Dr. Sioshansi has a new article up on the South African website, Energize. It is titled, “Has ethical investing finally arrived?”. To read it, click here.
Dr. Sioshansi’s latest book, Variable Generation, Flexible Demand, has a lengthy review in the latest edition of Energy Net Zero magazine. The editor, Neil Mearns, opinines that the book is expecially timely given recent incidents of grid failure in California and Texas:
“The book is timely coming after two major episodes of power shortages in California and Texas, where having more flexible demand at scale could have made a difference, certainly in the former case where the supply shortages were relatively small – 1GW in a 40GW system – and limited to a couple of hours. Even in Texas, where the shortages were huge and lasted for a good part of the week, customers could have responded by keeping the lights on while turning off showers, dishwashers and dryers. With wholesale prices at $9,000/MWhs, many large and small customers would have found ways to conserve, thus reducing the need for indiscriminate rolling blackouts. Having more flexible demand and knowing how to use it will become more important not only in emergencies but in day-to-day operation of networks that are marching towards 100% renewable targets.”
To read the full review, click here (PDF).
For further details about the book and a 30% discount off the cover price, click here.
The March 2021 issue of EEnergy Informer is now available. Here is the contents list:
- Under Biden The Pendulum Swings Back
- Deep Freeze Leads To Massive Power Shortages In Texas
- One By One Corporations Transition To Clean Energy Future
- Green Investing In Vogue
- Proverbial Glass: Half Full Or Half Empty?
- Peak Oil: Soon, Sooner, Or A Lot Later?
- Is Shell Reckoning Or Greenwashing?
- How To Join Renewable Super Major Club
- Clean Electricity Needs Different Transmission System
- Looking For Potential Stars
- ACEEE Ranks California On Top For Electric Transportation
- Transactive Energy: A Cure For, Or More Complexity?
- EEnergy Informer In The News
You can request a sample issue of EEnergy Informer here.
Dr. Sioshansi has an article about storage plants on the California Current website. It is titled, “Solar + Storage Is Rising”. To read it, click here.
Dr Sioshansi took part in an online symposium about energy communities hosted by Reutlingen University in Germany. The discussion looked at how, “so-called energy communities are emerging as part of a solution for more sustainable, low-carbon, decentralized energy systems.” A report on the event is available here (in German, but Google Translate produces good results).
Renewables get the blame even if thermal plants cause outages
In mid Aug 2020 amidst an unprecedented extreme heat wave, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) ran short on generation capacity by roughly 1 GW at a time when the system peak demand was around 40 GW. It was embarrassing with the resulting rolling blackouts stretched over 2 days and affecting less than half a million customers. On 15 Feb 2021, the same misfortune afflicted the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) but on a much bigger scale. While an unusual freeze set a new peak demand of 69.15 GW between 6-7 pm on the prior day – 3.2 GW higher than the prior all-time peak set in Jan 2018 – ERCOT lost some 30 GW of generating capacity and was forced to shed as much as 16.5 GW of load at the height of the crisis, according to preliminary data subject to further analysis.
Load shedding: In the morning of 15 Feb, ERCOT had to shed load due to supply shortages mostly attributed to the unavailability of thermal plants
The scale of the crisis was much bigger – everything is big in Texas – affecting roughly 2 million customers who were left without power in the freezing cold for hours. While California’s crisis was caused by excessive heat – most of the state was 10 degrees F above normal – most of Texas was 50 degrees F below normal. More than 6 inches of snow fell in Austin, Texas – the most in 55 years.
The cold shattered longstanding records: Temperatures dropped to 17 degrees F in Houston – unusual – and to -38 degrees F in Hibbing, Minn. For those who claim that climate change is a hoax, last year’s extreme heat in California and the latest cold snap in the US provide solid evidence that both extreme heat and extreme cold are getting far more extreme and frequent.
In a prepared statement ERCOT CEO Bill Magness said, “We are experiencing record-breaking electric demand due to the extreme cold temperatures that have gripped Texas,” while, “At the same time, we are dealing with higher-than-normal generation outages due to frozen wind turbines and limited natural gas supplies available to generating units.”
Why Magness mentioned “frozen wind turbines” ahead of outages at natural gas fired plants is curious. According to Dan Woodfin, senior director of system operations at ERCOT, “Some of the energy sources powering the grid were knocked out by the inclement weather, most of which were facilities run by gas, coal or nuclear energy.” In fact, Woodfin noted, “Most of the plants that went offline during evening and morning today (15 Feb) were fueled by one of those sources,” adding, “Wind turbines, which provide a much smaller source of energy for the state’s power grid, were iced over and also out of commission.”
Woodfin said, “These outages will continue until there’s sufficient generation being able to be brought back online to meet the demands on the system,” adding, “At this time we anticipate that we’ll need to continue these control outages at some level for the rest of today (Mon 15 Feb) and at least first part of Tuesday (16 Feb), perhaps all day tomorrow.”
Early on 15 Feb, ERCOT said it had entered emergency conditions and initiated rotating outages at 1:25 am, shedding about 10.5 GW of customer load affecting approximately two million homes. It said,
“Extreme weather conditions caused many generating units – across fuel types – to trip offline and become unavailable.”
“There is now over 30 GW of generation forced off the system.”
Few hours later it said it was is beginning to “restore some of the power lost due to the winter weather event in Texas.”
As of 4 p.m., approximately 2.5 GW of load is in the process of being restored – enough power to serve 500,000 households.
“ERCOT and Texas electric companies have been able to restore service to hundreds of thousands of households today, but we know there are many people who are still waiting.”
“It’s also important to remember that severe weather, mainly frigid temperatures, is expected to continue, so we’re not out of the woods.”
As of 4 pm on 15 Feb, ERCOT was instructing transmission owners to shed approximately 14 GW of load, down from 16.5 GW earlier in the day.
Starting on Sunday 14 Feb, the grid operator experienced frozen wind turbines and limited gas supplies, which caused a significant number of generating units to trip offline when the weather worsened overnight. It said approximately 34 GW of generation was forced off the system.
While the details are still emerging, one can assume that the frozen wind turbines were not the main culprits even if they contributed to the shortages. When all is said and done, don’t be surprised that natural gas supply shortages and frozen equipment at thermal plants caused the capacity shortfall.
Renewables usually get the blame even if the thermal plants are primarily responsible for the outages.
Dr. Sioshansi has a new article about the role of Artificial Intelligence in the power sector on the Energy Central website. It is titled: “Artificial Intelligence’s Rising Role In Power Sector’s Digital Future”. To read it, click here.
Dr. Sioshansi has been interviewed about the current state of the oil industry, and when “peak oil” might happen. The interview is for the Dutch website, NU, but Google Translate provides a very readable English version. To read the interview click here.
Dr Sioshansi has an article about the USA’s chances of reaching Net-Zero emissions on the Renew Economy website. It is titled “Net-zero America can be achieved by 2050, if not sooner, says study”. To read it, click here.
The February 2021 issue of EEnergy Informer is now available. Here is the contents list:
- Four Years Of Delusion, Denial And Deceit End
- IEA To Focus On Net Zero In Time For COP26 In Glasgow
- Net Zero America By 2050, If Not Sooner
- Renewable Super-majors Emerge As Oil Loses Its Luster
- Green Hydrogen Competitive To Blue Hydrogen Within A decade
- Artificial Intelligence’s Rising Role In Power Sector’s Digital Future
- Renewables Gain Global Energy Market Share
- Solar And Storage, Distributed Or Otherwise, On The Rise
- Reimagining The Future Of Poles & Wires
- Book Review: Transactive Energy in California by Barrager & Cazalet
- EEnergy Informer In The News
You can request a sample issue of EEnergy Informer here.