Harsh Winter in USA

Larry L.

Lifetime Supporter
Texans have always thought they do it better and bigger than anybody else, and the God made Texas for Texans. With that broad general statement said, that philosophy to do it alone extends to the the state's right to not cross state boundaries and avoid Federal requirements for electrical supply...and this is one of the results. So obviously I'm disappoint to a limited degree that the rest of the nation is going to help bail out folks who thought they didn't need or want any interfacing with the rest of the nation.
I feel the same way about federal taxpayers bailing out cities and states that have been fiscally mismanaged for decades...but, I'd catch hell if I went there...so... ;-)
 

Neil

Supporter
Texas joined the union under special circumstances and their status is not like other states. It's a complicated history.
 
^ interesting, as I recall that happened just prior to the civil war, when individual deals for statehood were being cut for political reasons.
 

Randy V

Admin
Lifetime Supporter
So the Austin newspaper article was fake news?
Let’s just call it what it is - Embellished News (in my opinion)... So many “news” organizations craft their headlines with half-truths via omission just to drag you in (clicks earn them money) and it’s left up to the reader to have to glean the rest of the story from the content. Many times that content is cropped due to space limitations or because it does not fit the agenda of the agency. I don’t know of very many agencies that will straight-up tell you the truth and trust you, the reader, to form your own conclusions...
 
According to that Austin, TX newspaper article (if you believe a newspaper from Austin), the wind turbines contribute 24.8% and solar 3.8% of the power in TX. Depending on these unreliable sources for 28.6% of your total electrical power is foolhardy.
Can you cite where they say it contributes 24.8%? I see "An ERCOT report on generating capacity listed the top sources of power in the state"

Capacity is different than contribution.
 
ok, I'll weigh in here since I live in Dallas and have been involved in energy procurement for commercial buildings for about 20 years so have a fair amount of knowledge on the subject.

It was a record cold event. Both temperature and duration. Never seen this before and certainly possible I never see it again.

Yes, much of Texas is on it's own grid. The primary issue this week was the loss of fuel generation capacity. We did lose some renewable energy sources at the same time, but that was a contributing factor, not a primary factor. Many of the power plants in the southern Texas area are not winterized like our northern neighbors. The loss of that generating capacity along with historic demand caused the grid operators to have to shed significant loads to protect the entire grid.

Texas has significant renewable energy generation. A lot of wind and an increasing amount of solar. We do not rely on that, but it certainly helps supplement our traditional fuel generation and it has replaced significant amounts of coal generation.

I would not be considered a radical environmentalist, but I certainly am a fan of being prudent with our resources. Wind and sun are plentiful here and I'm glad we're taking advantage of it.

Some of our issues this week are a result of really cheap electricity here. Generally, the price for electricity for commercial users is about $0.03 per kWh (plus the transmission costs and taxes). That's great for users, but makes it hard to justify the capital necessary to build more generation. Combine that with all the businesses and people moving here and it's not shocking that a historic weather event caused some disruptions.

The storms are behind us and it will be close to 70 here next week so we'll be grilling on our patios next week. And in our garages working on our cars. I'm not discounting the pain and real difficulties we faced this week, but we will get through it. Lessons learned and we'll be better prepared next time. This is Texas.

John
Great post.

John, this is not directed at you, just piling onto this response.

The politicization of windmills or solar is amazing to me. It is a source of energy, no different than burning natural gas or burning coal. Everything has an impact, windmills are ugly to look at and kill birds but don't create greenhouse gases. Coal Plants are smaller and have more consistent output but they produce greenhouse gases. The world is not black and white. It is also fascinating that on a site where people honor engineering talent and new ways of developing machines they throw a different type of energy source under the proverbial bus. As has been documented multiple times, fossil fuel plants in Texas shut down as well because they were not built to handle the extreme cold that happened.

Helping our environment isn't a bad thing.. I mean, we could always go back to having rivers catch fire from pollution because that was way better.
 
I feel the same way about federal taxpayers bailing out cities and states that have been fiscally mismanaged for decades...but, I'd catch hell if I went there...so... ;-)
I live in a deep red state where the pols and talk media are constantly bashing Ny or Ca and other blue states. 'We shouldnt help states that have mismanaged their affairs" is a constant mantra. They NEVER say out loud that we could not pave a side walk if not for the federal money we get from the taxpayers of those blue states .
 
^ amen. Bashing places like NY and Cali seems to be a form of recreation for some people. I've definitely encountered some reverse snobbery in my time, it's quite unpleasant.
 

Randy V

Admin
Lifetime Supporter
The power is back on, the snows melted, the water is fine and it was 73F today. I spent a couple of hours out working on the SLC and listening to Stevie Ray.
My new house is in Midlothian TX. I shut the water off and set the heat to 50 when we left it after closing on it the first week in December. I am wondering what - if any - damage I might see when we get there in a few weeks.
 
My new house is in Midlothian TX. I shut the water off and set the heat to 50 when we left it after closing on it the first week in December. I am wondering what - if any - damage I might see when we get there in a few weeks.
Randy,
That's not too far from me. Give me a shout when you get back. Happy to help if you need any.
John
 
My new house is in Midlothian TX. I shut the water off and set the heat to 50 when we left it after closing on it the first week in December. I am wondering what - if any - damage I might see when we get there in a few weeks.
Good news things are returning to normal. If water runs for more than a few seconds, kill it and investigate. Once had a power outage in the middle of winter with overnight lows in high teens/ low twenties, and I was sh-tting a brick re heat plumbing. Fortunately for me, no freeze issues.
 

Larry L.

Lifetime Supporter
The WILD winter weather much of the nation has seen this year - and the resulting horror stories - got me to thinkin':

Although massive power outages are not much of a risk here, we do have the occasional 'outage' (and I do mean "occasional"). Some have lasted for as long as 12-14 hours or so...and they've always seemed to happen in the dead of winter (around Christmas time usually...just as we're cooking Christmas dinner :mad: ). Rarely do we have 'nor-easters' that last a week or two with temps in the single digits (although that happens, too), but regardless, at my age, I don't want to deal with the aftermath which might result should any of that occur. ('Back in 1996, we had a DANDY 'nor-easter' here [3 feet of snow, mucho ice & temps at-or-below zero] that lasted for two weeks.)

So, I've decided, once our back deck is replaced this Spring, I'm going to have a natural gas-powered, 'automatic transfer'-equipped 10kW generator installed on said deck so that we can always be one step ahead of "Murphy" in the 'freeze-our-butts-off' department...not to mention avoid the remote possibility of storm-related, broken water pipe-caused, flood damage repairs and clean up that could result.

"An ounce of prevention" an all that.

Just call me spineless.

I need my morning coffee...
 

Randy V

Admin
Lifetime Supporter
Larry - The previous owner of the house I bought was a Paraplegic and on an oxygen machine so he had this 22kw generator installed. Supposedly it is linked by internet and cellular to monitor it. Since he has passed away, I need to do a hard reset of the system to get all that stuff hooked / linked up in my name... He died with all the codes and the keys to many things were lost.. It should be sufficient to supply 100amps worth of current until the large propane tank is empty..
 

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Bill Kearley

Supporter
Had a house full a few years ago. Power out for a week at 20 below C. Love my wood stove no power needed. Lite and coffee kept alive with a 2500 watt Honda. A good time for us but a lot of concern for others with frozen pipes.
 

Howard Jones

Supporter
Randy, if the water was turned off then not much else could happen to the house. You may have had anything that was liquid frozen. Like in the garage for example. The landscaping is toast. Depending on how the sprinkler backflow system is configured it may be damaged, but only if it doesn't get drained along with the rest of the system. If you have a pool then you should have someone go have a look at the equipment. The antifreeze system needs power to operate. Mine keep itself alive even with rolling blackouts. 1hr on 1hr off for two days.

You got a lot colder up north than I did 30 mines north of San Antonio.
 
The WILD winter weather much of the nation has seen this year - and the resulting horror stories - got me to thinkin':

Although massive power outages are not much of a risk here, we do have the occasional 'outage' (and I do mean "occasional"). Some have lasted for as long as 12-14 hours or so...and they've always seemed to happen in the dead of winter (around Christmas time usually...just as we're cooking Christmas dinner :mad: ). Rarely do we have 'nor-easters' that last a week or two with temps in the single digits (although that happens, too), but regardless, at my age, I don't want to deal with the aftermath which might result should any of that occur. ('Back in 1996, we had a DANDY 'nor-easter' here [3 feet of snow, mucho ice & temps at-or-below zero] that lasted for two weeks.)

So, I've decided, once our back deck is replaced this Spring, I'm going to have a natural gas-powered, 'automatic transfer'-equipped 10kW generator installed on said deck so that we can always be one step ahead of "Murphy" in the 'freeze-our-butts-off' department...not to mention avoid the remote possibility of storm-related, broken water pipe-caused, flood damage repairs and clean up that could result.

"An ounce of prevention" an all that.

Just call me spineless.

I need my morning coffee...
They are expensive but do work well. We had one with a bit of a finicky oil pressure sensor that I hot wired. I do think that if you have the means they are very useful for the few times you need them.
 
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