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Region: Capitalist Libertarian Freedom Region

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The Pirates of Xyanth

Some thoughts on the Texas power grid failure

The finger pointing and "news" on the Texas power grid are widely varied and and lacking on hard, verifiable facts. Most of it seems to be vague references to frozen windmills and the like. While subtle, it is clear officials withheld some information for security reasons. (Can't be telling foreign and domestic terrorists right where to smack the grid so the lights go out.) But for the most part, hard facts about what went wrong are not being stated.

On a whim, and needing a break from my current project, I spent a little while digging through the net. In 2008 then Sen. Obama told the San Francisco Chronicle, "So if somebody wants to build a coal power plant, they can. It’s just that it will bankrupt them because they are going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted."[1][2] While not entirely successful in carrying out that exact threat, eight years worth of the US Bureaucracies carrying out Obama's environmental policies led to pretty much the same result. Between selective regulation enforcement, massive permit fees, and federally sponsored greenhouse gas litigation, Obama and company litterally suffocated many coal fired power plants.

But Obama and Co. did that with nothing reliable waiting in the wings to replace those plants. There are times the northeastern power grid is running at 98% of peak capacity and is just one squirrel away from a major blackout that will take days to fully restore.

Texas just demonstrated that very problem. Using Wikipedia as a jumping off point to dig for information, we find that since 2018, Texas took 6,453 megawatts off line because... well, coal. Here's a list of closed coal fired plants:
—Gibbons Creek in Grimes County for 453 lost megawatts
—Big Brown in Freestone County for 1,186 lost megawatts.
—J.T. Deely in Bexar County for 932 lost megawatts.
—Monticello in Titus County for 1,980 lost megawatts.
—Oklaunion in Wilbarger County for 650 lost megawatts.
—Sandow in Milam County for 1,252 lost megawatts.[3]

Of those plants, all except Gibbons Creek were not just turned off. They were irredeemably scrapped. With a few weeks work and a train load of coal, Gibbons Creek could come back on line. But by then, most of this mess will be over.

In that same time period Texas brought 1,939 megawatts in solar energy online, and 3,645 megawatts in wind energy. However, that is only 5,584 megawatts. That is a loss of 869 megawatts in generating capacity with no allowance for three years worth of growth.[4]

But it gets worse.

Texas relies on a total of 21,425 megawatts in wind energy and 3,038 megawatts in solar power.[4] Solar power doesn't work when it is covered by snow. Wind generators have been known to throw Volkswagen sized chunks of ice up to half a mile, much to the distress of surrounding windmills and property owners. Windmills are shut down when icing conditions are present. A very large part of that 24 gigawatts in unreliable green energy was offline during this crisis.

What happened in Texas is just the orchestra tuning up. If we keep shutting down power plants over the climate change scam with no reliable, economically viable sources of energy ready to take their places on the grid, there is no way this is going to end well.

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[1] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2014/10/08/the-repeated-claim-that-obama-vowed-to-bankrupt-coal-plants/
[2] https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2011/mar/14/ohio-coal-association/ohio-coal-industry-says-obama-promised-bankrupt-co/
[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_power_stations_in_Texas#Fossil-fuel_power_stations
[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_power_stations_in_Texas#Renewable_power_stations

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