I thought the culture war thing was promoted by the left and “identity politics”?

https://www.vox.com/2021/2/17/22287469/fox-news-winter-storm-uri-windmills-ercot-greg-abbott-hannity-carlson

Apparently not.

52 thoughts on “I thought the culture war thing was promoted by the left and “identity politics”?

  1. What have to do with the culture war?

    The article itself is a twisted mess of straw men and non-sequiturs that misses the problem, and that being the overreliance on wind for BASE LOAD, not total output.

    BTW, windmills that operate in Greenland have deicing capability which would be impractical in Texas.

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    1. …”windmills that operate in Greenland have deicing capability which would be impractical in Texas.”

      Really? No deicing as they were recommended to do 10 years ago would not have made a difference? Calling them impractical ignores the fact that once in a century weather phenomenon are occurring more frequently.

      …”the overreliance on wind for BASE LOAD”…

      There is no overreliance on wind. There is an inability or unwillingness to solve the infrastructure problems associated with ALL of their power generation sources.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Trying to find hte site I saw that reporting on this morning.

          However, calling deicing silly and a luxury seems pretty idiotic considering what is happening in Texas and other parts of the south.

          And then of course there are the parts of Texas NOT tied to ERCOT.

          https://theweek.com/speedreads/967553/parts-texas-not-ercot-power-grid-appear-have-weathered-freeze-few-outages

          “After the 2011 winter freeze, El Paso Electric, on the Western Interconnect grid, spent heavily to “winterize our equipment and facilities so they could stand minus-10 degree weather for a sustained period of time,” Eddie Gutierrez, an El Paso Electric spokesman, told KHOU. So this year, “we had about three thousand people that were out during this period, a thousand of them had outages that were less than five minutes.””

          So West Texas is silly and luxurious, but the lights are still on.

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        2. This isn’t where I first saw the recommendations, but this will do.

          https://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/539300-five-things-to-know-about-texass-electric-grid

          …”while the 2011 blackouts took place during the first week of February when wind and unseasonably cold temperatures hit Texas and neighboring New Mexico.

          In total, approximately 1.3 million electric customers were out of service at the peak of the 2011 event on Feb. 2, and a total of 4.4 million were affected from Feb. 2 to Feb. 4.

          In a report following the 2011 blackouts, FERC and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation recommended steps including increasing winterization measures.

          The report said electricity generating companies operating within the ERCOT system “failed to adequately prepare for winter,” citing inadequate insulation and a failure to train operators and maintenance personnel on winter preparations.”

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    2. The only man of straw I see in the piece is the Governor. He goes on with Hannity to demonize things like the GND and AOC. But then walks it back when he is discussing the issues with local news sources.

      Man of straw, blowing with the wind of who is doing the interview. At least the one in Wizard of Oz had a brain.

      Liked by 2 people

    3. A big portion of the natural gas was locked up in frozen pumps, delivery systems. Nothing to do with windmills.

      A lack of infrastructure maintenance, preparation and lots of hubris to stay off the grid is responsible. When this all shakes out, Texas will be blue. Blue as in politics, not just cold.

      Liked by 3 people

    4. Good grief! Do you never stop?

      Wind turbines – even with the failures of some due to cold – produced more than their planned amount of power. It was the thermal sources that failed. And they failed due to the lack of adequate investments to operate in severe cold. Full stop. Period. End of Story.

      BTW, what you call “impractical” is “conservative” speak for “more costly.” The for-profit Texas utilities and gas producers took the weather bet and lost. And people died.

      But, hey, we get it. Like so many “conservatives” you jumped on the evil GND windmills LIE early and strong and now are not man enough to admit that you were wrong or were mislead. When the real cause was pointed out to you and documented – About half of Texas gas wells and other thermal infrastructure knocked off line by cold they were not prepared for – you answer by throwing out an irrelevant fact – the temperature at which methane freezes.

      This is the problem with “alternative facts” and explains the miserable GOP management record in every field. “Alternative facts” focus attention on the wrong matters and lead to bad decisions.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Show me where any wind turbines in the US have deicing capability.

        The way to handle icing of wind turbines in areas where icing is rare is to feather them and go to your backup.

        But if you have too large a deficit to make up, and you’re doing it with natural gas at the same time that is in high demand for direct heating, there won’t be enough.

        The lesson to learn is that until we have enough nuclear capability built out, we need to have coal plants for backup which do not depend on the continuous availability of natural gas.

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        1. Windmills delivered, unimproved gas systems did not.

          So you are suggesting to covert to coal because the NG infrastructure was ignored.

          Engineers had warned about this vulnerability for a decade. Texas did nothing.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. No.

            The problem is that NG cannot be banked that the generator, it has to be used as produced.

            A coal plant can store 3 months of fuel on site, a NG plant that has its supply interrupted for 3 minutes shuts down, or will shut down if the pressure drops enough to imperil home users. And in a cold snap, the demand for home use peaks at the same time as electric demand.

            That is a problem I had not anticipated, and apparently others had not either. I was all in on NG as the backup for renewables, and for hot spells that would work but not for cold spells.

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          2. I understand that the problem was not supply, but rather that the cold froze the extraction and delivery systems. And that was true for coal, gas and nuclear.

            That is something that has little to do with source and all to do with investment. And the warnings were real and robust after a 2011 cold snap.

            Political will was tempered by power lobby.

            Liked by 2 people

          3. How is the cold going to freeze the delivery of coal from the pile of coal next to the generator?

            I don’t know why the nuke plant had problems, but it’s fuel is already there and its problem is getting rid of heat, not freezing.

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          4. I don’t know, but apparently freezing instruments affects ability to generate and deliver power. In any case, Texas has a problem that probably was preventable if engineers’ warnings in 2011 were heeded and the grid was joined.

            Liked by 2 people

          5. “How is the cold going to freeze the delivery of coal from the pile of coal next to the generator?”

            The heavy machinery need to transfer the coal could be as frozen as the pipes in houses.

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          6. “The problem is that NG cannot be banked that the generator, it has to be used as produced.”

            Yet another very convenient “alternative fact.” Maybe you missed it but modern engineering has come up with a thing called a “tank.” Natural gas is routinely stored in them. Usually in the form of LNG.

            Liked by 1 person

          7. I think Texas has a setup where the NG is pumped straight from the ground to power plants. One of the advantages to being in a fossil fuel state.

            But also, I believe, a major headache in this case.

            Liked by 1 person

          8. I am sure that is correct however there is a significant difference between not being able to store a reserve of gas with the gas turbines (as Tabor claimed) and choosing not to.

            The utilities and the people of Texas need to learn from this debacle – there is no free lunch even in a fossil fuel-rich state. Short-term under-regulated decisions to maximize immediate profits are all over this fiasco from the gas producers, gas pipeline operators, grid operator and utilities themselves.

            https://www.galvnews.com/news/free/article_2d9d26ea-a11d-5447-995c-3c7524f9f762.html

            Liked by 1 person

          9. “Odd that never happened in all the years we relied on coal plants. ”

            And yet several coal fired plants in Texas went off-line because of the cold.

            Details of the reasons in individual cases have not been made public but frozen controls and coal moving conveyor systems is a reasonable hypothesis and not at all “odd” for some of them. Another likely cause is the water handling systems needed to feed the boilers. Water can freeze and stop flowing in severe cold if there has been no investment in equipment to keep that from happening.

            The coal plant being there as a back-up source of electricity is not enough in itself. It needs to be winterized. Even in Texas. It would be more efficient to connect to the national grid. But, up to now, that is not the Texas way. Now they are paying the price.

            Liked by 2 people

          10. Places with coal plants that get cold have things in place to prevent freezing of equipment. I am reminded of my father-in-law who worked for years at the local lumber mill. Many a time during the winter he would be called in the middle of the night to stoke the boiler with sawdust (fuel of choice at a small lumber mill). Kept the boilers available to keep providing the power to keep the mill running.

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        2. “Show me where any wind turbines in the US have deicing capability.”

          Wind turbines can be equipped with “cold weather kits” using various technologies to keep them operational in cold weather. Texas utilities chose not to spend for those kits.

          https://interestingengineering.com/wind-turbines-fail-cold-weather

          https://www.forbes.com/sites/scottcarpenter/2021/02/16/why-wind-turbines-in-cold-climates-dont-freeze-de-icing-and-carbon-fiber/?sh=4228cfba1f59

          So you challenge is a swing and a miss.

          The real lesson learned is that it was foolish of Texas to isolate itself from the national grid due to half-assed political ideology. All the money they “saved” by this prideful stupidity is now gone and then some.
          Robust interconnections are far less expensive than your plan for idle coal plants.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. But where in the US are they used?

            The question wasn’t whether the technology exists, it was where it was in use.

            How many snow plows does the City of Miami have? It COULD snow there. But would they keep snow plows ready and maintained for centuries just in case?

            The right way to handle windmills in warm areas in the event of a rare cold weather event is to shut them down and use your backup.

            But we made the mistake in Texas to rely too much on natural gas at a time when the demand for home heating would peak at the same time as the demand for electricity.

            The mistake was not to have enough remaining coal capacity to replace the wind. Coal can be stockpiled, NG cannot.

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          2. “But where in the US are they used?”

            Per the linked articles – Throughout the Midwest.

            Obviously Utilities in Texas gambled that it would never get so cold that they would need them. They should have been more prudent. Miami does not need snowplows but Texas has had severe winter weather in recent years. There was a similar cold weather mass outage event in 2011 that showed the need.

            “Coal can be stockpiled, NG cannot.”
            Uh, NG is routinely stored in tanks.

            Why not accept the obvious need for Texas to get on the national grid and accept a little more Federal Power Commission oversight? Their under-regulated model has broken down with pricing that does not support the investments needed to maintain the energy infrastructure. Standby coal plants and piles of coal are far more expensive than robust interconnections with the rest of the nation’s power system.

            Liked by 1 person

        1. Abbott has national ambitions and got out over his skis trying to pander to the lunatic fringe (GOP).

          Up for re-election in 22’ so we’ll see if the canary lives….

          Liked by 1 person

    1. RE: “Hint: windmills had little or nothing to do with it.”

      They aren’t mentioned because the technical problem arose in the natural gas infrastructure. But had windmills not been part of the overall system, some parts of the technical problem would not have occurred, and more money would have been available to upgrade natural gas facilities as the engineers recommended.

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      1. …” some parts of the technical problem would not have occurred, and more money would have been available to upgrade natural gas facilities as the engineers recommended.”

        Horse hockey. If ERCOT had followed the recommendations following the 2011 blackouts, they would have been better situated to handle what happened this year.

        The El Paso area followed those recommendations and had short outages, but nothing to the extent to the areas of the state under ERCOT’s control.

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        1. RE: “If ERCOT had followed the recommendations following the 2011 blackouts, they would have been better situated to handle what happened this year.”

          That’s what I said. The point to grasp is that if you want renewable energy, you still need a fully functioning non-renewable energy system.

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          1. “That’s what I said.”

            No it’s not. You put the blame on having wind at all. This puts the blame squarely where it belongs. On the shoulders of ERCOT for NOT following recommendations to protect their infrastructure.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. “It seems pretty clear that a reckless reliance on windmills is the cause of this disaster.”

    Vox calls this statement a lie, but it’s not. Here’s the sense in which it is true: Instead of investing in fossil fuel infrastructure that could withstand a storm like Uri, Texas split its investment to give itself a bit of wind and solar infrastructure. Its “reliance on windmills” came at the expense of preserving the standalone capability that coal and gas could have provided had the state prepared better for such cold-weather events.

    By most accounts, the engineers were aware of the vulnerability, but the public was never really made to understand that adding renewable energy to the portfolio doesn’t change the investment required to sustain non-renewable energy use.

    And that in itself is a legitimate “culture war” issue. The wacko portions of the green movement want you to assume that renewables are somehow “free,” but they aren’t. For purely physical reasons, they just add cost.

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    1. Uh, no.

      Windmills were exceeding their expected contribution while natural gas delivery and extraction systems froze.

      They knew the vulnerability for a decade or more and did squat.

      Could have joined the grid, too.

      The money saved on cheap energy in Texas was not spent on maintenance and temp protection.

      But AOC needs to be blamed or right wing pols will look stupid. Stupider, actually. Even stupidest applies.

      Now, about this statement:

      “ By most accounts, the engineers were aware of the vulnerability, but the public was never really made to understand that adding renewable energy to the portfolio doesn’t change the investment required to sustain non-renewable energy use.”

      Really? The public ignorance stopped power companies from doing what was needed. Are you serious?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. RE: “Really? The public ignorance stopped power companies from doing what was needed. Are you serious?”

        Yes, as a heart attack.The green lobby sells fantasies. Politicians promote them. The regulated utilities implement them. If the public generally understood the true costs and risks of green technology, it would never support it.

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        1. Texas is a pretty red state. So their pols are to blame. Like all states.

          The warnings have been voiced for a decade or more. Protecting temperature sensitive gas systems is kind of Power Supply 101.

          But, passing the buck and accountability is a modern Republican quality.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. “And naming boogeymen is a modern Democratic quality.”

            I wasn’t aware the Texas governor was a Democrat. I’m sure he will be surprised to find htat out.

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          2. RE “That boogeyman?”

            No. I had in mind your illogical shift from discussion to criticizing Republicans.

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          3. …”your illogical shift from discussion to criticizing Republicans.”

            The Republicans blamed AOC. It is not illogical to call them out for attempting to deflect from their own failures.

            Speaking of Republican failures. What the hell is Cruz doing going to Cancun with his family when HIS state is in disaster mode? The same Ted Cruz who called the Austin mayor a hypocrite for going to Mexico and telling Austinites not to travel during the earlier parts of the pandemic.

            People of Texas, I give you your Junior Senator.

            Liked by 2 people

        2. “Politicians promote them.”

          Texas is going to turn blue and not just because of the cold. Texas political leadership is DOMINATED by the Republican Party. If they’re promoting them, they are complicit in the failures that DIDN’T happen.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Mayors in many cities, particularly NY, have lost elections because they could not clear the streets fast enough after a major snowstorm.

            A blue Texas would seal the deal for the foreseeable future. That is why they are scrambling to alter the voting laws.

            Liked by 2 people

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