Texas vs California 2009 & 2019 @TheEconomist

TX today is like 1980s CA in terms of population (~30M) & politics (Republican).

Other than stints in Paris & Lausanne, Switzerland I have lived in TX or CA my entire life so this tension between their two examples fascinates me.
NOTE: California is symbolized with a surfboard in both instances. Texas with a cowboy hat. And, Texas has a petroleum-fueled jetski for transportation while CA's mode is propelled by renewable wave energy.
I've lived in TX for 3+ decades and in CA for 1+ decade. Both are amazing states.

A key difference: Texans are obsessed w/ CA, but Californians don't think about TX at all.

TX politicians rant about CA all the time for example w/slogans like "Don't California My Texas"
The landing page for the main website for Governor Abbott mentions CA 7 times and TX 5 times.

It's an obsession. And it makes me laugh. By fretting incessantly about CA, Texas politicos reveal the depths of their inferiority complex.

It's not just the governor: other elected officials including Senators Cruz and Cornyn do it, too. When CA is struggling with wildfires or social problems, they mock and heckle rather than offer to help or express sympathy.

Texas Republicans are obsessed with California.
Why would Texans spend so much time thinking about, ridiculing, or fearing Californians? And why do Californians pay no attention to Texans?

My theory: TX sees CA as a competitor. Whereas California sees Europe, Japan, and Australia as competitors. To them, Texas is irrelevant.
One refrain I've been hearing since the 1980s (when Lockheed expanded with a new site in Austin) is that Californians are leaving the state in droves and are going to ruin Texas.

Texans love these stories about high-profile companies (Tesla, Apple, EBay, Google,...) creating large outposts in Austin b/c it feels like vindication that the TX model has won and the CA model has lost.
What Texans fail to admit is that those companies were started in California and expand to Texas because we are paid less, our housing is cheaper, our labor laws are looser and it's easier to pollute. Just like China, we're the place where companies expand, not where they start.
Texans also fail to recognize that California has some inherent advantages that are irreplaceable.

Each announcement about a company adding a factory, warehouse, call center, or significant outpost in TX makes me happy for my native state. But it doesn't make me think CA has failed. However, if UC Berkeley or Stanford decide to relocate to Texas, then I'll take notice.
I really love the fact that I'm a native Texan and I love living in Texas today. I also loved living in California for 11 years. They both have remarkable strengths. Texas can solve and execute engineering problems at scale. Texas makes it easy to do business. But CA makes it...
easier to innovate, to dream big, and to launch new ventures that scale quickly.

CA is the land of opportunity. And TX is where you go to scale it up. So we both have our roles to play.
And, since it is my civic duty to add to the CA vs. TX rivalry where I can, please let me end this thread with this little tidbit:

Oh, one more thing --> @KateGalbraith did a really nice CA vs. TX piece in 2009 that I really like.

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More from @MichaelEWebber

30 Apr
Looks like someone made enough money from high gas prices over a few days during the Texas energy crisis to reduce debt and increase dividends.
BTW, buried in this story is that Chevron raised its dividend and Continental Resources reinstated its dividend. It's heartwarming to know that Texans freezing to death is good for business.
I'm reading through the filings for Continental Resources. They swung from a Q1 2020 loss of $200M to a Q1 2021 profit of $400M DESPITE producing 15% less energy. Keep in mind that Q1 2020 was barely touched by COVID. This shows how profitable the Texas Energy Crisis was.
Read 10 tweets
23 Apr
The Texas Oil & Gas Association (TXOGA) paid ENVERUS to prepare a report.

The report says gas = good & wind/electricity = bad

Are you surprised that a consulting company gave its customer a report that makes them look good?

The report is highly flawed. Let’s dig in. [THREAD]
Main problem: It says that gas supply disruptions were because of power outages rather than the other way around.

But that doesn’t make sense from an engineering perspective: gas supplies started to fail Feb 10-12 & load shedding in ERCOT didn’t begin until 1:20 a.m. Feb 15.
The report makes a fundamental mistake, confusing OUTAGES for LOAD SHED. There are always outages, but rarely load shed.

This mistake undermines the entire logic of the report's conclusions. This sequence (gas failed first, power failed second) is critical, yet they missed it.
Read 13 tweets
21 Apr
In 2009 TX had <7 MW of total installed solar capacity, almost entirely rooftop PV and 0 MW utility-scale.

In 2021 installed solar is 8+ GW (up >1000x) of utility-scale alone, not including rooftop PV.

That TX would eventually dominate the solar market was entirely obvious.
Here is an article I wrote for @ASES_Solar "Solar Today" magazine in November/December 2009 where my co-author Erin Keys and I explain the positive fundamentals of the TX solar market and predicted "don't be surprised if Texas takes the lead in solar generation."
What are the fundamentals that make Texas such a hotspot for solar farms?

*Lots of cheap, flat sunny land

*Robust transmission infrastructure

*Competitive markets that reward low marginal cost generators

*Ease of permitting/construction

*Weak enviro opposition (cont'd)
Read 7 tweets
25 Mar
Winter Storm Uri 5+ weeks ago knocked out power, heat & water to millions of Texans, including me.

I installed several technologies at home to make it resilient. I thought you be interested to hear how they performed through the energy crisis. [THREAD]

Image: @weatherchannel
B/c of the 2011 TX freeze that knocked out power I installed several solutions to make my house robust against shortages:

1) super-efficient windows, insulation, etc.
2) electric heat pumps
3) natgas backup to the central heat pump in case the power went out
4) large solar array
#1 was very helpful, but items #2, 3 and 4 all failed.

This chart shows the last three months of consumption (in red) and solar panel generation (in green) for my house.
Read 13 tweets
12 Mar
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.

Read 12 tweets
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

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