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ERCOT, PUC, and deregulation got us here


cactusflinthead

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5 minutes ago, kevwun said:

I think in a few months when most folks forget about this, I'm going to invest in a whole home propane generator.  Fuck depending on this State for anything.

My dad has a 22kw generac tied into his house in the hill country. It has kicked on a few times out there this event, and a couple times in past as well.  It has paid for itself a few times over already. Now he is worried about running his propane out though. 

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32 minutes ago, gmr548 said:

Abbott is going to go into an election having overseen the ERCOT/PUC mess, spent four years on his knees for Trump, going against public opinion on mask mandates, Texas being among the worst per capita vaccination states, and loudly opposing popular stimulus/relief policy out of the Biden administration.

And he will win comfortably.

Unless he loses the primary to a Q nut....which means we'll have a Q nut for governor. 

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3 minutes ago, Anastasis said:

My dad has a 22kw generac tied into his house in the hill country. It has kicked on a few times out there this event, and a couple times in past as well.  It has paid for itself a few times over already. Now he is worried about running his propane out though. 

Our local propane company is good, so I'm not too worried about getting my tank filled if we would need it during an event.  I can also get a bigger one to make it less of an issue.  I figure it will be easier than trying to get diesel anyway.

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27 minutes ago, cactusflinthead said:

There's no one making the upgrades. 

I know after Ike, Centerpoint did start upgrading.  

Let's be clear, there are multiple issues going on here.

1.  Generation - For the most part, the companies that supply your electricity the last 100 feet are not the ones generating the MWs.  Some of them do (Reliant comes to mind), but a lot are just supplying the commodity.  For those that own the assets, this is where a capacity market needs to function.  In PJM or NYISO (it has been a number of years since I worked in power), you were required to have capacity to service your load.  If you did not own the actual capacity, you could buy it in a capacity auction.  It incentivizes investments and improvements so that plants are the most efficient that they can be.  

Right now, this is the biggest issue for ERCOT.  New baseload generation isn't coming online anymore.  Further, owners are not spending the money to weatherize facilities for events like this (remember, this is the second in 10 years as the last one was in 2011 when North Texas got hit.  There are coal plants that have gone offline because they are not economic to run (nat gas has been much cheaper and the spark spread is positive while the dark spread is negative).  However, this has been compounded by gas supply issues as both production of nat gas/oil is down due to the cold AND the pipelines are not working properly, so the nat gas fleet is also down at the moment.  That is what is causing the outages.  Though why downtown Houston and Austin were completely lit up when people are without power, I do not know.=. 

2.  Transmission and infrastructure - This is owned by one company.  For the Houston area, that is Centerpoint.  For Central Texas, it is Oncor.  In Austin, a lot of it is Austin Energy.  They own the lines.  In most bills, they charge your retail energy provider.  Usually you see a "Transmission Charge."  This is what is supposed to reimburse these companies (with a small margin) to maintain.  Again, not sure if that charge is enough for wholesale improvements.  I doubt it.  Infrastructure is expensive.  Hell, here we have a water main break almost constantly causing massive street and subway flooding.  Why?  Cause replacing 100 year old pipes underground is fucking expensive.  And while downed lines due to trees breaking, etc.. is causing some of the outages, this is not the massive reason for this outage (it is on the supply side here).

 

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32 minutes ago, Js1 said:

Infrastructure, you say? Well shit, if Texas had real representation in Congress and not the likes of Cruz, Cornyn, Gohmert, etc, they’d be lobbying the Biden admin to include energy infrastructure in the infrastructure bill and be negotiating to get Texas a cut. 

But government bad. Socialism! POOR PEOPLE! 

While getting some help from the feds would be nice, I think that ERCOT needs to change its market structure.  This isn't a one time improvement.  They need to add a capacity market, rather than just being energy only.  Also, they need to remove all price caps and let the energy market clear.  Capping electricity at 9k per MWH means that during high demand events, demand will always outstrip supply because the market clearing price is falsely low.

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3 minutes ago, PenelopeWitherspoon said:

I know after Ike, Centerpoint did start upgrading.  

Let's be clear, there are multiple issues going on here.

1.  Generation - For the most part, the companies that supply your electricity the last 100 feet are not the ones generating the MWs.  Some of them do (Reliant comes to mind), but a lot are just supplying the commodity.  For those that own the assets, this is where a capacity market needs to function.  In PJM or NYISO (it has been a number of years since I worked in power), you were required to have capacity to service your load.  If you did not own the actual capacity, you could buy it in a capacity auction.  It incentivizes investments and improvements so that plants are the most efficient that they can be.  

Right now, this is the biggest issue for ERCOT.  New baseload generation isn't coming online anymore.  Further, owners are not spending the money to weatherize facilities for events like this (remember, this is the second in 10 years as the last one was in 2011 when North Texas got hit.  There are coal plants that have gone offline because they are not economic to run (nat gas has been much cheaper and the spark spread is positive while the dark spread is negative).  However, this has been compounded by gas supply issues as both production of nat gas/oil is down due to the cold AND the pipelines are not working properly, so the nat gas fleet is also down at the moment.  That is what is causing the outages.  Though why downtown Houston and Austin were completely lit up when people are without power, I do not know.=. 

2.  Transmission and infrastructure - This is owned by one company.  For the Houston area, that is Centerpoint.  For Central Texas, it is Oncor.  In Austin, a lot of it is Austin Energy.  They own the lines.  In most bills, they charge your retail energy provider.  Usually you see a "Transmission Charge."  This is what is supposed to reimburse these companies (with a small margin) to maintain.  Again, not sure if that charge is enough for wholesale improvements.  I doubt it.  Infrastructure is expensive.  Hell, here we have a water main break almost constantly causing massive street and subway flooding.  Why?  Cause replacing 100 year old pipes underground is fucking expensive.  And while downed lines due to trees breaking, etc.. is causing some of the outages, this is not the massive reason for this outage (it is on the supply side here).

 

Y'know why they have been replacing gas lines in Dallas? Because it's cheaper than litigation. 

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7 minutes ago, Aqua Buddha said:

LIBERATE TEXAS!!!!

If this situation has taught me anything, it’s just how by the balls the government has you by with being on the grid. All they have to do is shut your power off in the middle of summer or winter, for any meaningful time, and half of Texas will die.

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2 minutes ago, cactusflinthead said:

Y'know why they have been replacing gas lines in Dallas? Because it's cheaper than litigation. 

Yeah, my wife has done some work on some of those projects.  One of the last she did happened because an explosion killed a few people.

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If this situation has taught me anything, it’s just how by the balls the government has you by with being on the grid. All they have to do is shut your power off in the middle of summer or winter, for any meaningful time, and half of Texas will die.

Isn’t the whole deal that it’s not the government in control of this at all due to deregulation?
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So how do I respond to a guy I work with in Indiana.  Total Fox News guy and he said all he is hearing is that this issue is all because TX used solar and wind power and that is what the problem is.  I saw the other posts in this thread that this is not the case but this is the problem with Fox News lying to the public.  Somehow renewable energy will be seen as the bad guy in this Texas disaster by 100 million people in this country not living in TX.  Pisses me off.

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7 minutes ago, bluto said:


Isn’t the whole deal that it’s not the government in control of this at all due to deregulation?

Untangle this ball of wire for me, if you can, and let me know it’s it government, corporate or some hybrid:

ERCOT is a membership-based 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation, governed by a board of directors and subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature.

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5 minutes ago, Beantown Express 2.0 said:

So how do I respond to a guy I work with in Indiana.  Total Fox News guy and he said all he is hearing is that this issue is all because TX used solar and wind power and that is what the problem is.  I saw the other posts in this thread that this is not the case but this is the problem with Fox News lying to the public.  Somehow renewable energy will be seen as the bad guy in this Texas disaster by 100 million people in this country not living in TX.  Pisses me off.

Ask him to explain how solar and wind power is responsible.

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11 minutes ago, Beantown Express 2.0 said:

So how do I respond to a guy I work with in Indiana.  Total Fox News guy 

 

You can never ever, win an argument with them.  No amount of facts, logic, e.t.c.  So you can either just call him a dumbass, depending on your work situation, or  you just ignore it and realize it doesn't matter what you say to them. Ever.  

 

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8 minutes ago, Beantown Express 2.0 said:

So how do I respond to a guy I work with in Indiana.  Total Fox News guy and he said all he is hearing is that this issue is all because TX used solar and wind power and that is what the problem is.  I saw the other posts in this thread that this is not the case but this is the problem with Fox News lying to the public.  Somehow renewable energy will be seen as the bad guy in this Texas disaster by 100 million people in this country not living in TX.  Pisses me off.

Be forceful, those people are pussies and need bumper stickers to explain things

Dude below has written a small novel already in his profile

 

 

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Let's take a second to imagine how much worse this could have been, and will be, when the precip totals are as bad as were forecasted over as wide an area as they were once forecasted. Throw a near-statewide ice storm in there on top of all this, with power lines down from the Red River to the Gulf...I guess that would have alleviated demand, lol, but the outages would last for weeks for some. Maybe they will anyway, dunno, fml fuck all of our lives. 

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4 minutes ago, Pato del Muerto said:

These people already have the memes out of solar panels covered by snow and windmills locked up from ice and snow. 
 

This is exactly what he is telling me.  That being said he is a dumbass but I don’t think he is doing it on purpose.  He is just telling me what Fox News told him.  He assumes its the truth cause its the news.

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Just now, Biff Tannen said:

I wonder how one of Tesla’s battery banks/farms could have helped in this situation. Batteries do poorly in cold weather, but wonder if they could have provided enough of a stopgap to do anything. 

People in my neighborhood have the Tesla power wall and along with solar panels and have not had issues with the rolling blackouts because their batteries take over.  I plan on getting those once I decide on my new house situation.

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37 minutes ago, PenelopeWitherspoon said:

 

2.  Transmission and infrastructure - This is owned by one company.  For the Houston area, that is Centerpoint.  For Central Texas, it is Oncor.  In Austin, a lot of it is Austin Energy.  They own the lines.  In most bills, they charge your retail energy provider.  Usually you see a "Transmission Charge."  This is what is supposed to reimburse these companies (with a small margin) to maintain.  Again, not sure if that charge is enough for wholesale improvements.  I doubt it.  Infrastructure is expensive.  Hell, here we have a water main break almost constantly causing massive street and subway flooding.  Why?  Cause replacing 100 year old pipes underground is fucking expensive.  And while downed lines due to trees breaking, etc.. is causing some of the outages, this is not the massive reason for this outage (it is on the supply side here).

 

Improving transmission infrastructure shouldn’t be an issue. The owners get to build that into their rates charged by the electricity providers assuming it’s approved. Centerpoint has changed its business plan recently to increase capex to increase its operating income in the future.

This is a power generation issue and Texas simply doesn’t invest in the capacity/weather-proofing for these events.

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10 minutes ago, Beantown Express 2.0 said:

This is exactly what he is telling me.  That being said he is a dumbass but I don’t think he is doing it on purpose.  He is just telling me what Fox News told him.  He assumes its the truth cause its the news.

It takes little effort and zero thought to be a Republican voter. You tune into Fox News or one of its proxies, repeat what you hear, and consider yourself politically involved. When in doubt, blame George Soros. 

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12 minutes ago, Beantown Express 2.0 said:

This is exactly what he is telling me.  That being said he is a dumbass but I don’t think he is doing it on purpose.  He is just telling me what Fox News told him.  He assumes its the truth cause its the news.

You could also ask him to explain Germany and Canada. 
Of the top ten wind energy MW generating countries, Germany is third after China and the US, Canada is a little further down the list, can’t recall where exactly. Any place you can cross country ski that uses wind energy invalidates his argument. It’s probably simpler than getting into the specifics of how this all works. 

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33 minutes ago, DonkeyCigars said:

If this situation has taught me anything, it’s just how by the balls the government has you by with being on the grid. All they have to do is shut your power off in the middle of summer or winter, for any meaningful time, and half of Texas will die.

Now apply this for everything government has monopoly over.

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2 minutes ago, 956 Worldwide said:

Lulz at "ItS cAuSe oF sOlAr AnD wInD!"

Like clockwork with these clowns. Surprised Joe Biden and illegal immigrants haven't been invoked yet. 

"There's a caravan of brown people coming up from Mexico stealing your electricity that they get for free because of food stamps!"

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35 minutes ago, Beantown Express 2.0 said:

So how do I respond to a guy I work with in Indiana.  Total Fox News guy and he said all he is hearing is that this issue is all because TX used solar and wind power and that is what the problem is.  I saw the other posts in this thread that this is not the case but this is the problem with Fox News lying to the public.  Somehow renewable energy will be seen as the bad guy in this Texas disaster by 100 million people in this country not living in TX.  Pisses me off.

Tell him he's a fucking idiot for listening to those liars.

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33 minutes ago, Beantown Express 2.0 said:

So how do I respond to a guy I work with in Indiana.  Total Fox News guy and he said all he is hearing is that this issue is all because TX used solar and wind power and that is what the problem is.  I saw the other posts in this thread that this is not the case but this is the problem with Fox News lying to the public.  Somehow renewable energy will be seen as the bad guy in this Texas disaster by 100 million people in this country not living in TX.  Pisses me off.

Check out that texaggy link in the DT weather thread. Multiple posts per page with shit like:

#bidenblackout

thanks democrats

tweet Crenshaw until the gnd is killed! 

We are so fucking broken as a country that people in fucking Texas think this is on liberals. You just invent your own reality these days. 

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Republicans will never pass up the chance to make things worse after an emergency.  Lets blame all of this on wind and solar, so that we'll have even less power capacity the next time it happens.
Imagine being so stupid that you think less diversification in supply would solve a problem like this. Mind bottling.
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3 minutes ago, wildcat09 said:

Tell him he's a fucking idiot for listening to those liars.

I said that to him nicely.  He responded with a “wow, I wonder why they are saying that then?”  He, like many are probably so deep into their beliefs that no matter what Fox News puts out there they will believe even if their heart and brain tell them it isn’t true.  Maybe that is why he is a huge religious , Christian guy.  You know, doesn’t drink, curse, etc...

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9 minutes ago, 956 Worldwide said:

Lulz at "ItS cAuSe oF sOlAr AnD wInD!"

Like clockwork with these clowns. Surprised Joe Biden and illegal immigrants haven't been invoked yet. 

It works. And now Rs will say that we shouldn't start blaming anyone and we need to get more regulation for...wait for it...renewables. And they will win because messaging. The clockwork is well timed and effective. The issue is that these guys had their shit straight before they helped their own citizens. That's the issue.

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53 minutes ago, PenelopeWitherspoon said:

While getting some help from the feds would be nice, I think that ERCOT needs to change its market structure.  This isn't a one time improvement.  They need to add a capacity market, rather than just being energy only.  Also, they need to remove all price caps and let the energy market clear.  Capping electricity at 9k per MWH means that during high demand events, demand will always outstrip supply because the market clearing price is falsely low.

really good post.  here's a c&p from vistra's current 10-k, which is two weeks shy of being a year old but still relevant.

Quote

As an energy-only market, ERCOT's market design is distinct from other competitive electricity markets in the U.S. Other markets maintain a minimum planning reserve margin through regulated planning, resource adequacy requirements and/or capacity markets. In contrast, ERCOT's resource adequacy is predominately dependent on energy-market price signals. ERCOT implemented the Operating Reserve Demand Curve (ORDC), pursuant to which wholesale electricity prices in the real-time electricity market increase automatically as available operating reserves decrease below defined threshold levels, creating a price adder. When operating reserves drop to 2,000 MW or less, the ORDC automatically adjusts power prices to the established value of lost load (VOLL), which is set at $9,000/MWh. In 2019, ERCOT implemented a .25 standard deviation shift in the loss of load probability calculation using a single blended ORDC curve; these changes resulted in a more rapid escalation in power prices as operating reserves fall below defined thresholds. Subsequently, in 2020 ERCOT will implement an additional .25 standard deviation shift in the loss of load probability calculation, which is expected to result in a steeper price escalation during scarcity events in 2020 relative to 2019. Because ERCOT has limited excess generation capacity to meet high demand days due to its minimal import capacity, and peaking facilities have high operating costs, the marginal price of supply rapidly increases during periods of high demand. Historically, elevated temperatures in the summer months have driven high electricity demand in ERCOT. Many generators benefit from these sporadic periods of "scarcity pricing" in which power prices may increase significantly, up to the current $9,000/MWh price cap. Other than during periods of "scarcity pricing," the price of power is typically set by natural gas-fueled generation facilities; as a result, historically low natural gas prices have had a corresponding impact on wholesale prices 

 

 

 

15 minutes ago, hornmpa96 said:

Improving transmission infrastructure shouldn’t be an issue. The owners get to build that into their rates charged by the electricity providers assuming it’s approved. Centerpoint has changed its business plan recently to increase capex to increase its operating income in the future.

[b]This is a power generation issue and Texas simply doesn’t invest in the capacity/weather-proofing for these events. [/b]

it's really as simple as this.  which is why either 1.) that market cap at $9k needs to go or 2.)  we force the suppliers to maintain a minimal maintenance status wherein they can be brought online to produce within a week's notice.

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5 minutes ago, Beantown Express 2.0 said:

I said that to him nicely.  He responded with a “wow, I wonder why they are saying that then?”  He, like many are probably so deep into their beliefs that no matter what Fox News puts out there they will believe even if their heart and brain tell them it isn’t true.  Maybe that is why he is a huge religious , Christian guy.  You know, doesn’t drink, curse, etc...

How old does he think the earth is?

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3 minutes ago, Beantown Express 2.0 said:

I said that to him nicely.  He responded with a “wow, I wonder why they are saying that then?”  He, like many are probably so deep into their beliefs that no matter what Fox News puts out there they will believe even if their heart and brain tell them it isn’t true.  Maybe that is why he is a huge religious , Christian guy.  You know, doesn’t drink, curse, etc...

I’d be comfortable sharing the tweet novel from Jesse Jenkins above. That guy has both his PhD in Engineering Systems and Masters from MIT which should be a little better than “why are these people saying that then.”

 

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58 minutes ago, DonkeyCigars said:

If this situation has taught me anything, it’s just how by the balls the government has you by with being on the grid. All they have to do is shut your power off in the middle of summer or winter, for any meaningful time, and half of Texas will die.

The other half will start complaining and looking for somebody to blame. I think about our forefathers going across the plains in a covered wagon with absolutely no foreknowledge of a northern that is about to hit them. 

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1 hour ago, Js1 said:

Infrastructure, you say? Well shit, if Texas had real representation in Congress and not the likes of Cruz, Cornyn, Gohmert, etc, they’d be lobbying the Biden admin to include energy infrastructure in the infrastructure bill and be negotiating to get Texas a cut. 

But government bad. Socialism! POOR PEOPLE! 

 

1 hour ago, Aqua Buddha said:

LIBERATE TEXAS!!!!

I can't wait for the hypocrisy of the people who were fine with denying CA aid for not raking federal forests, ie for being a "blue" state when there's a GOP president, being just fine with asking for money from the Biden administration.

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21 minutes ago, Doc Sam Beckett said:

Check out that texaggy link in the DT weather thread. Multiple posts per page with shit like:

#bidenblackout

thanks democrats

tweet Crenshaw until the gnd is killed! 

We are so fucking broken as a country that people in fucking Texas think this is on liberals. You just invent your own reality these days. 

I mean, Biden hasn’t even been in office for a month. But Trump was taking credit for Obama’s economy in the same time frame and they bought that so of course this is Biden’s fault.

How’s their 401K doing?

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