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Texas Power Outage Danger Until June 18th. Texans told to conserve energy!

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3 minutes ago, turbguy said:

Texas seems to treat every extreme event as a one-of, high-impact, low-frequency event.

Which says, "We hope it doesn’t happen again".

It's gonna take lots of money and some time to improve the situation.

For residential customers, it might add about $20-$50 per year to their power bills.  It is the large, industrial users (the ones who have much more political influence) who would be paying much larger sums.

Potential solutions that would actually help:

1. Develop and enforce implementation of weatherization at generation facilities

2. Pay for reliability (pay generators to stand-by in spinning reserve)

3. Pay for on-site fuel storage

4. Treat gas supply facilities as critical infrastructure

5. Granularize rotating outages (implement wide-spread demand-side management)

6. Invest in batteries or other storage mechanisms

7. Make communication to the public BLUNT and CLEAR!

Note that I don't list synchronous connection to neighboring grids, although that might help in rare instances.

All true. In addition, to migigate peak summer loads, add solar (+battery) The advantage of solar is that it is most productive when the sun shines, which is also when you need the electricity.

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4 hours ago, Eric Gagen said:

June is traditionally the start of the cooling season in Texas, and the first major heat wave often comes by mid June.  My 'back of the envelope' guess is that they didn't get their maintenance done as fast as they had projected, and are sweeping that under the rug to avoid another political inquisition.   

An extended (planned maintenance) outage cannot be reported as forced without violating existing reporting standards.

A reported forced outage only occurs AFTER a generating unit has been on-line and then is either unexpectedly de-rated or removed from service.

To report otherwise would be a clear violation.

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(edited)

5 minutes ago, Dan Clemmensen said:

All true. In addition, to migigate peak summer loads, add solar (+battery) The advantage of solar is that it is most productive when the sun shines, which is also when you need the electricity.

Texas is installing a whole bunch of solar this year, and in future years.

And I mean A LOT!

Edited by turbguy
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8 hours ago, Eric Gagen said:

I plan not to comply.  They want us to do 78 during the day, and 82 at night.  78 daytime AC temperature I might be able to handle, but 82 at night is estupido, and I can't imagine that anyone will even attempt to comply with that request.  Fortunately yesterday we got a massive soaking rainstorm in the afternoon and late evening, so it was a non issue for us.  

82 at night?   That setting would be an effective form of birth control!

 

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(edited)

8 hours ago, turbguy said:

An extended (planned maintenance) outage cannot be reported as forced without violating existing reporting standards.

A reported forced outage only occurs AFTER a generating unit has been on-line and then is either unexpectedly de-rated or removed from service.

To report otherwise would be a clear violation.

Who said anything about forced outages?  Nobody has reported, or is reporting any forced outages that I am aware of. Everything I have seen is outages due to planned maintenance.  Do you have some data that hasn't been made public?  

 

It is only my own personal speculation that the planned maintenance has run on longer than originally expected in some way.  This is my thought because widespread hot weather in mid June for Texas is normal and should be expected.  Having a planned outage at this time of the year should be unusual, because it's a time of the year when electricity generators have the maximum opportunity to sell as much power as possible at excellent rates  - i.e. when you do NOT plan any maintanance.  This season runs from mid June to roughly the end of September, during which time no reasonable operator attempting to maximize profit should have any planned maintenance taking place unless it is absolutely critical and could not be completed at some other time of the year.  

 

Edit:  Thank you @Jay McKinsey for correcting me - I head read some articles earlier, and every time I saw repairs I somehow assumed they were expected or planned in some way - not unexpected breakdowns. 

Edited by Eric Gagen
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(edited)

1 hour ago, Eric Gagen said:

Who said anything about forced outages?  Nobody has reported, or is reporting any forced outages that I am aware of. Everything I have seen is outages due to planned maintenance.  Do you have some data that hasn't been made public?  

Ercot did:

Tight grid conditions expected due to high number of forced generation outages http://www.ercot.com/news/releases/show/233037

Edited by Jay McKinsey
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What we have learned is that Republicans in Texas combined with nat gas is a poor combination and leads to consistent energy problems. Captain Obvious sees a simple lack of management skills. The the huge hump of electricity consumption during the day can be turned into storage potential with the cheapest energy on the market, solar. 
Plan B would be to jail a few white boys for hiring illegals and “poof” millions would go back to their home country. Economy disruption would be the new problem and a lack of cheap labor but energy shortages would be a thing of the past. No need for a wall if the magnet of jobs is gone.

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1 hour ago, Boat said:

What we have learned is that Republicans in Texas combined with nat gas is a poor combination and leads to consistent energy problems. Captain Obvious sees a simple lack of management skills. The the huge hump of electricity consumption during the day can be turned into storage potential with the cheapest energy on the market, solar. 
 

Once it's stored, it is less cheap, but might still be profitable.

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42 minutes ago, turbguy said:

Once it's stored, it is less cheap, but might still be profitable.

The idea in California is battery storage to the point it will cover peaks in consumption after the sun goes down. Hundreds of millions are being invested. Texas will do the same. There just running a few years behind. 

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49 minutes ago, turbguy said:

Once it's stored, it is less cheap, but might still be profitable.

The majority of all that solar they are installing will have batteries installed with it.  When a lot of solar is installed the value of electricity at peak production goes way down to the point of curtailment. Meanwhile the value of electricity at peak demand in the evening when the sun is setting remains very high.  Shifting peak generation to peak demand is a value center not a cost center.

Edited by Jay McKinsey
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14 hours ago, Jay McKinsey said:

The majority of all that solar they are installing will have batteries installed with it.  When a lot of solar is installed the value of electricity at peak production goes way down to the point of curtailment. Meanwhile the value of electricity at peak demand in the evening when the sun is setting remains very high.  Shifting peak generation to peak demand is a value center not a cost center.

You and @turbguy are saying the same thing from different perspectives, I think. The total (amortized capital) cost to produce and deliver solar+battery in the evening is higher than the cost to produce and deliver solar in the afternoon, but still cheaper than NG. However, if the users are charged depending on time-of-use, then the batteries are more profitable.

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15 hours ago, Jay McKinsey said:

The majority of all that solar they are installing will have batteries installed with it.  When a lot of solar is installed the value of electricity at peak production goes way down to the point of curtailment. Meanwhile the value of electricity at peak demand in the evening when the sun is setting remains very high.  Shifting peak generation to peak demand is a value center not a cost center.

Oh, storage can certainly be a profit center.

Pumped Storage can make money hand over fist!

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2 hours ago, turbguy said:

Oh, storage can certainly be a profit center.

Pumped Storage can make money hand over fist!

Smiles while you are or do have a certain political vein that runs deep I have found you are a engineer first when push comes to shove.

Personally I have a sneaking suspicion the grid itself is a mess, so much power is coming down line it can no longer handle the loads generated by both wind and fossil fuel...I'm sure the last Brown put also comprised the entire network in some fashion. That is a lot of power being switched around in seconds.

In simplicity at its finest attempting to balance gen power and wind power the grid has been compromised. It no longer function with the amount of power and frequency imbalances..

As usual.. What lies in TX&CA as long as I'm here.

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(edited)

33 minutes ago, Eyes Wide Open said:

Smiles while you are or do have a certain political vein that runs deep I have found you are a engineer first when push comes to shove.

Personally I have a sneaking suspicion the grid itself is a mess, so much power is coming down line it can no longer handle the loads generated by both wind and fossil fuel...I'm sure the last Brown put also comprised the entire network in some fashion. That is a lot of power being switched around in seconds.

In simplicity at its finest attempting to balance gen power and wind power the grid has been compromised. It no longer function with the amount of power and frequency imbalances..

As usual.. What lies in TX&CA as long as I'm here.

A "grid" includes every connected load (such as your toaster), and every connected supply (such as a wind turbine or nuclear generator) and all the interconnecting "stuff".   A "grid" is one, huge, machine!

The "grids" (there are three majors in the USA (with some ties to Canada and Mexico) grew in a haphazard fashion, beginning when isolated local utilities decided to back each other up with "supervoltage" lines across the landscape (around the 1910's, 1920's).  Those transmission lines (and aux/support/switching systems) grew and grew with increased electrification throughout the country.  And these grids are still evolving!

Those lines have their limits (and their losses). 

Loads are from the customers, supply is from the generators, using the "grid".

If there's wind or solar above demand, it's curtailed, (or "other forms of generation" are decreased). That's easy!

If there's not enough wind or solar to meet demand, other "forms of generation" are dispatched (as available) or loads are reduced.   Most of the time that works just fine, but would be easier with a buffer (storage). 

That said, the current system seems to work well 99.99% of the time (so far).

Edited by turbguy

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(edited)

This is part of the answer.

https://www.dallasnews.com/business/2021/06/15/a-fire-a-week-ago-forced-comanche-peak-to-shut-down-a-nuclear-power-unit-pressuring-the-states-grid/

Main (step-up) Transformer issues are really serious and can take quite a while if they need a replacement.

Even if they have access to a proper spare somewhere, it can take several weeks to transport it, install it, test it and place it in service.

If they can do an on-site repair, that can take several weeks as well.

If they need a NEW transformer and there ain't one to be had, that can take many months!

AND!!!

https://www.eenews.net/stories/1063734985

Perhaps a little "slice" of Enron-flavored electricity?

Edited by turbguy
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38 minutes ago, turbguy said:

This is part of the answer.

https://www.dallasnews.com/business/2021/06/15/a-fire-a-week-ago-forced-comanche-peak-to-shut-down-a-nuclear-power-unit-pressuring-the-states-grid/

Main (step-up) Transformer issues are really serious and can take quite a while if they need a replacement.

Even if they have access to a proper spare somewhere, it can take several weeks to transport it, install it, test it and place it in service.

If they can do an on-site repair, that can take several weeks as well.

If they need a NEW transformer and there ain't one to be had, that can take many months!

AND!!!

https://www.eenews.net/stories/1063734985

Perhaps a little "slice" of Enron-flavored electricity?

Ahh I had a suspicion your instincts would peak...sorry I can't help myself here. 

Is not true the TX grid is unique unto itself? Read isolated, how many turbines run ac output, how many turbines run DC output how many  turbines run at 50hz how many run @ 60hz. For the love of god how does one balance all of this output?

Simple minds seek simple solutions.

Edited by Eyes Wide Open

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All grid generation in Texas "outputs" at 60 Hz.

Solar (and batteries) is DC, and is inverted to 60 Hz via power electronics.

Wind turbines typically use  Double Fed Induction Generators (these days), which operate at variable speed but can STILL produce a fixed 60 Hz output. 

There might be a really rare facility (a old cotton mill and such) that still uses antique 25 HZ equipment. Those are served via equally antique rotating frequency converters, most likely at the facility itself.

I would say 99+% of rotating generation in the USA "outputs" at 60 Hz.

Balancing is easy. 

If frequency drops, increase generation (or increase imports).  Most thermal generator prime mover governors perform that function to a coarse degree, IF additional unit capability is possible.  If you are already pedal-to-the-metal, the governor is ineffective in increasing generation.

If frequency increases, reduce generation (or decrease imports)

Automated commands from the grid operator, or "Balancing Authority", take care of fine-tuning frequency via AGC (Automatic Generation Control) increase/decrease pulses to every thermal generator (except nucs).

All done on an economic basis.  Expensive generation gets the last increase commands, and the first decrease commands.

Wind and solar, you take what you can get and balance from there, just like nucs.

 

 

 

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8 hours ago, Eyes Wide Open said:

Ahh I had a suspicion your instincts would peak...sorry I can't help myself here. 

Is not true the TX grid is unique unto itself? Read isolated, how many turbines run ac output, how many turbines run DC output how many  turbines run at 50hz how many run @ 60hz. For the love of god how does one balance all of this output?

Simple minds seek simple solutions.

Texas' grid can be considered "isolated", in the same way the that the Eastern Interconnect (everything else east of the Rockies) is considered "isolated".  ERCOT's system is still a BIG SYSTEM!

That said, they do have a handful of DC or variable frequency ties to entities outside of their system (perhaps with about a GW of total transfer capacity).

With these non-synchronous ties to out-of-state systems, I still wonder how  ERCOT can avoid Federal Regulation due to the Commerce Clause. I guess some lawyer argued that different "flavors" of electricity don't count as interstate commerce...

See my prior post concerning "balancing".

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17 hours ago, turbguy said:

Oh, storage can certainly be a profit center.

Pumped Storage can make money hand over fist!

It cannot make money for the society as a whole. Only for those who can benefit from the changes in government policy. Choosing to ignore basic economic forces involves a huge social cost to the larger community. Cheap energy is about to disappear, and that will impact the poor people the most.

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6 minutes ago, Ecocharger said:

It cannot make money for the society as a whole. Only for those who can benefit from the changes in government policy. Choosing to ignore basic economic forces involves a huge social cost to the larger community. Cheap energy is about to disappear, and that will impact the poor people the most.

Pumped storage has been making money for decades, because of "basic economic forces". Namely, demand for electricity is variable, so storing cheap electricity when demand is low and delivering it when demand is high is more profitable than using high-cost generation when demand is high.

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1 hour ago, Ecocharger said:

It cannot make money for the society as a whole. Only for those who can benefit from the changes in government policy. Choosing to ignore basic economic forces involves a huge social cost to the larger community. Cheap energy is about to disappear, and that will impact the poor people the most.

It indeed DOES impact "society as a whole" when it stores low carbon power in times of excess generation, and releases it at times of limited generation.  Since there are cheap (or no) fuels being consumed at times of excess generation, and no fuels are consumed during release, it levels out price swings, JUST BY BEING THERE!

AND, it can be very profitable!

Think about it.

About 15 years ago, pumped storage was GREAT to store nuc power at night, then release it during the day.  Day after day, after day...

 

Edited by turbguy

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7 minutes ago, turbguy said:

It indeed DOES impact "society as a whole" when it stores low carbon power in times of excess generation, and releases it at times of limited generation.  Since there are cheap (or no) fuels being consumed at times of excess generation, and no fuels are consumed during release, it levels out price swings, JUST BY BEING THERE!

AND, it can be very profitable!

Think about it.

About 15 years ago, pumped storage was GREAT to store nuc power at night, then release it during the day.  Day after day, after day...

 

Yep, worked great even when most of the variability was on the demand side. Works as well or better when some of the variability is on the supply side.  I suspect that batteries are still superior for very short-term (seconds, minutes) variability, but pumped hydro wins for longer-term (hours, days, months).

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2 hours ago, Ecocharger said:

It cannot make money for the society as a whole. Only for those who can benefit from the changes in government policy. Choosing to ignore basic economic forces involves a huge social cost to the larger community. Cheap energy is about to disappear, and that will impact the poor people the most.

That's definitely not true.  The ability to effectively store electric power for use later can be of enormous practical economic value for society as a whole, as well as saving money on net (not merely for certain users or producers).  For example, if Texas had been able to store any significant fraction of it's excess wind power for later use, there would have been a significant easing or possibly even elimination of the massive set of rolling blackouts in the state in February.  On a smaller scale,  with the state of TX presently running it's functional electric power plants flat out,  it would represent an enormously effective way to save money, because you would be able to turn off/not dispatch the most costly sources of power, and use the relatively cheaper stored power that was accumulated earlier.  

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(edited)

7 hours ago, Ecocharger said:

It cannot make money for the society as a whole. Only for those who can benefit from the changes in government policy. Choosing to ignore basic economic forces involves a huge social cost to the larger community. Cheap energy is about to disappear, and that will impact the poor people the most.

HaHa you really stepped in it this time. Thanks for again showing us just how much you don't understand economics or how the grid works.

Pumped storage has been a critical mechanism for delivering lowest cost electricity for decades by allowing nuc and coal to run at an optimal constant rate 24/7 even though demand fluctuates every day between nighttime low and daytime peak.

Edited by Jay McKinsey
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