voldemort of the White House on Fri, 19th Feb 2021 6:31 am 

    I can still smell my fart from ages ago, I had a spicy curry earlier so I am worried now.
    Is this normal?
    Should I be worried?
    Is this appropriate for an energy forum?
    Where are my meds?

  21. Richard Guenette on Sun, 7th Mar 2021 12:27 pm 

    Not many people understand thermodynamics. In life, we are made up of matter and energy. That energy is both electrical and chemical. There process is much more complex in humans. As known through thermodynamics, energy cannot be created nor destroyed. It simply changes states. The total amount of energy does not, cannot, change. There universe as a whole is closed but human bodies are not closed- they’re open systems. In death, the collection of atoms are repurposed. Those atoms and that energy will still exist. There essence of one’s energy will continue to echo across space until they end of time.

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