Hello Clean Energy Advocates, What Do We Do When the Wind Turbines are All Frozen?

Mish

The wholesale price of electricity spikes 10,000% in a Texas power outage. Among other problems, the wind turbines are all frozen.

Wholesale Price of Electricity Spikes 10,000% 

As a background on the clean energy debate, please consider The Wholesale Price of Electricity Spikes 10,000% in Texas Power Outage.

Let's discuss wind turbines, natural gas, and coal.

A Deep Green Freeze

The Wall Street Journal editorial board says "Power shortages show the folly of eliminating natural gas—and coal." 

I agree with some of what they say and disagree with parts of it as well.

Please consider A Deep Green Freeze by the WSJ. 

Gas and power prices have spiked across the central U.S. while Texas regulators ordered rolling blackouts Monday as an Arctic blast has frozen wind turbines. Herein is the paradox of the left’s climate agenda: The less we use fossil fuels, the more we need them. 

A mix of ice and snow swept across the country this weekend as temperatures plunged below zero in the upper Midwest and into the teens in Houston. Cold snaps happen—the U.S. also experienced a Polar Vortex in 2019—as do heat waves. Yet the power grid is becoming less reliable due to growing reliance on wind and solar, which can’t provide power 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Texas’s energy emergency could last all week as the weather is forecast to remain frigid. “My understanding is, the wind turbines are all frozen,” Public Utility Commission Chairman DeAnn Walker said Friday. “We are working already to try and ensure we have enough power but it’s taken a lot of coordination.”

Wind’s share has tripled to about 25% since 2010 and accounted for 42% of power last week before the freeze set in. About half of Texans rely on electric pumps for heating, which liberals want to mandate everywhere. But the pumps use a lot of power in frigid weather. So while wind turbines were freezing, demand for power was surging.

California progressives long ago banished coal. But a heat wave last summer strained the state’s power grid as wind flagged and solar ebbed in the evenings. After imposing rolling blackouts, grid regulators resorted to importing coal power from Utah and running diesel emergency generators.

Liberals claim that prices of renewables and fossil fuels are now comparable, which may be true due to subsidies, but they are no free lunch, as this week’s energy emergency shows. The Biden Administration’s plan to banish fossil fuels is a greater existential threat to Americans than climate change.

Greater Existential Threat 

The Journal claims "The Biden Administration’s plan to banish fossil fuels is a greater existential threat to Americans than climate change."

I agree 100%. 

But what to do about it? 

Clean Energy

I am a big fan of natural gas and believe it is clean energy. The byproduct of burning natural gas is carbon dioxide and water. 

Neither is a pollutant in any way shape or form. Plants even need carbon dioxide to survive. 

Coal is another matter. 

Burning coal releases SO2 and NOx pollutants that cause Acid Rain, huge respiratory problems and will devastate forests.

If the atmosphere is polluted with sulfur dioxide (SO2) or nitrogen oxides (NOx), rain becomes oxidized by ozone (O3) or hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to form H2SO4 or HNO3 before falling to the ground. They are known respectively as sulfuric and nitric acid. 

Acid rain will dissolve panty hose on the spot.

There is a huge difference between burning coal and burning natural gas.

Anti-Coal, Pro-Natural Gas

For environmental reasons, I am anti-coal but very much in favor of Natural Gas. 

Problems arise as happened last year in California and this week in Texas when pressure to eliminate all carbon wins over common sense. 

Where is the CO2 Coming From? 

Annual CO2 Emissions2

CO2 Stats

  • Please note that the US reduced its carbon footprint from 6.13 billion tons in 2007 to 5.28 billion tons in 2019.
  • Meanwhile, China increased its footprint from 6.86 billion tons in 2019 to 10.17 billion tons in 2019.
  • In the same timeframe, global output rose from 31.29 billion tons to 36.44 billion tons.
  • In 2007, the US accounted for 19.6% of the total global carbon footprint.
  • In 2019, the US accounted for only 14.5% of the total global footprint.

Wind Not Reliable

Wind is not a reliable source, as we have just proven in spades, twice over. 

Yet, despite the facts that US carbon output is shrinking and the US only accounted for  14.5% of the total global footprint, the absurd push to eliminate all US carbon presses on.

John Kerry's Straw Man Climate Arguments

John Kerry is Biden's climate czar.

He blamed 4 hurricanes on climate change as if throwing any amount of money at the alleged problem would have stopped the hurricanes.

For discussion, please see Kerry's Straw Man Argument for Wasting Money on Climate Change

GM to Phase Out Gas-Powered Vehicles by 2035, Carbon Neutral by 2040

One day after Kerry's ridiculous rant, I noted GM to Phase Out Gas-Powered Vehicles by 2035, Carbon Neutral by 2040.

Assuming one believes CO2 is a problem, this is the way problems are solved.

GM is not doing this to save the world, it is doing this because market forces mandate a change.

Similarly, solar power will come into play as storage technology improves.

The free market, not populist ideas will solve real world problems.

$90 Trillion Solutions 

In 2015, Business Insider noted A Plan Is Floating Around Davos To Spend $90 Trillion Redesigning All The Cities So They Don't Need Cars

The $90 trillion proposal came from former US vice president Al Gore, former president of Mexico Felipe Calderon, and their colleagues on The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. 

"We cannot have these cities with low density, designed for the use of cars," he said. "We recommend those cities should have more density and more mass transportation." Together with a program for reforming land use, and bringing deforestation to zero, the total cost of this plan would most likely be $90 trillion in future investment, Calderon said.

AOC's New Green Deal

Also recall AOC's Green New Deal Pricetag of $51 to $93 Trillion vs. Cost of Doing Nothing.

A Word About Cherry Picking Data

On February 3, I noted Climate Change Moves to the Forefront of Biden's Legislation

It’s long past time for the Senate to take a leading role in combating the existential threat of our time: climate,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

The "existential threat" is politicians seeking $90 trillion solutions to hyped-up problems, not natural gas.

Mish

Comments (221)
No. 1-50
Maxx2000
Maxx2000

Mish, please alter the graph. You can't show that China is a major polluter or in any way shape or form, a bad actor, because that is racist.

William Janes
William Janes

The reliability of electric power production is called Dispatchability: simply, that there is electricity available when I need it. Both solar and wind power are erratic at best, and until there is a method of storing large amounts of electricity which has been a devilishly tricky problem, there will be a requirement for electricity produced by very efficient gas turbines and dispatchable on short notice. The other problem is you now need twice the capacity for electrical generation as before solar and wind were used. Really, natural gas turbine and nuclear power are the logical method for reducing the overall production of carbon burning fuels.

SoCaliforniaStan
SoCaliforniaStan

What verges on "racism" is believing that the 1.4 billion people in China, or the billions in Africa, don't have to right to pollute at the same rate as those in the developed world. And what verges on willful ignorance is failing to listen to climate scientists regarding the up

rodgerreno
rodgerreno

you'll need to get better information. solar systems mostly are sold with battery backup. electric cars will add to power grid if necessary. backup generators are powered with ammonia. the grid will be able to be fed from other places not in distress. the truth is that emergencies have and will continue. the current above ground electric grid is the most problematic of our current issues. this issue must be fixed as part of the solution of having a reliable grid, which we haven't ever had in our entire existence.

vboring
vboring

Coal NOx and SOx are relatively low cost to control.

If you want a reliable power system without coal, you need a lot more gas infrastructure, a lot more nuclear, and/or a crazy amount of renewables with season scale energy storage.

Augustthegreat
Augustthegreat

Mish: I'm disappointed that you are cherry picking data to suit your purpose. Just to use your data: US released 5.28 billion tons but with 340 million people, while China released 10.17 b but with 1.4billion people. Per capita China is still releases less than the US. Also cumulatively, US has released much more than China over the last 150 years.

BTW I agree that natural gas is better than coals.

vboring
vboring

It is worth pointing out that very similar polar vortexes occurred in 2014 and 2017.

In response to electric generation shortages during those events, some power markets forced gas plants to secure firm gas supply contracts. The Trump administration pushed for Resiliency payments to keep coal plants from being closed.

There are plenty of solutions. None of them are free. None of them will be implemented without regulations or market signals.

Webej
Webej

The narrative about renewables as the cause of the current generating shortfalls is completely unfounded and fact-free.

As of ~10 AM Eastern time, the system has ~30 GW of capacity offline, ~26 GW of thermal — mostly natural gas which cant get fuel deliveries which are being priorities for heating loads — and ~4 GW of wind due to icing.

That is a HUGE amount of gas capacity offline, about 30% of total ERCOT capacity and ~half of the natural gas fleet.

In total, that means ERCOT is counting on 1,542 MW of coastal wind output, 1,411 MW of panhandle wind and 3,251 MW of other wind for a total of 6,204 MW of wind from currently operational facilities. 6.2 GW.

[Total wind is thus 20% of total generating shortfall even with NO shortfall]

Webej
Webej

Energy infrastructure, such as natural gas pipelines have frozen, halting fuel flow to powerplants, resulting in record-high electricity rates.

Bloomberg reports Motiva Enterprises will shut down its Port Arthur refinery due to the cold weather. The refinery is North America's largest refinery.

Reuters reports Chevron Phillips Chemical Co is preparing to shut down its refinery at Pasadena refinery because of the cold

Sources told Reuters, ExxonMobil Beaumont Chemical Plant is planning to shutter operations

shamrock
shamrock

You can heat the blades to prevent ice, like they do in colder climates.

shamrock
shamrock

You keep equating the estimated cost of the green new deal with the cost of getting to net zero emissions. That is incorrect, there are a ton of expensive proposals in the green new deal which have nothing to do with carbon emissions.

LostNOregon
LostNOregon

We will figure out how to protect them in a while. We used to have the same problems with fossil fuel power sources, but we figured that out. Whoever installed them didn't realize they need heat tracing lines, some ice protection for a box that's 100 feet up in the air. But, we had to learn all that stuff the hard way for fossil fuel sources also.

I still think we will have a mixed system for a long time. We will need surge capacity and capacity for maintenance of clean systems also. Don't put all those eggs in that one basket!

frozeninthenorth
frozeninthenorth

I really don't understand why wind farms in Texas are "frozen" it's like the UK's "wrong kind of snow". I live in Quebec, Canada, (you know just a little north of the US), every winter we get -20/-30c (very cold even in Fahrenheit).

Wind turbines work just fin...Now if you tell me that it's because when it gets very cold there is no wind...that I buy, but too cold, or a little ice, what the heck are these things made of?

AnotherJoe
AnotherJoe

@Mish

"The Biden Administration’s plan to banish fossil fuels is a greater existential threat to Americans than climate change."

The Biden administration is not planning to banish fossil fuels (Just like Obamas' didn't kill coal). Both are destined to go away because technology will replace them with something better (that happens to be cleaner). There will be disruptions during the transition. However, there will be a transition.
You keep bringing up China as the worst as far as CO2 goes and you are correct. Now imagine if China starts producing CO2 on a per-capital level as the US (the worst by far). See why going on a low CO2 diet is important? Do you want the US to lead on that technology or do you prefer other country to do it?

Finally, I'm with Bill Gates on the solution: Nuclear + Wind + Solar + Batteries

Doug78
Doug78

The European plan being put into place now is this. Use renewables during low use times to generate hydrogen through electrolysis. Store the hydrogen like we store natural gas and pipe it to needed areas using pipelines currently being used to transport natural gas. It is in theory carbon neutral, can use existing facilities with some modification and is extensible. You can use the gas-fired plants, the storage tanks and the pipelines like we use them today. No need for exotic batteries. Just need a lot more windmills and solar panels.

Sechel
Sechel

A more robust electric power grid and battery technology which is rapidly improving will go a long way. Hydrogen is also an untapped clean energy source which is gaining ground

RonJ
RonJ

“It’s long past time for the Senate to take a leading role in combating the existential threat of our time: climate,” said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Political propaganda. The elites always exempt themselves from what they want to force on the rest of us. By their actions, there is no climate crisis. They are gaming the American people.

Democrats are socialists and their "solution" is always socialism. Socialism is their goal, not saving the climate.

numike
numike

“Wind is renewable. Turbines are not.”
― Ozzie Zehner, Green Illusions

dgCanada
dgCanada

The existential threat of our time: hubris

RonJ
RonJ

"The $90 trillion proposal came from former US vice president Al Gore, former president of Mexico Felipe Calderon, and their colleagues on The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate."

"We cannot have these cities with low density, designed for the use of cars," he said.

I can't imagine the homes of the Hollywood elites in Beverly Hills being razed to put in high rise apartment buildings for the masses and i can't imagine the colleagues on the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, stooping to take mass transit, along with the common folk they want to force this on.

Greggg
Greggg

There's the old energy oligarchs who were losing CONgress to the green energy oligarchs. It's going to be an interesting Biden Administration. Don't you just love being the victim of third party transactions?

Captain Ahab
Captain Ahab

You couldn't see this coming?

Greggg
Greggg

Biomass Green Energy is the future in Michigan. Trees, plastic, car tires. If it burns, it's great. Hell, they even burn detroit down once in a while because it's tradition.

Sechel
Sechel

I had to do a google search. In fact your position in coal is consistent. At least it was compared to a previous post from 2006. I honestly don't remember this position being stated before.

Six000mileyear
Six000mileyear

Or maybe population control could be used to reduce energy consumption. But then the global debt structure would collapse without enough slaves to support it.

nzyank
nzyank

Saying C02 is not a pollutant is a diversionary argument - technically correct, but it is the atmospheric concentration that is the concern. Kind of like claiming the canary died from natural causes...

True, China represents the biggest increase in CO2, but the US is by far the leader in per capita CO2 emissions.

For our kids sake, I would hate to be wrong about CO2. Any solution needs to be global in nature, but with US and world divisiveness, good luck with that...

Rbm
Rbm

Well guess the gas well heads are freezing up to. So cant just say wind power is to blame.

Realist
Realist

“Hello Clean Energy Advocates, What Do We Do When the Wind Turbines are All Frozen?”

LOL! This is one of those topics that you still don’t get Mish.

Lack of electric power also shuts down oil and gas pipelines as you mentioned in your previous article from this twitter post:

“#Explorer Pipeline shut down all mainline systems at midnight last night in response to power curtailment and rolling blackouts that started in the Texas area. We are planning to restart the mainline systems Wednesday at noon. -ENT”

The fact that weather, and a hundred other things can shut down any source of energy, just shows that we need to diversify our energy to come from as many sources as possible. For example, hurricanes shut down oil rigs in the gulf, floods and wildfires shut down refineries, etc. It is far better to have as many energy sources as possible, including renewables.

“I am a big fan of natural gas and believe it is clean energy. The byproduct of burning natural gas is carbon dioxide and water. Neither is a pollutant in any way shape or form. Plants even need carbon dioxide to survive.”

Wow. I am almost at a loss for words. What happened to the Mish who wants to understand science? Nature requires a balance. While CO2 is necessary in our atmosphere, too little or too much of it is a bad thing. The result of excess CO2 (and other greenhouse gasses which man keeps pumping out) is a warming planet, melting ice, rising oceans, climate change, and hundreds of other effects.” Why you choose to ignore the science is a mystery.

“John Kerry is Biden's climate czar. He blamed 4 hurricanes on climate change as if throwing any amount of money at the alleged problem would have stopped the hurricanes.”

You are misinterpreting him, either deliberately, or because you don’t know any better. He did not say that climate change causes hurricanes. Global warming causes both surface and ocean temperatures to increase. Warmer water in the oceans is more fuel for hurricanes when they develop. This causes hurricanes to intensify faster, carry more water, and cause greater damage than they otherwise would have without the warmer waters. He was merely saying that hurricanes today are causing more damage, which is an extra cost we are already paying. You are choosing to ignore the science because you don’t want to hear it. Which is a characteristic of people you often complain about.

“Yet, despite the facts that US carbon output is shrinking, and the US only accounted for 14.5% of the total global footprint, the absurd push to eliminate all US carbon presses on.”

Now you are very confused. You earlier said that CO2 is a good thing, and here you are cheering the fact that US carbon output is decreasing. Which is it?

Plus, you said US carbon emissions have decreased to only 14.5% of the global total. Yet you neglected to mention the US has only 4% of the world’s population. You also complained about China’s horrible emissions. On a per capita basis, the US number is 15.5 and China is 7.38 (less than half).

“The free market, not populist ideas will solve real world problems.”

This is simply naïve. The free market can solve some problems, provided there is profit in it. But the free market cannot and will not solve all problems, particularly when there is no profit to be had. Problems such as pollution, ozone, child labour, slavery, etc will not be solved by the free market. In many cases, the free market will fight tooth and nail to prevent solutions from happening.

To summarize: Reality is that global warming, and the resultant climate change are well understood by science. (odd that Mish keeps ignoring that) Because it is a global problem, it will require global solutions, which will require global cooperation. Mish’s article today is an excellent example of why we will not achieve much in the way of global cooperation. Because everyone points fingers at everyone else and expects “them” to do the hard work, while doing nothing themselves. In addition, if people keep ignoring the science, because they don’t like what they hear, they won’t become part of the solution. Which is why global warming will continue unabated for a very long time, and the costs we pay will continue to go up.

I will reiterate my offer to discuss the science of global warming with anyone who cares to participate. No one ever steps up to discuss or debate the science with me. Much like Mish, when he offers to debate why deflation is not a bad thing. No takers.

How about it Mish? We could start with green house gasses, such as CO2. Let’s discuss a bit of science that we already know and understand. No links to other sites. Just a friendly discussion between a couple of science nerds.

njbr
njbr

Oh fer gawds sake.....

It's 25 below zero in Minnesota and the windmills here are churning out power.

So it's a lack of foresight to assemble freeze-proof systems.

The South Texas nuke plant has been down since 5 am due to frozen pipes (2400MW lost there--the big culprit).

Again, a lack of foresight to assemble freeze-proof systems.

The Texas grid is cut off from the rest of the US because, because, Texas. So no load sharing with librul states that know how to do cold weather.

PostCambrian
PostCambrian

I think that your biases are showing. Refineries and electricity generators shut down to natural gas pipelines freezing up. Wind turbines are actually putting out more electricity than anticipated although they are having problems. Cold weather affects all sorts of equipment. Be informed, not biased. Texas probably needs to do more to protect their natural gas pipelines. See

A couple of excerpts:

Even so, wind generation has actually exceeded the grid operator’s daily forecast through the weekend.

While ice has forced some turbines to shut down just as a brutal cold wave drives record electricity demand, wind only comprises 25% of the state’s energy mix this time of year. The majority of outages overnight were plants fueled by natural gas, coal and nuclear, which together make up more than two-thirds of power generation during winter.

njbr
njbr

Minnesota is MUCH colder with temps to minus 50F

Still have power. Nuke plant running. Wind turbines turning. Natural gas lines flowing. Peaking coal and gas plants running plants.

Cars start after sitting out all night. Workers going to work. We can drive in snow and ice.

Preparation. That's how it's done.

Is Texas the coming state, or a failed experiment?

njbr
njbr

Electric generating plants did not properly winterize their equipment, said Dr. David Tuttle in the latest episode of the Y’all-itics political podcast. Tuttle is a research associate with the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin.

"There are things that can be done, but it will cost some money," he added. "About every decade we have these long-sustained periods. And then, you know weatherization is supposed to happen, and then, it doesn't because it costs money."

ERCOT said almost 34,000 megawatts of electricity has been forced off the system. On average, a single megawatt can power about 500 homes.

This isn’t the first time that weatherization has been an issue with equipment failure and rotating outages in Texas.

In August 2011, six months after an ice storm crippled much of the state and resulted in rotating outages, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation issued a report with recommendations.

"Generators and natural gas producers suffered severe losses of capacity despite having received accurate forecasts of the storm," the report states. "Entities in both categories report having winterization procedures in place. However, the poor performance of many of these generating units and wells suggests that these procedures were either inadequate or were not adequately followed."

That investigation revealed what happened in 2011, also happened in 1989, which is the first time ERCOT ever implemented rotating outages.

"The experiences of 1989 are instructive, particularly on the electric side. In that year, as in 2011, cold weather caused many generators to trip, derate, or fail to start. The [Public Utility Commission of Texas] investigated the occurrence and issued a number of recommendations aimed at improving winterization on the part of the generators.

These recommendations were not mandatory, and over the course of time implementation lapsed. Many of the generators that experienced outages in 1989 failed again in 2011," the investigation discovered.

Fast forward a decade and here we are again.

Winterizing equipment – making sure it can sustain extended periods of below-freezing temperatures – has never been a requirement in Texas like other states.

"All of us would love to say, we want super reliable [electricity]," Tuttle said. "It would be millions to really bulletproof the system for that. How much do we want to pay to go protect ourselves with insurance policies for rare events?"

It’s a fair point. Rotating outages are rare in Texas, only happening about every decade or so.

But in dangerous cold, like much of what has enveloped the state this week, lives could be put at risk since many people are trapped at home, unable to leave because of treacherous travel conditions. Not to mention, some older individuals live in poorly insulated homes.

But Texas lawmakers are asking questions, again.

With the legislature currently in session, it’s likely that this situation will get the attention of state leaders.

"The Texas power grid has not been compromised," wrote Gov. Greg Abbott, R-Texas, on Twitter Monday afternoon. "The ability of some companies that generate the power has been frozen. This includes the natural gas & coal generators. They are working to get generation back online."

As it manages the emergency, ERCOT defended its winter plan.

"This event was well beyond the design-parameters for a typical or even extreme Texas winter that you would plan for," said Woodfin, with ERCOT. "They began as rotating outages but they’re [now] controlled outages and they are lasting longer than what would normally happen because of the magnitude."

But history says Texas should have known better. But what’s the price we’re willing to pay?

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Realist
Realist

C'mon Mish. Surely you have read all the replies to your story. Not even an "oops" from you?

truthseeker
truthseeker

Ok Mish just saw this. I don’t have time to respond as I would like. Been trying to get help for both my kids and their families in Houston and Dallas still without electricity. You are absolutely right of course that moving away from fossil fuels is a potential existential crisis way worse than climate change itself. Yet to try to make that point with this unbelievable storm that’s going to last all week down here in Texas, may actually hurt this point you or we are trying to make. If we just totally forget the storm, wind, solar and promising new battery technology will never replace natural gas without subsidies, and the environmentalists hate nuclear do they not? I could resend that article I sent you but that’s old news. Sorry can’t contribute more at this time.

guidoamm
guidoamm

Having been convinced that their North Sea cost will become the new riviera, Sweden planted thousands of turbines off shore. Then they install small diesel generators to keep the machinery warm. When the turbines freeze nonetheless, they overfly with helicopters to defrost the blades and gears.

Kimo
Kimo

I doubt that wind mills return much more energy than they consume to create, transport, maintain, and decommission. Natural gas is nice, but storage unfriendly and nonrenewable. Measure GDP in sun energy harvested, and then it's off to the races.

Jojo
Jojo

What's needed is a backup system for when the wind doesn't blow. I have the solution!

Attach hamster wheels to each turbine. When the wind doesn't blow, hire the unemployed or illegal aliens to walk the wheels. This will spin the blades, generate power and the workers can earn some money. Killing two birds with one stone!

Jojo
Jojo

"One day after Kerry's ridiculous rant, I noted GM to Phase Out Gas-Powered Vehicles by 2035"

so GM is giving up on apartment dwellers, who generally don't have access to electricity outside their apartments.

As I keep repeating, the solution is hydrogen fuel cells, not batteries.

GeorgeWP
GeorgeWP

New wind or solar is cheaper than new coal or gas in most of the world. Green power is suited to small networked supply from many commercial and domestic supplies. Similar to the internet it should be deployed so that supplies can be moved around. Not based on a a few big local suppliers. This provides a more robust and secure supply. More secure from attack than a few big coal plants as well.

But certainly some situations need fossil fuels or nuclear. But doesn’t that make it more urgent to move to renewables. Unless you believe fossil fuels supply is endless then we need to avoid wasting it where we can use renewables instead !!

Sechel
Sechel

My own experiece being on the board of managers on my condo shows that a great deal can be accomplished simply on the consumption side. Simply swittching from incandescent bulbs to LED's not only reduced energy consumption but resulted in cost savings for the building. Things like VFD's allow motors to run more efficiently, revolvig doors in the lobby to retain more heat in the winter or cool air in the summer are also huge energy savers. Other item that also cut consumption but have a lower ROC depending on when they are done are switching to COGEN. It's best done whe replacing a boiler. For older buildings energy insulated windows. Our building is only 20 years old but older buildings are extremely energy inefficient.

Doug78
Doug78

I agree with 90% of what Mish says on this post.

Steve_R
Steve_R

A mix of ice and snow swept across the country this weekend as temperatures plunged below zero in the upper Midwest and into the teens in Houston. Cold snaps happen—the U.S. also experienced a Polar Vortex in 2019—as do heat waves. Yet the power grid is becoming less reliable due to growing reliance on wind and solar, which can’t provide power 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Power outages in adverse weather conditions are usual local lines. Deregulation of the power companies has put pressure on the rural communities. Every new company into the power business is after the gravy, power generation without the expense of the local loops. Same goes for when the wild fires out west occur. Large companies have several options where the local consumers has very few.

Jim56
Jim56

Right on he money Mish, by the way does John Kerry heat his house with wind, guess not.

FromBrussels
FromBrussels

Unlike what the Neo Socialist Green Con Pundits want us to believe, there is nothing like 'a free lunch', is there ?

Tatsoi
Tatsoi

Actually it was the gas pipelines that froze, there's so little wind energy it could never cause a price spike of this magnitude.

hudder1
hudder1

Good news with them shut down our cancer patients will decrease according to TRUMP.

KidHorn
KidHorn

Wind and solar will never replace water driven turbines. Too unreliable. Hydroelectric is the best source of energy IMO. problem is you need a mountainous valley with a big river flowing through it. And they're very expensive to build and operate.

Nuclear is the next best option. Nuclear power technology has progressed a lot since the 60's when most nuclear power plants were built. They can be built much safer and more efficient.

Electric cars are the future, but they're less energy efficient than a ICE. You're replacing less energy from fuels with more energy from whatever boils water at the power plant. Their primary faults are there are more energy conversion steps and they weigh a lot more. They also go through tires at a much faster rate. That and battery disposal are going to be big ecological issues in our future.

Saxxonknight
Saxxonknight

Coal has pollutants, however they can be mitigated to fractional quantities with technology thays been in use for over 20 years. It is more labor intensive, but ultimately still cheaper than wind or CNG without fracking.

IE particulates are removed with a baghouse FFDC (Fabric Filter Dust Collector) and the ash can be recycled for use in flash fill, wallboard etc. SO2 is removed with dry scrubbers that use lime to react and remove the Sulphur (makes gypsum, thus the ash use in wallboard). NOx can be controlled with ammonia injection as it is on CNG units. Similar with mercury. CO2 can be recaptured and used industrially, however it is not as cost effective as current production methods but if it makes you feel better...

Bottom line, coal is dirt, burning dirt and getting energy is a win. Petrochemicals have other uses than fuel like lubricants, chemicals, plastics and medicine as well as strategic fuel for defense.