What Happened In Texas: ‘Wind energy scored an F’ – ‘The only energy source to perform so poorly during the power outages’


By: - Climate DepotFebruary 21, 2021 8:27 AM

https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2021/02/what-happened-in-texas.php

By JOHN HINDERAKER

The best explanation of Texas’s prolonged blackout was published by Mitch Rolling yesterday at AmericanExperiment.org. Texas gets electricity from six sources: coal, nuclear, natural gas, solar, hydro and wind. How did those sources perform, and what contributed to the blackout?

[W]e created a reliability grading scale designed to judge which energy sources came to the rescue, and which ones were largely no-shows, during the statewide power outages that rocked Texas.
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For our grades, we used average capacity factors over the course of the Texas power outages to showcase which energy sources were performing the best, and which ones were non-factors. The graph below displays these capacity factors.

As everyone knows, some natural gas pipelines froze, contributing to the blackout. However:

Remarkably, natural gas still generated electricity at 38 percent of its total capacity throughout the energy emergency – providing on average over 65 percent of all electricity generation through Monday and Tuesday – despite roughly 30 GW being inoperable due to frozen pipelines holding up fuel.

It was the “green” energy sources that failed to show up for work:

The three worst-performing generating assets, on the other hand, belonged exclusively to renewable energy sources: solar, hydro, and wind. Had Texas been even more reliant on these energy sources, as renewable energy advocates around the country desire, the energy crisis in Texas would have been even worse.

This chart shows the contribution to total electricity production made by each energy source over the course of the blackout. Solar was irrelevant, and wind virtually irrelevant as well:

The fatal flaw of wind energy is that it only works, at best, 40% of the time. When the wind doesn’t blow–as it tends not to during times of bitter cold–wind turbines are useless. The fact that some wind turbines froze up is interesting, but far from the main point.

In case you missed it, wind energy scored an F in all three categories – the only energy source to perform so poorly during the power outages in Texas.

As such, you can rightfully label wind energy as the most unreliable energy source during the Texas energy crisis. While it may not have been the primary cause of the power outages, it certainly wouldn’t have done Texas any good to have more wind capacity on the system. In fact, more wind capacity would have only made things worse.
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If this grading scale tells us anything, it’s that relying on intermittent renewable energy during extreme weather events is not the answer to maintain reliability, and fuel-based energy sources are required in order to keep the lights on.

Much more at the link. One other comment: when it gets really cold–Minnesota cold, not Texas cold–all wind turbines are shut off, and they draw power off the grid to heat their motors. So when it is really cold, wind turbines are consumers of electricity, not producers.

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https://www.americanexperiment.org/2021/02/wind-energy-fails-grading-the-reliability-of-energy-sources-during-the-texas-power-outages/

By Mitchell Rolling

Excerpt: Here were the major factors contributing to the energy crisis:

  • Because Texas doesn’t “winterize” its electricity infrastructure, around 45 gigawatts (GW) of generating capacity became inoperable the morning of February 15, 2021, due to extreme weather. Included in this capacity was:
    • 30 GW of fuel-based energy sources (mainly natural gas) that became unable to produce electricity due to frozen natural gas pipelines and safety mechanisms that shut down nuclear and coal facilities to protect against extreme cold temperature. This is nearly 30 percent of all nuclear, coal, and natural gas capacity on the Texas grid.
    • 15 GW of wind energy that could not generate electricity due to wind turbines freezing. This is roughly 50 percent of all wind and solar capacity on the Texas grid.

 

The top three performing energy sources during the energy crisis in Texas were all fuel-based energy sources: nuclear, coal, and natural gas. On average, these three energy sources alone provided over 91 percent of all electricity generated throughout the energy emergency, as the graph below shows. Without these energy sources on the grid providing the bulk of electricity, the situation in Texas would have gone from bad to worse.

Remarkably, natural gas still generated electricity at 38 percent of its total capacity throughout the energy emergency – providing on average over 65 percent of all electricity generation through Monday and Tuesday – despite roughly 30 GW being inoperable due to frozen pipelines holding up fuel. This means that the natural gas facilities that could still receive fuel were operating at capacity factors of more than 62 percent.

The three worst-performing generating assets, on the other hand, belonged exclusively to renewable energy sources: solar, hydro, and wind. Had Texas been even more reliant on these energy sources, as renewable energy advocates around the country desire, the energy crisis in Texas would have been even worse.

Reliability-Based Grading Scale

When it comes to power outages of this scale during a winter storm, all that matters to the millions going without power and heat is which energy source can provide immediate relief and bring the lights back on. …

Based on these capacity factors, reliability grades during the Texas power outages are:

Nuclear scored the highest grade of an A, followed by natural gas and coal with C’s. Solar was the only renewable energy source to score higher than an F with a grade of a D, while hydro and wind scored F’s.

Fuel-Based Energy Sources Passed, While Wind Energy Failed

In case you missed it, wind energy scored an F in all three categories – the only energy source to perform so poorly during the power outages in Texas.

As such, you can rightfully label wind energy as the most unreliable energy source during the Texas energy crisis. While it may not have been the primary cause of the power outages, it certainly wouldn’t have done Texas any good to have more wind capacity on the system than fuel-based energy sources. In fact, that would have only made things worse.

More nuclear power, on the other hand, would have made the world of difference, as it was the most reliable energy source on the grid during the energy crisis and by a large margin. Unfortunately, Texas only has about 5,400 MW of nuclear capacity on the grid – making up just under 4 percent of total capacity in Texas.

While coal and natural gas didn’t do nearly as well, they still passed with C’s. Furthermore, because Texas has nearly 20 GW of coal capacity and over 77 GW of natural gas capacity, a C effort still led to natural gas and coal being the largest suppliers of electricity throughout the energy emergency.

If this grading scale tells us anything, it’s that relying on intermittent renewable energy during extreme weather events is not the answer to maintain reliability, and fuel-based energy sources are required in order to keep the lights on.

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Also see Fox News’ Lara Logan on wind power.