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11 hours ago, Ecocharger said:

There will no "grid security" anywhere if there is no bedrock electricity supply from natural gas generation, just more of the same vulnerabilities through an overreliance on green generation. This demonstration in Texas shows how much a complex system of generation can be at risk of collapse when the least reliable source becomes the mainstay. The problem will persist as long as governments allow themselves to be co-opted by deficient climate science models.

I think your solution is too narrow. Let's generalize: "Grid" security requires that baseline generation capacity plus reliable responsive generation capacity exceed maximum credible demand, because the variable supply can drop to zero.  The key here is "reliable responsive generation". Right now, the only two generator types in this category are coal (coupled with large coal storage piles) and natural gas (coupled with reliable storage of usable natural gas). "Storage" must be sufficient to carry the grid through a prolonged deficit in variable supply (wind and solar).

In the short term, this means we need secure reliable NG storage and NG generators, just as you said. But the same thing can be accomplished with generators than run on H2, NH3, or methane produced from electricity, and in fact a gas turbine that can switch among these fuels is (will be) feasible with little or no increase in cost or decrease in efficiency. In Texas in the short term, you need to increase the reliability of the NG generators (by winterizing) and the NG storage (by either winterizing dry NG production or by storing dry NG). Texas has almost enough NG generators to handle a maximum credible demand. You might need a bit more to account for increased weather extremes. In California, we have a slightly different situation. We have the dry NG storage and we have almost enough generators, our peak is in summer and our summer weather is highly predictable, so we can lower the peak demand on the generators by using batteries. But the principle still holds: we cannot get rid of our gas generators because we need them in the winter. We can however eventually run them on H2, NH3, or CH4 produced from electricity.

To make this work the complex system as a whole must find a way to pay for the generators, whether or not they are producing electricity. We manage to pay for them today in the spring and fall when many of them are near idle, and we manage to pay for reserve capacity, so it's clear that the "pay them for the electricity they produce" model is already not a pure model. We just need to figure out how to pay for them even when they are idle most of the time.

Please note that this is an economic argument. It does not depend on climate change models. It depends on the fact that electricity from solar and wind continues to drop in real price at a rapid pace.

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In an energy-only market, reliability takes a second place over profit.

If you want reliability, you gotta pay for it.  (HEY, maybe a stoker with masks as fuel?)

Electricity is no ordinary marketable commodity, yet it is increasingly being treated like one by producers, regulators, and consumers.

Boy, will Texas "pay"!

Edited by turbguy
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58 minutes ago, turbguy said:

In an energy-only market, reliability takes a second place over profit.

If you want reliability, you gotta pay for it.  (HEY, maybe a stoker with masks as fuel?)

Electricity is no ordinary marketable commodity, yet it is increasingly being treated like one by producers, regulators, and consumers.

Boy, will Texas "pay"!

In a pure unregulated free market, profit by definition takes first place. This is not evil or wrong in any way. It's the way a market is supposed to work. The problem in your "energy-only market" is that  'energy-only" is not what the end customer really wants. The customer really wants to purchase reliable energy. As we have seen, that commodity is not available for purchase in Texas.The problem now is how to convert the current energy market into a reliable energy market. Texans claim to want minimal regulation, so they will need to find a different mechanism to ensure that a customer who wants to purchase reliable electricity will actually receive reliable electricity.

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For folks continuing to learn about this complex, fascinating topic that is the electricity industry - dramatically brought to the fore with the recent events in Texas - I refer you to the just-completed 1 year capacity market auction in the UK which closed out as more than doubly expensive than the previous high record.

The recent closure of 2 large CCGTs (owned by an outfit named Calon) is adding to the growing reliance upon intermittent wind in the UK market.

Interested readers may learn more how unprofitable these plants have become in current market conditions. 

Along with at least 1 coal plant shutting down shortly, we may yet see how resilient, how reliable the grid is in the UK when stretches of windless days arise.

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10 hours ago, Dan Clemmensen said:

I think your solution is too narrow. Let's generalize: "Grid" security requires that baseline generation capacity plus reliable responsive generation capacity exceed maximum credible demand, because the variable supply can drop to zero.  The key here is "reliable responsive generation". Right now, the only two generator types in this category are coal (coupled with large coal storage piles) and natural gas (coupled with reliable storage of usable natural gas). "Storage" must be sufficient to carry the grid through a prolonged deficit in variable supply (wind and solar).

In the short term, this means we need secure reliable NG storage and NG generators, just as you said. But the same thing can be accomplished with generators than run on H2, NH3, or methane produced from electricity, and in fact a gas turbine that can switch among these fuels is (will be) feasible with little or no increase in cost or decrease in efficiency. In Texas in the short term, you need to increase the reliability of the NG generators (by winterizing) and the NG storage (by either winterizing dry NG production or by storing dry NG). Texas has almost enough NG generators to handle a maximum credible demand. You might need a bit more to account for increased weather extremes. In California, we have a slightly different situation. We have the dry NG storage and we have almost enough generators, our peak is in summer and our summer weather is highly predictable, so we can lower the peak demand on the generators by using batteries. But the principle still holds: we cannot get rid of our gas generators because we need them in the winter. We can however eventually run them on H2, NH3, or CH4 produced from electricity.

To make this work the complex system as a whole must find a way to pay for the generators, whether or not they are producing electricity. We manage to pay for them today in the spring and fall when many of them are near idle, and we manage to pay for reserve capacity, so it's clear that the "pay them for the electricity they produce" model is already not a pure model. We just need to figure out how to pay for them even when they are idle most of the time.

Please note that this is an economic argument. It does not depend on climate change models. It depends on the fact that electricity from solar and wind continues to drop in real price at a rapid pace.

There was an added wrinkle to the mix in the recent Texas breakdown, it was not clear that the NG generation performance was scuttled by winterization problems only, there may also have been a decisive domino impact from the failure of the green generation system (which in general may or may not be related to winterization problems), which itself could undermine the NG generation backup capacity. Economically, it makes no sense to be maintaining the NG generation as an idle reserve capacity, the NG being the more reliable supplier should be the mainstay of the system, and the green system should be the marginal supplier. This would be a design less susceptible to systemic breakdown.

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9 hours ago, Dan Clemmensen said:

In a pure unregulated free market, profit by definition takes first place. This is not evil or wrong in any way. It's the way a market is supposed to work. The problem in your "energy-only market" is that  'energy-only" is not what the end customer really wants. The customer really wants to purchase reliable energy. As we have seen, that commodity is not available for purchase in Texas.The problem now is how to convert the current energy market into a reliable energy market. Texans claim to want minimal regulation, so they will need to find a different mechanism to ensure that a customer who wants to purchase reliable electricity will actually receive reliable electricity.

Show me any other commodity that requires delivery of the exact amount required, within fractional seconds of time.  ALL the time.

 

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7 hours ago, Coffeeguyzz said:

For folks continuing to learn about this complex, fascinating topic that is the electricity industry - dramatically brought to the fore with the recent events in Texas - I refer you to the just-completed 1 year capacity market auction in the UK which closed out as more than doubly expensive than the previous high record.

The recent closure of 2 large CCGTs (owned by an outfit named Calon) is adding to the growing reliance upon intermittent wind in the UK market.

Interested readers may learn more how unprofitable these plants have become in current market conditions. 

Along with at least 1 coal plant shutting down shortly, we may yet see how resilient, how reliable the grid is in the UK when stretches of windless days arise.

Taking out the interconnectors the UK now has about 43GW of on call generating capacity (CCGT, coal, nuclear, biomass, hydro, pump storage). I agree the reserve margin is too low.

On top of this there is about 2GW of small generation the NG can call upon to lift demand off the grid at localised points. 

2-14 Day Ahead Output Usable | BMRS (bmreports.com)

Edited by NickW

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1 minute ago, turbguy said:

Show me any other commodity that requires delivery of the exact amount required, within fractional seconds of time.  ALL the time.

 

Electricity is quite unique in that there is no alternative. Its not like a farmers market

The market ran out of beef today. Thats ok because I bought chicken / lamb / pork / fish instead. 

 

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10 minutes ago, NickW said:

Electricity is quite unique in that there is no alternative. Its not like a farmers market

The market ran out of beef today. Thats ok because I bought chicken / lamb / pork / fish instead. 

 

Yeah, it's REALLY addicting as well.

The withdrawal symptoms are tough to deal with.

Edited by turbguy

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1 hour ago, Ecocharger said:

There was an added wrinkle to the mix in the recent Texas breakdown, it was not clear that the NG generation performance was scuttled by winterization problems only, there may also have been a decisive domino impact from the failure of the green generation system (which in general may or may not be related to winterization problems), which itself could undermine the NG generation backup capacity.

Until we see any quantitative report that wind power failure initiated a domino effect, this is just speculation. In fact, the graphs I saw showed wind power beginning to recover an hour or so before the sharp drop in NG power. In any case, ERCOT should not have attempted to "engineer" a system that depends on a variable source, and they should not have been attempting to run a system with a designed reserve capacity of only 5%. Hindsight is wonderful.

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1 hour ago, Ecocharger said:

There was an added wrinkle to the mix in the recent Texas breakdown, it was not clear that the NG generation performance was scuttled by winterization problems only, there may also have been a decisive domino impact from the failure of the green generation system (which in general may or may not be related to winterization problems), which itself could undermine the NG generation backup capacity. Economically, it makes no sense to be maintaining the NG generation as an idle reserve capacity, the NG being the more reliable supplier should be the mainstay of the system, and the green system should be the marginal supplier. This would be a design less susceptible to systemic breakdown.

It is my opinion you just nailed it. Wind turbines should have been the peaking part of the system, generators maintaing the steady load.

Mr Smith pointed out the gen sets were running at 450%, which in turn means the gas was drawn down at the same rate..and the hydrates as well in freezing temperatures. A perfect storm of events.

It will be interesting to see how this event will be portrayed to the public at large, personally I am more Interested in the financial aspects, that is being kept under lock&key right now.

 

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1 hour ago, Ecocharger said:

Economically, it makes no sense to be maintaining the NG generation as an idle reserve capacity, the NG being the more reliable supplier should be the mainstay of the system, and the green system should be the marginal supplier. This would be a design less susceptible to systemic breakdown.

This depends on how the generators make money. If the system forces them to make money only by selling electricity, then yes, it makes no economic sense. But such a system cannot provide reliable electricity. You need a market structure that pays those generators to just exist.

Why should an operator run a generator instead of leaving it idle if wind and solar can provide power for less than the price of the natural gas? It's possible that we are trying to say the same thing but from different perspectives.

Here is a thought experiment. Consider a system wherein wind and solar are used only to produce gas (H2, NH3, and/or CH4). At the current rate of technical progress, the gas will be cheaper than NG very soon and is not subject to the vagaries of the NG market. You install enough wind and solar and electrolyzers to provide an annual production of gas to support your annual electricity (and gas) demand. You provide for storage for six months of gas demand. (Germany and California have about this much now). You install enough gas-fired generators to provide 115% (100% plus 15% reserve) of peak electrical need. All the electricity is provided via the generators, and all parties except NG producers are happy. Note that this system has the same gas-fired generator capacity as a system with no wind or solar would have. The batteries may remain cost-effective with no wind or solar because they at least chop off the daily peak.

But now, you can optimize this system by using the variable electricity directly when it is available instead of incurring the round-trip E-->G-->E penalty. This reduces the annual gas requirement and therefore the total amount of wind and solar that is needed. but you STILL need the same total gas generator capacity, which means you STILL need to pay for it.

 

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38 minutes ago, Eyes Wide Open said:

It is my opinion you just nailed it. Wind turbines should have been the peaking part of the system, generators maintaing the steady load.

Mr Smith pointed out the gen sets were running at 450%, which in turn means the gas was drawn down at the same rate..and the hydrates as well in freezing temperatures. A perfect storm of events.

It will be interesting to see how this event will be portrayed to the public at large, personally I am more Interested in the financial aspects, that is being kept under lock&key right now.

 

Please stop using that meaningless 450% number. The generators had been running at about 20%, and they ramped up to near 100%, just as they were designed to do. The problem was that ERCOT only engineered for 5% reserve capacity, and the weather event caused demand to exceed the supply.

However, Texas' NG supply system was incapable of providing sufficient NG when the generators needed it at their designed capacity of 100%. ERCOT can legitimately claim that the NG supply system failed to fulfill its contractual obligations: the blackout would still have occurred even if all the gas-fired generators were all fully functional, because even the diminished fleet of functioning generators was already using all of the NG that was available. This has nothing whatsoever to do with wind. In retrospect, we now see that some analyst within the NG supply system should have looked at the reliability of the NG supply under extreme cold-weather conditions, and that some failure analyst within ERCOT should have asked for that report. But even with that report in hand, it's not clear how Texas' market-driven system could have fixed the problems.

Thus, we have two major failures and both need to be addressed. First, some gas-fired generators failed due to lack of winterization. Second, the NG supply system failed due to lack of winterization.  Since Texas strongly favors a market-driven system, some method must be put in place to pay for winterization of these systems.

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2 hours ago, Dan Clemmensen said:

Please stop using that meaningless 450% number.

That's not a "meaningless" number. The NG plants had been denigrated, converted to a shadow of their former selves. Still, when called upon, they did indeed increase productivity by 450%--no small feat for a bunch of castoffs that had been replaced by windmills. 

 

2 hours ago, Dan Clemmensen said:

ERCOT can legitimately claim that the NG supply system failed to fulfill its contractual obligations: the blackout would still have occurred even if all the gas-fired generators were all fully functional, because even the diminished fleet of functioning generators was already using all of the NG that was available.

ERCOT can "legitimately" claim nothing. ERCOT had one job: to serve as an honest broker bringing in various forms of energy to provide for reliable electricity. Some of ERCOT's natural gas generators bought energy on the wholesale market and during this volatile time decided to opt out for profit reasons. They should have been contractually obligated to stick to the plan, no matter what. ERCOT failed to nail their feet to the ground.  

2 hours ago, Dan Clemmensen said:

This has nothing whatsoever to do with wind.

This has everything to do with wind.  Due to a corrupt federal government dovetailed with a compliant state energy overseer, wind energy had been subsidized luxuriously, and was also being reimbursed on a productivity scale, rather than by an electricity meter selling juice to the public. This series of boondoggles relegated natural gas plants to the back-bench, barely profitable, but still called in to be the "first team" when the going got tough. 

 

2 hours ago, Dan Clemmensen said:

Thus, we have two major failures and both need to be addressed. First, some gas-fired generators failed due to lack of winterization. Second, the NG supply system failed due to lack of winterization.  

What?

The most obvious problem was a corrupt anti-fossil fuel political scheme exorbitantly incentivizing a poorly-proven wind energy system. And then, in a clutch, the damn blades froze up. I'd personally call that a problem, but somehow you failed to mention it.

Secondly, we had some wholesale, wheeler-dealer buyers of NG during sunny days that decided to skip town when a storm blew in. I'd call that a problem too.

Thirdly, we had a lax Texas Railroad Commission that turned a blind eye to Statewide Rule 32 saying venting could only be performed for 24 hours and flaring for 10 days, wasting gas that could easily have been captured and held as reserve gas--up to $3M of it a day. I'd have to categorize that as a very big problem.

And fourthly, a small pipe froze in the nuclear facility, fooling the sensors. That's just such a perplexing problem, especially for the most sophisticated system of all, that it drives me crazy.  

But let me tell you with no reluctance whatsoever: the major problem was relying on that damn wind in the middle of a freezing rain in a storm that would set records. 

2 hours ago, Dan Clemmensen said:

Since Texas strongly favors a market-driven system, some method must be put in place to pay for winterization of these systems.

Wind is going to be "winterized," all right. It's going to be placed on a wire and sent winging it over to Florida. Every Christmas tree valve is going to wear an electric sock cap during the winter; that's only fair. But wind? It's headed to warmer climes. 

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3 hours ago, Dan Clemmensen said:

This depends on how the generators make money. If the system forces them to make money only by selling electricity, then yes, it makes no economic sense. But such a system cannot provide reliable electricity. You need a market structure that pays those generators to just exist.

Why should an operator run a generator instead of leaving it idle if wind and solar can provide power for less than the price of the natural gas? It's possible that we are trying to say the same thing but from different perspectives.

Here is a thought experiment. Consider a system wherein wind and solar are used only to produce gas (H2, NH3, and/or CH4). At the current rate of technical progress, the gas will be cheaper than NG very soon and is not subject to the vagaries of the NG market. You install enough wind and solar and electrolyzers to provide an annual production of gas to support your annual electricity (and gas) demand. You provide for storage for six months of gas demand. (Germany and California have about this much now). You install enough gas-fired generators to provide 115% (100% plus 15% reserve) of peak electrical need. All the electricity is provided via the generators, and all parties except NG producers are happy. Note that this system has the same gas-fired generator capacity as a system with no wind or solar would have. The batteries may remain cost-effective with no wind or solar because they at least chop off the daily peak.

But now, you can optimize this system by using the variable electricity directly when it is available instead of incurring the round-trip E-->G-->E penalty. This reduces the annual gas requirement and therefore the total amount of wind and solar that is needed. but you STILL need the same total gas generator capacity, which means you STILL need to pay for it.

 

There is a problem in equilibrating the output of wind/solar with NG generation, namely what we have already identified above, the dependability factor. This renders comparison between the two outputs impossible, because a dependable product is  completely differentiated from an undependable product, and the market pricing would reflect that difference. People are willing to pay more for dependable output. 

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(edited)

FACTS:

ERCOT Winter outages
  • February 2011, gas shortages and low temperatures led to 30 GW of capacity being unavailable and caused load shedding. There were prior severe cold weather events in 1983, 1989, 2003, 2006, 2008, and 2010.
  • February 2021, record low temperatures during the February 13–17, 2021 North American winter storm caused large loss of coal, natural gas, wind and nuclear plants power production and a shortfall of over 10GW of customer demand, and generated rolling blackouts across the state affecting more than 4 million people. Although some wind turbines iced up, wind power produced more overall power than expected for this time of year.

Without some drastic changes required in the operation and markets for ALL sources of generation, it WILL happen again. 

"Blaming" one source over others cannot be justified.

Instead of the generation responding to changes in demand, the demand can also respond to changes in generation. This is the basis of demand response.  That is low hanging fruit.

Edited by turbguy

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(edited)

Nothing runs at 450% obviously, because math.

An increase by 450% is meaningless.  One Watt to 5W is a 500% increase. OMG panic!  Uh no, you just don't understand percentages of small numbers.

Running at 20% capacity and increasing to 90% capacity is a 450% increase too, but should not be a problem as you guys love to point out gas plants are "rock solid" and super responsive (except when they're not as was the case).

 

Edited by Symmetry
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5 hours ago, Eyes Wide Open said:

 

Mr Smith pointed out the gen sets were running at 450%, which in turn means the gas was drawn down at the same rate..and the hydrates as well in freezing temperatures. A perfect storm of events.

 

 

Nothing was running at 450%.  Duh. 

Do you have a guitar amp that goes to 11 or something?  "Why not just make ten louder?"

https://youtu.be/uMSV4OteqBE?t=82

At least you are stating to accept that the fossil fuel systems failed.

 

Edited by Symmetry
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20 minutes ago, Symmetry said:

Nothing was running at 450%.  Duh. 

Do you have a guitar amp that goes to 11 or something?  "Why not just make ten louder?"

https://youtu.be/uMSV4OteqBE?t=82

At least you are stating to accept that the fossil fuel systems failed.

 

Yup!  Math.

If I own a nat gas OCGT that is at rest, and fire it up to produce just one watt, what's the percentage increase for that source?

Hmmm...one divide by zero....

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1 hour ago, Symmetry said:

Nothing was running at 450%.  Duh. 

Do you have a guitar amp that goes to 11 or something?  "Why not just make ten louder?"

https://youtu.be/uMSV4OteqBE?t=82

At least you are stating to accept that the fossil fuel systems failed.

 

Do your intend to bury yourself once again?...Why do i sense Bradley PNW or PWN Bradley...Guitar amps..now that is extraoridinary.

Edited by Eyes Wide Open
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20 hours ago, Dan Clemmensen said:

To make this work the complex system as a whole must find a way to pay for the generators, whether or not they are producing electricity.

This is precisely what caused the problem in Texas in the first place. Wind gets paid for capacity, not produced power. This in complete contravention to existing market forces. Distort the market enough and you end up with the carnival mirror situation in Texas where nothing is what it seems. It's happening elsewhere too and will create even further distortions to stable grids and markets. 

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40 minutes ago, Ward Smith said:

This is precisely what caused the problem in Texas in the first place. Wind gets paid for capacity, not produced power. This in complete contravention to existing market forces. Distort the market enough and you end up with the carnival mirror situation in Texas where nothing is what it seems. It's happening elsewhere too and will create even further distortions to stable grids and markets. 

Ward finally realizes it wasn't winds fault, it was mismanagement and market forces.

Almost like wind energy had near nothing to do with the problem.  Reality.

Now stop badmouthing poor application of valid technologies.  

Edited by Symmetry
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46 minutes ago, Ward Smith said:

This is precisely what caused the problem in Texas in the first place. Wind gets paid for capacity, not produced power. This in complete contravention to existing market forces. Distort the market enough and you end up with the carnival mirror situation in Texas where nothing is what it seems. It's happening elsewhere too and will create even further distortions to stable grids and markets. 

Since Texas is said to be an energy-only market, that implies that sources get paid for production, not the nameplate.

I ask for a reference. (I could not find any, but Google can be frustrating). That would be of interest.

Perhaps you posted it previously and I overlooked that info.

Edited by turbguy

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51 minutes ago, Ward Smith said:

This is precisely what caused the problem in Texas in the first place. Wind gets paid for capacity, not produced power. This in complete contravention to existing market forces. Distort the market enough and you end up with the carnival mirror situation in Texas where nothing is what it seems. It's happening elsewhere too and will create even further distortions to stable grids and markets. 

Well parsed, sir!

That is exactly what they had in Texas: a carnival mirror where nothing is what it seems. No matter which mirror you looked in, there was Queen Wind, getting all the attention. Wind was everywhere--and why not--they were indeed getting paid for production, not for the actual use of electricity. Can you imagine how much angst there is in Texas these days? If you think this energy story has been spun like cotton candy here on this forum you should see what it's like in hundreds of meetings. 

In the final analysis, wind is going to be wired to Florida. Natural gas will once again get the attention it deserves in Texas. Now, if Texas goes blue, that could all shift again, but for the foreseeable future they're going back to the basics.

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8 hours ago, Gerry Maddoux said:

That's not a "meaningless" number. The NG plants had been denigrated, converted to a shadow of their former selves. Still, when called upon, they did indeed increase productivity by 450%--no small feat for a bunch of castoffs that had been replaced by windmills. 

 

That's interesting. What was the historical maximum amount of gas-fired capacity in ERCOT, when did that maximum begin to decline, and what was the nominal capacity on 14 February?

You use the term "denigrated", Do you mean that these generators are no longer well-maintained?  I has assumed from my (very casual) reading that the current NG generator fleet was assumed to be in working order.

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