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ERCOT - Electric Reliability Commission Of Texas still incompetent   The Newsy You: News of Today

Started Jan-21 by $1,661.87 in cats (ROCKETMAN_S); 856 views.

The February 2022 issue of Texas Monthly has a big article that indicates a year after Snowmageddon where now an estimated 700 people died either directly or indirectly from the bitter cold combined with prolonged electric power outages, have done absolutely nothing but virtue signal and genuflect.


...The overwhelming majority of Texas homes are outfitted with electric heaters that are the technological equivalent of a toaster oven. During the most severe cold fronts, residents crank up those inefficient units, and some even turn on and open electric ovens and use hair dryers.   ...

... Nobody yet knew just how widespread the blackouts would become—that they would spread across almost the entire state, leave an unprecedented 11 million Texans freezing in the dark for as long as three days, and result in as many as seven hundred deaths. But neither could the governor, legislators, and regulators who are supposed to oversee the state’s electric grid claim to be surprised. They had been warned repeatedly, by experts and by previous calamities—including a major blackout in 2011—that the grid was uniquely vulnerable to cold weather. ... ... Unlike most other states that safely endured the February 2021 storm, Texas had stubbornly declined to require winterization of its power plants and, just as critically, its natural gas facilities. In large part, that’s because the state’s politicians and the regulators they appoint are often captive to the oil and gas industry, which lavishes them with millions of dollars a year in campaign contributions. During the February freeze, the gas industry failed to deliver critically needed fuel, and while Texans of all stripes suffered, the gas industry scored windfall profits of about $11 billion—creating debts that residents and businesses will pay for at least the next decade.

... In her ground-floor apartment on Uvalde Road, a busy commercial thoroughfare in the Cloverleaf community, just east of Houston, Mary Gee liked to sit by the window, watching the people and cars passing by. Across the way were an auto-parts store, a car wash, and a Tex-Mex restaurant. There was always something happening. But the snow and ice in February brought Uvalde to a standstill. ... ... The neighborhood lost power early Monday morning, February 15. After the sun rose, a few neighbors ventured out. Word passed in Gee’s complex, the Havenwood, that a nearby Burger King was open—that would have meant not only food but warmth. Some decided to check it out. This wasn’t an option for Gee. She was relatively healthy, but at 84, walking more than a mile on slippery sidewalks was out of the question.

(spoiler alert - Gee was one of those found dead, frozen in her apartment, a few days later)

... Gee was one of hundreds of Texans who died because of the lack of electricity. (The state recently updated the death toll to 246, a number that falls far short of the total that experts on mortality say is the true measure of the cost in lives of this disaster, which accounts for those who, for example, had a heart attack and couldn’t get to a hospital.) Others included a centenarian in a senior living community in Houston who’d also succumbed to hypothermia; she’d received a college degree in the thirties and had taught elementary school in a single-room schoolhouse in Wisconsin. An 87-year-old Austin woman died of a fast-moving urinary tract infection after her catheter froze. Two men in Garland are believed to have died of carbon monoxide poisoning—neighbors said they were running a gas-powered generator inside an apartment unit. In Sugar Land, southwest of Houston, a family used their fireplace to stay warm. The house caught fire, and a grandmother and three of her grandchildren died. The mother survived. “Most of all, I think, what I will miss is just seeing them grow into these amazing human beings that I knew that they would be,” she told the Houston Chronicle.

and the write-ups a year ago:


and a follow-up in June 2021


Here is ERCOT hard at work holding hearings on the power outage:

Be sure and watch all the way to the end.


From: WALTER784


They interestingly use the world climate four times (climate change, climate expert, climate-related & climate risk):
>>>And the backward-looking regimen that state energy officials use to forecast the weather — a methodology that minimizes the effect of such intensifying factors as climate change, which scientists say can make winter storms more brutal—may have led them to underestimate the approaching storm’s fury.<<<
>>>It employs meteorologists, who tend to focus on coming weeks and months, but not climate experts, who try to peer deeper into the future. “We take into account what our forecasters believe makes sense,” and “we try to add relevant factors” to the forecasts based on events, Magness said.<<<
>>>But whether the severity of the deep freeze will prompt ERCOT to consider integrating more climate-related factors into its forecasting remains to be seen.<<<
>>>Even leaving aside the state’s comparative lack of rigor in assessing climate risk, it wasn’t as if those running the Texas energy system’s various fiefdoms—the grid, the power plants, the natural gas–production facilities—hadn’t been warned about the dangers of severe weather.<<<
What they need is a interruptible power grid... not "climate" whachamacallit's"!!! And climate whachamacallit's don't have much expertise in either power generation, power delivery or power grid management! So what they need are power generation, power delivery and power grid management experts... none of which has anything to do with Climate what so ever!
P.S. The Three Stooges video was a blast.
  • Edited January 22, 2022 4:16 am  by  WALTER784
WALTER784 said:

What they need is a interruptible power grid

a fragmentable grid that can run as separate segments, with much more black start capability in separate regions, so that multiple segments can be brought up quickly, then gradually synchronize up the separate pieces to connect them up again once the crisis is over with.

This prevents a domino effect that brings down the whole mess.

But just ;like just-in-time manufacturing works well up until a global pandemic and massive economic consumption changes happen, and a big ship gets stuck in the Suez Canal, there has to be a big catastrophe before management types figure out that maximizing efficiency also greatly increases the vulnerability for a cascading failure that can bring down civilization due to lack of that "expensive" redundancy and resilience that comes from those "wasteful" less efficient but more resilient and fault-tolerant systems.


From: Showtalk


People froze in their home and they can’t even address it? There are no excuses for that.


From: Showtalk


I agree. What does climate have to do with their failure? Is it climate change if those temperatures happen once and never again?

People are going to remember that fiasco, and especially those who lost loved ones, or suffered significant property damage.

I see a split - those who have been busy preparing for the next winter all summer long, versus those who have had different priorities than making sure they not only have a generator but enough fuel stashed away to run it for a whole week.

Very few have worked out thermodynamic exploits to rig a heat exchanger to capture exhaust and other engine waste heat to further warm a house.

I'm working on that but may not have it all working this year due to the inflation of all sorts of materials

What you do is take a bunch of 5/8 inch refrigeration copper tubing and coil it into a spiral a couple of feet long. This is then covered with a piece of pipe, which is mounted on the exhaust manifold, and finally this is integrated into a muffler.

Water / antifreeze is circulated through the copper tubing as the hot exhaust gas flows around the outside of the tubing.. This sucks heat out of the exhaust and boils the water or at least heats it scalding hot.

This is then piped to the house and through an automobile radiator inside, where a fan blows air over that and thus captures engine waste heat to warm up the house if you are running an air-cooled engine..

The cooler liquid then circulates back out to the generator. You can also use finned copper tubing to mount in the hot air being blown over the cylinders if it's a smaller air cooled engine.

The other method with a liquid cooled engine - you plumb up a regular automobile heater hose upstream of the thermostat where you circulate a branch of antifreeze circuit into the house to a radiator, and return the cool antifreeze back to the lower radiator hose intake to the engine block, exactly like how the heater in a car works.

During heavy heat demand with the generator running, nearly all of the generator waste heat ends up being tranferred into the house.

In very bitter cold, you can build a custom muffler that captures most of the exhaust gas heat as well. This lets the generator engine deliver nearly every joule from internal combustion as heat for the house that isn't going into actual electrical production. You could even plumb up something to capture the cooling air flow through the actual generator windings when it's under nearly maximum electrical load.

Turns out that from a thermodynamic standpoint, water is a very efficient heat transfer working fluid compared to just about any other substance. You want to run the antifreeze piping underground, inside a larger diameter pipe packed with something like vermiculite or Perlite to prevent heat transfer into the soil.

My setup under construction uses copper tubing running inside the muffler to capture exhaust heat, enhanced with a fiberglass blanket that can wrap the exhaust manifold and header and also the muffler and catalytic converter. This traps all of the hot exhaust until it flows over the copper, maximizes heat transfer, before it finally goes up the exhaust stack in a bitter cold situation.

In a hot summer you can remove the blankets, or even change out the muffler - thus have a summer muffler and a winter muffler for the engine.

Safety - carbon monoxide is deadly. A liquid heat exchanger is the only safe way to capture hot exhaust gas heat and transfer that heat into human, pet, or livestock occupied enclosed spaces.

Generator exhaust shall be located not less than 10 feet horizontally from any door or window in any occupied dwelling, and not less than 10 feet from any fresh air ventilation intake of any building. Exhaust shall exit into atmosphere at a height not lower than 4 feet above ground level, or lower than the highest point of any  door or window or fresh air vent whichever is highest. The height may be lower when the generator exhaust is located further than 25 feet from any building door, window, or fresh air vent, provided the exhaust exit is aimed upwards or directly away from such building. The generator shall not be within 10 feet of any roof overhang or awning attached to the roof.

there are a few exceptions if you can put the exhaust pipe end at least 5 feet higher than the roof, so exhaust can't be blown back into the building by wind. Also there are limit involving tree canopy over the generator that can trap exhaust and allow it to enter a building.

I have my big generator out next to the electric pole and meter base, so I've got to dig about 75 to 80 feet of ditch to bury the antifreeze piping. I think I'm going to put pipe under the floor tiles for the antifreeze circulation, then bring it up to a radiator or even a set of radiators in multiple rooms.

Tentatively I'm going to just use heater cores for the Ford Escort and a few similar cars and small trucks, as they are fairly cheap and plentiful and are of course designed for antifreeze to circulate through them..

The idea is, if I have to run a generator for a week, I want to capture most of the heat to keep the house warm without running electric heaters or even the furnace.

It was inspired by a setup someone rigged in a cabin in the middle of nowhere in Alaska. They had a separate generator shed with exhaust plumbed outside, to protect the equipment from the -60F temperatures. They also used antifreeze heat to help boil propane to keep it vaporizing, as propane won't boil at atmospheric pressure below -43F. At lower temperatures, you have to heat the tank somehow to get propane to come out.

Ar 115 degrees F, though, the propane has to be held at nearly 165 PSI to keep it liquid.

this phenomena with propane where the boiling point changes wildly with changes in pressure, is what makes it also a wonderful refrigerant. Most modern refrigerators and freezers use propane as the refrigerant, since it does not contain chlorine compounds that get up into the ozone layer and break it down.


From: WALTER784


A dually supplied grid from two totally separate generation sources with an auto monitoring and auto switch over should one power source fail isn't really that expensive. They just need to run one more power IN line from a different source and connected it to a switchover switch. One could be nuclear power and the other coal/oil, or one could be coal/oil and the other could be natural gas generated.

One power source is usually connected to the grid. The other power source confirms that electricity is supplied to the grid. When it detects power at 0 volts, it automatically inserts itself into the grid and you're only out for 30 seconds or less.

When the other line in comes back online, it too, checks whether the other power source is engaged in supplying the grid and does NOT connect itself to the grid automatically. That would require a manual switchover back to the primary source which cut off the secondary source first and then brought the primary source back into supply capacity. Again, switchover time for this should be less than 10 seconds so it would be like a brown out rather than a black out.

And, like you said, having a grid that can be segmented is also a good strategy such that if there are shorts in part of the grid, only those areas where the shorts are occurring need to be switched off minimalizing the affected area until those shorts can be identified and corrected.

Nothing to do with climate what so ever.



From: WALTER784


Showtalk said...

What does climate have to do with their failure?

Absolutely nothing. But they used the word climate four times that I quoted above.

They're attempting to get one of their government climate czars on the board membership and then push for their green new deal strategies to be implemented. No other reason what so ever.


WALTER784 said:

When it detects power at 0 volts, it automatically inserts itself into the grid and you're only out for 30 seconds or less. When the other line in comes back online, it too, checks whether the other power source is engaged in supplying the grid and does NOT connect itself to the grid automatically. That would require a manual switchover back to the primary source which cut off the secondary source first and then brought the primary source back into supply capacity. Again, switchover time for this should be less than 10 seconds so it would be like a brown out rather than a black out.

It's a lot more complicated than that because it is a alternating current system. The phase relationship between the grid and the generator(s) must be precisely synchronized, and we're not talking 10 seconds but less than 8.33 MILLIseconds to get fully out of phase and massive current flow that just blows fuses and similar things.

So to feed power to the grid, you have to generate a slightly higher voltage so current flows from generator into grid. The frequency must be spot on, and the phase relationship must be within a fraction of a degree, ideally the generator leads the grid very slightly.

The frequency will try to decrease and the phase will try to lag with the application of a sudden load. Control of all these different bowling pins, eggs, and chain saws being juggled is really a pretty tricky thing to do.

Oh, and unlike a single phase circuit, it's a 3 phase circuit. So the phase sequence has to match up as well.


From: WALTER784


Of course the switch on or off only takes milliseconds, but the advanced checking required so it doesn't fry the whole grid out could take up to 20 or maybe even 30 seconds.

One side discovers 0 power and notifies the downed power source to disengage their power. It receives a reply back and checks whether there are shorts in the grid before turning up it's own power. It then sends a small charge through testing for any anomalies and then starts to crank up the power monitoring status all the while.

With the other power source disengaged it will become the main supply so yes, it will have to ramp up it's production too. So total outage would be 20-30 seconds, but partial outage may continue for several minutes as it ramps up the voltage.

The switchover could be automated, but the switchback would have to have some kind of manual intervention to determine when to cut/disengage the secondary supply and switch back to the primary source. As for matching the frequencies, that's all automated.


  • Edited January 24, 2022 12:04 am  by  WALTER784