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Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic Month

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Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic Month

Unread postby BrianC » Sat 20 Feb 2021, 15:15:50

Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic Monthslong Blackouts, Officials Say (texastribune.org) 259
Posted by msmash on Friday February 19, 2021 @10:00PM from the closer-look dept.
Texas' power grid was "seconds and minutes" away from a catastrophic failure that could have left Texans in the dark for months, officials with the entity that operates the grid said yesterday. Texas Tribune reports:
As millions of customers throughout the state begin to have power restored after days of massive blackouts, officials with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, which operates the power grid that covers most of the state, said Texas was dangerously close to a worst-case scenario: uncontrolled blackouts across the state. The quick decision that grid operators made in the early hours of Monday morning to begin what was intended to be rolling blackouts -- but lasted days for millions of Texans -- occurred because operators were seeing warning signs that massive amounts of energy supply was dropping off the grid. As natural gas fired plants, utility scale wind power and coal plants tripped offline due to the extreme cold brought by the winter storm, the amount of power supplied to the grid to be distributed across the state fell rapidly. At the same time, demand was increasing as consumers and businesses turned up the heat and stayed inside to avoid the weather.

"It needed to be addressed immediately," said Bill Magness, president of ERCOT. "It was seconds and minutes [from possible failure] given the amount of generation that was coming off the system." Grid operators had to act quickly to cut the amount of power distributed, Magness said, because if they had waited, "then what happens in that next minute might be that three more [power generation] units come offline, and then you're sunk." Magness said on Wednesday that if operators had not acted in that moment, the state could have suffered blackouts that "could have occurred for months," and left Texas in an "indeterminately long" crisis. While generators rapidly dropped off the grid as the weather worsened, operators monitored the difference between the supply of power on the grid and the demand for that power. As supply dwindled and demand grew, the margin narrowed to more and more dangerous levels, forcing grid operators to enact emergency protocols to either increase supply or decrease demand.
Further reading: Texas Leaders Ignored Warnings A Decade Ago That Their Power Supply Was In Danger

https://hardware.slashdot.org/story/21/ ... icials-say
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby Pops » Sat 20 Feb 2021, 16:39:27

As I read it, if they'd all gone to Cancun everything would have overloaded and burnt to the ground.

But considering their only job is to manage the flow and avoid overloads and undercurrent brownouts didn't they do about the minimum?

The situation isn't their fault, Texans wanted cheap power and the legislature gave them daily electricity auctions to the cheapest producer. Generators didn't want the evil federal government all up in their business so stomped their feet to keep from interconnecting with other states and no one made them. The Utilities commission didn't for whatever reason make the generators keep up with growth or build for the changes coming.

As far as I can see, everyone got what they wanted.
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby Plantagenet » Sat 20 Feb 2021, 19:38:05

After a bizarre 10-day-long delay, the Biden administration has finally declared Texas a disaster area, so FEMA can finally start doing their job and people can begin to apply for federally subsidized loans and relief programs.

The first thing FEMA should do is get some water in there so the people have clean drinking water. God knows what the FEDS have been doing for the last 10 days......apparently nobody in the White House thought to wake Biden up from his nap to have him sign the disaster declaration to get the federal help started......

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

Unread postby dissident » Sat 20 Feb 2021, 20:42:28

Maybe nuclear power is not as bad as the hysterical imbeciles would have everyone believe. The crisis got triggered by the wind energy alt-utopia that is supposed to save everyone from reality. The gas plants coming off line is bizarre since the supply is not supposed to be that marginal. Perhaps there should be less effort to screw over Russia in the EU in terms of gas supplies and more concern about energy security at home.
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby jedrider » Sat 20 Feb 2021, 23:13:19

Texas power consumers to pay the price of winter storm
https://www.foxbusiness.com/energy/texas-power-consumers-to-pay-the-price-of-winter-storm

Texas operates an independent grid closed off from the rest of the country. On Wednesday, power prices in Dallas and Fort Worth hit $8,800 per megawatt-hour (MWh), compared with the more typical average of roughly $26 per MWh. Over time, the state's grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), could impose higher costs to consumers to prepare for subsequent, similar events.


I guess that beats freezing to death.
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby kublikhan » Sat 20 Feb 2021, 23:32:30

dissident wrote:Maybe nuclear power is not as bad as the hysterical imbeciles would have everyone believe. The crisis got triggered by the wind energy alt-utopia that is supposed to save everyone from reality. The gas plants coming off line is bizarre since the supply is not supposed to be that marginal. Perhaps there should be less effort to screw over Russia in the EU in terms of gas supplies and more concern about energy security at home.
Wind turbines work just fine in cold climates, as does gas, as long as they are winterized. Same as any power plant. Texas did not winterize it's plants. Not the wind turbines. Nor the gas. Nor nuclear.

The shutdown of a nuclear reactor in Texas has contributed to the state's power shortage crisis caused by extreme cold weather. One of two reactors shut down at the South Texas Nuclear Power Station an hour southwest of Houston, knocking out about half of its 2,700 megawatts of generating capacity. The plant, which is one of the newer ones in the country, normally provides power to more than 2 million Texas homes. Like other power plants in Texas of differing fuel types, the South Texas Nuclear Power Station was not built to protect against very cold weather. "Some equipment in some nuclear plants in Texas has not been hardened for extreme cold weather because there was never a need for this.”

According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the shutdown of the nuclear reactor was caused by a disruption in a feedwater pump to the reactor, and that caused the plant to trip automatically and shut down early Monday. "It was the connection between the power plant and outside systems."
How and why a nuclear reactor shut down in Texas cold snap when energy was needed most
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby kublikhan » Sun 21 Feb 2021, 09:37:45

As millions of Texans shivered in dark, cold homes over the past week while a winter storm devastated the state’s power grid and froze natural gas production, those who could still summon lights with the flick of a switch felt lucky. Now, many of them are paying a severe price for it. “My savings is gone,” said Scott Willoughby, a 63-year-old Army veteran who lives on Social Security payments in a Dallas suburb. He said he had nearly emptied his savings account so that he would be able to pay the $16,752 electric bill charged to his credit card — 70 times what he usually pays for all of his utilities combined. “There’s nothing I can do about it, but it’s broken me.”

The steep electric bills in Texas are in part a result of the state’s uniquely unregulated energy market, which allows customers to pick their electricity providers among about 220 retailers in an entirely market-driven system. Under some of the plans, when demand increases, prices rise. The goal, architects of the system say, is to balance the market by encouraging consumers to reduce their usage and power suppliers to create more electricity. Katrina Tanner, a Griddy customer who lives in Nevada, Texas, said she had been charged $6,200 already this month, more than five times what she paid in all of 2020.

“To the Texas Utilities Commission: What are you thinking, allowing the average type of household to sign up for this kind of program?” Tyson Slocum, the director of the energy program at Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group, said of Griddy. “The risk-reward is so out of whack that it never should have been permitted in the first place.”

Robert McCullough, an energy consultant in Portland, Ore., and a critic of Mr. Hogan’s, said that allowing the market to drive energy policy with few protections for consumers was “idiotic” and that similar actions had devastated retailers and consumers following the California energy crisis of 2000 and 2001. “The similar situation caused a wave of bankruptcies as retailers and customers discovered that they were on the hook for bills 30 times their normal levels,” Mr. McCullough said. “We are going to see this again.”
His Lights Stayed on During Texas’ Storm. Now He Owes $16,752

Seriously, this is completely ridiculous. I can understand charging a little more to encourage conservation, but charging 6k, 16k, etc for a monthly electric bill? Seems like Texas is going to have to go through the same kind of reckoning California went through with it's electricity market fiasco.
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby Pops » Sun 21 Feb 2021, 09:49:33

They were all fine when they were paying low rates because the generators weren't investing.

Way back in the bad old socialist days of regulated monopolies, people paid more, and had less choice and forced utilities to maintain infrastructure because society depends on it.

But were past all that, all that matters is private profit now.
The legitimate object of government, is to do for a community of people, whatever they need to have done, but can not do, at all, or can not, so well do, for themselves -- in their separate, and individual capacities.
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby Ibon » Sun 21 Feb 2021, 10:28:47

Pops wrote:They were all fine when they were paying low rates because the generators weren't investing.

Way back in the bad old socialist days of regulated monopolies, people paid more, and had less choice and forced utilities to maintain infrastructure because society depends on it.

But were past all that, all that matters is private profit now.


wanting stable regulated utilities is communisn and downright unamerican.

get those fucking stable utilities out of our schools and hospitals before they brainwash our children.
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby mousepad » Sun 21 Feb 2021, 10:39:05

kublikhan wrote:His Lights Stayed on During Texas’ Storm. Now He Owes $16,752

Seriously, this is completely ridiculous. I can understand charging a little more to encourage conservation, but charging 6k, 16k, etc for a monthly electric bill? Seems like Texas is going to have to go through the same kind of reckoning California went through with it's electricity market fiasco.


I know,but also from the article:
Many of the people who have reported extremely high charges, including Mr. Willoughby, are customers of Griddy, a small company in Houston that provides electricity at wholesale prices, which can quickly change based on supply and demand.

The company passes the wholesale price directly to customers, charging an additional $9.99 monthly fee. Much of the time, the rate is considered affordable. But the model can be risky: Last week, foreseeing a huge jump in wholesale prices, the company encouraged all of its customers — about 29,000 people — to switch to another provider when the storm arrived. But many were unable to do so.


In other words, people had a choice of supplier. And people who chose the cheapest, highest risk option got burned. I'm not sure if I should feel sorry.
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby jedrider » Sun 21 Feb 2021, 11:59:48

Plantagenet wrote:After a bizarre 10-day-long delay, the Biden administration has finally declared Texas a disaster area, so FEMA can finally start doing their job and people can begin to apply for federally subsidized loans and relief programs.


The gobermint is here to help! That bizarre delay is very humorous. Perhaps Joe gave Texans enough time for them to save face and act like the independent SOBs they (mostly politicians) pretend to be. Certainly, Cruz didn't need any of that type of help.

Many companies have data centers in Texas and I've not heard of even one problem there. They wisely depend upon hardened power systems. Only the workers appear to have endured the consequences of deregulation.
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby JuanP » Sun 21 Feb 2021, 12:54:20

Apparently, there's a whole bunch of people in Texas with monthly power bills of over US$10,000 as a consequence of spiking prices. If you want free market capitalism, you'd better be ready to pay for it!

I hope this encourages a lot of people to go off grid, install insulation, use photovoltaics, and solar water heaters. You can build a pretty nice photovoltaic system for that money, and expand it as necessary with your savings for people who use too much electricity.

These events are very likely to become more normal as a consequence of Climate Change. Crimea, in Russia, just went through a similar event, too. There's still time to prep for what's coming!

"'People turn off their power because they can't afford it' Texas woman with $11,000 power bill tells RT"
https://www.rt.com/usa/516183-texas-sto ... city-bill/

"Outage outrage: Texans see power bills as high as $17,000 after brutal storm pummels grid and leaves millions without electricity"
https://www.rt.com/usa/516115-texas-power-bills-storm/
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby Plantagenet » Sun 21 Feb 2021, 13:16:31

jedrider wrote:
Plantagenet wrote:After a bizarre 10-day-long delay, the Biden administration has finally declared Texas a disaster area, so FEMA can finally start doing their job and people can begin to apply for federally subsidized loans and relief programs.


The gobermint is here to help! That bizarre delay is very humorous.


Its not humorous if you don't have clean drinking water, while Biden delays FEMA from sending in stockpiles of clean drinking water.

Where are the FEMA trucks? Where are the aid stations? Why hasn't FEMA started delivering water to Texas?

Why the heck is Biden delaying sending help to all these people who need help?

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Psssst.....Joe....Joe!....WAKE UP JOE.....send in the FEMA trucks, Joe......SEND IN THE FEMA TRUCKS WITH FRESH WATER, JOE!

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

Unread postby jedrider » Sun 21 Feb 2021, 15:20:27

Plantagenet wrote:
jedrider wrote:
Plantagenet wrote:After a bizarre 10-day-long delay, the Biden administration has finally declared Texas a disaster area, so FEMA can finally start doing their job and people can begin to apply for federally subsidized loans and relief programs.


The gobermint is here to help! That bizarre delay is very humorous.


Its not humorous if you don't have clean drinking water, while Biden delays FEMA from sending in stockpiles of clean drinking water.

Where are the FEMA trucks? Where are the aid stations? Why hasn't FEMA started delivering water to Texas?

Why the heck is Biden delaying sending help to all these people who need help?

SHEESH!


Good question. I don't know. Biden said he was 'Waiting to sign the declaration', but waiting for WHAT? AFAIK, Biden said FEMA was on it from day one, but I don't know the details and wish you would provide them.
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby ROCKMAN » Sun 21 Feb 2021, 16:10:31

jed - "the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), could impose higher costs to consumers to prepare for subsequent" And there's the real problem: ERCOT has almost no authority over electricity PRODUCERS in the state. Oversimplified but all I have time for: electricity producers have no effective way to recover infrastructure improvement costs from consumers thanks to dereg. And why would they lose tens of billions to do so; they are for profit CORPORATIONS after all with shareholders that won't accept such losses.

The consumers are the ones who have to pay of course...it's their electricity after all. Something POLICIANS don't want to push. Anyone doesn't understand: research "public utility commission"
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby JuanP » Sun 21 Feb 2021, 19:05:10

The US government has found a way for another large multinational corporation to profit from the Texas electrical fiasco, so thirsty Texans are now getting water. The Coca-Cola company is now shipping Dasani bottled filtered tap water to thirsty Texans! We probably don't want to know how much FEMA is paying for that water; my guess is that water is going to cost US taxpayers more than gasoline per gallon. Still, I'd rather give water to thirsty Texans, regardless off the cost, than waste the money attacking and destroying innocent foreign countries.

Maybe some Texans will start keeping an emergency water supply at home after this. Everybody everywhere should do that!
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby JuanP » Sun 21 Feb 2021, 21:15:01

I'm just messing with all of you! Coca-Cola actually donated a few truckloads of Dasani to Texas. Good for them, great PR move!
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby Plantagenet » Tue 23 Feb 2021, 13:31:24

I'm still waiting for the FEMA trucks to come rolling in with fresh water for those people who don't have water, and hot meals for those who don't have food or electricity.

Joe Biden waited way too long before declaring Texas a "Major Disaster".

And then......FEMA does nothing.

I don't get why FEMA isn't helping out with these problems.

Are they just ignoring Biden what Biden says like everyone else?

Why no FEMA help for Texas?

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

Unread postby Subjectivist » Tue 23 Feb 2021, 13:37:47

Plantagenet wrote:I'm still waiting for the FEMA trucks to come rolling in with fresh water for those people who don't have water, and hot meals for those who don't have food or electricity.

Joe Biden waited way too long before declaring Texas a "Major Disaster".

And then......FEMA does nothing.

I don't get why FEMA isn't helping out with these problems.

Are they just ignoring Biden what Biden says like everyone else?

Why no FEMA help for Texas?

Cheers!


Did Texas actually ask for help? Doesn't FEMA have to wait until they are invited to come in? This is why private charities are often much more effective, they just show up and offer whatever help they have at their disposal.
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Re: Texas Was 'Seconds and Minutes' Away From Catastrophic M

Unread postby JuanP » Tue 23 Feb 2021, 14:33:51

Remember Katrina? Waiting for the government to help you out is not the smart way to go about things. Prepping to help yourself, family, friends, and neighbors is the way to go. I think all Americans should buy some food, water, a stove, a flashlight, a wool blanket, and a sleeping bag! Those of us in Miami Beach are unlikely to ever need the wool blanket, though; even in a deep freeze we can go for a swim in the ocean to warm up. But you may catch a cold when you get out! :lol:
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