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‘Efficient’ Does Not Equal ‘Resilient’

user profile picture Art Berman Mar 13, 2021
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Almost 8 million Texans lost power and 13 million had no water from February 15 through February 19 because of extreme cold weather.

The storm was no surprise yet by early morning on February 15, net generation dropped 15 GW (gigawatt hours) from 68 to 53 GW . By early evening, it had fallen another 9 GW to 44 GW (Figure 1).

Meanwhile, demand stood at more than 75 GW so supply was only about 65% of estimated demand. The result was loss of electric power to millions of homes. Much of the state’s water relies on electric pumps to move it through pipelines. When electric power was lost, pumps stopped working and there were shortages of water. Insurance losses of are estimated at $18 billion  mostly from water damage because of broken pipes.

Figure 2. ERCOT’s resource capacity estimate exceeds maximum net generation by 30%. Electric power generation from natural gas out-performed all other sources during February 15 – 20 power crisis; wind under-performed all sources. (Source: ERCOT, EIA & Labyrinth Consulting Services, Inc.)

ERCOT calls SARA “operational capacity” but I believe it must be a discounted version of installed capacity. I used published EIA capacity factors for all categories of ERCOT SARA generation to calculate a maximum deliverable capacity level of 45 GW.  That is also shown in Figure 6 and it is -34% less than the February 14 peak level of 68 GW, and only 11% higher than the November 2020 through February 2021 winter average of 39.8 GW.

Neither…

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Top Comment

Excellent article from one of the brilliant original peak oil clan. Operational vs. installed capacity explains most of the problem. Also, that wind generators hadn’t...
Anonymous Author by agnes-xyz
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