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2021-02-16 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Energy , 2217 references Ignore this thread
So You Want Green Energy Eh?
[Comments enabled]

You're nuts.

The Bidens and AOCs of the world are literally going to kill you.

You're seeing it right here and now across the nation, including in Texas.

Texas, like so many other areas, has put up windmills and solar "farms" for the last 20 years, shutting down older coal-fired plants and not modernizing and improving their "fossil fuel" energy production infrastructure.  At the same time on a national basis the natural gas pipeline operators, in service to the woke green mob, have replaced fuel-fired pumps (that run on the gas in the pipe, therefore are failsafe so long as the pipe has something in it and is intact) with electrically powered booster pumps because, of course, you can get the power for them from "green" sources instead of all that eeee-vile carbon.

I remind you that natural gas does not freeze at other than cryogenic temperatures and as such the problem is not the gas freezing and as for machinery you have plenty of heat source in the pipe.  By putting up with and responding to the "woke mob" instead of immediately frying and eating their entire blood line these companies took an ultra-reliable and essential energy delivery system that other than by physical destruction would nearly-always continue to operate and turned it into a fragile system dependent on multiple outside elements where if any of those elements failed so does the natural gas delivery.

Winter in the south is when nuclear plants are typically taken down for maintenance as well -- since it's the middle of summer when the A/C is blasting away.  But those NatGas peaking plants and coal-fired base load infrastructure, well.... it's not green enough, so let's turn that stuff off and rely on the windmills and solar panels -- and hope it doesn't get destabilized.

Of course the "Globull Warming" screamfest folks always and forever have prognosticated that it will forever get warmer, that wind levels will rise forever and thus both solar panels and wind will forevermore continue to yield more and more useful energy.

All of that got blown up this week.

Texas is seeing wind chills in negative (Fahrenheit) numbers along with single digit or below temperatures.  That plus moisture = ice, and windmill blades are wings and not only suffer the same problem an airplane wing does when it gets loaded in addition they go out of balance and thus the windmill has to be shut down lest it destroy itself.  At the same time ice and snow cover solar panels and reduce their output to an effective zero.

The problem with the power grid is that in the event you demand more of it than can be delivered it becomes unstable due to a number of factors including, in the case of A/C transmission, phase sag.  If expected resources are not available -- such as when your wind turbines ice up -- then you have no alternative but to shed load (turn off people's power intentionally) because if you don't you will get an uncontrolled collapse and possible severe equipment damage.  Further most nuclear plants cannot quickly load-follow -- if you need more power quickly you better have something else, and if a bunch of load drops off rapidly you better have some other generation source you can shut down.  Go outside the operating parameters and a nuke plant will "trip" and if they do most of them cannot immediately restart due to a phenomena called "xenon poisoning"; if the fuel has some age on it you must wait until that bleeds off because the core does not have enough reactivity to go critical until it does, which can take a couple of days or even more.

That's exactly what happened.

So now we have literal third-world conditions in Texas -- rolling blackouts and shutdowns of indeterminate duration in the middle of a winter storm with life-threatening temperatures that preclude people from keeping their homes and business warm which brings into play not only severe property damage (e.g. frozen pipes, etc) but also the potential for death.

Germany is getting hammered with this too but unlike our nation they kept their coal-fired plants in place even though they were not operating.  Their "renewables" are also worthless in the snow and ice but because they have the other infrastructure they still have it and are using it.  Unfortunately the price of this is that their power cost is the highest in the EU and triple that of many areas of the United States and other EU nations; their residential power price has doubled since going "green" because they are paying to keep maintained, available and ready to produce generating capacity that is intentionally turned off.  I suppose that beats "lights out and you die" in times of cold weather but in the US it would not matter because a huge percentage of our population could not afford the bill at double or triple today's cost and thus would freeze to death in the winter anyway.

Beware America.  I've warned of this for over a decade; so-called "green energy" is not reliable and cannot be counted on for base load nor reliable load-following and as such you have two options if you go down that road -- (1) accept that when you need it you may not have it or (2) pay for the redundancy whether you use it or not, which means being able to cover the entirety of the shortfall which will always come at the worst possible time and at the highest possible level of demand.  Texas did not provide for that capacity to be available and thus could not cover the shortfall.

The second choice -- making sure that redundant supply is there -- doubles your power bill and the first choice kills people and renders your region a third-world nation under adverse circumstances you can neither predict or control.

There are solutions but they require getting that damned "Green" garbage out of your head and paying attention to physics.  We had a path forward on this in the 1960s and deliberately shelved it because it was not useful to the military.  We could bring that back and finish the engineering work on it -- but not in a year, three or ten.  If we start now we might be able to begin coming online with it in 10 years, and be permanently independent of outside resource in 20 or 30.

Maybe.

But if we instead go down the alleged "green" path what we will have is repeated and annual instances of what Texas and other parts of the nation are experiencing right now and it will kill people in large numbers along with doing critical economic damage and devastating those who are in the lower income brackets.

THAT, my friends is Joe Biden's vision for America.

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Tonythetiger
Posts: 185
Incept: 2019-01-27

Fort Walton
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Not a problem. I'll just hop in my Tesla and turn on the heat to keep warm. (sarc off)

Let's hope that the blackout periods are short enough to prevent freezing pipes and widespread deaths. Maybe folks will start thinking outside the Green Energy box for a change, now that they've gotten a taste of what it really means.


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Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.
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Acebarefoot
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Tonythetiger wrote:

Quote:
Maybe folks will start thinking outside the Green Energy box for a change, now that they've gotten a taste of what it really means.


Uh, dude..... you do realize who we are dealing with here, right?
Bodhi
Posts: 3116
Incept: 2008-02-23

USSA
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Quote:
That plus moisture = ice, and windmill blades are wings and not only suffer the same problem an airplane wing does when it gets loaded in addition they go out of balance and thus the windmill has to be shut down lest it destroy itself.


I've been thinking about the many miles of windfarms I've seen just off I-40 through the panhandle of Texas and into Oklahoma. All of that capacity is totally useless right now.

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"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life,
to mind your own business and to work with your hands,
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and so that you will not be dependent on anybody."
Tickerguy
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Yep @Bodhi.

I've driven through the road around Amarillo (toward NM/CO) several times at night and they're all over the place. Get it nice and cold and add a bit of moisture and every one of those has to be shut down lest it destroy itself.

The basic problem that people do not understand is that nuke plants CANNOT load-follow; their response time to demand changes is measured in hours in many cases, not minutes. The same is true of many coal plants incidentally but not to as severe a degree. Those are base load resources, not dispatchable peak load-following generation and you better have the latter available when you need it.

If you have a nuke plant online and suddenly a demand spike shows up you had better have something else you can dispatch to fill that demand for a good while, assuming the nuke plant has nameplate capacity remaining otherwise the grid will get far enough "behind" it to trip it, and then you're ****ed as it goes offline. Ditto if you rapidly lose demand (e.g. downed lines, etc.)

And if you DO trip a nuke plant it almost-always (unless it was just refueled) cannot immediately restart. The reason is that Xenon builds up in the fuel pins when they're running and it's a neutron poison -- that is, it absorbs neutrons but does not fission. In steady-state operation that Xenon production and destruction reaches a steady state and forms part of the reactivity (on the inhibition side) of the core; when the plant trips that balance goes wildly to the inhibition side. This means that if you attempt an immediate restart you cannot obtain criticality as there is too much absorption of neutrons in the core and it not go critical until the Xenon decays!

That appears to have been what happened here in this specific case; they took a trip as they were unable to load-follow with their remaining generation resources -- their "renewables" were offline to a material degree due to the weather and they did not have dispatchable fast-response generation. That in turn caused the nuke plant to trip and now you're double-****ed as your base load is uncovered -- and down go the customers.

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Greenacr
Posts: 211
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Northern Ohio
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Have two sisters and related family in the Plano/Mesquite area of Dallas. First sister has broken water pipes in her slab and in an outside wall. Her son has no water in the house as a hole house water filter that is located in the garage is toast as it completely froze. Other sister has been dealing with the rolling power outages.

Everyone is freaking out that their outdoor pools may freeze.

I told my older sister (quasi-liberal) that this is what you get with windmills and the coming green new deal. She is clueless
Tickerguy
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Broken pipes in the slab = you're ****ed. Yeah, insurance will pay for it after your deductible but you'll also get dropped come renewal time.

Whole house water filter he did not shut off and drain when the **** was coming fast and hard? He's an idiot.

Pools? Make sure the filter DOES NOT SHUT OFF; it won't freeze if its running. If it shuts down...... oh, wait, you mean there's no power? Sucks to be you!

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Step55
Posts: 118
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Connecticut - Massachusetts
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Redundant critical systems are the insurance policy of any business. Water, heat and electricity are the most important. Through 40+ years of business ownership responsibility the "what if" can be planned through foresight. Facing problems on a firefighting method is too late.
Craiglong
Posts: 11
Incept: 2019-12-02

Hendersonville
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Here in Western NC we have not had extremely cold temperatures like the Midwest, but it has been cloudy for 5 days. Attached is a graph from my weather station showing no sun for five days. Sun is up this morning. If we were dependent on solar power it would be a problem. Some may say that if the wind is unavailable we'll have sun - not always. The power grid has to be able to handle these events even if they are rare.
While current commercial nuke plants don't like a rapidly changing load we could design new plants to handle it. A Naval reactor (submarine, carrier) has no issue going from 20% to 100% power or vice versa in less than a minute. Because of the different fuel loading only a very old core has issues with Zenon preclusion.
Inline
Greenacr
Posts: 211
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Northern Ohio
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Unfortunately for my sister this will be the second "slab" incident that she will have with her insurance company. The first was for a deteriorated sewage line. They have already raised her deductible to $10K (due to previous roof claims). USAA is a fairly solid/standup company but they all have their limits.

In talking with both sisters they are saying that they are hearing locally that they may be dealing with these rolling outages for a few more days.
Cheetah9
Posts: 10
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Northern Alabama
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Does "free energy" actually see the light of day? Doubtful.

Something to note regarding the windfarms in Texas; especially the ones in the panhandle. This weather isn't that unusual in that part of the state. Makes me wonder if this was a calculated false flag type event to gauge the reaction and negative results of power failures?

Captainkidd
Posts: 2387
Incept: 2010-05-25

Houston, Texas
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1 sister lives in Forney ( ESE of Dallas ~30 miles), and with two 30-45 minute exceptions, has been without power since early (~4 AM) Monday morning.

Best friend lives in Houston, and has been cold, quiet, and dark since 2 AM Monday.

Both were in single digit temps this morning.

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Crossthread
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From Nebraska too Texas, down into Mexico..

Seems Mexico is *cut-Off* from Natural gas also..

Over 5 Million affected.. (No Power)..

Natural gas shortage triggers major power outage; nearly 5 million affected
Cold weather in US halts movement of gas to Mexico..

https://mexiconewsdaily.com/news/natural....

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Tickerguy
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@Craiglong - Naval reactors use HEU and do not suffer xenon poisoning as their inherent reactivity is very high; they're "fast neutron" designs more-or-less mandated by size requirements and the ability to rapidly change power output. Commercial power reactors use typical 5% fissile material in a newly-loaded fuel pin; they are basically all thermal neutron designs.

Fast-neutron reactors are far more inherently dangerous as there is enough reactivity in the core for them to go critical without a moderator, which means if there is a meltdown they can remain critical where a thermal neutron reactor will not; the fuel configuration in the latter will not support criticality if the original geometry and presence of the moderator between fuel elements is lost.

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Tdurden
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Combine the Greenie Weenies are bad enough to have to deal with. Combine that with the the ******* MBA's running every major company in the US and you've got a disaster movie with a high body count. Get rid of all of the "inefficiency" (what we used to call "back up" or redundant/diverse systems with reckless abandon so the numbers in the current quarter beat the street estimates by a penny. Long term thinking is the current fiscal year for bonus purposes. Because no senior vice president or CFO should have to drive the same Bentley two years in a row.

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Tickerguy
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@Crossthread - No power, no pumps. No pump, no gas moves.

They USED to use the gas IN THE PIPE to power the pump. Greenies screamed and thus they're now almost all electric.

There's stupid and then there's REALLY ****ING STUPID, and this is the latter.

The problem is NOT supply -- it's inability to move it without grid power, which of course the gas when it gets to the other end PRODUCES THE GRID POWER.

But it has to GET THERE first.

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Crossthread
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@tickerguy..,, read this,, LMAO!

EOG Resources using solar power for natural gas facilities as New Mexico fights pollution..

A major natural gas operator in the Permian Basin planned to use solar power to run its gas compressor stations in the region, hoping to reduce emissions from extraction operations.

EOG Resources announced it would use solar arrays to operate compressors throughout southern New Mexico which would normally be powered by natural gas.

https://www.currentargus.com/story/news/....

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Quote:
I've no more ****s to Give, because, It was a republic if you could keep it at all, We lost, RIP #Merica

HOLD MY BEER! [beer]
Where's Kyle Rittenhouse when U need Him?
Tickerguy
Posts: 171484
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Exactly @Crossthread.

This is PRECISELY what I've talked about for years. These *******s literally took a highly-reliable infrastructure absent physical destruction, since natural gas DOES NOT FREEZE at other than cryogenic temperatures and turned it into a fragile energy delivery system now reliant on dozens of OTHER THINGS, any of which can and will break.

I have a proposed remedy for this and it's very ugly but WELL DESERVED.

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Longhornj
Posts: 1
Incept: 2009-12-05

houston tx
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Sitting here in Dallas hoping every Tesla in the state is rendered useless at the end of this mess.
Thelazer
Posts: 467
Incept: 2009-05-11

Davenport, Fl
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You'd think building a warming system into the blades for just this reason, could be done with out much added cost.

Then again, as our host points out. I'm sure some greenie shot the idea down and said "Nah, it will never get cold, the planet is heating up"
Tickerguy
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@Thelazer - There ARE heating systems built in but they require power, of course, and also of course they won't pipe and use NatGas there because (1) it's expensive to run the pipe and (2) it's not green.

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Loonster
Posts: 196
Incept: 2012-10-28

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Green energy is fantastic when you can pair what you use to what you generate. For offgrid use it is amazing... problems start when you need to use more than you are currently generating. Solar is somewhat consistent and predictable, wind is not.

@Cheetah9, Texas is the only state in the 48 that has their own grid. Some are speculating this is a false flag type operation to force them to connect.
Tickerguy
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Texas has cross-connections; don't kid yourself about that.

The problem is that the low temperatures and gas delivery issue as a result of reliance on electric pumps is not local to Texas.

Look at the spot prices for NatGas at the Joliet terminal as just one example of dozens. I really, really hope you don't need to buy it on the spot market because if you do while you CAN get it you will NOT like the price.

This is a DIRECT result of allowing the woke mob to take what was basically 100% reliable infrastructure and DELIBERATELY degrade it in the name of "environmentalism."

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Redjack
Posts: 482
Incept: 2018-01-29

Iowa
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Never understood putting plumbing under a slab. Seen them fail WAY to often. One buddy just said "F$%K it" and abandoned the line.

The decay of the NG infrastructure was something I witnessed first hand. In the early 2000's, I saw the move from NG powered pumps (self powered) to electric ("Cost savings", which it wasn't) first hand.

Same with water and electrical distribution. A lot of Lean Six Sigma scammers came through and destroyed a good system with tons of back up and replaced it with chewing gum and prayer.

This is how civilizations fall
Redjack
Posts: 482
Incept: 2018-01-29

Iowa
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TG.
My plant uses NG.

We were notified last night that the company may not honor our contracts. My suspicion is they are going to pay back what we contracted and sell it on the spot market. Which I am OK with if it is going to heat peoples homes.

Probably not legal, but they will make a ton of money doing it.

So I am sitting here wondering if I have to shut the plant down.
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