What are kilowatts, megawatt hours, and giga...whats?

The US power system uses metric prefixes. The most basic unit of energy is the watt. 1,000 watts = 1 kilowatt (KW). 1,000 kW = 1 megawatt (MW). 1,000 MW = 1 gigawatt (GW).
A kilowatt or megawatt indicates capacity or instant power demand/generation. A kilowatt hour or megawatt hour indicates power usage over time.

A microwave uses 1,000 watts of power.
If it runs for 1 hour, it consumes 1kWh of electricity.

A typical TX house uses 30kWh daily.
Power plants are often rated in megawatts. A typical wind turbine is about 2 MW's, meaning it can generate at max output 2MWh in a single hour, or 48MWh's in a day. Wind farms put together dozens of turbines, up to hundreds of MW's of capacity.
One nuclear power plant in Texas that went offline represented over 1,200 MW's of capacity. Or 1.2 GW's. If it operates all 24hrs, it would generate 28.8 GWh's.
The highest power usage for most of the state of Texas (the peak power usage) was 74,820 MW in Aug. '19. Total power plants are about 80GW. Earlier this week, power demand was approaching 70GW, but 10+GW of power plants were offline for maintenance. ercot.com/news/releases/….
So when there's 20,000-30,000 MW's of power plant capacity offline (or 20-30 GW's), that's a massive, massive problem.

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More from @SimonMahan

17 Feb
While debate rages over blackout causes (fossil fuels? market design?) few have pointed out transmission expansion planning failures. @aripescoe published this great paper (in January!) explaining why major utilities are hampering transmission planning. papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cf…
One aspect of RTO/ISO's is "transmission expansion planning". MISO's process is the MISO Transmission Expansion Plan MTEP. There are many *types* of transmission projects from small to big.
Small projects are 100% paid for by the local utility. Baseline Reliability Projects/"Other"/Age & Condition upgrades. Entergy has argued those projects don't need MISO review/approval. So, they're accepted as-is bottom-up projects.
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