Good summary of what went wrong with the TX grid. I am going to try to explain what happened on the natural gas supply chain.

TL;DR: Combination of extended cold, unique basin properties, old pipes, and gas/electricity dependence. Thread. 1/…
First, here's the natural gas supply chain. The parts that failed were in 3 areas:

1) oil & gas wells
2) Gathering lines
3) Equipment malfunction at power plants
4) Outage cut power to compressor stations that moved gas

+Other long-term issues like limited storage in TX. 2/
1) Why did O&G wells fail?

Permian basin is a liquids-rich basin. In addition to gas, wells also produce oil & water. For e.g., for every barrel of oil produced, you bring up 2-3 barrels of water.

In extended cold, water freezes and blocks the flow of gas from the well.
2) Let's say the wells were okay.

Products (oil/gas/water) then go to a separator where they get, well, separated. Again, potential for water and liquids to freeze on unprotected pipes or valves to fail (get stuck). In places like ND/Canada, they're often enclosed in buildings.
3) Let's say separator was okay.

Next comes gathering lines, that take the gas+liquids to a processing facility where gas gets cleaned up.

In the Permian, gathering lines are old, exposed to elements (criss-crossy lines below), & prone to leaks/failure. Cold made it worse.
If any one of the above had failed for an extensive period of time, gas production would fall fast. Most likely, all of them failed at some point.

Interestingly, interstate transmission pipelines were mostly okay, but they were rendered useless by upstream + downstream issues.
Finally, to make things worse, the sudden electricity outages resulted in some gas compressor stations losing power.

Which means enough pressure could not be maintained along transmission lines that supply gas to power plants. More plants shut down.
Finally, power plants had their own issues - look what Entergy personnel found at their generating station.
So, that's it.

The gas supply chain is premised on a sequential chain of operations that must all work together. During the cold snap, they failed. The cold, the aging infrastructure, the dependency on gas for heat & electricity all contributed to the cascading failure. /End

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More from @arvindpawan1

11 Dec 20
Today's @Ben_Geman generate shows that #methane venting and flaring in TX and ND reached record highs in 2019.

This has serious implications for the lifecycle GHG emissions of natural gas power plants. US average leakage rate masks a lot of variation. 1/…
So, Alan Strayer - UG student in our lab, painstakingly traced gas flow from production basins to power plants to estimate state-specific leakage rates.

US avg. leak rate is ~2%, but states in the Midwest/SW have far higher leakage while states in NE/SE are lower. 2/ Image
Part of this is because of high venting/flaring as @Ben_Geman reports, in the Permian & Bakken basins, but also Canadian imports.

Looking at power plants by state, we see that states in MW/SW have higher emissions intensity than plants in the NE. 3/ Image
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Folks citing direct employment numbers in the gas industry in PA to suggest Biden is wrong on his "no fracking ban" policy don't get the ecosystem of people in these communities. It's not just a job - it's family, it's small businesses, & entire communities that will be affected.
I have been in these towns, I collect data in these towns, & it's not hard to see how entire community revolves around an industry.

It's not just a job, it's a way of life.

To suggest that it's only 10K jobs or votes is patronizing, elitist, reductive, and importantly, wrong.
I am one of the few in this country to engage with this issue intellectually while also forging a personal connection with these towns & workers.

And I have come to understanding their perspective, their hopes & challenges, and how we should really talk about energy transition.
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Important context:

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7 Nov 19
I keep getting hate mails, so let me explain.

In any context, using "population control" or "population reduction" is never okay.

Your intentions may not be malicious, but given the genocidal history of that phrase, it is best to not use that framing.…
Population growth in developed countries is below what's need to maintain a steady population.

So, when you're referring to "population reduction", you're specifically referring to the developing world.

Here's global fertility rate, where <2.3 is below replacement rate.
And saying population should be reduced when referring to the developing world has a long history in racism, eugenics, forced sterilizations, and other unspeakable horrors in our history.

This isn't new. There's a long history of well-funded Malthusian overpopulation alarmism.
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3 Nov 19
What disappoints me so much is people I admire talking about the developing world in a flippant & superficial way.

“Solar is the answer.”
“X country can leapfrog to EVs.”

And yet when talking about their work, typically centered on the West, they delve into nuance & complexity.
Whether these simplistic narratives are correct is beside the point.

They reinforce a damaging & imperialistic view of the developing world - that solutions to their challenges are easy & obvious, if only they listened to us.

This is getting into white man’s burden territory.
The developing world is at least as complex and nuanced as the developed world and is as worthy of careful study.

It’s perfectly okay to say “I’m not an expert on country X” if that’s not your area of research.
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27 Sep 19
I don't know why #degrowth keeps popping up.

As someone whose family was once poor and lived in a developing country, let me say that it's a preposterous suggestion.

We must fight for *sustainable* growth, lifting billions into the middle class. Degrowth is not an option.
I am so amazed by the thoughtful and sincere engagement from a range of voices on this important issue. Thank you all.

I have gotten a lot of useful material to read (which I will, ever so slowly), but here are a few things I've learnt:
1. Many are rightfully concerned about wealth inequality & justice, both nationally & globally.

Both these issues require major changes in how our economy works. The key to this is finding solutions towards sustainable and egalitarian growth. Effective policies will help.
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