Texas power grid problems

Thread Starter

Hymie

Joined Mar 30, 2018
976
According to reports on CNN part of the problem is that the Texas power grid is isolated from the rest of the country and so has to rely on within State power generation which has been hit due to the exceptional weather.

Even within in the UK, we have the capability to receive/send power from the grid to continental Europe. This is achieved through high power AC-DC and DC-AC conversion to allow each grid system to have control of their respective grids.

It would seem short-sighted of those responsible for ensuring the continuity of the power supply within Texas not to have the option of drawing power from the national grid as a contingency against shortfalls of within State power generation.

Being part of a national grid system allows excess generating capacity to be supplied elsewhere – although given the size of Texas/USA distance transmission losses may limit this.

If I were a Texas resident suffering a prolonged power outage – I’d want those in charge ensuring it cannot happen again, and not accept the excuse that it was a once in a generation (no pun intended) event.
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
8,382
This is a rare weather event for Texas and the entire USA. My Mom still lives in Texas, her power is still fine. The Media is jumping ugly on Texas but Texans can take it. In a week Texans will be selling T-shirts, belt-buckles and hats about how they survived the 'deep freeze'.

The state is rightly focused on and likely prepared for extended yearly extreme heat events (heat elimination in homes, businesses and power generation) at the expense of rarer extreme cold events that require the polar opposite of heat retention. The thing they don't tell in those stories about Texas is the national power grid doesn't have excess to sell to Texas because of this rare weather event.The mid-west to south power grid is close to crashing too.

6f1a92aa-06bc-4e06-9146-7704f084199d-Southwest_Power_Pool_footprint.jpg

https://www.insider.com/texas-snow-...ower-grid-electricity-energy-emergency-2021-2
A major power-grid manager that operates in states from North Dakota to Texas has ordered rolling blackouts amid an extreme cold blast that has hit much of the US.

Southwest Power Pool, which is headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas, ordered the rolling blackouts Monday, declaring an energy emergency. Extreme weather had already taken out power for millions of homes in Texas, where temperatures hit record lows.

According to The New York Times, the organization manages the electric grid used in all of Oklahoma and Kansas and parts of Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, and New Mexico.

The grid operator said in a statement on Twitter that this was the first time it had ordered mass rolling blackouts and that it was doing so to prevent further uncontrolled power failures.
https://www.argusleader.com/story/n...innesota-xcel-sioux-valley-energy/6763081002/
Power was back on for all of South Dakota early Tuesday afternoon after rolling blackouts caused by "unprecedented demand" on the grid led to outages throughout the eastern part of the state in the morning.

As of 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, the Southwest Power Pool turned power back on in parts of South Dakota and Minnesota that experienced rolling blackouts.

Power stations in eastern South Dakota and western Minnesota were being de-energized for up to an hour Tuesday morning on a rolling basis, according to East River Electric spokesman Chris Studer.
 

schmitt trigger

Joined Jul 12, 2010
438
In 2009, a project called “the three amigas” was launched to interconnect all three USA grid systems utilizing a HVDC inter-tie.
Well, 11 years later, the project is still “under development”, as the only thing the partners seem to agree, is on squabbling among themselves and the Texas interconnection has been dropped.

A travesty of epic proportions.
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
8,382
The real travesty is we don't have more nuclear power base-load generation capacity to push power down those HVDC inter-ties instead of the intermittent 'green' power Tres Amigas LLC (a private company that needs possible future profits from the investment) was designed for. Texas has a huge 'green' solar and wind reserve capacity that works better when it's sunny and hot than cloudy, snowing and cold.
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
8,382
The wind wind generators would work in those condition except they weren't winterized to operate in that cold.
Ask yourself why? Is it because they were stupid or was it a rational engineering choice.

Yes, that's correct and it's for good reason. They were specified and weatherized for extreme heat that happens yearly for extended stretches in Texas vs a once in 10-20 year massive cold snap. If Texas had a normally cold climate instead of typical sub-tropic then winterized systems like in Canada would be a logical engineering choice.
 

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
7,689
The Texas is not connected to the national grid because they didn’t want to follow Federal regulations. Like maintenance requirements.

Besides, the failure of renewables is not a primary reason for this crisis. Renewables (like wind) account for less than 10% of their power generation capabilities. Failure of wind power lost 16gW of capability. Failure of thermal generation facilities (oil, coal and natural gas) lost 30gW... the resulting overload caused the crisis. Failure of thermal energy plants was caused by frozen sensors, natural gas lines blocked by ice, and frozen pipeline valves. While failure of renewables contributed, it was not the primary cause.

Texas has the least amount of backup power available than any other state. Because they are not following Federal regulations. They operate on a profit rather than service principle.

For those who quoted the article saying there wasn’t any excess capacity from other states don’t know how the national grid operated. The eastern seaboard wasn’t in the same power situation, so power WAS available from those states.

I’ll remove the following if deemed “political”The entities most likely to have their bottom line affected fund the campaigns of Texan Republicans. The top congressmen receiving thermal energy dollars are a) Texans and b) Republicans. In both the House and Senate.

For all these choices, Texas took a risk. And lost on a roll of the dice. Normally, one would hope that people in power would lose their jobs as their constituents have lost their lives.

https://apple.co/2MfDiWS
 
Last edited:

wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
17,152
Your numbers are old. Understandable because they are changing fairly quickly. Wind and solar were providing about 25%, with wind at 31gW and solar about 6gW.

I’d be very happy to have market forces in control of the grid instead of a bunch of dumbshit crooks. Here in Illinois we pay our electric bills and the money goes straight into the pockets of our corrupt, one-party politicians. We have no say and no recourse. Sic semper tyrannis
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
8,382
I don't blame renewables for what happened in Texas but lets not also pretend it's an answer to this blackout either. Winter is the normal maintenance period for baseline generation in Texas, so yes they took the yearly risk of winter operations and got hit with a natural gas shortage from well head freezing and other cold related distribution issue.

Every private, public or hybrid utility on the planet takes the same types of risks and the same dice roll. Most have lost a few times because power grids are a tiger by the tail. Making them bigger and more interconnected usually increases instability.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_major_power_outages

https://www.nature.com/articles/srep03694
Electric power-systems are one of the most important critical infrastructures. In recent years, they have been exposed to extreme stress due to the increasing demand, the introduction of distributed renewable energy sources and the development of extensive interconnections. We investigate the phenomenon of abrupt breakdown of an electric power-system under two scenarios: load growth (mimicking the ever-increasing customer demand) and power fluctuations (mimicking the effects of renewable sources). Our results on real, realistic and synthetic networks indicate that increasing the system size causes breakdowns to become more abrupt; in fact, mapping the system to a solvable statistical-physics model indicates the occurrence of a first order transition in the large size limit. Such an enhancement for the systemic risk failures (black-outs) with increasing network size is an effect that should be considered in the current projects aiming to integrate national power-grids into “super-grids”.
https://www.texasmonthly.com/news/w...ectric-grid-and-could-it-have-been-prevented/
Texas Monthly: What happened with the energy grid, exactly ?

Joshua Rhodes: I’ve never seen all 254 counties of Texas under a winter storm warning at the same time. It happens here and there, but just the scale and magnitude of this is so far beyond anything we’ve seen or planned for.


TM: What do winter conditions do for our energy supply in Texas?

JR: Our electricity system is built around meeting our summer peak demand: the hot August afternoons when everyone wants air conditioning. Why are we able to keep the air conditioners on but not able to keep the heaters on? On the hottest summer day you can imagine, say it’s 105 degrees outside, and you’re trying to keep your home at 75 degrees. That’s a 30-degree difference. If it’s 10 degrees outside and you’re trying to keep your home at 70 degrees, that’s a 60-degree difference. While homes that are built up north are designed to hold heat in, our homes are basically designed to keep heat out and get it out as fast as we can. So, we’re not designed for this.

The other difference between summer and now is that in the summer, there’s no competition for natural gas. The power plants get it because they’re making electricity out of it. But in the winter, about 60 percent of homes in Texas use electricity for heating, and the other 40 percent use natural gas. We have a massive demand for natural gas at the same time as we have a massive demand for electricity, so we don’t have enough natural gas to go around to all the power plants that want it and all the homes that want it.
One thing: If this magical eastern seaboard power was available for grid transfer why didn't the states on the grid above Texas use it instead of also having rolling blackouts? Maybe the reason was it wasn't really a viable power engineering asset on a heavily loaded grid, only a media driven factoid of questionable scientific foundation.
 
Last edited:

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
7,689
I don't blame renewables for what happened in Texas but lets not also pretend it's an answer to this blackout either. Winter is the normal maintenance period for baseline generation in Texas, so yes they took the yearly risk of winter operations and got hit with a natural gas shortage from well head freezing and other cold related distribution issue.

Every private, public or hybrid utility on the planet takes the same types of risks and the same dice roll. Most have lost a few times because power grids are a tiger by the tail. Making them bigger and more interconnected usually increases instability.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_major_power_outages

https://www.nature.com/articles/srep03694


https://www.texasmonthly.com/news/w...ectric-grid-and-could-it-have-been-prevented/


One thing: If this magical eastern seaboard power was available for grid transfer why didn't the states on the grid above Texas use it instead of also having rolling blackouts? Maybe the reason was it wasn't really a viable power engineering asset on a heavily loaded grid, only a media driven factoid of questionable scientific foundation.
Interesting. I didn’t know the eastern seaboard was magical (except for a certain location in Florida). Neither was I aware of any rolling blackouts. None occurred in the northeast.
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
8,382
Interesting. I didn’t know the eastern seaboard was magical (except for a certain location in Florida). Neither was I aware of any rolling blackouts. None occurred in the northeast.
Maybe mystical is a better word. ;) The rolling blackouts off the independent Texas grid happened from Northern Texas to Montana that were on the national grid. Most of Texas being off the national grid maybe saved those states from even worst blackouts. We need more baseland nuclear power on the grid to stabilize the grid during extreme weather events that will happen more often due to Global Warming.
 

shortbus

Joined Sep 30, 2009
8,568
For sure they were warned in 2011 to winterize, (insulate and add heat tape type things on the piping) And think they were ~1989. I guess it one of those things where you can always tell a Texan, you just can't tell him much. Natural gas lines can and do freeze in cold weather if the water isn't separated out. Water comes up with the gas from the ground.
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
8,382
For sure they were warned in 2011 to winterize, (insulate and add heat tape type things on the piping) And think they were ~1989. I guess it one of those things where you can always tell a Texan, you just can't tell him much. Natural gas lines can and do freeze in cold weather if the water isn't separated out. Water comes up with the gas from the ground.
They calculated the risk and optimized the system for hot weather energy delivery thinking they could handle 10 year spaced outages. Global Warming causing extreme cold weather events seems to have kicked those plans in the posterior. Texas will fix it because the market demands it, not because of the federal government.
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
8,382
But winterizing would only nee doing once, you don't remove it every year during the hot weather.
It depends on exactly where and what is winterized. The design and engineering for a expected few days normal cold snap is very different from what's engineered for a Dakota winter. Some of it must be removed in hot weather. In the extreme summer heat in the gas producing region of Texas everything from pipelines, electrical and mechanical are designed to eliminate the heat of 110+ days that can stretch for months in a typical Texas summer. For most of the year trapped heat is a people and equipment killer in Texas. It's crazy cold now but in a week most of the state will be back in the 70's with increasing temps.
 
Last edited:

402DF855

Joined Feb 9, 2013
271
Global Warming causing extreme cold weather events seems to have kicked those plans in the posterior.
So decision makers believed the global warming nonsense and acted accordingly. Then we can expect no real solutions here, just more money for "upgrading" useless renewables soaked up by corrupt politicians and their relatives. Given the possibility we're in a solar trough these 100 year events may become more common. At least it's not a Carrington event, that could kill all of us.
 
Top