Power for our Friends in Texas

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Muto
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Power for our Friends in Texas

How many BLF members in Texas are needing to break out the Lanterns and Flashlights lately?

Just reading about the outages going on. scary that it can happen this early in the year before summer even sets in.
Must be a lot of personal generators going on.
Where we live the power is PP&L and for the most part it is rock solid. And when it does go down the service truck depot is only like 4 miles away so they respond quick.

Anyway hope you all are fairing well.
Thanks,

Keith

The difference between Hoarding and Collecting is the illusion of Organization
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.“I will get one of flashlight from patrol car”

“History doesn’t repeat itself, but it sometimes rhymes,” Mark Twain

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bobvoeh
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Here in Florida we have FPL. We used to call them Florida Power and Flicker, but the last few years its been pretty stable. They did a lot of upgrades since the 2004/2005 Hurricane Seasons. Now, usually the only time something happens is when some idiot takes out a power pole, or another idiot grew a tree right under the power line and a branch took it out.

raccoon city
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I can't fully comment on the situation due to BLF rules.

I hope that Texas can get their act together, or else Texans will continue to suffer.  :BEER:

chops728
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Too many electric cars overloading the system of wind turbines — just a thought

Another thought — If we all go out and buy electric cars — will half of us be stranded on the side of the road

jeff51
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6 power plants out. 2900MW lost production.
Looks like most of the power outages are in a single area around Somervell Co. And a few other areas.
Most of the rest of the state has power. Better than 0.1% outages
Driving back from Dallas Friday, when we passed the windmill belt, many were not spinning. Whatever that means.

Still, it’s frelling hot. Was outside grilling. Had the ceiling fan a’blowing.
I used to have a swamp cooler on the back porch for just such occasions.
All the Best,
Jeff

oh, FYI here is a TX power tracker site:
https://www.houstonchronicle.com/projects/2021/houston-texas-power-outag...

BlueSwordM
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The main problem in Texas comes from dipshit greedy management decisions and not properly upgrading the grid.

Renewable power sources have been shown to be the most reliable back in February of last year, and since Texas has a lot of sun and a lot of wind, Texans should install as much capacity as possible, as well as finally activate the interstate power interconnects and give their installations some much needed upgrades.

That obviously won’t happen though for reasons that most of you probably know about, and the fact that a decent number of pseudo-elected people hold a lot of stakes and are influenced by people in the fossil fuel industry.

My very own high current Beryllium Copper springs Gen 3:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/67401
Liitokala Aliexpress Stores Battery Fraud: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/60547

JenkinsMatti
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Here is a thoughtfully done video about EV’s & their practicality.

As far as I am concerned the main players are Hydro, Nuclear, Coal, Gas & Oil.

That is where the money should be invested.

BlueSwordM
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Anyway, the main reason gasoline is more expensive is because of speculation and profit seeking, not really supply.

My very own high current Beryllium Copper springs Gen 3:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/67401
Liitokala Aliexpress Stores Battery Fraud: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/60547

texas shooter
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BlueSwordM wrote:
The main problem in Texas comes from dipshit greedy management decisions and not properly upgrading the grid.

Renewable power sources have been shown to be the most reliable back in February of last year, and since Texas has a lot of sun and a lot of wind, Texans should install as much capacity as possible, as well as finally activate the interstate power interconnects and give their installations some much needed upgrades.

That obviously won’t happen though for reasons that most of you probably know about, and the fact that a decent number of pseudo-elected people hold a lot of stakes and are influenced by people in the fossil fuel industry.

I’d like to see a lot more solar on homes and in well planned new communities. Stick solar on every roof and some fields. Peaks summer usage just seems to happen with peak sunshine. As for “it’s about the money” of course it is. I don’t work for free not many either do. If alternate energy makes money then it sells. Oil companies have been dumping lots of money into alternatives. USA infrastructure is not properly maintained no hiding that.

BlueSwordM
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@texas shooter, that’s not what I meant.

I meant it in the fact that there are a lot of conflicts of interests and dirty money being thrown around.

Very few large entities are playing by the rules, or modify the rules to make it harder for other players to do stuff.

My very own high current Beryllium Copper springs Gen 3:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/67401
Liitokala Aliexpress Stores Battery Fraud: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/60547

texas shooter
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BlueSwordM wrote:
@texas shooter, that’s not what I meant.

I meant it in the fact that there are a lot of conflicts of interests and dirty money being thrown around.

Very few large entities are playing by the rules, or modify the rules to make it harder for other players to do stuff.

Hugh piles of stinking rules. My blame goes mostly to the forth branch of government, bureaucracy. No body writes a 14,000 page spending Bill without an army of paper pushing Bureaucrats. How many laws and counting? Nice thing about bureaucrats is they write rules that get enforced as law with real penalties. Look at all the commerce codes, pork on most bills. Bureaucrats breed new government jobs for themselves by themselves.

When your at the top of the food chain your legal department submits the bids that few can for contracts. Having worked for County government I prayed that the second lowest bidder would win just for better than average gear. My old department is sitting on several hundred unissued Tasers. Why, well Taser has no competitor so we didn’t have to get multiply bids. So Tasers got purchased. But it gets better, there are multiple holster makers for the weapon and we need at least three for our county purchasing department to release the funds. No body but Taser made the bid, this was 5 years ago. So I’m a little leery of any Bureaucrat.

BlueSwordM
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Anyway, my Texan friends, I suggest you prepare for stuff Big Smile

My very own high current Beryllium Copper springs Gen 3:
http://budgetlightforum.com/node/67401
Liitokala Aliexpress Stores Battery Fraud: http://budgetlightforum.com/node/60547

FollowspotDude
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Why were there 6 plants all offline at once in TX? Doesn’t anyone coordinate these things? And why so many issues recently?

EV owners are going to be in for a shock in the next year or so. Natural gas prices in 2020 were down to ~$2.00/MMBtu. It’s currently $6.78. If you think the electric companies are going to feel sorry for their customers and eat the difference, I have some great swamp land in Florida to sell you.

@bobvoeh We used to call them Flicker Power & Light over here and they certainly lived up to the name. While they have gotten better since getting spanked hard by the 2004/2005 hurricanes, their grid on the west coast of Florida is sorely lacking. Still lots of outages. Worse, they manage to pump out some of the goofiest power on their lines, to the point that even commercial UPS units can’t seem to handle it, and Lord knows I’ve tried many different ones at my workplace, and they all still drop the ball when FPL goes weird.

I do remember the rolling blackouts we used to have back in the 1980s with FPL, particularly when it was very cold out. Electric resistance heating uses a ton of kWh and when you normally use heat <14 days/year, it makes no sense to install anything better.

how crazy is this
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I was in the utility industry many moons ago. What people don’t realize is that it is such an amazing human achievement! The largest machine in human history by far. Everything east of the rocky’s is interconnected and synchronized to 1/60 of a second — except for TX!

Truly much modernization is needed to accommodate intermittent and highly distributed sources but the fact remains that the grid is an unbelievably powerful machine that offers nearly unfathomable benefits to humanity.

I don’t understand the thinking of TX to choose to reject this amazing human advancement. Then again they allow the level of genius that will allow gigantic power plants to pretend that they don’t have to account for the fact that water will freeze because it so rarely does in TX.

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how crazy is this wrote:
I don’t understand the thinking of TX to choose to reject this amazing human advancement. Then again they allow the level of genius that will allow gigantic power plants to pretend that they don’t have to account for the fact that water will freeze because it so rarely does in TX.

They don’t plan for “the 100yr storm”. Never do. Airports that rarely see snow don’t invest in plows, deicers, jet-dryers, etc. Sewers are only scaled for heavy rains, not monsoons. Cell networks expect to have dropped calls on Mother’s Day because they don’t plan for 100% usage, but less than that.

Problems happen when you do get that 100yr storm.

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

FollowspotDude
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In some respects, the US electrical grid is a victim of its own success. In many areas it’s consistently reliable. As a result, people aren’t prepared for it to not be there.

In my area in Florida, not so much. Outages happen weekly here and I know quite a few people who have generators.

I remember when I was working in Alaska for a decent-size company (500 employees) and was shocked that they didn’t have generators. They looked at me like I had 3 heads for asking. Even when the 7.1 earthquake hit in 2018, power outages were absolutely minimal, just a blink at the office.

And yes, most (all?) Florida airports lack de-icing equipment. They employ various techniques, usually just dragging the frosty airplane into the sun with the leading edges facing the sun. Usually doesn’t take long.

jeff51
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Well the TX controlling board ERCOT has made some huge blunders. And is likely to continue that trend.

But, in 2019 – 28% of the total wind energy in the US was generated in Texas.
There’s like over 33,000Mw from wind.

There are regions that have windmills as far as the eye can see and then some.
Take a look at all the wind farms
https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=1ct8HeQKWqkHBTZcrH_fnGl6A7Ec&ll...

But I agree with others. Every house out here should have solar on the roof.
Haven’t seen a cloud in weeks.
All the Best,
Jeff

FollowspotDude
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jeff51 wrote:
Every house out here should have solar on the roof.

I’m not entirely familiar with Texas’ climate. I’m in Florida, have had solar for 25 or so years, and actually have to admit that for Florida, grid-tie solar isn’t exactly great for reliability or the environment.

At first blush, solar looks like it’d be the ideal power source for “The Sunshine State” but it’s far from it. Sure, as the sun comes out it gets hot and people turn on their aircons, and the solar cells start pumping out electrons. Works great until clouds form from the heat and humidity, which happens every summer day in Florida. Shade a solar cell 20% and you’ll get an ~80% drop in output. Multiply this by thousands of solar installations and MW of power input in the grid suddenly disappears. BUT the load on the grid doesn’t.

Large commercial power plants like the utilities operate were designed for efficiency over everything. Power companies are usually for-profit, so this makes sense. Similarly, less fuel burn translates into environmental benefits to keep the regulators happy. Win:win. Power plants like to run at consistent outputs. Unlike a geared car engine, these things are large turbines which take some time to ramp up / ramp down to make adjustments. Add in renewables such as solar and wind and their variability. Remember those clouds in the previous paragraph? Yep, these power plants can’t handle those. So how to utilities handle the gap? “Peaking” plants. a.k.a. diesel generators. Or worse, heavy fuel-oil ones. So all of that energy which was being “cleanly” produced by the solar panels will now be produced by the most inefficient and dirtiest power a utility has. Oops.

I’d imagine out in Phoenix solar might be great if you can keep the panels cool enough.

raccoon city
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We have weather similar to Phoenix.

Solar panels are very popular here, but I don't think they have to be cooled.  :-)

FollowspotDude
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@raccoon city: I’m not sure about “modern” panels, as mine are quite old, but my panels put out noticeably more power when they’re cool(ver) versus broiling in the sun. On my old setup they were directly attached to the dark shingle roof. Moved them to the tin roof on the patio with a large gap between them & the roof and they’re definitely putting out more power because of it.

grin
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Not as expensive as I thought. 5.5kwh there I have another 100 cells ordered to bring it to 7.4kwh, 5 to 6 bill cycles and it will pay for itself. I already have the solar panels and 25kva genset for backup. Just needed a battery.

Holg
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Where are you getting the cells from?

how crazy is this
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FollowspotDude wrote:
Power plants like to run at consistent outputs. Unlike a geared car engine, these things are large turbines which take some time to ramp up / ramp down to make adjustments. Add in renewables such as solar and wind and their variability. Remember those clouds in the previous paragraph? Yep, these power plants can’t handle those. So how to utilities handle the gap? “Peaking” plants. a.k.a. diesel generators. Or worse, heavy fuel-oil ones. So all of that energy which was being “cleanly” produced by the solar panels will now be produced by the most inefficient and dirtiest power a utility has. Oops.

It’s a bit more complicated than that. Load is also variable and as one solar panel goes into clouds another comes out etc. No doubt that both solar and wind are more variable than load and certainly more so than generators. In any case the grid simply must be balanced! Doubtful to me that the net effects of peaking plants in terms of pollution or efficiency are anywhere near a net negative compared to what solar puts into the equation. However, storage must be integrated into the grid in order for renewables to reach their potential.

The scale of base load generation, which can not ramp quickly with load and also requires peaking plants, is quite mind boggling to me. I worked for a smallish utility. One of our “big” plants was a 360 MW coal plant. In terms of the ability to come on line consider that when it was taken down for maintenance it required something like 45,000 gal of fuel oil to act more or less like kindling in order to get the machine up to temperature so that it could maintain proper coal combustion!

Rexlion
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For stable, reliable, 24/7-producible power, thorium is probably the answer. I’ve read that thorium nuclear plants won’t have runaway meltdowns like uranium, and thorium can’t be used for weapons. The US has a 1,000 year supply of thorium in the ground.

The technology exists now, but it needs to be scaled up. And imagine building modular thorium generators that can be shipped to third world countries. They could even power the cargo ships (say good-bye to the diesel burners).

== We save the planet from darkness ==

grin
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I found the batteries online and brought most of their limited stock.

You have Base load and minimum load. You hear lots of half truths about this and it doesn’t apply to solar or wind or batteries because the AC wave is generated electronically. With a synchronous generator it is RPM therefore need a stable load.
Base load is the minimum load needed on a turbine to run efficiently. If a coal fired steam turbines load drops to a certain point it needs to switch to oil.

I have left the power generation industry and don’t want to have to pay retailers or generators for something I can do myself. They can go jump

texas shooter
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Rexlion wrote:
For stable, reliable, 24/7-producible power, thorium is probably the answer. I’ve read that thorium nuclear plants won’t have runaway meltdowns like uranium, and thorium can’t be used for weapons. The US has a 1,000 year supply of thorium in the ground.

The technology exists now, but it needs to be scaled up. And imagine building modular thorium generators that can be shipped to third world countries. They could even power the cargo ships (say good-bye to the diesel burners).


Thorium reactors produce uranium-232 that are high-energy gamma emitter penetrating much further than lower energy beta. Good news only has a half-life of 68.9 years. Also produces iodine-129 that has a half-life of 15.7 million years and is readily absorbed by creatures with Thyroids. Iodine-129 is a cancer causing radioisotope. Probably not going to be given to third world countries.
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BlueSwordM wrote:
Anyway, the main reason gasoline is more expensive is because of speculation and profit seeking, not really supply.
Agree on that. Last time gas prices soared around 2012 investors with huge heaps of money were investing in oil “as a hedge against the falling dollar”. Sounds familiar eh? Before they ruined that, they drove the housing market over the cliff by over aggressive investing in real estate which artificially drove the prices through the roof.

So the tactic is- drive the prices so high it becomes unsustainable, while reaping huge profits on rent, dump it while its high, cause the bubble to burst, then buy everything up when it hits rock bottom so they’ll be set when the prices climb back up in 20 years. Same cycle over and over. Make money which ever way the market goes. Make money on both sides of the energy drift. Make money hand over fist when nobody can afford their rent. Make money when energy shortages cause prices to skyrocket.

Bottom line, its all market manipulation. Even pipeline hacking, power plants going down, blocking the suez canal, baby food shortages,trucker strikes,port backups..isnt it all sounding a bit too contrived?

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how crazy is this wrote:
FollowspotDude wrote:
Power plants like to run at consistent outputs. Unlike a geared car engine, these things are large turbines which take some time to ramp up / ramp down to make adjustments. Add in renewables such as solar and wind and their variability. Remember those clouds in the previous paragraph? Yep, these power plants can’t handle those. So how to utilities handle the gap? “Peaking” plants. a.k.a. diesel generators. Or worse, heavy fuel-oil ones. So all of that energy which was being “cleanly” produced by the solar panels will now be produced by the most inefficient and dirtiest power a utility has. Oops.

It’s a bit more complicated than that. Load is also variable and as one solar panel goes into clouds another comes out etc. No doubt that both solar and wind are more variable than load and certainly more so than generators. In any case the grid simply must be balanced! Doubtful to me that the net effects of peaking plants in terms of pollution or efficiency are anywhere near a net negative compared to what solar puts into the equation. However, storage must be integrated into the grid in order for renewables to reach their potential.

The scale of base load generation, which can not ramp quickly with load and also requires peaking plants, is quite mind boggling to me. I worked for a smallish utility. One of our “big” plants was a 360 MW coal plant. In terms of the ability to come on line consider that when it was taken down for maintenance it required something like 45,000 gal of fuel oil to act more or less like kindling in order to get the machine up to temperature so that it could maintain proper coal combustion!

Let me see if i get this straight- my friend described it a bit differently to me…

So you are saying power plants have to take up the slack for renewable when it drops in output, that makes sense. Base load generation is what the coal plants run at constantly, to provide the stable power we need at minimum I presume. Renewable works off and on, bust most days the solar is more predictable than wind- however if you get a large cloud system output drops like a rock. So peaking plants make uo the difference whe demand peaks well over the base load and renewable can’t keep up. Thes plants use diesel, because coal plants can’t ramp ip or down quickly. So we’re running engines, with terrible efficiency, instead of running coal plants because we now have renewable energy sources, or is this something we have to have anyway when peaks hit, regardless of renewable’s influence?

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A steam turbine has a minimum load before it can switch from fuel oil to coal. Then it has a base load where it will run efficiently and stable on coal.
For 60hz the steam turbine has to spin at 3500rpm. The intermittent nature of renewables cause that speed to become unstable. Coal fired power stations are not as stable as you would think. Someone hosing a radiator could be keeping a unit from tripping.