Michael E. Webber Profile picture
Author of https://t.co/x4vAbIWafH & Power Trip & Thirst 4 Power & https://t.co/xl41ukl5sU | @UTAustin @WebberEnergy @energyimpact_ | Father, Husband | RT≠E, opinions my own
Jun 3 6 tweets 3 min read
I just finished the audio book of "The Original Bambi: The Story of a Life in the Forest" by Felix Salten

It's a recently released English translation. That's notable b/c the original translation a century ago like entirely missed the point.
amazon.com/dp/B09B2YH65P/… via @amazon @amazon This book was surprisingly good. It is simultaneously:

1) a coming of age story

2) a nature story

3) a brutal, violent story (not really a kids' book at all!) and

4) an allegory for the rise of Nazism in Germany.

That last point was missing for a century to English readers.
Jun 2 5 tweets 2 min read
It's a typical line of attack by the GOP and the O&G industry to say that high energy prices are b/c Woke Liberals or President Biden or AOC prohibit oil and gas production. Yet, natural gas production in the Permian Basin reached an annual high in 2021

eia.gov/todayinenergy/… Add'l line of attack: you can't build pipelines anymore.

Three new pipeline projects, w/5.5 Bcf/d of takeaway capacity, came online in 2021

Several new pipeline projects would add ~5.0 Bcf/d of pipeline takeaway capacity out of the Permian Basin by the end of 2024
Mar 12 7 tweets 1 min read
I'm making a list of energy options for the power sector whose availabilities vary w/ the weather and those that don't:

Natural Gas
Coal & Biomass

Not Weather-dependent:
Fuel Oil & Diesel

What did I miss? Geothermal is the only option for the power sector I can think of that is:

Available 24/7
Doesn't depend on the weather
Is low-carbon

It also leverages a lot of know-how from the O&G sector.

Seems like a global opportunity waiting to happen.
Mar 12 13 tweets 24 min read
@AndrewDessler @drvolts @T_Mason_H @jimfarley98 @Ford @DrShepherd2013 Filled up my @Ford C-Max tonight: $4.14/gal. The car gets 38 mpg & I drive ~12k mi/yr

Annual fuel: $1300+

The Mach-E gets ~2.6 mi/kWh at ~$0.10/kWh

Annual electricity: $461

I have $198 of solar credit on my electric bill. The car will be free to charge for ~5 months. Image @AndrewDessler @drvolts @T_Mason_H @jimfarley98 @Ford @DrShepherd2013 If my @Ford Mach-E is built ~April 4 I'll probably take delivery from @leifjohnsonford in May.

My 16-yo will get his license ~June & can start driving the C-Max.

Working out nicely. Many thanks to Thomas Almaraz at the dealership for helping me out.

I'll keep y'all posted.
Aug 23, 2021 22 tweets 12 min read
@bradplumer Okay, here goes. We will solve this because:

1) customers demand it
2) employees demand it
3) investors demand it
4) many (but not all) policymakers at municipal, state/regional, and national levels are pushing for it. And those recalcitrant ones in opposition are losing hold. @bradplumer The world has faced difficult global challenges before: WWII, the Cold War, the Ozone Hole. And we solved those challenges EVEN though there were significant stakeholders in opposition to change. Eventually those holdouts lost. The world came together and solved it.
Aug 20, 2021 10 tweets 6 min read
I am waiting to board a plane to Iceland, and frankly I’m a little disappointed that no one‘s dressed as a Viking in the waiting area. Image Update: we landed in Iceland before breakfast and the first thing we did after we got off the plane was take a hike up a mountain to check out this volcano that’s newly active after 800 years. Incredible.
Jul 14, 2021 8 tweets 2 min read
It is very costly for the TX power producers (wind, solar, nuclear, coal, and gas) to underperform.

But for TX gas suppliers it is very lucrative to underperform. TX gas production down dropped 50% (80% in the Permian!) yet profits skyrocketed.

bloomberg.com/news/articles/… This is the heart of the problem: Wind, solar, nukes, coal & gas power providers have a strong $$$ incentive to winterize & improve reliability b/c their lack of production was costly.

Gas suppliers made a handy profit from the flimsiness of their system. So why winterize?
May 3, 2021 16 tweets 5 min read
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.
Apr 30, 2021 10 tweets 3 min read
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.
Apr 23, 2021 13 tweets 3 min read
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.
Apr 21, 2021 7 tweets 3 min read
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."
Mar 25, 2021 13 tweets 4 min read
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
Mar 12, 2021 12 tweets 5 min read
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.

Feb 27, 2021 8 tweets 2 min read
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.
Feb 23, 2021 10 tweets 5 min read
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.

Feb 22, 2021 4 tweets 3 min read
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?
Feb 13, 2021 8 tweets 2 min read
While our friends in the Midwest and north mock us Texans for the deep freeze we are about to endure, we need to do some prep work. Since our homes and pipes aren't insulated for this temperature differential here are some things to do to keep your pipes from bursting [THREAD] 1) With single-digit temps we are way past dripping faucets: the hot and cold faucets need to ** RUN IN A STREAM** on ALL interior faucets on exterior walls. Dripping will not cut it! If your home is NOT built on a slab foundation, you need to do this on ALL interior faucets.
Feb 7, 2021 10 tweets 6 min read
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.
Feb 7, 2021 8 tweets 3 min read
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.
Jul 13, 2020 11 tweets 5 min read
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”

Jun 21, 2020 13 tweets 6 min read
Remember in 2016 when Trump made coal miners 1 of 2 campaign causes along w/ building a wall along the border?

Those were 2 sides of the same racist coin: Of the 300+ industry classifications in the USA coal mining is the single whitest. BY FAR. [THREAD]

Photo @dominickreuter A key Trump slogan was “Trump Digs Coal”. Many news articles justified it as part of a broader play for “working class voters”. Sometimes they would color their wording to clarify “white working class voters.”

But is coal really that white? Answer: yes.