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Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic Month

Discussions about the economic and financial ramifications of PEAK OIL

Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby Pops » Wed 10 Mar 2021, 10:06:25

Newfie wrote:And what would that “additional service” be, does it exist?

I posted several in the quote, and a link to the sources.
You can use synchronous generators - nuke/coal/gas turbines- at minimum power, actually smaller units work better.
Grid storage—doesn't really provide inertia as much as quick response to changing load or generation.
Synthetic inertia is interesting too, it is a controller that makes wind turbines act more like synchronous generators.

I searched HVDC inertia and found papers but all seemed to be about the possibility rather than the actuality. HVDC to AC is like any of the renewables in that there is no synchronization so no inertia to dampen frequency fluctuations, that is the problem. An inverter is like a slippery clutch that doesn't restrict the fluctuations of the grid frequency.

The quote I pulled mentioned "smart" inverters to enable PV to help stabilize frequency and perhaps that could be scaled up. Regardless, better long distance transmission of any kind would help balance loads.
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby kublikhan » Wed 10 Mar 2021, 12:18:39

It exists. New generations of inverters have been invented that can provide grid regulation functions. Frequency regulation, voltage regulation, and more. Some countries, such as Germany, have actually mandated customers use these new inverters instead of the old ones. You could also use batteries for ancillary services like these. However IMHO I think the whole "large spinning masses help stabilize the grid" is a bit oversold. They help slow down the rate of change of the frequency fall/rise, it's true. This helps buy time for the grid operators to address the issue: bring backup power online, import some power, shed some load, etc. However if the grid is in put into a position where there is a large mismatch between supply and demand for an extended period if time, and you can't bring enough backup power online because it doesn't exist, can't import because there are no interconnects, then you are screwed and load shedding(blackouts) are the only option left to prevent a cascade failure. Talking about how the frequency kept dropping is simply talking about the reason why the grid operators had to shed load at that time. As far as I know they took the only option they could. That doesn't mean they are off the hook however. They might not have done anything wrong on the day of the blackout. However they still left the grid in a precarious position for the years leading up to the massive blackout. No winterization of the plants when they knew this was an issue. No interconnects with the rest of the grid because it would mean coming under Federal jurisdiction. And a general preference for running more lean and profitable vs investing more in resiliency for the edge cases like this one.

Frequency control
A common misunderstanding about frequency control is the idea that large spinning masses keep the power grid at a stable frequency during times of imbalance between supply and demand. “Inertia only sets the initial rate at which the frequency falls – it buys you time,” notes Mark Ahlstrom, an engineer who works with the Energy Systems Integration Group (ESIG). He notes that ultimately, frequencies will not stabilize until the supply and demand balance is corrected.

In the 20th century, this was the system for frequency stabilization. The grid was comprised solely of large generators with heavy steam and hydroelectric turbines, and in early years motors connected to the grid provided additional inertia. But the 21st century grid is different. Notably, these large spinning masses are being replaced with wind and solar power plants that do not have the same characteristics: For solar there is no spinning mass at all.

This does not mean that inverters are not capable of frequency control. In fact, they can react much faster than the primary frequency response which is currently deployed. “They are about as fast as you can get,” explains Ahlstrom.
Inertia, frequency regulation and the grid


Tests in California support the idea that a commercial wind farm equipped with an inverter-based smart controller can provide grid support services that include balancing or regulation up and down, voltage regulation control, active power control through ramping and frequency response. The results are similar to those reported in 2018 from tests that involved an inverter-controlled solar power plant. That earlier study focused on a 300 megawatt (MW) plant. Data collected during the test showed how advanced power control systems can help solar photovoltaics provide services that range from spinning reserves, load following, voltage support, ramping, frequency response, variability smoothing and frequency regulation to power quality.

The report said that Public Service Company of Colorado can control its wind generation to provide both up- and down-regulation services. The utility uses wind reserves as an ancillary service for frequency regulation by integrating wind resources located in its footprint to its automatic generation control (AGC) system.
Wind generation can provide ancillary services

The use of advanced inverters in the design of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems can address some of the challenges to the integration of high levels of distributed solar generation on the electricity system. Although the term “advanced inverters” seems to imply a special type of inverter, some of the inverters currently deployed with PV systems can already provide advanced functionality, needing only software upgrades or adjustments to operation parameters. Advanced inverter functions allow for more elaborate monitoring and communication of the grid status, the ability to receive operation instructions from a centralized location, and the capability to make autonomous decisions to improve grid stability, support power quality, and provide ancillary services. The use of advanced inverter functions, and their role in maintaining grid stability, is likely to grow with increasing deployment of distributed solar and the formulation of supporting regulation and policy.

Advanced inverter functions can help address the grid stability problems posed by high levels of variable distributed generation. Some of these functions are described below. The inverters used today may be capable of providing some of these advanced functions with only software and operations protocol updates.

One way that inverters can help the grid regain stability during an under- or over-voltage event is by controlling the real and reactive power output of the distributed generation system (ACEG 2014). Voltage control is traditionally the responsibility of utilities. However, inverters can assist.
ADVANCED INVERTER FUNCTIONS TO SUPPORT HIGH LEVELS OF DISTRIBUTED SOLAR

A variable pricing strategy allows prosumers with a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) to participate in the following ancillary services: voltage regulation, congestion relief, demand response, energy arbitrage, frequency regulation (Frequency Containment Reserve) and peak shaving.
Battery Storage for Ancillary Services in Smart Distribution Grids

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has passed a long-awaited order to open up the country’s wholesale energy markets to distributed energy resources (DERs) like rooftop solar, behind-the-meter batteries and electric vehicles. Now comes the hard part: creating market rules that allow these DERs to play in bulk energy markets while retaining the role of state regulators and utilities to maintain the soundness of their distribution grid operations and retail DER programs. Order 2222, passed by a 2-1 vote Thursday during FERC’s open meeting in Washington, D.C., is the culmination of years of work on how to allow DER aggregations to compete in the energy, capacity and ancillary services markets operated by the regional transmission organizations (RTOs) and independent system operators (ISOs) that manage the transmission grids carrying electricity to about two-thirds of the country.

The new order is an outgrowth of FERC Order 841, passed in 2018 to set similar rules for batteries and other energy storage systems to serve in wholesale markets. But with its much broader scope, Order 2222 could have an even more profound impact on the value of DERs in U.S. markets, as well as the operations of its wholesale markets. “DERs can hide in plain sight in our homes, businesses and communities, but their power is mighty,” FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee said at Thursday’s meeting. Projections indicate that from 65 gigawatts to more than 380 gigawatts of DERs could be added to the country’s power grids over the next four years. They’re also “more nimble,” with inverters and software controls that allow them to “serve multiple functions” and “meet various grid needs as they arise,” he said. Batteries, EV chargers and other fast-acting resources have already proven their ability to regulate grid frequencies and deliver localized capacity in utility pilot projects across the country.
‘Game-Changer’ FERC Order Opens Up Wholesale Grid Markets to Distributed Energy Resources
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby Pops » Wed 10 Mar 2021, 12:32:44

Thanks Kub, I was hoping you'd show up on this.
I'm reading your links.
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby Tanada » Wed 10 Mar 2021, 12:42:17

Personally I have always believed that Utilities should be publicly not privately owned. If they are privately owned then they need strict and tight regulatory control so what needs to be done for reliability is of far more weight than what profits the owners.

Most of Europe has or had that sort of system when it comes to the electricity grid and France for example has a very low carbon footprint very efficient grid that pays profits to the government coffers year in and year out.

I see no reason the USA can not adopt the same standards and methods as the French and be fully reliable and still turn a profit.
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Wed 10 Mar 2021, 23:42:22

Tanada wrote:Personally I have always believed that Utilities should be publicly not privately owned. If they are privately owned then they need strict and tight regulatory control so what needs to be done for reliability is of far more weight than what profits the owners.

Most of Europe has or had that sort of system when it comes to the electricity grid and France for example has a very low carbon footprint very efficient grid that pays profits to the government coffers year in and year out.

I see no reason the USA can not adopt the same standards and methods as the French and be fully reliable and still turn a profit.

Agreed. The tricky part is convincing rate payers and the politicians they elect to PAY FOR what it takes to achieve high reliability, instead of expecting that AND very low utility rates -- with reliability out of sight and mind UNTIL it is suddenly unexpectedly needed.

Like in TX with all the crying by folks who got big electric bills, even though they SIGNED UP for a "cheap" plan without any caps on electric rates when things go badly wrong.

No matter how many times folks from the far left like Bernie Sanders claim everyone can have something for nothing -- the world doesn't work that way.

I'm VERY happy paying for things like lots of tree cutting to help in ice storms, for clean and safe water, etc. -- as long as utility customers are actually GETTING that sort of thing, instead of just paying utility execs more for nothing as substance. (And that's what honest and competent regulators are supposed to ensure doesn't happen, of course).
Given the track record of the perma-doomer blogs, I wouldn't bet a fast crash doomer's money on their predictions.
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby Pops » Thu 11 Mar 2021, 08:28:28

Thanks again for the links Kub, much better than what I found

This is more or less what I would hav guessed:
This does not mean that inverters are not capable of frequency control. In fact, they can react much faster than the primary frequency response which is currently deployed. “They are about as fast as you can get,” explains Ahlstrom. In fact, if needed, inverters can respond so quickly to restore frequency that the initial supply-demand imbalance could go undetected, causing other problems.

This danger – that inverters could respond too quickly – underscores the difference between perception and actual needs regarding frequency control. In the current system, frequency deviations serve as a necessary warning that supply and demand are imbalanced.


Falling frequency indicates overloaded turbines slowing. Other turbine's rotating mass dampens sharp fluctuations in frequency but can only add so much, after which they too slow. So rather than the fault of the renewables, falling frequency is actually the result of overloaded and slowing conventional steam generator turbines to begin with. Eliminate all the turbines, equip all the RE with Syncroverters and Voilá! problem solved.
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby Newfie » Thu 11 Mar 2021, 14:13:27

HVDC, no frequency to synchronize, 7-15% less system loss means a 7-15% less energy needed.

Solves a multiple issues.

If people are attacking renewables on the frequency basis then this answers that.

If people are concerned with Climate Change this is probably the lowest hanging fruit on the tree.
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby jedrider » Fri 12 Mar 2021, 13:00:31

The failure appeared to be ideological and not technical. Frequency my 'ass'!
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby Pops » Fri 12 Mar 2021, 13:06:04

Old people should have been willing to turn off the heat and freeze to death so young people could play xbox.
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby Ibon » Fri 12 Mar 2021, 20:21:26

Tanada wrote:.

Most of Europe has or had that sort of system when it comes to the electricity grid and France for example has a very low carbon footprint very efficient grid that pays profits to the government coffers year in and year out.

I see no reason the USA can not adopt the same standards and methods as the French and be fully reliable and still turn a profit.


This logic applies perfectly to health care as well.
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Fri 12 Mar 2021, 20:34:25

Pops wrote:Old people should have been willing to turn off the heat and freeze to death so young people could play xbox.

Just like old people who paid into Social Security and Medicare all their working lives WITH NO CHOICE ON THEIR PART, should lay down and die instead of taking SS and Medicare benefits, because the younger people claim they're evil for collecting the benefits they PAID for.

Funny, that's the same young people who claim they're so MORAL re planet earth, even as they practice the same high consumption lifestyle they endlessly whine that boomers ruined the earth with. :roll:

It's all so ridiculous, re lack of validity re one generation being "better" than another, that you can't make this stuff up.

...

When the average young person is driving 3000ish miles a year, never flying, consuming only 500 KwH a month of electricity on average, having zero kids, etc. to benefit the planet like this boomer, then they can feel free to lecture this boomer TO THE EXTENT, they're consuming so much LESS on average re their life choices, including having kids. :idea:

I won't be holding my breath waiting for such results, though I do expect to see lots and lots of self-satisfied, delusional "OK boomer" nonsense from zoomers.

Imagine that. :roll:

Somehow, I don't think modern schools are teaching logic and math any better than they're teaching English (based on the level of literacy I see in the average comment thread on US sites).
Given the track record of the perma-doomer blogs, I wouldn't bet a fast crash doomer's money on their predictions.
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby JuanP » Sat 13 Mar 2021, 07:05:13

Pops wrote:Old people should have been willing to turn off the heat and freeze to death so young people could play xbox.


You expect too much from old people, particularly today's old people; they will constantly dissapoint you! Most of today's old people are essentially not willing to make any sacrifices for the young at all, particularly not freezing to death. If only!
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby Pops » Sat 13 Mar 2021, 08:17:10

Sorry that was actually intended to be a parody of the TX Lt General who said grandparents should be willing to die from COVID so the economy could continue apace for young people—and investors presumably
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Sat 13 Mar 2021, 12:39:39

sub et al - I'm late to the game but thanks for taking a shot a shot at explaining the TECHNOLOGY. But that's just half the answer for Texas. The other is the fact that long ago the deregulated electricity sales here. The big part: you don't have to produce the electricity you sell. All you need is a post office box...IOW not even a physical office. You just contract to buy electricity from producers (as regulated by ERCOT} and sell it to residential/commercial consumers. Which is where those big e- bills came from: those "electric companies" contract to buy X amount of e- from the producers at the current WHOLESALE PRICE. What company is going to set their RETAIL PRICE (what the consumers pay) at what they pay wholesale price? This is why those "paper electric companies" can offer lower rates by just tacking on a small profit margin since the have almost no infrastructure investment. One company just charged a $10 monthly fee for its profit margin. But when there's a shortage of e- and wholesale prices peak? Those companies charge wholesale $ + profit margin. And ta da! Big residential bills. Commercial consumers don't tend to take that risk.

Nor do residential consumers who avoid the risk by locking in a fixed price and forego saving a few pennies per unit. Which is why the Rockman paid the same electric rate before, during and after the big freeze. And guess what happens when those risk taking consumers don't pay those huge bills? Those "electric companies" can't pay for the wholesale electricity they contracted for? They file bankruptcy. As many are doing now. And those consumers not paying their bills? They have to sign up with a new provider at whatever the market rate may be. But guess what: they still have to deal with a bankruptcy judge on whatever basis that judge decides. And those judges have tremendous power.

Think about it: who would you rather be: the Rockman or someone that saved a few $'s off their monthly bill and are dealing with this huge cluster fuck now?
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Sat 13 Mar 2021, 13:14:28

Perhaps I should have pointed out what the Rockman's "high fixed" rate is: $0.11 per kWh. How does that compare to yours?

And typical rates in other states from google:

Hawaii – 33.53 cents per kWh.
Alaska – 17.58 cents per kWh.
Connecticut – 16.98 cents per kWh.
New York – 16.25 cents per kWh.
Rhode Island – 15.57 cents per kWh.
Massachusetts – 15.34 cents per kWh.
New Hampshire – 15.25 cents per kWh.
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby evilgenius » Sat 13 Mar 2021, 13:22:45

My question is: why should taking this sort of risk expose a person to the same sort of bottomless liability that a short seller who gets stuck in a short squeeze might find themselves exposed to? The utilities had to make a decision to keep the power on. They could say they did it in the name of those customers who promised they would pay at any price, or they could say they did it in everybody's name.

It has to do with what their incentive to participate is, when the markets roll into either a lack of supply or a huge increase in demand, or both. The traders could say to themselves that keeping up at certain prices is ridiculous, allowing the markets to adjust the price down to compensate. I think there is a difference in the ultimate price that the public at large is willing to pay vs. those at one tail end or the other of the distribution.

For that reason, allowing action to take place that harms people means that political will is probably involved. It amounts to choosing winners and losers. But, you know, this can also form organically. It can be that our judgement of each other over these things makes winners and losers, where none have actually to be. It is only our collective clinging to an old standard, or an old way that was proper to old technologies or old ideas of being caught out that didn't include what happens during a pandemic, that ensures we get what we expect. I don't know, it seems kind of cruel to let it go all the way to bankruptcy when all that's necessary is some policy decision at some high level by somebody who only has to forgive a group of people first.
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby Tanada » Sat 13 Mar 2021, 17:06:51

ROCKMAN wrote:Perhaps I should have pointed out what the Rockman's "high fixed" rate is: $0.11 per kWh. How does that compare to yours?

And typical rates in other states from google:

Hawaii – 33.53 cents per kWh.
Alaska – 17.58 cents per kWh.
Connecticut – 16.98 cents per kWh.
New York – 16.25 cents per kWh.
Rhode Island – 15.57 cents per kWh.
Massachusetts – 15.34 cents per kWh.
New Hampshire – 15.25 cents per kWh.


You have a slight edge on us, but not big enough to whine about.
Ohio is 12.38¢ per kWh
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Sat 13 Mar 2021, 17:25:49

Pops wrote:Sorry that was actually intended to be a parody of the TX Lt General who said grandparents should be willing to die from COVID so the economy could continue apace for young people—and investors presumably

Yes. I realize that. I was just pre-empting the many younger folks who claim(with similar thinking) that old people should die vs. getting SS or medicare -- and claim those programs are the equivalent of welfare.

Even though those programs have real problems re funding, the underlying issues need to be dealt with, instead of merely blaming the recipients who, without choice, paid for the benefits they are to collectively receive.
Given the track record of the perma-doomer blogs, I wouldn't bet a fast crash doomer's money on their predictions.
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby Outcast_Searcher » Sat 13 Mar 2021, 17:30:26

evilgenius wrote:My question is: why should taking this sort of risk expose a person to the same sort of bottomless liability that a short seller who gets stuck in a short squeeze might find themselves exposed to? The utilities had to make a decision to keep the power on. They could say they did it in the name of those customers who promised they would pay at any price, or they could say they did it in everybody's name.

Heaven forbid people be required to back what they signed up for. Or that society educate people well enough that they know WHAT they are signing up for. :roll:

Obviously, if what they signed up for mandated a maximum electric rate of X (at some high but somewhat reasonable rate), that would be a VERY different thing.
Given the track record of the perma-doomer blogs, I wouldn't bet a fast crash doomer's money on their predictions.
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby Tanada » Sat 13 Mar 2021, 17:38:02

Outcast_Searcher wrote:
evilgenius wrote:My question is: why should taking this sort of risk expose a person to the same sort of bottomless liability that a short seller who gets stuck in a short squeeze might find themselves exposed to? The utilities had to make a decision to keep the power on. They could say they did it in the name of those customers who promised they would pay at any price, or they could say they did it in everybody's name.

Heaven forbid people be required to back what they signed up for. Or that society educate people well enough that they know WHAT they are signing up for. :roll:

Obviously, if what they signed up for mandated a maximum electric rate of X (at some high but somewhat reasonable rate), that would be a VERY different thing.

+∞
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