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Has Achieved Nirvana
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Another good article, Big Al. Thanks for posting it.

I've got one to throw into the mix. I'm unable to find a non-paywall version, but the first part of the article that I can access has some valuable information.

quote:
Texas’s deregulated electricity market, which was supposed to provide reliable power at a lower price, left millions in the dark last week. For two decades, its customers have paid more for electricity than state residents who are served by traditional utilities, a Wall Street Journal analysis has found.

Nearly 20 years ago, Texas shifted from using full-service regulated utilities to generate power and deliver it to consumers. The state deregulated power generation, creating the system that failed last week. And it required nearly 60% of consumers to buy their electricity from one of many retail power companies, rather than a local utility.

Those deregulated Texas residential consumers paid $28 billion more for their power since 2004 than they would have paid at the rates charged to the customers of the state’s traditional utilities, according to the Journal’s analysis of data from the federal Energy Information Administration.

The crisis last week was driven by the power producers. Now that power has largely been restored, attention has turned to retail electric companies, a few of which are hitting consumers with steep bills. Power prices surged to the market price cap of $9,000 a megawatt hour for several days during the crisis, a feature of the state’s system designed to incentivize power plants to supply more juice. Some consumers who chose variable rate power plans from retail power companies are seeing the big bills.

None of this was supposed to happen under deregulation. Backers of competition in the electricity-supply business promised it would lower prices for consumers who could shop around for the best deals, just as they do for cellphone service. The system would be an improvement over monopoly utilities, which have little incentive to innovate and provide better service to customers, supporters of deregulation said.


https://www.wsj.com/articles/t...-11614162780?mod=mhp


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Outrage is warranted. But outrage unaccompanied by analysis is a danger in itself.

Bazootiehead-in-training



 
Posts: 31124 | Location: Somewhere in the middle | Registered: 19 January 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Has Achieved Nirvana
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The Dallas Morning News has a series of op-eds about the problems that occurred last week.

"What will it take to keep the lights on in Texas?"

https://www.dallasnews.com/opi...-lights-on-in-texas/

From one of the pieces:

quote:
Within two hours on that night, as the winter storm worsened, electric generation massively failed as plants stopped operating. Texas lost 41% of electricity produced by natural gas, coal and nuclear plants. Some wind turbines froze, compromising that source of electricity. Interestingly, in the days after the crisis developed, solar production doubled.


It's interesting to read the different perspectives....

One of the best of the pieces:

https://www.dallasnews.com/opi...e-the-power-outages/


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Outrage is warranted. But outrage unaccompanied by analysis is a danger in itself.

Bazootiehead-in-training



 
Posts: 31124 | Location: Somewhere in the middle | Registered: 19 January 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Has Achieved Nirvana
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Paging Mr. Al.... Mr. Big Al....

Several articles, including one from the Dallas Morning News posted above, talk about how close Texas was to a meltdown across their entire grid. Indications are that a meltdown like that might take months to fix. I’ve seen estimates of “minutes from disaster”.

The key seems to be the drop in frequency - the idea being that if the frequency drops below a certain point then generators start destroying themselves.

I don’t understand why this would happen, and why there wouldn’t be safeguards in place to prevent it. The internet has not been much help.

Do you have an idea of what they’re talking about?

Thanks!


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Life is short. Play with your dog.

 
Posts: 31058 | Location: Yorba Linda, CA | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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In a nutshell, dropping frequency is the result of overloads on the generator(s). On an electrical grid, all the generators operate in synchronism at a constant frequency (in our part of the world, 60 Hz.). In normal operation, increasing load on the system results in increasing output from the generators, basically by operation of the governors controlling the generator's speeds as long as there is reserve capacity existing in at least some of the generators.

Dropping frequency on the grid is a signal that something is wrong. Brief fluctuations can occur during normal load changes, short circuits, failures of individual generators, line losses, and similar events, but are normally recovered from very quickly and do not disrupt the grid. Sustained frequency droop is a signal that a larger overload problem exists. If different parts of the grid begin to lose synchronism as frequency declines, then uncontrolled power flows occur between different parts of the grid. These tend to escalate to the point where lines and generators both may have to trip to prevent destructive overloads or frequency swings leading to damage or destruction. Generators are protected by underfrequency relays and other devices that are targeted to trip before this occurs. (Generators are also protected by overfrequency relays that trip them out of operation if for some reason like a line failure they become unloaded, which would otherwise cause them to speed up to a destructive level.)

Prior to reaching this point, some system loads will be shed automatically. As I mentioned earlier, these are largely industrial users who have contracted to be available for load shedding in return for cheaper electric supply rates. These so-called interruptable loads are tripped off-line by declining frequency as the first load control measure to try to bring load into balance with available generation. If this doesn't suffice to stabilize frequency, then other loads are shed, either automatically or under system operator control, until the frequency stabilizes. This usually involves rolling blackouts such as have sometimes occurred when loads such as summertime air conditioning exceeds the capacity of the system either locally or regionally. Usually, these are of limited duration until the load declines to within the system capacity. In Texas, the capacity was so curtailed by generation failures that blackouts could not be restored before days went by in some areas of the state.

This is the point that Texas reached. Otherwise, the frequency would have continued to decline and the system would have split into pieces. Probably the largest US example of what can happen was the 2003 blackout in the northeast US. Reassembling the pieces is a complex process of restoring the grid plant by plant and line by line as each piece has to be resynchronized with the adjacent active system. This would have been even more difficult in Texas because of the lack of interties with other grids.

Big Al


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Money seems to buy the most happiness when you give it away.

Why does everything have to be so complicated, all in the name of convenience. -ShiroKuro

 
Posts: 6632 | Location: Western PA | Registered: 20 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Has Achieved Nirvana
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Excellent information!

Thanks! ThumbsUp


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Life is short. Play with your dog.

 
Posts: 31058 | Location: Yorba Linda, CA | Registered: 23 April 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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