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Texas forced to have rolling black outs. Not from downed power line , but because the wind energy turbines are frozen.

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(edited)

For those wishing to learn a little of the 'background' to the current Texas/ERCOT situation,  a somewhat lengthy - but extremely enlightening - article by a Charles Rotter was re-posted on today's (2/19) 'wattsupwiththat' site.

 

Long story short, ERCOT apparently has no capacity market. Full explanation of a capacity market - and its crucially important capacity market auctions - is beyond the scope of this comment. However, it  is a HUGE Achilles Heel to intermittent power providers.

So much so that recent  FERC decisions in the PJM region in these matters may truly be the death knell of the wind power industry. At a minimum, free market capacity  markets/auctions could  cripple Wind's economic viability by requiring them to guarantee power at a realistic price.

 

It is worth a read of Mr. Potter's excellent presentation as I am certain we will all be seeing a LOT more of the phrase 'capacity market',  but not so much from Renewable-advocating  sources.

Edited by Coffeeguyzz
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2 hours ago, 0R0 said:

They should sue ERCOT and the state of TX to pay those bills, because it was not the storm that caused them, but the failure of their equipment and grid design such that half of the capacity (90% of solar and wind) was inoperative. That failure was a direct result of policy and bad planning based on climate models known to be completely fictitious that we pretend are correct in order to get along with deranged environmentalists. .   

So should we take the root cause of this entire situation as the result of "free markets" and "Capitalism"?

As i have said, only the lawyers will come out of this smiling...

 

Edited by turbguy

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(edited)

2 hours ago, Eyes Wide Open said:

Before the end of the of this debacle ERCOT will no longer exist in Texas, frankly wind power was given a sharp blow from which they may not recover. While cold weather may well have triggered this event, a very deep look will be made into just how a hodged podged system of green generation has taken place across the US. 

Come on.  Wind machines can work in these environments.  Sweden, Norway, even ANTARCTICA for the Lord's sake!  It is an ENGINEERING issue, one that Texas operators did not want to spring the cash for.

And THAT decision will now cost Texas BILLIONS!

Edited by turbguy
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1 hour ago, Gerry Maddoux said:

The massive Wind-Catcher Farm in the Oklahoma Panhandle was ready to go, but then was cancelled because it involved 200 miles of transmission into the Tulsa grid. They are breathing a sigh of relief tonight, having dodged that bullet. 

Wait, someone had a project "ready to go" and did not realize that a transmission line has to be built to support it?  Seems to me, you look for that facility right up there with every other consideration.

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4 minutes ago, turbguy said:

Come on.  Wind machines can work in these environments.  Sweden, Norway, even ANTARCTICA for the Lord's sake!  It is an ENGINEERING issue, one that Texas operators did not want to spring the cash for.

And THAT decision will now cost them BILLIONS!

The picture I posted was a Swedish wind turbine getting the helicopter deice treatment. There's even a video out there of it. That means Sweden is not immune to freezing and nothing kept Texas from trying the same thing (maybe they did). The key difference is Sweden gets a paltry percentage of their total power from wind in the winter. It going dark doesn't hurt them much. 

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3 minutes ago, Ward Smith said:

The picture I posted was a Swedish wind turbine getting the helicopter deice treatment. There's even a video out there of it. That means Sweden is not immune to freezing and nothing kept Texas from trying the same thing (maybe they did). The key difference is Sweden gets a paltry percentage of their total power from wind in the winter. It going dark doesn't hurt them much. 

They work don't they?  It's an ENGINEERING issue. 

Let's say you have a 2MW wind machine.  Mechanical losses via lube oil heating, will be about, what, 3%?  Note these machine have radiators in or on the nacelle.  So you gotta get rid of about 60 KW of heat.  During icing conditions, USE THAT!  You might have to supplement at low generation levels, but it right there to use.

 

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1 minute ago, turbguy said:

They work don't they?  It's an ENGINEERING issue. 

Let's say you have a 2MW wind machine.  Mechanical losses via lube oil heating, will be about, what, 3%?  Note these machine have radiators in or on the nacelle.  So you gotta get rid of about 60 KW of heat.  During icing conditions, USE THAT!  You might have to supplement at low generation levels, but it right there to use.

 

You must have forgotten the image. It showed a helicopter pouring hot water on the fan blades. A 2MW wind turbine actually produces that about 4% of the time it operates. The rest of the time it's less, often much less than rated capacity. 

But @NickWwas bragging about how great Great Britain was At producing green energy. Not so much though. 😂

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It seems like half these posts are half hearted sacrcasm, which come across as over the top stupid.  Does anyone really think these blackouts are caused by energy mix ? Jurisdictions all over North America with high levels of wind power don't suffer these types of blackouts. Stick to listening to engineers and scientists and you can simply correct the bad design and contingency plans. Burning 100% coal or tires would not have made this situation any better- why post this stuff about "Greenies"

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(edited)

20 minutes ago, Ward Smith said:

You must have forgotten the image. It showed a helicopter pouring hot water on the fan blades. A 2MW wind turbine actually produces that about 4% of the time it operates. The rest of the time it's less, often much less than rated capacity. 

But @NickWwas bragging about how great Great Britain was At producing green energy. Not so much though. 😂

I suspect it was a heated de-icing solution rather than hot water.

Like I said, you may to supplement it at times, but even 10KW of heat per blade should be PLENTY!

Edited by turbguy
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5 minutes ago, DowntownYuma said:

It seems like half these posts are half hearted sacrcasm, which come across as over the top stupid.  Does anyone really think these blackouts are caused by energy mix ? Jurisdictions all over North America with high levels of wind power don't suffer these types of blackouts. Stick to listening to engineers and scientists and you can simply correct the bad design and contingency plans. Burning 100% coal or tires would not have made this situation any better- why post this stuff about "Greenies"

I suspect that a contracted market for capacity would have helped.  Not generation, capacity. You gotta pay for that, like we do in the other interconnections.  Not so in ERCOT.

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16 hours ago, NickW said:

????????? You seem somewhat confused. 

The climate record of that period is fairly well known and the causes attributed to Volcanism and sunspot activity.

Volcanism???  Do not make us laugh.  Here is the last 2000 years of major eruptions over VEI4.  Each VEI is a magnitude larger of junk ejected into atmosphere.  So, since ~0 VEI 5 eruptions, it would take 100 VEI 4 eruptions to equal 1 VEI 6, so anything below VEI 6 is not even bothered to be added to this list.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_volcanism_on_Earth 

Little Ice Age started in and around 1300. 

  1. 0 in 14th century
  2. 3 in 15th century
  3. 1 in 16th
  4. 2 in 17th
  5. 1 in 18th
  6. 3 in 19th
  7. 3 in 20th

DO note that there were 2 VEI 7 events during the Medieval warm period and yet, they did not freeze to death...

 

 

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36 minutes ago, turbguy said:

Wait, someone had a project "ready to go" and did not realize that a transmission line has to be built to support it?  Seems to me, you look for that facility right up there with every other consideration.

It was a turn of phrase. Of course they understood that the energy would have to be transmitted--that just seemed so mundane that it wasn't considered to be a stumbling block. The Wind-Catcher was a $4.5B project, about to become the largest wind farm in America. As one large landowner said, "It was corporate greed disguised as green energy and consumer benefits." 

There were to be 800 new turbines. Three of the five states had already approved the project. Texas declined. 

That was in late 2018. Already, at that point, Texas was realizing that wind wasn't all it was cooked up to be.

These big wind farm projects are massive. They ruin the landscape for miles. They don't create much wealth for anyone but the few who happen to own property right in the wind corridor. And then, when the going gets tough, they don't always deliver. 

Hopefully, the nation will learn from the Texas disaster. It was very nearly much, much worse than a disaster--it was almost a humanitarian calamity. And no, it didn't have much to do with the failure of natural gas-fired utility plants; that came later. The primary problem was with the wind turbines. 

It really doesn't matter how someone tries to spin this. Gov. Abbot knows the truth. His Utility Commission will soon make their recommendations. 

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(edited)

1 hour ago, Gerry Maddoux said:

It was a turn of phrase. Of course they understood that the energy would have to be transmitted--that just seemed so mundane that it wasn't considered to be a stumbling block. The Wind-Catcher was a $4.5B project, about to become the largest wind farm in America. As one large landowner said, "It was corporate greed disguised as green energy and consumer benefits." 

There were to be 800 new turbines. Three of the five states had already approved the project. Texas declined. 

That was in late 2018. Already, at that point, Texas was realizing that wind wasn't all it was cooked up to be.

These big wind farm projects are massive. They ruin the landscape for miles. They don't create much wealth for anyone but the few who happen to own property right in the wind corridor. And then, when the going gets tough, they don't always deliver. 

Hopefully, the nation will learn from the Texas disaster. It was very nearly much, much worse than a disaster--it was almost a humanitarian calamity. And no, it didn't have much to do with the failure of natural gas-fired utility plants; that came later. The primary problem was with the wind turbines. 

It really doesn't matter how someone tries to spin this. Gov. Abbot knows the truth. His Utility Commission will soon make their recommendations. 

If Texas felt that wind isn't all it is cooked up to be, why are so many other wind projects scheduled to come on line in Texas this year?  

If it was ERCOT that objected, perhaps they did not want to have an out-of-state synchronous tie to their system.  DC ties ain't cheap (although you use one less cable, and skin effect is lowered greatly, the valve stations are REALLY expensive).

Yeah, they certainly have visual impacts.  If you want to maintain your "viewshed", you either have to own it, or have the last name of Kennedy.

Edited by turbguy
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5 minutes ago, turbguy said:

If Texas felt that wind isn't all it is cooked up to be, why are so many other wind projects scheduled to come on line in Texas this year?  

Gee, I don't know. Because they were heavily subsidized? And still part of the so-called state mandate?

Let's see how many come on line next year. 

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2 minutes ago, Gerry Maddoux said:

Gee, I don't know. Because they were heavily subsidized? And still part of the so-called state mandate?

Let's see how many come on line next year. 

Actually, that's the year for massive solar and battery installations.

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2 hours ago, Coffeeguyzz said:

For those wishing to learn a little of the 'background' to the current Texas/ERCOT situation,  a somewhat lengthy - but extremely enlightening - article by a Charles Rotter was re-posted on today's (2/19) 'wattsupwiththat' site.

 

Long story short, ERCOT apparently has no capacity market. Full explanation of a capacity market - and its crucially important capacity market auctions - is beyond the scope of this comment. However, it  is a HUGE Achilles Heel to intermittent power providers.

So much so that recent  FERC decisions in the PJM region in these matters may truly be the death knell of the wind power industry. At a minimum, free market capacity  markets/auctions could  cripple Wind's economic viability by requiring them to guarantee power at a realistic price.

 

It is worth a read of Mr. Potter's excellent presentation as I am certain we will all be seeing a LOT more of the phrase 'capacity market',  but not so much from Renewable-advocating  sources.

It is straightforward to add wind power in a capacity market. As a trivial example, a provider can build a 500 MW NG peaker and 500 MW (nameplate)  of wind, and offer a 500 MW capacity. The peaker sits idle until needed.  Whether or not this makes economic sense is another matter.

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On 2/15/2021 at 1:54 PM, Gerry Maddoux said:

Of course he will. And of course they'll do it--Mr. Musk brought hundreds of billions of dollars to the state of Texas with his Tesla plant. Not only that but Larry Ellison is the second-largest Tesla shareholder, and Musk talked him into "taking the red pill" too--all of Oracle has moved to Austin. That's one big incentive.

Besides that, Texas had embraced renewable energy many years ago. For the last decade wind energy has contributed between 10-20% to the grid . . . and that doesn't compare to the wind power sold to Florida. Solar too. 

The last three days hasn't seen much sunshine in Texas and the wind turbines are apparently freezing up. A battery storage depot probably sounds pretty good, right about now. 

I doubt seriously that Texas ran low on natural gas. They have simply examined a century worth of weather, attributed certain percentages of projected needed power from different sources, and got caught by an outlier. Texas being Texas, they probably won't get caught again. 

Turns out nat gas doesn’t do well in freezing cold. You wanna shut it down? They have wind turbines in the artic that work fine. They don’t have Texans/Republicans see the difference?

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5 hours ago, surrept33 said:

These are  not  peer-reviewed articles, just some point-of-view advocacy. Not scientific.

The way you judge between competing models is to test how much explanatory power they have.

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2 minutes ago, Boat said:

Turns out nat gas doesn’t do well in freezing cold. You wanna shut it down? They have wind turbines in the artic that work fine. They don’t have Texans/Republicans see the difference?

They have NG, nuclear, and coal plants  in the arctic that work fine also. All types of power plants will begin to fail when the temperature drops below their designed minimum temperature. All types of power plants can be designed for very low temperatures. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, almost none of the power plants in Texas were designed for temperatures as low as they reached during this weather event. They lost coal, nuclear, NG, and wind, all due to extreme cold.   This happens in Texas approximately once every ten years. ERCOT's post-event analyses of the 2011 event concluded that Texas needed to upgrade their generators to permit operation in extreme cold. Nothing was done.

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19 hours ago, Ecocharger said:

No, the model developed by this team of scientists gives a 94% explanatory basis for earth temperature changes, which is well above any other explanatory model. Here is the direct link to the multi-national team paper from 1919, which correctly predicted the onset of a cooling phase in 2020. The global warming models failed completely to predict this cooling onset.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31235834/

 

Very interesting reference. It is notable that the Great Frost of 1684,in England,was slap in the middle of the Maunder minimum.

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17 hours ago, NickW said:

At our data centre we have 4 500kw units. They grid synchronise fromcold start in about 10 seconds at which point they have lifted 2Mw of demand off the grid. 

Running the units regularly and cycling through the diesel is good for reliability. Furthermore there is good reason to have 4x500kw  rather than1 x 2000kw. Same with hospitals they normally have at least 3 gensets. 

What you say may only be true for new hospitals in UK. When I worked in the laboratory at Watford General Hospital,there were separate sockets for the emergency power supply from the diesel generator. Presumably,these were on an entirely separate circuit.

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16 hours ago, NickW said:

blah blah blah.......

The last time we had rolling power cuts was 1974 due to a miners strike.

So despite this gargantuan blessing  Texas still managed to fook it up 😂

The moon landings were a hoax weren't they? 

In your rush to be rude,you have forgotten that you said that,in the UK,we import large amounts of nuclear-generated electricity from France. Because of high electricity costs,demand for electricity is falling. The last aluminium smelter in UK has closed down and a steel works,more recently. Meanwhile,Merkel has shielded German heavy industry against the cost of Green electricity by making the rest of consumers pay for it. This blatantly goes against European Union competition rules.

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9 hours ago, Coffeeguyzz said:

It is worth a read of Mr. Potter's excellent presentation as I am certain we will all be seeing a LOT more of the phrase 'capacity market',  but not so much from Renewable-advocating  sources.

The world press has more or less condemned Texas. It blames hubris, greed, bravado, and just about everything else. It's true that Texas is independent-minded, but is also home to some of the best universities, revolutionary innovators and charitable people. Texas has just been slammed. It would be silly and unwise to think them ignorant or incapable of incisive thought. So why did this giant energy collapse occur and how can it be corrected?

Coffeeguyz appears out of the blue and posts great commentary on energy. All sorts of energy. He is especially well-versed in LNG but also gives proper shrift to renewables. In his post he points out Charles Rotter's piece in wattsupwiththat.com. There was little comment on it subsequently, which means it probably wasn't read by many of the people commenting on this site. 

I have read (and participated in) an increasingly strident dialogue about who is to blame in the Texas fiasco, and which energy source. My pieces, and others, are shooting out in all directions--often linking special interest articles, which can and will say almost anything, usually breaking on political biases. Like many, I hadn't paid much attention to the "capacity market" variable in the complex equation of mixing various energy input sources. Neither had ERCOT, as it turned out.

The following is the personal observation of Charles Rotter, who worked in this field for a long time and is not only a practical thinker but a great explainer. Like Coffeeguyz suggested, the whole article is worth a read in order to best understand his summary. 

Personal Observations

Wind and solar have value and can be added to power systems effectively in many instances. But seeking to attain excessive levels of wind and solar quickly becomes counterproductive. It is difficult to impossible to justify the significant amounts of wind and solar penetration desired by many policy makers today using principals of good cost allocation. Various rate schemes and market proposals have been developed to help wind and solar become more competitive. But they come with costs, often hidden. As I’ve written before, it may be because transmission providers have to assume the costs and build a more expensive system to accommodate them. It may be that rates and markets unfairly punish other alternatives to give wind and solar an advantage. It may be that they expose the system to greater risks than before. It may be that they eat away at established reliability levels and weaken system performance during adverse conditions. In a fair system with good price signals today’s wind and solar cannot achieve high penetration levels in a fair competition.

Having a strong technical knowledge of the power system along with some expertise in finance, rates and costs can help one see the folly of a variety of policies adopted to support many of today’s wind and solar projects. Very few policy makers possess anything close to the skill sets needed for such an evaluation. Furthermore, while policy makers could listen to experts, their voices are drowned out by those with vested interests in wind and solar technology who garner considerable support from those ideologically inclined to support renewables regardless of impacts.

A simpler approach to understanding the ineffectiveness of unbridled advocacy for wind and solar is to look at those areas which have heavily invested in these intermittent resources and achieved higher penetration levels of such resources. Typically electric users see significant overall increases in the cost of energy delivered to consumers. Emissions of CO2 do not uniformly decrease along with employment of renewables, but may instead increase due to how back up resources are operated. Additionally reliability problems tend to emerge in these systems. Texas, a leader in wind, once again is added to the experience gained in California, Germany and the UK showing that reliability concerns and outages increase along with greater employment of intermittent resources.

Anyone can look at Texas and observe that fossil fuel resources could have performed better in the cold. If those who owned the plants had secured guaranteed fuel, Texas would have been better off. More emergency peaking units would be a great thing to have on hand. Why would generators be inclined to do such a thing? Consider, what would be happening if the owners of gas generation had built sufficient generation to get through this emergency with some excess power? Instead of collecting $9,000 per MWH from existing functioning units, they would be receiving less than $100 per MWH for the output of those plants and their new plants. Why would anyone make tremendous infrastructure that would sit idle in normal years and serve to slash your revenue by orders of magnitudes in extreme conditions?

The incentive for gas generation to do the right thing was taken away by Texas’s deliberate energy only market strategy. The purpose of which was to aid the profitability of intermittent wind and solar resources and increase their penetration levels. I don’t believe anyone has ever advanced the notion that fossil fuel plants might operate based on altruism. Incentives and responsibility need to be paired.  Doing a post-mortem on the Texas situation ignoring incentives and responsibility is inappropriate and incomplete.

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Well, that was fun!  No electricity, no phone, no wi-fi, and 3 days in the hole.  So, the pointing, screaming, following Ted Cruz around while he gets out of Houston after 2 days and heads for warm weather.  The criticism was the "world coming to an end" you prick, when there's no electricity, no phone, no wi-fi and he had 2 days in the hole and came back day 3.  So, he can't communicate with anyone so what is the problem, I say.  More political bashing than brains.

So, Texas were definitely caught off guard, I was for sure.  Had my crank, solar (no good), battery (best) radio so knew what was sort of happening, but the top contender for the blackouts was turbines.  Frozen stiff and together with solar = 25%. You can say all you want about renewables, but 25% of the electric generation is a lot!  3 days in the cold and dark is a LOT!  In 2011 there were rolling blackouts for 1 day, now 2020 total blackouts for 3 days.  

Texas spent $19 billion bucks on wind power and from 2017 until 2020, coal went from 32% to 15%, nuclear went from 10% to 5%.  The greens blamed it on natural gas, but part of that issue was frozen wellheads, okay, but part of the gas generators were operating wind.  The latest from ERCOT last year was the drive to introduce more solar, which has increased from 1% to 2.1%.  

You can say what you want about renewables, but they look great on paper, but in the real world they suck when needed.  If Biden has his way, we'll all be in the dark and he has 4 years to bring us further into this madness.  The weird thing about the issue in Texas is that a large percentage still think renewables are great!  I think about that and realize well, maybe Biden actually did win.

So, the sun is out this morning.  Hot water is back so I can wash the glue that is stuck to my head!  If my car starts, I'm good to go!  And, I will be raising hell with the Governor, since this situation shows that renewables are one thing:  A SCAM!  Here's proof, the earth is alive and well, with or without us.

36180D0A-A640-4261-AE76-6D550D77B89A_1_105_c.thumb.jpeg.8e425a160701d19fc8a5f62cdb17bdc0.jpeg

 

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^

I've been waiting for you to emerge!

Good report. 

Coupled with what Charles Rotter said, it is precisely what I have been trying to pound home: Renewables are not what they're cracked up to be. Good addition up to a certain level but you know the old adage about too much of a good thing . . .

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