Texas Winter Storm and Power Outages

Mendel

Senior Member.
These are the outages that actually caused the blackout.
Note that a NG (natural gas) plant is supposed to be able to produce 100% power, while a wind farm is not (more like 30% of rated power).
SmartSelect_20211203-040906_Samsung Notes.jpgSmartSelect_20211203-040944_Samsung Notes.jpg
Not so much wind there, is it?

For reference (red dots is ERCOT turning power off somewhere):
1-s2.0-S2214629621001997-gr3.jpg
 
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Fallingdown

Active Member
You misunderstand. "Load shedding" means that consumers are switched off, not generators.
They had to switch consumers off because too many gas power stations had dropped offline. Wind power was delivering 5 GW at the time, which was close to average and well over what it was expected to deliver in an emergency scenario.

I've given you multiple quotes that freezing was a big issue with gas power.
I've also quoted you graphs that after the blackout was ordered on the 15th, many more gas plants went offline because they or their suppliers suddenly lacked electricity. But this blaclout wasn't ordered because wind power failed.

Your argument that gas plants lacked electrical power before the blackouts is wrong. A lamp doesn't turn off unless you switch it off, and that only happened on the 15th.
I haven’t spoken about load shedding.

I spoke about the fact that when there’s too much demand on turbines a circuit breaker kicks them off line to protect the machine.

Circuit Overload​

When a power source is drawn beyond its allowance, the circuit breaker is liable to trip due to overload. At an industrial facility, overloading can occur when too many machines or tools are connected to the same power source. Despite the high thresholds of most industrial breakers, there are still limits to the amount of power that can be drawn from a single source. If too many high-power pieces of equipment are active simultaneously, the power source could become overloaded and cause the breaker to shut off the power as a protective mechanism.

https://gesrepair.com/circuit-breaker-tripping/





I've given you multiple quotes that freezing was a big issue with gas power.
And I’ve shown you that lack of electricity caused problems at well head and other critical points .

I've also quoted you graphs that after the blackout was ordered on the 15th,
My topic is the 10th and 11th of February 2021 and the fact that wind failed first.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
And I’ve shown you that lack of electricity caused problems at well head and other critical points .
Where?
I haven't seen you cite a single source that lack of electricity caused problems with the gas supply on February 10th or 11th.
The grid was operating on these days.
My topic is the 10th and 11th of February 2021 and the fact that wind failed first.
Why? There weren't any power outages on these days. That's simply off topic for this discussion.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
During the week of February 7, ERCOT and SPP experienced rising load, as well as increasing generating unit outages, primarily caused by wind turbine blade freezing as a result of freezing precipitation, and natural gas fuel supply issues. Although ERCOT and SPP issued several alerts, they did not have to take any emergency actions because enough generation remained online to meet load.
That week is Feb 7 - 13, covering the days you are going on about.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.

Timeline:​

• snow and ice and maintenance cause outages for wind and gas turbines
• electrical grid still works
• winter storm Uri moves in on the 14th
• power demand rises (people need heat)
• in the night, scores of gas power plants fail because of the weather (not winterized)
• the grid can't meet the load, ERCOT orders blackouts (1-2am Feb 15th)
• some gas infrastructure that hasn't filed as critical loses power because of the blackout
• more gas power plants go offline as a result (cascading failure)

The data and every single source in this thread supports this.
 

Fallingdown

Active Member
Where?
I haven't seen you cite a single source that lack of electricity caused problems with the gas supply on February 10th or 11th.
Reply #30

The systems that get gas from the earth aren’t properly built for cold weather. Operators in West Texas’ Permian Basin, one of the most productive oil fields in the world, are particularly struggling to bring natural gas to the surface, analysts said, as cold weather and snow close wells or cause power outages that prevent pumping the fossil fuels from the ground.

I haven't seen you cite a single source that lack of electricity caused problems with the gas supply on February 10th or 11th.

That’s another strawman . This whole thread has been that the events of the 10th and 11th contributing to the power outage and the windmills were the first to fail.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Another reason less capacity was available is that a number of thermal plants were down for scheduled maintenance to take advantage of Texas’ normally mild winters when demand is low. This schedule is typically interpreted as good planning because it was intended to ensure sufficient reserve in summer time. ERCOT in its seasonal winter maintenance schedule had forecast 4 GW of scheduled maintenance. Analysts from Wood Mackenzie wrote that the actual amount of plants down for outages in the week leading up to the freeze was more like 14 GW,

windmills were the first to fail.
Sure, mate.
If you ignore all of the gas power plants down for maintenance.

Wind power outages did not cause the cascading failure. Wind power generation was 1 GW below average when ERCOT introduced the blackouts to make up for a 20 GW deficit caused mainly by gas power outages.
 

Fallingdown

Active Member

Timeline:​

• snow and ice and maintenance cause outages for wind and gas turbines
• electrical grid still works
• winter storm Uri moves in on the 14th
• power demand rises (people need heat)
• in the night, scores of gas power plants fail because of the weather (not winterized)
• the grid can't meet the load, ERCOT orders blackouts (1-2am Feb 15th)
• some gas infrastructure that hasn't filed as critical loses power because of the blackout
• more gas power plants go offline as a result (cascading failure)

The data and every single source in this thread supports this.

Yup it sure does.

It explains perfectly how failure of the windmill Farms could put a strain on the system leading to power outages. You just described a cascading effect from your first point.

Please supply a link and a quote for everyone of those. You’re making a definitive statement you should be able to back it.
 

Fallingdown

Active Member
If you ignore all of the gas power plants down for maintenance.
Gas and power plants down for maintenance didn’t “fail”.

It was a planned event.

I’ve been talking about the windmill failures. Please you stay on topic.
Wind power outages did not cause the cascading failure.
Then show me a link with that exact wording.

Do you remember what we went through about my usage of the word “Unprecedented”.

I’m applying the same standards to your response.
 

Mauro

Active Member
It explains perfectly how failure of the windmill Farms could put a strain on the system leading to power outages. You just described a cascading effect from your first point.

Are you implying more and better weather-ruggerized windmills would have saved Texas?
 

FatPhil

Active Member
That seems to be your most persistent argument.

Except my point was that the windmill failures contributed to the blackouts not that they unilaterally caused them.

"Contributed to" is weasel wording. How does their contribution compare to the other contributions, such as NG?
 

Fallingdown

Active Member
"Contributed to" is weasel wording

Only in your head. My point since the beginning of this thread is that the initial problem started on the 10th and 11th when the windmill farms went down. Which put in motion the rest of the events.

Cascading Failure​

A cascading failure in an engineered system occurs when a failure in one of the collection of interconnected parts that delivers a service triggers the failure of successive parts.

Actually the usage of phrase cascading failure isn’t accurate. Because a cascading failure in most cases refers to a totally failure.

So in order to avoid a appeal to definition argument.

I’m gonna amend that phrase to say partial cascade failure.


How does their contribution compare to the other contributions, such as NG?

Actually you answered your own question. All of those factors had a role in the outages. Which means they all “contributed”.

At this time no single event can be pinpointed as the cause of the outages.

*Ripples in a pond.

* Note that analogy applies to a pebble being thrown in the middle of a pond and it’s rippled touching every part of that pond.
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
At this time no single event can be pinpointed as the cause of the outages.
The main cause was gas power going offline due to weather in the night of the 14th/15th.
If this had not happened, the blackout would not have been necessary.
If wind power had produced to expectations (6-8 GW, depending on how you compute it), the gas power failures would still have triggered a blackout.

Wind turbines freezing made the blackout worse, but didn't cause it.
And they, like gas equipment, can and should be weatherized.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.

The Claims​

It may help to look at the actual claims we are debunking. All of the highlighted statements are false, as I've shown above.

Source: https://mobile.twitter.com/ndrew_lawrence/status/1361866553998909442?s=20


Article:
Texas Railroad Commissioner Wayne Christian, part of the body that regulates the state’s fossil fuel production, told The Texan about the natural gas deficiencies, “[E]very natural gas plant online at the start of this crisis stayed online.”

Jason Isaac, director of the conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Life-Powered project, told The Texan, “Texans are used to being asked to conserve power — but usually it’s in the heat of the summer, not during the winter. This week’s rolling blackouts should be a wakeup call that we’ve put too many eggs in the renewable basket.”

Isaac points to the state’s large investment over the previous decade in wind and solar power coming at a cost to fossil fuel development.

“With over half of our wind turbines frozen solid and the rest projected to bottom out at 2.5 percent of installed capacity [Monday night], the reason for these rolling blackouts is clear. Reliable natural gas generators can ramp up to meet most of the electricity demand, but with such a big gap in wind production, there’s only so much they can do.”

“While there have been some issues with natural gas production during this storm, much of that has to do with ERCOT cutting off power to well sites in West Texas. ERCOT assumed the state would have 67GW from thermal sources (gas & coal), but ended up only being able to get 43GW online,” said Christian.


Article:
When the power went out for Marsha Hendler on Feb. 15, she rushed to her downtown San Antonio office to ride out the winter storm. Thankful to find the electricity and heat still on, she typed out an email to the elected officials who regulate her small, independent oil and gas company.

“I strongly urge you to make public statements, to develop a PR program around our current energy conditions,” Hendler wrote at 2 p.m. that day to the three members of the Texas Railroad Commission, according to an email obtained by The Texas Tribune and ProPublica. “Assure citizens that blending oil and gas production with green [energy] will keep Texas energy strong.”

It’s a sentiment that many in the oil and gas industry echoed during a crisis that forced millions to endure freezing weather for days without electricity and eventually led to the deaths of more than 100 people. And even as Hendler typed, Railroad Commissioners Christi Craddick, Wayne Christian and Jim Wright, all Republicans, had already begun to do what she had requested.
 

Fallingdown

Active Member
The main cause was gas power going offline due to weather in the night of the 14th/15th.
Yup

But that doesn’t mean 2 days of windmills failing didn’t contribute.

If wind power had produced to expectations (6-8 GW, depending on how you compute it), the gas power failures would still have triggered a blackout.

How do you know that you’re fact ?

Wind turbines freezing made the blackout worse, but didn't cause it.
And they, like gas equipment, can and should be weatherized.
Yup
Again you’re 100% accurate.

Wind turbines freezing made the blackout worse.

But the elephant in the room. Is that they did so from the very beginning.
 

FatPhil

Active Member
The main cause was gas power going offline due to weather in the night of the 14th/15th.
If this had not happened, the blackout would not have been necessary.
If wind power had produced to expectations (6-8 GW, depending on how you compute it), the gas power failures would still have triggered a blackout.

Wind turbines freezing made the blackout worse, but didn't cause it.
And they, like gas equipment, can and should be weatherized.

In @Falling Down's dfens, I would say that it's useful to draw a distinction between proximal causes and ultimate causes, and of course when you draw attention to preparation/maintenance issues you too are doing that - those are the ultimate ultimate causes. However, your "main cause" above is just the proximal cause, and FD's trying to rewind the clock before that - what lead up to those catastrophic NG failures. I don't think we have enough data yet to debunk a claim - and here I'm rewording in order to hopefully clarify, if this is not what's intended I will retract this immediately - that "without the Wind failures the blackouts wouldn't have happened".
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
I think we need to go back a bit as well, even if wind power was the primary reason for what happened, the failure of the system is not because wind power is bad, it's that the power system was badly designed, badly managed, badly maintained or badly monitored or some combination of all 4.

The blame of it on specifically solar/wind power seems to a political message designed to deflect from system failures caused by a policy of neglect of the entire system and also fits a narrative that some people (that might be more inclined to have voted for the politicians responsible) hold that renewable alternatives to fossil fuels are not workable.
 
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