Texas ERCOT power shortages (again) April 13

Mark Tinka mark at tinka.africa
Wed Apr 14 12:47:10 UTC 2021

On 4/14/21 13:35, Billy Croan wrote:

> Sounds like we all need to start keeping a few days reserve of energy 
> on hand at home now because the utilities can't be trusted to keep 
> their system online in 2021.

It just makes sense to plan along those lines, really. Despite popular 
belief, power companies are preferring energy conservation from their 
customers more than they do sales, because they just can't keep throwing 
up new coal-fired or nuclear power stations a la the days of old (anyone 
remember the 1973 and 1979 oil crises?)

Most people would assume that power companies want to sell more 
electricity so they can make more money, but they dread the days when 
the network is brought to its knees, even if the revenue will climb. So 
between asking customers to save more on energy + being able to rely 
less on fossil fuels for generation, one needs to consider their 
personal energy security over the long term, fully or partially 
independent of the traditional grid.

> Funny how this obsession with a green grid has made the grid 
> unreliable, resulting in sales of gas-burning generators and 
> perishable fuel.  Dare I say it's not been worth it?

I wouldn't say that the obsession is without merit. It's just that 
regular folk are only seeking the solution from one perspective - that 
of the power generators. If folk (and that includes the gubbermints) met 
the power companies half way, renewables would make a lot more sense, 
more quickly. But as I said before, when we flick the switch, it must 
turn on. End of. And then we revert to demanding power companies to 
embrace the additional revenue, or fulfill their mandate to deliver a 
basic, life-sustaining utility, no matter what.

Unfortunately, there really hasn't been sufficient education to regular 
folk about what it takes to generate electricity reliably, no matter the 
season. And yet, there is far more education out there about the 
benefits of conserving it, and preserving the earth. So the view is not 
balanced, and power companies as well as oil producers will knee-jerk to 
either justify or distance themselves, rather than encourage a fair, 
practical engagement. In the end, he that feels the most pressure, 
caves... and this can go either way depending on which side of the 
economic development curve you are sitting.

> Nuclear and hydro were the only reasonable obvious choices and 
> ecological paralysis hamstrings those as well.

Ultimately, no target toward zero emissions is complete without some 
kind of nuclear and/or hydro. Especially as a solution for peak demand, 
(pumped) hydro will continue to be the most efficient option, if folk 
are interested in keeping the lights on at 7:45PM on a wintery Tuesday 

> Now is the time to speak the message.  Write your elected 
> representatives. Talk to your families and friends about energy.  
> Change minds.

There is room for co-existence, I think. But the honest discussions need 
to be had, and not the glossy wish list that should be fixed by someone 
else, because we are just citizens minding our own business.


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