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Loss of wind causes Texas power grid emergency
Reuters ^

Posted on 02/27/2008 5:19:12 PM PST by Sub-Driver

Loss of wind causes Texas power grid emergency Wed Feb 27, 2008 8:11pm EST

HOUSTON (Reuters) - A drop in wind generation late on Tuesday, coupled with colder weather, triggered an electric emergency that caused the Texas grid operator to cut service to some large customers, the grid agency said on Wednesday.

Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said a decline in wind energy production in west Texas occurred at the same time evening electric demand was building as colder temperatures moved into the state.

The grid operator went directly to the second stage of an emergency plan at 6:41 PM CST (0041 GMT), ERCOT said in a statement.

System operators curtailed power to interruptible customers to shave 1,100 megawatts of demand within 10 minutes, ERCOT said. Interruptible customers are generally large industrial customers who are paid to reduce power use when emergencies occur.

No other customers lost power during the emergency, ERCOT said. Interruptible customers were restored in about 90 minutes and the emergency was over in three hours.

ERCOT said the grid's frequency dropped suddenly when wind production fell from more than 1,700 megawatts, before the event, to 300 MW when the emergency was declared.

In addition, ERCOT said multiple power suppliers fell below the amount of power they were scheduled to produce on Tuesday. That, coupled with the loss of wind generated in West Texas, created problems moving power to the west from North Texas.

(Excerpt) Read more at reuters.com ...


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: New Mexico; US: Texas
KEYWORDS: electricity; energy; grid; power; powergrid; texas
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To: Sub-Driver
For nearly all of human history, we've struggled to create technology that would free us from the whims of nature. Clean warm places to live and work despite what the conditions were like outside.

But now because of the environazi's, we're going back wards with wind and solar power, where once again our comfort and industry are dependence on what "mother nature" throws at us at any given time.

It's absurd.

51 posted on 02/28/2008 5:58:02 AM PST by Jotmo (I Had a Bad Experience With the CIA and Now I'm Gonna Show You My Feminine Side - Swirling Eddies)
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To: CdMGuy
Living in a So. Cal desert area packed with wind turbines, it is obvious, even in the high wind pass location of these turbines, that there are days when NO WIND IS BLOWING.

I read where a few years ago when CA was having it's heat waves, the capacity factor for wind generators in CA dropped to something in the range of 0-5%. Basically, the wind wasn't blowing.

Now, that's a good power source for you. Just when you need it the most, it isn't there for you. Now, during that time, IIRC, the state's nuclear generators (SONGS and Diablo Canyon) were running at near full capacity, cranking out the juice, putting megawatts out on the wires. The nukes didn't care that the wind wasn't blowing.

IOW, wind failed, but the good old reliable nukes kept running. Funny how neither of those stories made the papers.

52 posted on 02/28/2008 6:03:47 AM PST by chimera
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To: ConservaTexan

Yeah, that headline should say “Break In Wind Causes Texas Power Grid Emergency”.


53 posted on 02/28/2008 6:14:27 AM PST by ichabod1 ("Self defense is not only our right, it is our duty." President Ronald Reagan)
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To: AdamSelene235

“This technology does not exist “

And won’t until it’s developed. As for ugly, that depends on details yet to be discovered.

Perhaps not at sea- perhaps somewhere where there is both wind and water, especially water that is not useful for anything else, like sewage plant effluent ( a sewage plant tht makes methane too).

Low power density, intermittent sources are not suitable for main grid, but anywhere that the energy can be added in economically is a boost. Back in the 40’s pumped storage was not feasible, now there are places where they pump water to a tank on a hill and reverse the flow through a generator during peaks.


54 posted on 02/28/2008 6:52:12 AM PST by DBrow
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To: DBrow
And won’t until it’s developed. As for ugly, that depends on details yet to be discovered.

In that case why don't we use dilithium crystals like on Star Trek.

No need to build real power infrastructure, just wait for the dilithium crystals....they are right around the corner!!

55 posted on 02/28/2008 6:55:01 AM PST by AdamSelene235 (Truth has become so rare and precious she is always attended to by a bodyguard of lies.)
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To: CdMGuy

“If it weren’t for government required subsidies,”

A while back I was approached by a wind company. The deal was this: I invest in one or more turbines, or a partial turbine, minimum investment something like $60K.

The turbine was to be run until a certain amount of power was generated, then shut down for maintenance, to be done by a maintenance company.

In California, maintenance on alternative energy came off your taxes at a triple rate, so the deal was not to make power or a profit, it was to make just enough power so that the maintenance shelter would reduce my overall tax load (this was the real “profit”). Generating lots of power would put the owner in a position to pay the heavy corporate profits tax, but you had to generate enough to qualify as a business.

There were other tax incentives like rebates and the like.

I turned this deal down, for a variety of reasons, and was squicked out by the whole concept. Now when I drive through the passes with all the pretty white turbines, and see half of them not spining, I wonder if the same deal is in effect.


56 posted on 02/28/2008 7:02:06 AM PST by DBrow
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To: AdamSelene235

“In that case why don’t we use dilithium crystals like on Star Trek.”

Because there are wind turbines, there are offshore platforms, there are electrolysis plants, and there are ways to compress, store, and deliver hydrogen. I work at a lab that gets regular deliveries of H2 because someone runs a furnace with a hydrogen atmosphere. It shows up in a regular truck.

All the pieces of the technology exist, they just have to be put together.

Dilithium does not exist (to be a true Trekkie I should say does not exist YET), so like mining helium-3 on the moon for nonexistent Earthly fusion plants, we’ll relegate that to fantasy. There are people actively working on antimatter, but it is so costly that it will be only for very exotic applications, not for a hybrid car.


57 posted on 02/28/2008 7:12:57 AM PST by DBrow
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To: Jotmo

“we’ve struggled to create technology that would free us from the whims of nature.”

An interesting point!


58 posted on 02/28/2008 7:15:44 AM PST by DBrow
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To: DBrow
I work at a lab that gets regular deliveries of H2 because someone runs a furnace with a hydrogen atmosphere. It shows up in a regular truck.

If he has some liquid hydrogen on hand, you should go pour yourself a nice big glass, sit back and watch what happens when the stuff is left unattended.

59 posted on 02/28/2008 7:28:21 AM PST by AdamSelene235 (Truth has become so rare and precious she is always attended to by a bodyguard of lies.)
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To: Rte66

“First of all, I’ve never heard of West Texas being without wind EVER”

Did you know when the wind speed goes up there is a point when wind generators shut down?

They also shut down when they have freezing rain.


60 posted on 02/28/2008 7:34:34 AM PST by hadaclueonce (shoot low, they are riding Shetlands..)
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To: baclava

The wind stops and your power goes out????

Brilliant!

See when your power is out, your meter does not turn, there is your savings!


61 posted on 02/28/2008 7:37:16 AM PST by hadaclueonce (shoot low, they are riding Shetlands..)
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To: AdamSelene235

It evaporates pretty fast from a dewar. Most of what we get is compressed, and sometimes that’s absorbed into a metal sponge of some sort.

The liquid is much colder than nitrogen, about 20K, and it’s much less dense, a liter of LH2 weighs only 70 grams, where water weighs 1000 grams.

It’s pretty flammable, naturally.


62 posted on 02/28/2008 7:38:37 AM PST by DBrow
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To: DBrow
Because there are wind turbines, there are offshore platforms, there are electrolysis plants, and there are ways to compress, store, and deliver hydrogen.

So you want to take an incredibly ineffective inefficient means of generating politically correct energy store it, in very low energy density liquid hydrogen (invisible flame front, embrittles metals, spontaneously detonates in liquid state), and then burn it to convert it back to energy.

What do you think the transfer efficiency from Wind=>propeller=>generator=>hydrogen=>combustion=>electricity is? I'm betting you get less than 5% of your original wind energy out of that scheme. And incidentally the wind energy we are talking about is an incredibly diffuse source of energy in the first place.

Americans are becoming so damn stupid they deserve to be poor.

63 posted on 02/28/2008 7:43:07 AM PST by AdamSelene235 (Truth has become so rare and precious she is always attended to by a bodyguard of lies.)
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To: DBrow
The liquid is much colder than nitrogen, about 20K, and it’s much less dense, a liter of LH2 weighs only 70 grams, where water weighs 1000 grams. It’s pretty flammable, naturally.

Yes, it has a nasty tendency to condense liquid oxygen which makes sparks.....

64 posted on 02/28/2008 7:45:10 AM PST by AdamSelene235 (Truth has become so rare and precious she is always attended to by a bodyguard of lies.)
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To: hadaclueonce

No, I didn’t know that about high winds shutting down the turbines, prior to learning it here, today. Doesn’t make sense, but after pondering it for a minute or two, I guess it does.

Spent a lot of growing-up years in Oklahoma, where windmills stood sentinel at every farmhouse and they seemed to be running more often than not, when I was driving past them.

As it happens, the days the TX windfarm went down were also the days that same weather front was passing thru here in my town in far SE TX and we had very gusty winds, which is unusual for here.


65 posted on 02/28/2008 7:48:34 AM PST by Rte66
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To: Rte66
No, I didn’t know that about high winds shutting down the turbines, prior to learning it here, today.

Its not just a question of shutdown due to possible high wind speed damage, its a question of efficiency.

Here is a typical efficiency curve for a 3 blade windmill.

When the wind energy charlatans quote you power numbers they quote peak not average power. In reality the wind usually isn't blowing at the ideal velocity.

66 posted on 02/28/2008 7:55:47 AM PST by AdamSelene235 (Truth has become so rare and precious she is always attended to by a bodyguard of lies.)
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To: Rte66
Spent a lot of growing-up years in Oklahoma, where windmills stood sentinel at every farmhouse and they seemed to be running more often than not, when I was driving past them.

In isolated locations where the cost to run a grid connection is high, locally generated energy makes sense, even if it is intermittent. Pumping water from a well into a cistern, for example.

Rural electrification changed things. My grandfather lived on a farm in rural NJ in the early 1900s and they had a windmill for pumping water. He was always worried about running out of water from the cistern when there were extended periods when the wind didn't blow. When rural electrification came in the first thing he did was tear down his windmill. He had a monthly utility bill to pay, but never worried again about lacking water.

67 posted on 02/28/2008 7:56:09 AM PST by chimera
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To: AdamSelene235

Hydrogen liquid is not low energy density, it stores about 140 megajoules per kilo. That’s pretty good storage. I bet you could launch someone to the Moon with that kind of oomph!

I’m not considering political correctness, just using engineering, or I’d bring up the Horrible Number Of Birds that get Shredded By Wind Turbines, let alone the longterm effects of sapping atmospheric kinetic energy directly to wasteful human energy! Might accelerate Global Climate Change donchano.

Yes, H2 is dangerous to work with, but not impossibly so, we’ve built an entire society around the poisonous and explosive gasoline. Hydrogen does not spontaneously ignite, it takes an ignition source. The LEL-UEL is broader than, say, propane but the problems are similar.

I’m not sure about the overall efficiency- I think it may be higher. Wind turbines these days extract a lot of kinetic energy from moving air, and electrical generators are way over 80%. Since the turbine does not “use anything up” other than kinetic energy, the first-step efficiency is not much of an issue. Later stages like kinetic-to-electric are important as you point out. The electrolysis is governed purely by the thermodynamics, and runs between 80-95%, the loss showing up as heat and delta-S. You lose delta-S on recovery, too, so the overall efficiency is probably between 30-55%, better than for petroleum run through an IC engine.

Wind energy is not inefficient, just variable.

Hey, you don’t like wind. I understand that, fine by me.


68 posted on 02/28/2008 8:04:15 AM PST by DBrow
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To: AdamSelene235

“Yes, it has a nasty tendency to condense liquid oxygen”

lol I’ve taken a Coke can (if you prefer RC Cola go for it) and filled it with LN2, and set it on steel wool. Little drops of LOX form amid the frost and drip down. Light a match near the steel wool, and WHOOSH, pretty sparks! and a bright yellow-white flame.

Helium from a cryo transfer line condenses LOX too, except that you can make it solid as well, solid air, which with a little kerosene, um, never mind...

professional driver on a closed course, don’t try this at home.


69 posted on 02/28/2008 8:10:03 AM PST by DBrow
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To: chimera

I love that story! I worked for the REA co-op in OK (OAEC) for some years as a consultant and I know I would’ve loved being among those first Rural Electrification workers who went to the farms and signed people up, then watched as the plant switches were turned on across the countryside over the years.

Your REA rep was like a county extension agent - had to have answers for all kinds of farm living questions - my favorite area of expertise would have been in recipes, canning, preserving, cooking and so forth. I just think it would’ve been a fun job and a friendly way to make a living.


70 posted on 02/28/2008 8:11:25 AM PST by Rte66
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To: DBrow
Hydrogen liquid is not low energy density, it stores about 140 megajoules per kilo.

Its light but its also bulky. 3.4X lower energy density per volume than gasoline.

Volume is a concern when you are worried about hydrogen embrittlement of the container.

71 posted on 02/28/2008 8:20:56 AM PST by AdamSelene235 (Truth has become so rare and precious she is always attended to by a bodyguard of lies.)
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To: Rte66; hadaclueonce

“No, I didn’t know that about high winds shutting down the turbines, prior to learning it here, today.”

The classic old windmill, with the wooden blades, had a “tail” that was part of the wind speed regulator. In low speed wind the tail was straight back so the blades faced the wind. As the blade speed went up, gears moved the tail to the side, so that the blades would face the wind more and more edge-on, it was a governor that kept the windmill from ripping itself apart and kept the system near the peak in the power curve.

The modern 30 foot turbines must do something similar, but I don’t know what.


72 posted on 02/28/2008 8:21:57 AM PST by DBrow
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To: DBrow
Spontaneous ignition of hydrogen leaks: A review of postulated mechanisms
73 posted on 02/28/2008 8:30:18 AM PST by AdamSelene235 (Truth has become so rare and precious she is always attended to by a bodyguard of lies.)
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To: AdamSelene235

Sometimes leaks ignite, and people don’t know why, there mayb e external causes or not- that’s my distillation of the abstract.

Hydrogen is a flammable gas, like propane and LNG.


74 posted on 02/28/2008 8:44:59 AM PST by DBrow
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To: DBrow
So tell me what would it take to get 10% of our energy from wind?

A serious power plant is 1000 MW. Windmills have to be spaced out.

To build a 1000 MW worth of windmill capacity you need hundreds of thousands of acres of land i.e. hundreds of square miles and tens of thousands of windmill.

AND WHEN YOU ARE DONE YOU STILL NEED TO BUILD A REAL POWER PLANT TO BACK IT UP.

This is idiocy. In 20 years from now China will have cheap, safe, reliable power and Americans will poor and sitting in the dark.

75 posted on 02/28/2008 8:59:36 AM PST by AdamSelene235 (Truth has become so rare and precious she is always attended to by a bodyguard of lies.)
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To: DBrow
Answer my question. How many hundreds of thousands of acres of land would you like to cover in windmills so we can have a cutesy feel good unreliable power supply.

Energy is the lifeblood of civilization and the alternative energy BS artists are destroying our nation. Even the Chinese "Communists" have better sense than this.

76 posted on 02/28/2008 9:10:15 AM PST by AdamSelene235 (Truth has become so rare and precious she is always attended to by a bodyguard of lies.)
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To: AdamSelene235

http://www.capewind.org/article24.htm

Cape Wind is to be 130 windmills, generating 400 MW of power, and the turbines are spaced 900 yards apart (a staggered linear array 40 miles long I think). Scale this up by three to get 1000 MW, roughly.

My proposal would be to complicate things further by using the intermittent, unreliable wind to generate H2 as a form of energy storage, rather than putting the power online, except perhaps for low load periods.

Ten percent of grid power? Never, as a continuous supply. As a peak % for a time, we may get to 10%. Wind is better off grid.

As stored power, in H2 or some other storage medium, wind can add to the total available, maybe 5%, I don’t have everything I need to model it.


77 posted on 02/28/2008 10:29:49 AM PST by DBrow
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To: AdamSelene235

http://www.awea.org/faq/global2000.html

An interesting page, wind is pretty paltry in terms of the total.

I’d prefer more investment in nuclear, but I don’t want to ignore wind totally.


78 posted on 02/28/2008 11:05:42 AM PST by DBrow
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To: DBrow
Cape Wind is to be 130 windmills, generating 400 MW of power,

Another fraudulent lie.

Try 170 MW of expected *average* power not the peak number.

What an incredible waste of resources for an unreliable power supply.

79 posted on 02/28/2008 11:32:10 AM PST by AdamSelene235 (Truth has become so rare and precious she is always attended to by a bodyguard of lies.)
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To: AdamSelene235

Yes, it’s too unreliable to be put on the grid.


80 posted on 02/28/2008 11:38:16 AM PST by DBrow
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To: DBrow

If you are going to have to build a real power plant anyway to back the stupid thing up, why in the hell would you build such a monstrosity in the first place unless you just like wasting resources?


81 posted on 02/28/2008 11:42:10 AM PST by AdamSelene235 (Truth has become so rare and precious she is always attended to by a bodyguard of lies.)
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To: AdamSelene235

I’d provide the “backup” by producing H2, and using that medium to transport the stored energy to the point where it’s used, when it’s needed.

Then I don’t need a second plant, I could have a factory with a H fuel cell to buy the H2.


82 posted on 02/28/2008 11:47:27 AM PST by DBrow
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To: DBrow
So you would compensate for investing in a markedly inferior power generation technology with an imaginary, unproven technology.

When America devolves into a 3rd world society, don't complain.

83 posted on 02/28/2008 1:27:58 PM PST by AdamSelene235 (Truth has become so rare and precious she is always attended to by a bodyguard of lies.)
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To: AdamSelene235

Nuclear power is inferior?

Or did you mean wind?

Hydrogen is not unproven, nor unheard of; there are several companies selling H fuel cells and there are several installations in the US (small scale power plants, backups, and demo setups).

There is a company selling cryo power backup for computers, doing quite well, their thing is LN2 superconducting magnets, they store energy in the intense magnetic field.

There’s lots of stuff going on with energy.

What are your preferences for energy?

I think that we’ll need lots of solutions for the future, nuclear, wind, oil, domestic coal, hydro, small-scale solar. None of them perfect, some better than others, but not too many eggs in any one basket.

Wind don’t matter, the military won’t allow offshore windmills because it masses up their land-based over-the-horizon radars.


84 posted on 02/28/2008 3:59:22 PM PST by DBrow
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