A year ago today my wife @JuliaCWebber and I evacuated France. Our daughter called us at 2:30 am Paris to say President Trump was shutting down the borders. We got up, packed a duffel bag for each of us & our 14 yo son, shut down the house and left for the airport. It was scary.
The Trump Administration did not coordinate with airlines, airports, or border officials. It was mayhem. It didn't have to be.

It was unnecessary. Trump's announcement misrepresented basic facts about his policies, which made evacuations of returning expatriates more expensive and difficult than they needed to be.

Trump claimed that returning Americans were being tested for COVID. That was FALSE.

BTW, the day before -- on March 11 -- my wife and I looked at the data and had already concluded that we needed to evacuate France. We had booked tickets for Saturday March 14th. Trump's sudden announcement accelerated plans.

It was also clear that the USA would have a tougher time (e.g. more deaths) than France because we were in denial about what was about to happen.

To be fair, France was also initially in denial. But France figured things out much more quickly.

We left our home in France with <2 hours' notice. Went back 3 months later to move out for real. In the meantime we were first-world refugees: living out of a duffel bag and without our stuff, but always had food an shelter.

On March 11, 2020 I predicted (based on reading predictions of experts) that we could reach 0.5M fatalities. Sadly, I was correct.

It has been a crazy year for everyone. I know many people suffered and I also know a lot of people who stepped up to help their neighbors. I wish our state and federal leadership had acted more swiftly, truthfully, and competently. But they didn't. Let's fix that for next time.
Here are pictures of us during our sudden evacuation from France a year ago. We woke up our 14 yo son at 230 am and said "good morning, grab a bag, we're leaving". We packed up the house and at 415 am we were in a taxi to the airport. He dealt with it all quite well, frankly.

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More from @MichaelEWebber

27 Feb
I keep thinking about the interdependencies of the gas and power networks in Texas.

The natural gas system depends (partly) on power.

The power system depends (heavily) on natural gas.

This creates a risk of cascading failures from one to the other. [THREAD]
These two interdependent have two asymmetries, both of which benefit gas:

1) The power system has a price cap of $9000/MWh for generators in the wholesale market.

The gas system does not have a cap.
2) The power system is isolated in Texas and cannot lean on neighbors for help.

The gas system connects to national and international markets. Out-of-state providers can help fill in shortfalls of gas.
Read 8 tweets
23 Feb
Please consider this a public thank-you letter to @AustinEnergy for working around the clock to get the power back on and prevent an even bigger catastrophe.

People are mad. But believe me, it could have been worse. Their good decisions staved off a complete disaster. [THREAD]
In May 2020 I wrote for @ASMEdotorg that I considered utility workers to be society’s hidden heroes – after the Texas energy crisis I believe that is even more true today than before.

I know people are frustrated with the power outages-- I lost power for 2.5 days – I know what it was like.

Read 10 tweets
22 Feb
The Texas Energy Crisis makes me think of thermal energy storage for system resilience.

Can storage reduce electricity consumption? An equation for the grid-wide efficiency impact of using cooling thermal energy storage for load shifting doi.org/10.1088/1748-9… via @IOPscience
With a battery for energy storage it's an energy loser: 90% charging efficiency & 90% discharging efficiency gives 81% round-trip efficiency.

But with thermal storage, the system efficiency can actually be greater than 100% compared w/ baseline. How is that possible?
Power plants, transmission lines and A/Cs all have lower efficiency when it's hot. By using thermal storage we can charge the system (such as making ice or chilling water) at night when it's cooler and when those systems have higher performance.
Read 4 tweets
7 Feb
I know there’s a lot of #EnergyTwitter discussion about electric heating as part of a society-wide decarbonization strategy. Let me share with you some details about how this might look in France.

In brief: it will be hard to electrify heating in France. [THREAD]
Here is the rate of energy use across all sectors for the entire country of France in a year with typical weather. The peak demand occurs in the evening of January or February and is driven primarily by the need to heat buildings.
The peak demand of ~280 GW in France is met by:

~85 GW electricity
~105 GW gas
~50 GW biomass & district heating/cooling
~45 GW of oil/coal

The lowest demand in the summer holidays is ¼ of peak demand.
Read 10 tweets
7 Feb
I teach Entrepreneurship @UTAustin w/ @ATI_UT so I think about biz models.

Viral videos have their own biz model but I never knew the details until I had my own. My video of Paris traffic had ~5M views and I earned $495.01 from news orgs to show it.

I earned ~$0.0001/view, which is a good data point to have. Generally speaking for other social media platforms of content creators I estimate the monetizable value to be ~$0.01 to $0.10 per follower/subscriber, 2-3 orders of magnitude higher than a random one-off viral video.
I also discovered there is an entire cottage industry of media companies that reach out to owners of viral videos to help manage licenses for a cut of the fees. As my video was taking off about a half dozen companies DM'ed me saying they can handle licenses for a cut of the fees.
Read 8 tweets
13 Jul 20
Hey #EnergyTwitter – Tulsa is in the news for many reasons. The 1921 race massacre, Trump’s rally last month, and the recent Supreme Court ruling. But Tulsa and Oklahoma are important to the history of energy and have been featured in Hollywood films. [A Thread]
If you want to read a fascinating book about how Native Americans in Oklahoma were murdered for their oil, then read “Killers of the Flower Moon”

The Osage Murders overlapped with the birth of the FBI. The book is in development for a movie directed by Martin Scorsese @scorsesemartin and starring Leonardo Di Caprio @LeoDiCaprio and Robert De Niro

Read 11 tweets

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