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Old 02-04-2011, 05:45 PM
 
111 posts, read 253,705 times
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Here's a very detailed article on why most of Texas experienced power problems yesterday:

Cold Snap Brings Rolling Power Outages to Texas; is ERCOT Policy of Isolation at Fault? | The Energy Collective

Yes, there was record demand for power. Yes, several power plants were offline due to mechanical problems (e.g. burst water pipes). However, even these problems could have been surmounted and the crisis averted (according to the author) if Texas hadn't pursued a policy of actively isolating its power grid from the rest of the nation as a way to avoid having to adhere to federal regulations. Food for thought...
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Old 02-04-2011, 07:37 PM
 
15,065 posts, read 19,744,997 times
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I don't understand the whole thing about blaming wind power.
If it was true that it would have been better to invest in coal and gas power than wind turbine, which, based on what he says were working normal, unlike the coal and gas plants, then blaming wind power is just demonizing it.

The blame should be put on whoever or whatever organization did a bad study (hopefully they did one) to decide where they were going to invest the money. Did this article mention that study at any point?

How can we make the best decisions for our state, when people go around demonizing ideas "based on rumors" instead of looking at an actual study report that would show which option is better.
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Old 02-04-2011, 08:46 PM
RGJ
 
1,902 posts, read 4,033,588 times
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I'm not really sure I get this whole "socializing" thing about electricity. So, we around here spend billions of dollars only to have our local paying citizens experience brownouts and yet we send power to Dallas and import electricity from Mexico? Somone help me out here. It's almost like the three little pigs where only one was ready.....
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Old 02-04-2011, 10:24 PM
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Location: Ohio
16,832 posts, read 33,265,407 times
Reputation: 13650
Quote:
Originally Posted by RGJ View Post
I'm not really sure I get this whole "socializing" thing about electricity. So, we around here spend billions of dollars only to have our local paying citizens experience brownouts and yet we send power to Dallas and import electricity from Mexico? Somone help me out here. It's almost like the three little pigs where only one was ready.....
I think I've gotten from other places that the electric grid is kind of like a balloon. You have to keep air/electricity in all parts of it to keep it inflated/operational. ERCOT can't just let Dallas go offline, even though that would be preferable to the other cities without a shortage.

I wish the article had gone into greater detail about the regulatory consequences of being tied to the grids in other states. It was vague about what the utility companies want to avoid.
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Old 02-09-2011, 09:57 AM
 
Location: Texas
475 posts, read 972,360 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mlhradio View Post
Here's a very detailed article on why most of Texas experienced power problems yesterday:

Cold Snap Brings Rolling Power Outages to Texas; is ERCOT Policy of Isolation at Fault? | The Energy Collective

Yes, there was record demand for power. Yes, several power plants were offline due to mechanical problems (e.g. burst water pipes). However, even these problems could have been surmounted and the crisis averted (according to the author) if Texas hadn't pursued a policy of actively isolating its power grid from the rest of the nation as a way to avoid having to adhere to federal regulations. Food for thought...
While one can debate the pros and cons of tying in with neighboring grids, I think the following editorial in today's paper hints at something else that might have been at work in our "deregulated" Texas market.

Power outages require scrutiny - San Antonio Express-News

Specifically I point to the following section:

There's the possibility of another factor, however, that can't be ignored. Energy prices in the wholesale spot market hit the regulated cap of $3,000 per megawatt hour several times during the period of rolling blackouts.

According to the Wall Street Journal, that's 60 to 100 times the normal price in Texas. The Journal noted that California's energy crisis in 2000 and 2001 was attributable in part to “unscrupulous power generators” that “feigned equipment problems to drive up the price of electricity.”


If true, perhaps municipal utilities like CPS and Austin Energy should demand ERCOT and the state find and fine the companies involved, and create new statutes to guard against this in the future. We can all be for mutual assistance to keep the grid online, but we shouldn't have to deal with blackouts from a manufactured shortage of electricity.
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