Wait, What?

Here’s one that’s sure to please all Texans:

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) is asking Texans to reduce electric use as much as possible today through Friday, June 18. A significant number of forced generation outages combined with potential record electric use for the month of June has resulted in tight grid conditions.

Lest we forget, this is the same bunch of incompetent assholes who were responsible for Texas’s power outages in February of this year, during the coldest weeks in recent history.

Now, as we inch towards peak summer with daily temperatures already in the high 90s, we’re told to expect power outages, again?

My question is quite simple:  what is the point of ERCOT’s existence, if they can’t ensure reliable electricity?


  1. Why does ERCOT exist? Because politics 101. When you have a problem where the solution is not a popular answer, you form a “Blue Ribbon Commission” or a “Citizens Advisory Council” to be the fall guy when things go from bad to worse.

    It’s going to take years to either connect Texas to the rest of the Nations Grid and / or build enough generation and additional infrastructure to handle to peaks. And connecting to the Grid means higher rates, and nobody wants to be in the position where thier opponents in the next election can hold them responsible for that

    1. The last thing we want is to be connected to the rest of the nation’s grid. Independence is a good thing!
      Texas problems started when the Federals mandated renewable energy. Texas now gets about 23% of its power from wind & solar. THAT is the problem. The windmills around me are sitting still and it gets dark damn near every night. The problem will not be solved until Texas has the spine to tell EPA and the rest of the Feds to bugger off.
      Texas has some of the largest Natural Gas reserves in the entire World but the stupid Federals won’t allow us to use it to build more capacity. Sheer Insanity.

      1. ‘The last thing we want is to be connected to the rest of the nation’s grid.’
        Once ‘connected’ we would be come victims, yes victims, to the mountain of red tape, rules, procedures, and useless, meaningless, WORTHLESS bureaucratic
        BS that would rain down upon us from every damn government office that has a typewriter !!!.
        No Thanks.
        Along with ‘helping others in need’ such as sending power to California when the windmills ( they’re NOT turbines ) are stopped and it’s dark outside.
        With the promise of reciprocation if that ever becomes necessary. Guess whose gonna get screwed repeatedly in those situations.
        ERCOT needs elimination, not in the way I would prefer but just eliminated. It is an entity that couldn’t run a temperature let alone run a power grid but it still has the authority to ‘dictate’ !
        HOW the hell does that happen ?? OVER and OVER ??

    2. Besides providing plausible deniability for elected officials as you pointed out, ERCOT gets TV and print news face time for its upper lever power whores, who probably love to schmooze around the edges of the political power hog trough. I have no doubt too that ERCOT, like most commissions, committees and councils, provides a comfortable sinecure for legions of mid and lower level paper shuffling drones.

  2. I heard that comment from them about raising the temps in my lair and damn near blew a gasket.

    Plants under maintenance? WTF! You had SIX MONTHS!

    From what I understand they asked EPA permission to increase coal capacity when preparing for the freeze, and were told “only a little, the rest has to be paid for by carbon credits”

    So most of this is bullshit incompetence and idiocy.

    “Reliability” council, my Irish ass.

  3. Seems that Texas has a G.I. problem – Gonadal Insufficiency.

    Texas is big enough to carry a fair amount of weight nationally; Texas is also one of the very top chosen destinations for blue state escapees, who come automatically in addition to all those businesses Texas actively recruits (just like all states do, especially Red states in the South).

    So why is Texas maintaining 3rd world status in its electrical supplies? I’d put my money on the Austin Culture. Move the capital to somewhere mid-state, Abilene comes to mind, it’s pretty much a backwater compared to Austin, get some mileage between the Commies at UT and the electeds who are supposed to be working for the people who elected them and make the Gentry Set do their wheelin’, dealin’ and dinin’ at Billy Bob’s Country Diner for a while (trust me, the fancy restaurants will follow soon enough, they know where the money is).

    In the meantime, start building nukes – they produce clean power with none o’ that ‘smoggy stuff’ the Lefties moan about, chainsaw the eagle shredders, beef up the grid and start saying “E-P-Who?” when Washington calls.

    1. This. Fourth gen nuclear plants in excess of needs, and a proper connection to the East and West power grids in order to sell excess power.

  4. The problem was not that the west Texas windmills went down.

    We fill LNG (liquid natural gas) export tankers 24/7 at many dozens of terminals off the Texas coast (thanks President Trump! Makin’ us dat money!) which are fed by pipelines running all the way from west Texas. That night, as the demand for natural gas went up (as the temps dropped) the pressure in the pipelines feeding the LNG terminals and power plants began to fall to the point that many (15? 18?) of the 50 odd gas-fired generation plants shut down. Some of those take from a couple days to a few weeks to get back online, and meanwhile we kept filling the export tankers at the end of the pipelines on the Texas coast. The windmills in Texas supply at best (which we can’t reach) 12% of our total power generation capability. That night, west Texas was supplying only about 2% of the total power being generated. South Texas windmills kept turning, and kicked in a few percent of the total. Had we stopped the export loading, we would have avoided the entire shitshow because maintaining the pressure in the pipelines would have kept the generation plants online. Texas has long since been capable of suppling our own power needs. Oh yeah, both nuclear plants stayed operational throughout, although the south Texas plant did shut down one of its two reactors. I don’t know who would normally make the call to halt exports but several days to late, Gov Abbot FINALLY stopped the exporting of LNG. Seems to me we just need to keep fracking, and watch the damned pipelines a little closer. We have more than enough generating capacity (for now), we just need to manage it better.

    I’ve got relatives in the design and operational parts of Texas power, and this is the best they could put together in the weeks following the disaster.

    1. I’d guess that the LNG facilities have contracts with penalty clauses, while there’s no penalty for shutting down gas or electricity to residences. Every hour a ship stays in port costs thousands; I’d expect a shipping company to insist on indemnities for both those extra expenses and for whatever penalties there are for late deliveries. So I expect it was cheaper for the gas companies to cut everyone else off and keep filling up the ships.

      But I gather there were other problems as well: control valves on the pipelines that could freeze up, and pumping stations that shut down. I don’t know much about those valves (except that the ones here in Michigan must never freeze up because I’ve never heard of gas outages for any reason except a broken pipe), but I recall a blogger (“Mostly Cajun”, IIRC) who maintained those pumping stations. Most use electric-powered primary pumps, with gas-powered internal combustion engines driving the backup pumps. If that electricity is from a gas-fired power plant, a loss of pressure would take down both sets of pumps. To restart after a shutdown, you’d have to start from the source and wait for each segment of pipes to pressurize before the backup pump can start filling the next segment.

  5. The problem is market structure. The legacy utilities like TXU, HL&P, etc., used to build generation plants, but not anymore. Generation is now built by private companies that want to make a buck. Remember the supply and demand curve? When supply is limited, prices go up. When there is excess supply (which is what normal people want) the price goes way down. No one will invest the millions it takes just to earn a return that is equivalent to a commercial savings account! Most regions in the US have their utilities build generation BEFORE the need is evident so when usage goes way up during peak periods, the generators are there to supply that power. People blame renewables, but it’s only a small part of the problem. BTW, renewables would not be built if the Fed was giving money to do so.

  6. One of the best lines I heard for these troubled times was “Buy guns and ammo while you still can” – that was Mark Steyn, years ago.

    I’ll make an addition to that – Buy a generator while you still can.

    They appear to be plentiful at the moment, and you can pick up a decent size one – 5500 watts or so, for under $500.

    1. Also, see if you can talk a nearby gas station into preparing for extended outages by getting a hand-operated pump to fill gas cans, and be ready to make cash sales without a computer or cash register.

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