The Lessons of the Texas Power Disaster

Today's @nytimes editorial cites and echoes my recent op ed on what went wrong in Texas and what it means for building a cleaner & more resilient energy system.
For more on what went wrong in Texas, see my op ed in the @nytimes here
For a forward looking view on how to ensure adequate firm resources in a clean electricity system, my seminar on The Critical Role of Clean Firm Resources here:
Finally, check out this week's issue of @TheEconomist, which has a cover story building on the @Princeton Net-Zero America study about how the United States can regain it's leadership on #ClimateAction and build a clean energy economy
The full Net-Zero America study can be read here:…

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More from @JesseJenkins

19 Feb
It takes a lot of gall -- or deliberate ignorance -- to see widespread failures of gas wells, pipelines, & power plants resulting in days-long loss of ~28,000 MW of thermal power plants, mostly gas, and say, "this proves we need more gas and coal plants!"
Some facts on the #TexasBlackouts for @KimStrassel and others peddling false narratives that do nothing but mislead and distract from the key steps Texans need to take.

1. ERCOT news release confirms 28,000 MW of thermal plant outages (mostly gas)…
2. "nearly half of the state’s natural gas production has screeched to a halt due to the extremely low temperatures, while freezing components at natural gas-fired power plants have forced some operators to shut down."…

#TexasFreeze #TexasBlackout
Read 7 tweets
18 Feb
PSA for reporters looking for good experts on how climate change is changing the risk profile for electricity systems and critical infrastructure, here's some recommended sources I know in the thread below...
1. Prof. A.R. Siders @sidersadapts focuses on how communities adapt to climate change and climate-related hazards…

2. Prof. Michael Craig @TheEnergyCraig studies how climate change impacts power systems…
3. Prof Sarah Fletcher @SFletcherH2O at Stanford studies adaptation and resilience of infrastructure systems in water and energy…

4. Prof Emily Grubert @emilygrubert at Georgia Tech studies decision making for water & energy systems…
Read 6 tweets
17 Feb
Update: it looks like the Texas Commission ordered ERCOT to be prepared to further increase electricity price cap from $9,000/MWh to up to 50x the spot price for natural gas, if necessary to keep incentive for gas generators to run.
That means is spot gas prices are above $180/MMBtu, the market price for electricity could rise above the $9,000/MWh cap that normally occurs during power supply scarcity. @EIAGov is reporting $350/MMBtu spot price in Houston today, so that may be in effect now!
Maybe they will do this retroactively? The current prices reported by ERCOT are still $9,000/MWh including adder to reflect demand shutoffs ongoing.…
Read 5 tweets
17 Feb
#TexasBlackout update, 9:24am Central time: the grid operator @ERCOT_ISO's latest data is STILL reporting over 30 GW of thermal generators offline. ERCOT's 'extreme' generator outage scenario planned for just 14 GW.
Wind power is also at only 1,000 MW, below ~1,500 MW ERCOT planned for in an 'extreme low wind' scenario. So that's not helping either, but a far smaller contribution to supply shortage than the 30,000 MW of thermal plant outages that have persisted since Monday morning.
Demand served now is 44,539 MW, well below ~69,000 MW of peak demand experienced on Sunday in similar temps as today. We can't know the counterfactual of how much demand there would be if supply was adequate, but its probably on order of 20,000 MW higher than current levels.
Read 12 tweets
16 Feb
This is not correct. The PUCT statement says NOTHING here about gas generators disconnecting. It says that the Commission directed ERCOT to raise electricity prices to $9000/MWh during demand disconnects to reflect the scarcity conditions underway. #TexasFreeze #TexasBlackout
ERCOT runs the state electricity market and operates the generation & distribution system. Early Sunday morning, as generators went offline due to various reasons, ERCOT initiated an emergency and directed distribution utilities to start demand shutoffs (shutting off substations)
The way ERCOT's electricity market is supposed to work, if there is involuntary demand shutoffs like this, the price should be at the maximum allowed price or price cap, which is $9,000/MWh (typical prices are $30-40/MWh for context).
Read 15 tweets
16 Feb
Morning. The #TexasFreeze continues & grid operator ERCOT is still reporting >31,000 MW of thermal generation capacity out as of 9AM CT. Down slightly from a peak of 34,000 MW reported yesterday afternoon (…) but still >40% of thermal capacity in state!
Wind power is currently producing about 4,000 MW, or 2/3 of the ~6,000 MW that ERCOT was counting on wind to contribute during winter peaking events. Solar is coming online now and helping during daytime, exceeding the <300 MW it is counted on for in system planning.
Main story continues to be the failure of thermal power plants -- natural gas, coal, and nuclear plants -- which ERCOT counts on to be there when needed. They've failed. Of about 70,000 MW of thermal plants in ERCOT, ~25-30,000 MW have been out since Sunday night. Huge problem.
Read 17 tweets

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