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Wind Power Did Cause The Texas Blackouts!

February 22, 2021
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By Paul Homewood

 

 See the source image

 

There has been a marked lack of data made public about last week’s blackouts in Texas, which has allowed all sorts of misinformation to fly around. I suspect this is quite deliberate.

I have however found hourly data on the US EIA website. This is what happened on those crucial couple of days:

 

image

https://www.eia.gov/beta/electricity/gridmonitor/expanded-view/electric_overview/US48/US48/GenerationByEnergySource-4/edit

The chart is interactive, and below are the actual numbers from Sunday evening to Monday morning:

 

MW Wind Gas Total Generation
Sunday 18.00 9015 41042 66449
Sunday 22.00 7083 43720 66804
Monday 02.00 5205 40405 62198
Monday 03.00 5154 33096 52952

So, consider this.

Between 6 pm and 10 pm on the Sunday, wind power suddenly lost 2 GW, about a quarter of its load. Fortunately, gas power was quickly ramped up to fully compensate for this.

Wind power continued to be shed, with another 2 GW disappearing by 2.00 am on the Monday morning. As demand was also declining, gas power was reduced accordingly.

However, it was between 2.00 and 3.00 am that gas power too fell off the cliff.

It must be fairly evident that this had nothing to do with weather conditions, which  could not possibly have had such a sudden impact. (In this respect, gas power was perfectly stable after 3 am for the rest of the day and week).

So what did cause that sudden drop in generation, something we also see with coal at exactly the same time, which dropped from 11 GW to 9 GW in that hour?

There is only one possible conclusion, and it is that the grid itself has become totally unstable, as wind power fell away. The evidence points to massive tripping out at gas and coal power stations as generation and demand got out of balance.

I would guess that just one gas plant tripping out in this fashion would have a cascading effect.

 

Whilst it has been evident from the start that the sudden shedding of wind power played a major part in the blackouts, the establishment media have been quick to close ranks by putting most of the blame on gas power stations, which having much greater capacity naturally suffered bigger drops in generation.

They have done so without publishing any of the detailed data, which I have done above. All they are interested in, of course, is deflecting the blame from renewable energy.

If they had done so, it would have been obvious that the real culprit was unreliable wind power.

68 Comments leave one →
  1. February 22, 2021 11:33 am

    The real issue at stake is the percentage of wind generation that failed compared to the percentage of conventional generation that failed. No mention anywhere of these figures.

    • February 22, 2021 11:38 am

      Not true.

      The evidence suggests that gas power “failed” because it was tripped by grid problems, not anything inherent to the power stations themselves

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        February 22, 2021 4:34 pm

        I think the gas power failures are for a combination of reasons. Some plant did trip out with problems onsite, mainly to do with water feed for steam and cooling. Similar problems affected some of the coal generation as well, and we know that the nuclear loss was due to freezing of a pipe that provided key sensor information on water pressure resulting in a false reading interpreted as a problem.

        I already identified there was a mass trip out of capacity and a large frequency drop to 59.3Hz at which automatic load shedding occurs at 1:52 a.m. That would have been triggered by a large failure inducing cascading trips.

        Further losses were more sporadic, and some were driven by fuel shortages caused because power had been cut to pipeline compressors.

    • February 22, 2021 1:16 pm

      The real issue is all the decommissioned coal-fired generating stations in Texas that have been idled in the last ten years. They are the dogs that didn’t bark – because they were killed and only the corpse remains. What monuments they are! Monuments to our delusions about life-sustaining CO2.

  2. Phillip Bratby permalink
    February 22, 2021 11:39 am

    This is all very plausible. It is rather reminiscent of the blackout in the UK a couple of years ago following a lightning strike. A loss of wind power caused an instability which led to loss of gas generation. (if my memory is right)

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      February 22, 2021 11:54 am

      Yep. Dinorwig saved the grid from total collapse. Electric trains stopped.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        February 22, 2021 7:10 pm

        Dinorwig did surprisingly little though it was never really explained why. It was really the load shedding that halted the slide towards a much more widespread blackout. A lot of embedded generation tripped off line. There is a good account here:

        http://watt-logic.com/2019/09/17/9-august-blackout/

        including in the comments as more information came to light.

    • Mendip permalink
      February 22, 2021 11:55 am

      Yes. And I gave been informed that the whole of the nuclear fleet was right on the verge of tripping out for safety reasons, as the grid frequency fell perislosly close to the safety threshold for nukes!

  3. Robin Guenier permalink
    February 22, 2021 11:41 am

    Paul – in your penultimate paragraph you wrote: ‘They have done so with publishing any of the detailed data‘. I think you meant ‘without publishing…’.

  4. February 22, 2021 11:42 am

    “I have however found hourly data on the US EIA website. This is what happened on those crucial couple of days”
    Thank you.
    Much appreciated.

  5. cookers52 permalink
    February 22, 2021 11:51 am

    Wind power is unreliable, but the problems that cause network outages are associated with embedded generation.
    Network protection for systems with lots of embedded generation is a complex highly technical problem that technology has yet to solve.

    • Mack permalink
      February 22, 2021 1:01 pm

      I think Bill Magness, the CEO of ERCOT, who manages the Texan grid, has already admitted that, once the instability in the system emerged the the outages were a deliberate policy to prevent a total catastrophic grid meltdown that could take months to remedy. And, I do believe, that many of the gas power stations in Texas have burners that rely totally on electrical start up. No electricity = no gas.

      • Dave Ward permalink
        February 22, 2021 2:08 pm

        JoNova has a post about the safety of gas networks in the event of major electricity failures:

        https://joannenova.com.au/2021/02/texas-dodged-a-bullet-would-you-like-explosions-with-your-blackouts/

        It’s not just bad news, but VERY bad news…

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        February 22, 2021 4:50 pm

        I think that Magness is hoping it will take a while to notice that ERCOT’s grid management essentially failed. In fact, the grid frequency fell to 59.3Hz before they managed to do anything about it – at which point there is automatic load shedding. But during the slide, a large quantity of capacity was already tripping off for RoCoF and under-frequency. That meant that the amount of shedding required was increased to restore the supply/demand balance. In fact, the grid then temporarily overshot to the other side.

        His letter pleading for dispensation to allow for plant to operate unconstrained by emissions limits admitted they were anticipating 4GW of power cuts because they simply lacked capacity to meet demand – too much had been allowed on maintenance, and most of that could not be made available. They under-estimated the demand a cold snap could produce.

  6. February 22, 2021 12:02 pm

    I would imagine some of the gas plant failures were due to cold weather. It’s amazing what happens when instrument sensing lines freeze. I have seen units trip from frozen drum level transmitters, DA transmitters, etc.

    • Jonathan permalink
      February 22, 2021 4:24 pm

      This is what I heard, and it’s plausible… sub-freezing temperatures at generation sites not designed to handle those (relatively rare) conditions.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      February 22, 2021 7:14 pm

      The nuclear trip was a instrumentation issue: the narrow guage pipe that ran to a pressure guage on the water feed froze, so the guage gave a false reading that tripped the plant “unnecessarily”.

      • Dan permalink
        February 23, 2021 5:57 pm

        Not unnecessarily at all but a false failure. The plant failed safe by shutting down as it thought it had water supply issues.

        One would question where the independence in measurement was, why one instrument or common cause failure could have caused this and why it wasn’t winterised etc etc

  7. trevorshurmer permalink
    February 22, 2021 12:09 pm

    So, Paul, will you be demanding the BBC re-write their Reality Check of 4 days ago?

  8. GeoffB permalink
    February 22, 2021 12:12 pm

    What we need is the graph of frequency over the times that the gas/coal failed, it should also be possible to identify which of the frequency trips actually tripped and at what time. Grid instability and cascade trips appear to be a more realistic explanation than “it was too cold for gas and coal plants”, must have been close to a black start situation.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      February 22, 2021 1:54 pm

      I have been trying for days to get that frequency data but the ERCOT site seems to be blocking it from release. Anecdotal evidence is suggesting that it fell well below 59Hz before the load shedding saved the issue. It is odd to note though that the Nuclear output did not drop until over an hour after the gas drop and the loss only represents one of the four operational reactor’s output. It may have been un unrelated coincidental trip and they are all now in full service.. That the gas plants are still unable to return to their total generation level of prior to the event could well be the issue with gas supply BUT it could also mean they were damaged by the event. The latest eia data is showing the coal fired plants trying to load follow and gas generation falling even lower.so the clearly have not got full control of the situation.

      • GeoffB permalink
        February 22, 2021 2:52 pm

        following Paul’s lead to eia site, i have been looking for frequency data without success,,,,,the whole scenario is a bit strange, more to it than meets the eye, no doubt a full report will eventually surface…in this case it will definitely be a “Snow Job” (usa equivalent to whitewash)

      • bobn permalink
        February 22, 2021 3:23 pm

        I read that the one nuke reactor was taken off line due to a failure of the water cooling pumps. not clear if it was failure of elec to the pumps or water flow for the pumps.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        February 22, 2021 6:25 pm

        I did find some prints of the ERCOT dashboard archived at wayback. The most telling was this one, which was probably no more than a second before the 59.3Hz load shedding trips started happening, and after several power stations had tripped out almost simultaneously on RoCoF/under-frequency:

        http://web.archive.org/web/20210215075245/http://www.ercot.com/content/cdr/html/real_time_system_conditions.html

        Unfortunately there are only some snapshots, although enough to help tell the broad story. I did find this provider of grid information to electricity traders:

        https://www.yesenergy.com/yeblog/2021/generation-role-ercot-cold-snap

        They include a frequency chart but it is not really adequate to gain more than a broad impression. They did pick up the downward frequency spike, but my ERCOT print is closer to the nadir than their reading – so I think they missed that there was automated load shedding in their analysis. They do confirm with names the almost simultaneous trips of three plants, showing traces of their output.

  9. MrGrimNasty permalink
    February 22, 2021 12:23 pm

    People can argue about it until the cows come home. It is probably fair to say that the failure of wind was not the whole problem, but the renewables policy was. If the ‘investment’ squandered on wind and solar had been made in making reliable generation and backup more robust/plentiful, instead of making grids ever more complicated and decommissioning reliable generation, and penny pinching on maintenance and contingency to minimize the effect of expensive/inefficient/subsidized renewables on bill payers………

    Staggering costings on the REAL expense of UK renewables versus nuclear/gas :-

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2021/02/21/summary-uk-weather-dependent-renewables-2019/

    • February 22, 2021 2:11 pm

      I’m in Texas and I think you’re correct. The wind power problem was the symptom that triggered this event, but the not-so-“green” energy regulations both in Texas and the USA are the disease. Until the disease is cured, the symptoms will continue getting worse.

    • 10 to 1 permalink
      February 24, 2021 6:05 pm

      Australia had a similar problem to Texas. The problem was fixed by installing a battery farm.

      https://www.popularmechanics.com/science/a31350880/elon-musk-battery-farm/

      Electrical grids trip because all those gas, coal and nuclear power energy sources can’t be turned on instantaneously to absorb the spike in energy demand that occurred when the wind dropped off.

      Since we know wind doesn’t always blow, and the wind energy can and will drop off, the key is to find an energy source which can kick on instantaneously which will absorb the spike in demand, giving the other sources of energy time to come on line and pick up the load that the wind was supplying.

      Aircraft have electrical systems which automatically switch to battery power when an circuit breaker pops or a generator fails, until the auxiliary power unit (apu) can be started and pick up the electrical load. Texas’s electrical grid needs something similar.

      Reducing or getting rid of wind power is not the solution.

      • February 24, 2021 6:40 pm

        That battery only has enough power to last for an hour or so, which would not have helped the situation in Texas at all

  10. February 22, 2021 1:09 pm

    The massive build out of wind-generation and the rate structure of wind, which has to be purchased at a fixed rate, regardless of need, is responsible for the drastic decline in coal-fired generation that used to dominate the mix of generation in Texas.

    As Paul proves here (once again) wind power can’t be dispatched onto the grid. It is what it is on the grid. One hundred percent of the time the grid operator needs 100% dispatchable power for load if he wants 100% certainty he can keep the grid up..

    You can’t depend on wind generation

  11. Broadlands permalink
    February 22, 2021 1:22 pm

    Perhaps I am wrong but I thought the lack of wind power was frozen wind turbines, not absence of wind.

  12. Gray permalink
    February 22, 2021 1:55 pm

    This disaster has shown what’s likely to happen after smart meters are installed.
    “Veteran ruined by $16,752 monthly electricity bill after storms.”
    The Times today.

    • TheLastDemocrat permalink
      February 23, 2021 4:57 am

      These are genuine but very rare stories.
      In Texas, you have a very broad, transparent competitive home electricity market.

      ONE option is this company that will charge you “spot” prices for a kilowatt.

      Wonderful. Wildly low cost. Why?

      Because the two year contracts build in the fluctuations into the two year contract. But not this one plan they have.

      These customers bypassed the typical one two or three year ten cent per gw plans that most of us know, and prefer.

      They signed the contract, hoping on a steady state climate.

      They were wrong. They had a few days that bucked the trend.

      They signed up for this.

  13. February 22, 2021 2:14 pm

    Thanks for the great analysis Paul. The power at our house near Round Rock, Texas went off at 2 am in line with the sudden drop in gas and coal generation. I agree with your assessment that grid instability triggered by the rapid drop in wind power generation caused a sudden and rapid cascading of gas and coal plant shut-downs. This event in Texas is a good example of what can happen when intermittent and unreliable wind and solar power are given far too much preference and other sources of power are suppressed.

  14. thecliffclavenoffinance permalink
    February 22, 2021 4:08 pm

    This article is not correct. Wind power was directly responsible only a small part of the overall electric power supply versus demand deficit.

    Because wind power is so variable, ERCOT assumes a very low level of wind power.
    Wind power can drop by over 90% from one day to the next. Periods with little wind are irregular, but happen often. Horrible for electric grid balancing. The “average” wind output means little.

    ERCOT had assumed a very conservative 6,000 megawatts, and actual wind power output fell to about 4,000 megawatts, with half the windmills frozen. So there was a deficit of 2,000 megawatts. If you think wind power was the cause of the blackout, then please explain the causes of the other 28,000 megawatts of the total power deficit (supply versus demand) of 30,000 megawatts.

    If you want to blame the investments in unreliable wind turbines, rather than ‘winterizing’ the entire Texas energy infrastructure (recommended after the 2011 rolling blackouts that affected 3.2 million people), that is a good explanation.

    The money spent on windmills could have been spent on ‘winterizing’, and more fossil fuel plants — but all of that may not have been needed for many years = almost no return on the investments. Investing in windmills had a guaranteed return on the investment. The incentives were all wrong.

    And I suppose Texans thought, that with global warming, they’d never have another really cold event like in early 2011. And that belief looked ‘brilliant’ for ten years, from 2011 to 2021 … Many people confuse weather and climate.

    • chriskshaw permalink
      February 22, 2021 4:22 pm

      Not sure why grid instability causing the initial cascading of shutdown gas and coal generation followed by poor winterization as the culprit of them being down such a long time.

    • February 22, 2021 6:45 pm

      Then what caused 12GW of gas generation to suddenly disappear in a few minutes?

      • February 22, 2021 10:46 pm

        One of the problems was the lack of gas storage. Reliance on electric pumps to get the gas into play meant that loss of power meant loss of gas supply, in some areas at least. In particular West Texas has a lot of fracked gas and much of the power there is from wind turbines, it seems

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        February 22, 2021 11:07 pm

        There are certainly plenty of wind farms in the oil and gas patch, but I think the nodding donkeys and pipeline compressors are grid connected these days, so they don’t depend exclusively on local turbines. That would lead to highly intermittent production at the best of times. What has changed is that many of these units used to be fuelled by the gas they produced with no grid or wind reliance. Small backup generators for start-up.

      • Richard Greene permalink
        February 22, 2021 11:38 pm

        Wind power output varies wildly, and frequently, supplying anywhere from 5% to 60% of total ERCOT electricity. The wind power output WAS very low before the blackout but is very low MANY times during every year … with no blackouts EXCEPT when the weather was unusually cold. The problem in the 2011 rolling blackouts was the entire Texas energy infrastructure was not winterized, and that was still true in 2021. So the 2011 problem repeated in 2021 — the cause was unusually cold weather. Every source of power had problems with the unusually cold weather. Not only the windmills. Even nuclear power had a problem, which is hard to believe but it happened. If none of the windmills had frozen, there still would have been a huge deficit between electricity supply and demand.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      February 22, 2021 6:59 pm

      The 6GW figure relates to a very notional planning exercise ERCOT did in the fall, which was completely outpaced by actual events. The reality is that wind was as high as 9.1GW at 4 p.m. on the 14th, and still 8GW when peak demand occurred just before 8p.m., but then started dropping back due mainly to lower wind speeds, reaching about 5.2GW when the first major plant trips started to occur. Overnight and during the following day it died to 649MW by 8 p.m. That latter loss contributed to the problems of maintaining gas pipeline supply to power stations, and helped force more blackouts.

      Average wind generation in Texas is about 10GW.

      • Richard Greene permalink
        February 22, 2021 11:28 pm

        I can’t read the chart, but wind power averages are not relevant because the number varies so much from day to day, and even from hour to hour.
        I have no idea how the Texas grid can be kept in balance when the windmills provide anywhere from 5% to 60% of electric power needs with huge, almost random fluctuations.

        Windmills need 100% natural gas backup because at times power output will approach zero. ERCOT knew that. The problems were much more than low windmill output, which happens quite often. The August 2011 report on the early 2011 rolling blackouts clearly said the entire Texas energy infrastructure was not prepared for unusually cold weather. And that was still true in 2021.

        The Executive Summary of the huge 357-page August 2011 report is on my climate science blog at:
        https://elonionbloggle.blogspot.com/2021/02/heres-executive-summary-from-august.html

        For the past ten years, Texans preferred to invest in windmills, and that just made the problems noted in 2011 worse (the number of windmills roughly quadrupled … but even the new wind turbines were not the designs that could operate in unusually cols weather).

        The people in charge decided the best return on their capital investments was new windmills, and maybe they thought with global warming, it would never get really cold again. I know the financial incentives / subsidies were pro-windmills, and not pro-reliability of the entire energy infrastructure.

        People will blame each other. A report will be written. Maybe changes will be made, or maybe not. More windmills was not the answer after the 2011 incident, or after the 2021 incident. I think windmills should be in museums, and not part of electric grids.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        February 24, 2021 1:33 pm

        If you double click on the chart you can see it in full detail. It shows hourly changes, which is enough to pick up most rapid large output variations.

    • I don't believe it! permalink
      February 22, 2021 11:57 pm

      Isn’t the question that needs to be answered why the 28,000 megawatts were suddenly lost?
      The follow up would be why wasn’t there sufficient reserve (or despatchable) capacity?

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        February 23, 2021 11:44 am

        Ask the questions the other way around. I posted a link to Roger Pielke that bears repeating.

        https://rogerpielkejr.substack.com/p/the-texas-blackout-and-preparing

        ERCOT planning failed to look at the likely extremes. Weather like this occurred in December 1989. Perhaps they thought it didn’t matter, because global warming…

        So they started by letting too much capacity into maintenance at once and couldn’t claw enough back when it became obvious they would need it. They went into this knowing they were going to fail to meet demand and being forced to impose blackouts. That admission is in the ERCOT letter requesting temporary exemption from pollution limits in order to maximise plant outputs.

        When systems are under high stress the chances of something going wrong increase. With no reserve margin of spinning reserve available, when something does go wrong the only way to restore balance is to shed load. If you dither, grid frequency will continue to drop, and that in turn will trip more plant offline, aggravating the problem. Eventually you reach points where load shedding is automated, and happens until frequency starts climbing again. This is what happened at 1:52 a.m. on the 15th, and also in the UK’s August 2019 blackout.

        The progressive decline in wind generation as winds abated between 4p.m. on the 14th and 8 p.m. on the 15th served to lower the effective capacity that could meet demand, and eliminated any remaining headroom of reserve. That ensured that blackouts were needed and made the system vulnerable to cascading trips. The assumption that some 6GW of wind would be available used in planning was exposed.

        It is also worth noting that underlying demand remained very high overnight until the major trips imposed blackouts, instead of dropping back. It seems very likely that this was the result of heat pumps switching over to resistive heating and running electric heaters, greatly increasing the load. It really should be a wakeup call for UK net zero plans, which simply assume such heating demand peaks never occur. Some of the planners could usefully be exposed to angry Texans. Better still if they had experienced several days of extreme cold and no power themselves directly.

  15. dennisambler permalink
    February 22, 2021 5:36 pm

    This is dated June 2020

    https://stopthesethings.com/2020/06/10/the-big-subsidy-steal-texan-taxpayers-fork-out-80000000000-to-wind-power-outfits/

    “When it comes to massive subsidies to wind power outfits in the US, the Lone Star State led the charge. Since 2006, the wind industry has managed to snaffle over $80 billion from Texan taxpayers, and they’ve only just begun.

    This year, federal subsidies for wind and solar, in addition to Texas state and local renewable subsidies, may be about $9 billion.”

    There are some excellent links in the article to the Texas version of GWPF, The Texas Public Policy Foundation.

  16. Robert Christopher permalink
    February 22, 2021 6:42 pm

    It was Biden!!! 🙂

    Who else?

    Did Biden Admin Ordered ERCOT To Throttle Energy Output By Forcing It To Comply With Environmental Green Energy Standards?

    “Biden admin ordered ERCOT to throttle energy output by forcing it to comply with environmental green energy standards.”
    https://www.usasupreme.com/images-texans-froze-to-death-because-biden-admin-ordered-ercot-to-throttle-energy-output-by-forcing-it-to-comply-with-environmental-green-energy-standards

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      February 22, 2021 7:26 pm

      That post is a misinterpretation of the order. ERCOT asked for dispensation on the understanding it would only be used if they were running with a capacity shortage, and plant would be required to resume normal environmental standards as soon as there was adequate capacity on the system. The order in fact echoes the language of the ERCOT application which you can read in full here:

      Click to access ERCOT%20202%28c%29%20Emergency%20Order%20Request%20-%2002.14.2021.pdf

      and grants the relief requested.

  17. Gary Kerkin permalink
    February 22, 2021 7:39 pm

    Interesting reading.

    Cheers,

    Gary

    >

  18. theturquoiseowl permalink
    February 22, 2021 11:01 pm

    Do the gas and coal plants ‘trip’ every time there is a lull in the wind?

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      February 23, 2021 9:45 am

      Obviously not, so what is the motive in asking your question? The reasons for this event are complex, and not easily explained to the lay person. In this case it is almost certain that the grid frequency dropped dramatically quickly and this was caused by the over reliance on intermittent and variable non dispatchable power supplies. Had those GW of power (that wind was about to drop) come from a reliable and dispatchable power source then this event would simply not have happened.

      • theturquoiseowl permalink
        February 23, 2021 11:21 am

        Paul’s explanation does not convince me the wind was to blame in this particular case – unless I’m missing something. Losing 2GW gradually over a 4 hour period doesn’t strike me as a ‘sudden’ drop in capacity. What seems more probable is a sudden jump in the demand side of the equation, and that caused the trip. Do we have data on that?

    • February 23, 2021 10:37 am

      All generators and substations can trip out, if demand and supply get wildly out of balance, to protect themselves from surges in voltage.

      Normally “lulls” in the wind make little difference in overall terms, because they are not sudden or significant enough

      Of course, if we relied on wind for most of our power, and had no reliable backup, the grid would soon crash

      • theturquoiseowl permalink
        February 23, 2021 11:34 am

        We need to see the ‘demand’ data to get he whole picture. I bet the thing that happened suddenly was everyone turning their heating on at 2am on the 15th, not the smooth reduction in wind that happened hours previously. Obviously having less flexibility in power generation doesn’t help though.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        February 23, 2021 12:23 pm

        We know that demand was being met until the major trip at 1:52 a.m.. In fact demand had been falling back slowly from the peak at 8p.m., initially slightly outrun in the gradual drop in wind, but after midnight the first power station loss absorbed the spare margin again, leaving the system vulnerable to any further loss. People do not go around simultaneously switching on large amounts of heating at 1:52 a.m. The loss at that point was the result of no spare generation leading to a snowball effect when an important power station had a problem. Please see my other posts in this thread for some charts. Others are at links in my comments.

        We also can be sure that unrestrained demand would have been even higher in the following weekdays of extreme cold. Weekend demand is always lower than weekday demand.

    • Ray Sanders permalink
      February 23, 2021 12:12 pm

      Do you genuinely believe (so much that you would “bet on it”) that at 2:00 am (the middle of the night when nearly everyone is asleep) that tens or even hundreds of thousands of homes are simultaneously going to switch on their electric heating systems? Also what makes you think the loss of 2 billion watts of wind power happened as a “smooth reduction”? There is a lot of indication of it dropping in “clumps” of sudden small drops as units froze or cut out which would seriously affect RoCoF.. The overall loss of wind power in under 20 hours was from 9,101MW to just 694MW from a potential total capacity of close on 30,000MW. The loss of 8.5GW alone is more than the total peak demand of entire countries – i.e. a massive problem.

      • Stuart Brown permalink
        February 23, 2021 1:58 pm

        Meanwhile in the UK over the last day wind has gone from 3GW to over 11GW. On the 21st it went from 10GW to 4GW in the day. It’s what wind does. I hope Rod Adams won’t mind me pinching this from https://atomicinsights.com . ERCOT is snippy about non-US folks looking. It seems to show a more or less steady fall (green line is the actual out-turn).

        Rod has a couple of posts on this topic, particularly about the trip of the South Texas Project 1 reactor.

      • It doesn't add up... permalink
        February 23, 2021 5:16 pm

        I can find no evidence of a sudden deload of wind on any scale that would upset the grid directly. Certainly nothing like Hornsea offshore, which tripped out a full load 1.2 GW on 25th October last year, causing GB grid frequency to dip to 49.6Hz in just 7 seconds in a repeat performance of its blackout causing trip in 2019.

        Icing problems started in the days beforehand. The gradual die back of wind over 14/15th served to narrow the capacity margin to zero, leaving it vulnerable to any upsets from plant trips. In fact, the capacity margin would have been negative later on the 15th anyway, even with no trips.

      • theturquoiseowl permalink
        February 23, 2021 6:17 pm

        Yes, I do genuinely believe thousands of homes could turn on their electric heating: If the temperature dropped (as it did – although I’m not certain exactly when) then the thermostats would kick in. ~ What made me think the reduction of wind power was gradual was the smoothness of the green curve on Paul’s chart.

      • February 23, 2021 6:50 pm

        2.00 am certainly marks the lowest demand of the day

  19. Dan permalink
    February 23, 2021 5:54 pm

    Go back to the 8 or the 6th and wind was producing near 20000MWh. This declined drastically and along with solar the solar blackout, meant that 30000MWh of generation was off line at times.

    This placed stress on the grid which evidently could not cope.

  20. GeoffB permalink
    February 23, 2021 8:05 pm

    It looks like one gas plant tripped due to a fault and then a cascade trip took place taking out other plants and starting the load shedding, thanks to this link ……https://www.yesenergy.com/yeblog/2021/generation-role-ercot-cold-snap from “it does not add up”
    You need a VPN to see ERCOT data (i was in Houston virtually) and it is like BM reports, it is all there if you can find it!

  21. chriskshaw permalink
    February 24, 2021 1:15 am

    This is for Paul
    OT but here is Aspen with a YT video that demonstrates their in-built global warming analyzer!! You can modify your life and it tells you how improved the climate will be…

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