Polar winds scream out of Canada in seeming revenge for Joe Biden canceling the Keystone XL pipeline.
Texas’ power grid collapsed as temperatures more likely in Sioux Falls than San Antonio roared in plunging more than 4 million people into darkness and without heat.
How can this have possibly happened in a place whose entire cultural identity revolves around producing energy?
Texas’ deregulated energy market went green over the past decade. In the past ten years, according to the EIA, Texas retired more than 5,000 MW of coal-supplied power while spinning up more than that in windmills.
Wind produces the marginal, or last, megawatt in Texas, in this case the last 17%. Nuclear provides the first megawatt, less than 10%.
Natural Gas provides most of the megawatts.
One would think in a world which is getting hotter that putting windmills and solar panels would be a good idea.
I’m sure that’s what the CEO’s of all those energy providers across Texas thought as well. And our government at every level incentivized this. The cultural zeitgeist of ‘sustainability’ and ‘renewables’ overrode, as it always does, common sense.
Because at the heart of this problem is, bluntly, the planet isn’t warming. It hasn’t warmed net-on-net for the nearly twenty years Texas’ electricity market has been deregulated.
In fact, when one steps back from the entire CO2-induced Climate Change hysteria and sees it for what it is – a giant money laundering operation through taxes — we have been preparing for the wrong climate catastrophe for more than a generation.
More on that in a minute.
Because of the intense cold power, demands for electric heat in Texas spiked well above levels needed for air conditioning in their normally brutal summers. Why? Because those wind turbines which produce the marginal megawatt froze.
Even worse, because most of Texas’ power actually comes from its abundant production of natural gas and no one thought to consult the folks in Canada or North Dakota, apparently major parts of the gas pipeline infrastructure which delivers the gas to the power plants froze as well.
So, no gas, no power. No wind, no power. Even with wind, no power.
On top of that one of the two reactors at the South Texas Nuclear Power Station went down this week adding to the state’s power woes.
The result was the price for electricity spiking to unheard of numbers that make Bitcoin look like a stablecoin in comparison.
From under $100 per MWHr to the limit, as defined by Texas’ regulatory board ERCOT, of $9000 per MWHr.
Anti-free market types will chime in and decry the evils of deregulation and protecting the little guy from price gougers. Commies will scream that it wasn’t the frozen windmills’ fault or the lack of sunlight.
It will be blamed on the evils of capitalism because that’s what always happens when even a somewhat deregulated market like that of electricity in Texas is hit with a six-sigma outlier event, like Dallas dealing with a high of 9oF in mid-February.
It doesn’t matter if we socialize the costs or not, the bills for the power used this week in Texas have to be paid. Those costs weren’t necessarily caused by deregulation the extremity of the situation was caused by something far more pernicious than price gouging, bad planning because of bad information.
CO2-induced global warming theory is, simply put an illusion. The emotions surrounding it along with the economic incentives created through government edict are real.
The planetary and solar physics have far more predictive and explanatory power than the endless data fudging associated with Mann’s Hockey Stick graph and Al Gore’s stupid movie.
The weather event which engulfed the center of the U.S. and is moving east, which pushed the Jet Stream to the extreme south cannot be explained by aggregate CO2 concentrations, but rather the interactions between fluctuations in the solar wind and Earth’s rapidly weakening magnetic field.
A strong solar wind event which pushes on the magnetic field alters the flow of the jet stream bringing strong polar winds farther south than thought possible by the builders of Texas’ energy grid.
In geological and solar system time scales fifty or sixty years of data are irrelevant. It doesn’t matter that it hasn’t been this cold in Texas for a hundred years when the conditions which caused this event occur every few thousand.
You can’t plan for that unless you are looking at the right data with the right sets of eyes.
For decades the effects of solar physics on our planet have been suppressed in pursuit of the CO2 narrative enshrined at the heights of our political power structure at a global level. They do this, in my opinion, to further their political power and advance an agenda of control rather than one of freedom and inquiry.
Because of this we’ve diverted trillions in useful capital into critical infrastructure projects which fail when we need them most because their bad information crowded out better information.
It’s pushed back the promise of home power generation for a generation.
This, to me, is real energy freedom.
It looked promising back when I built my house in 2003. It is still just a dream outside of solar. The power companies and local governments will not give up that control, it is the key to their tax collection.
The rallying cry of Joe Biden, when he can read it clearly off the teleprompter, is ‘Trust the Science.’ But science isn’t consensus anymore than chocolate is vanilla. Science in our hyper-politicized world is just that, political.
Because if we listened to the science (SCIENCE!!) we would have given up on Global Warming decades ago.
The history of science is the scientists acting as gatekeepers of the dominant political system. New knowledge which threatens the existing power structure is suppressed, its advocates branded heretics slowing the adoption of new paradigms of thought for generations.
That’s where we are today in climate science. The global warming story collapsed. Now it’s Climate Change. And even that is dubious as the solar physics story gains incontrovertible traction.
And remember, what we wanted was less pollution. What we got was frozen wind turbines and solar farms in Germany covered in ice.
Even the IPCC will finally add some solar particle forcing data, the kind which pushed the Jet Stream down to freeze Texas, into their data set in 2022. This is the first major step, officially, towards ending this insanity.
Reality is reasserting itself with a vengeance in this space and yet the Biden Administration is full steam ahead with the Green New Deal.
The sad truth is that if none of us had ever listened to the renewable energy hysteria and pushed for proper deregulation of energy markets things would be better today.
If Texas had left those coal plants running and built a few more nuclear reactors it wouldn’t be freezing today.
If we’d gotten the government out of the energy regulation market altogether and allowed a proper free market in it with a properly decentralized grid, we would be far closer to the socialists dream of ending price gouging during weather crises.
But because of government’s insatiable need to control the real means of production – energy, communications, travel and education – we limp along with a hodgepodge grid just waiting for the next catastrophe.
This piece is original for Daily Liberty News…and is reprinted with permission
Since this piece was written (2/16/2021) it’s come out that Gov. Greg Abbott wanted to fire up the coal plants to keep the grid from collapsing ahead of the front. He was denied by the DoE unless they charged customers $1500 per MWHr to satisfy Green Energy requirements.
Politics is the killer here, not free markets.
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Tom, I agree the green ideology made Texas vulnerable. Wind power was supplying 40% of electrical output when the cold arrived (from as base of 2% of total electrical capacity in their grid). It plummeted by plus 80% and natural gas took up the slack until pipelines and infrastructure froze curtailing gas supply. The reason nothing was winterized was republicans in the legislature bough the global warming story and declined to require measures against cold since temps were supposed to average 5 degrees higher than normal, according to “consultants” who get paid to push the official line. Inspectors were afraid to inspect because…Covid…
One problem with your otherwise great article. Solar winds pick up in space when the sun’s magnetic activity expands, coincident with a rise in sunspot activity. Now the sunspot activity is very low and has been for some time. So solar winds abate and penetration of our magnetic shield increases with influx of ions and gamma rays into our atmosphere. Those increased concentrations of ions provide nuclei around which water vapor particles cluster, forming clouds that bring lots of moisture events…including snow in winter.
The solar cycle has begun and it’s stronger than was predicted. The earth’s magnetic field is weakening at an alarming rate so it doesn’t take much to deform the jet stream and push it that far south.
Wind doesn’t correlate at all with load. I know that nothing was winterized and that was a point I made… but wind is a blight as is solar. Neither are worth the time or energy expended. We should be running a decentralized grid with PEM fuel cells powered by natural gas. But that’ll never happen as long as the politicians want to be able to shut off your power if you don’t pay your property taxes.
sorry wind was 24% of grid capacity and was providing 40% of elec output when the cold arrived
On a somewhat related tangent, the MA Undersecretary recently resigned after “privately” saying that 60% of the state’s emissions come from residential heating and passenger vehicles, therefore “There is no bad guy left, at least in Massachusetts, to point the finger at, turn the screws on, and break their will so they stop emitting,” he said in the video. “That’s you, we have to break your will, right. I can’t even say that publicly.”
If you take a peek at this beta’s pic, he reminds one of a clone of Bill, I want to rule the world, Gates.
I was not there to hear the discussion but it might be possible that what he tried to say was that people need to conserve and one of the best ways to conserve is for things to become more efficient. My limited understanding of the Energy problem is that a very large part of it can be met by improvements in efficiency, and that these improvements are much more possible than anything that Alternative Energy sources can provide, which of course is impossible for a modern culture to continue as we know it.
While I agree with you that global warming is mass hysteria, I have lived in Texas for 30 years and have relatives very high up in the oil and gas food chain. Big Oil owns Texas lock, stock and barrel. They have been trying to run green energy out of the state forever. Again, don’t get me wrong, I think green energy is a giant boondoggle. But the blame for this fiasco is on the oligarchical “free market” shysters of Big Oil and the entire slate of mostly Republican politicians who they own. Let’s call a spade a spade. Most Texans who know anything about how the state operates know this is just a replay of Enron with far worst consequences.
Natural Gas cannot freeze or even become liquid at any surface temperature on this planet. My understanding is that in response to Green Energy demands, the natural gas powered pumps on the natural gas lines were replaced with clean electric powered pumps. While the natural gas powered pumps were absolutely clean by any standard, electric was cleaner in the Green Mind. So with no electric no pumping of natural gas and so the lines are “Frozen” but not in a factual or scientific sense. Just in a real world sense as no gas can be moved. The lines did not freeze, they became useless because the electric pumps had no electric. True Genius in These Modern Times.
Of course methane cannot freeze at these temps. It was the infrastructure that wasn’t hardened against the cold which was because of the lie of global warming. No one claimed otherwise.
The energy problem is only a problem for the elites who want to maintain control over our society and push us towards a universal surveillance state. That is the single purpose behind all of their so-called ‘initiatives.’
Everything else is just knock-on effects.
Our so-called “leaders” always fail us. Always. The electricity outages in Texas (and California) was perfectly preventable. There is no excuse.
Excellent and insightful piece above. Only in America, can people be this blind. If truth is inconvenient it gets swept under the rug.
So Texas had its own power grid and it wasn’t adequate. It didn’t play nice with the other major utilities and so when the shit hit the fan it was anally raped. The concept state of Texas has been asking for it for ever, maybe now it will join the USA, maybe it won’t.
Maybe it wants to be another Mexico? Or California. I’m from Wisconsin Texas, we will trade with you like we do with other countries. Send gasoline.
That’s about it.
Take a hike.
Most of your state isn’t fit to live in from a Midwest standpoint.
Maybe elect a king like Saudi Arabia.
bill in tomahawk
Connect the Texas dots… or why China (10,000 year old civilization) will win in the end (and trump the 245 year old upstart colony of a Bolshevik entity in the Middle East):
It’s not the natural gas that froze. It’s the water that comes out of the well along with many other components. The natural gas system in the US has changed dramatically with fracking because we deliver straight from the wellheads year round. You can read up on wellhead freeze offs and natural gas hydrates. Also we are supposedly entering solar cycle 25 and so far there are very few sunspots. Strong likelihood we are entering a grand solar minimum.
Agreed about the Grand Solar Minimum
EE here. It’s quite clear that natgas was taking up almost all the slack initially. However, then the natgas supply, and some plants themselves, began having problems with the temperature.
Now, we deal with those kinds of temps every year in Canada. It isn’t rocket science to prepare for them; it’s just tedious and expensive. But we do it because if we don’t, everybody suffers.
Now, in the USofA, with all your free markets and such, I would expect that the hammer of torts and negligence lawsuits would be sufficiently scary that any prudent energy supplier would cold-proof his systems, especially since friends in Texas tell me this is the 3rd such event (although the most severe) since 2000, lest he be sued out of existence.
And this is where the real culprit reveals itself. It has nothing to do with ‘green energy’, and everything to do with the REMOVAL OF LEGAL LIABILITY for the energy producers. Since they no longer had any ‘skin in the game’, as Taleb puts it, they didn’t have to make those pesky investments in protection. And so, they didn’t. That’s your issue, right there. Anti-green arguments are something quite different.
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