Texans will be “relying on the breath of God to keep the lights on”

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The Texas electric grid’s ability to provide enough summertime energy may hinge on whether renewable sources can meet the growing demand that’s already sapped fossil fuel and nuclear power supplies, says Peter Lake, Chairman of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, Bloomberg reports.

He states that the state’s grid is becoming too dependent on intermittent wind and solar sources, and more natural gas is needed to keep the grid reliable. Some grid analysts, as well as solar and wind advocates, disagree.

Texans will be “relying on the breath of God to keep the lights on,” he said in an interview this past week on the sidelines of CERAWeek by S&P Global in Houston. “We will be depending on wind and sun.”

During the hot, humid days of June, July, and August, the power grid is tested by significant electric demand.

The dependability of power resources is questioned. Solar and wind proponents blame fossil fuels for the grid’s collapse. Gov. Abbott considers renewables the culprit.

Lake has held meetings to discuss the potential of small nuclear reactors, which he said will be critical in the state “if the federal government is going to force-feed us clean air emissions.”

Small nuclear reactors hold “tremendous promise, and it’s really a necessity,” Lake said.

Meanwhile, solar and wind developers are piling into Texas.

Solar and wind make us wholly dependent on China while we sit on one of the world’s largest supplies of fossil fuels.

No Breath of God, Lots of Useless Wind Turbines

Texas has gone crazy. They bought into the solar-wind craze while both the largest producer of oil, and the largest producer of natural gas, and has been for decades. Texas also has abundant coal reserves. It has been ground zero of the fracking revolution that brought down prices.

The Wall Street Journal in an editorial in Febrary 2021 collected some basic data after their grid crash. Examining the data shows that Texas didn’t have enough power because Texas has gone crazy for wind. About 30 GW of the 83 GW of capacity are wind. That means that even if all the fossil fuel and nuclear facilities are running at full tilt, you still need at least some wind at all times. And the fossil-fuel and nuclear facilities are not going to run all the time at full tilt. You are going to have scheduled outages, and also breakdowns from time to time. That’s why you would like to have a margin of up to 30%. It turns out that the cold weather and icy conditions brought some serious breakdowns on the fossil fuel side.

So how how did the wind do at covering the gaps?  God’s breath wasn’t there, and the answer is, it’s completely useless. From the WSJ:

Winds this past month have generated between about 600 and 22,500 MW. Regulators don’t count on wind to provide much more than 10% or so of the grid’s total capacity since they can’t command turbines to increase power like they can coal and gas plants.

With the breakdown in the winter of 2021, the media spun it that fossil fuels were the problem. The wind turbines were frozen solid and the wind doesn’t always blow when you need it.

Wind can’t cover outages and didn’t in 2021. The breath of God might help.


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