Texas lawmakers are pushing legislation aimed at what they see as the culprit in the massive power outages and more than 100 deaths during February’s winter storm: wind and solar power.

The bills would make wind and solar power plant owners pay for replacement power that would be ready if their plants underperformed, along with services that maintain balance on the grid. The proposals would saddle the plant owners with potentially huge costs that other types of power plants don’t need to cover.

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(61) comments

George Laiacona

This just goes to show that the Republican congressmen are owned by the oil and gas companies. By placing the blame on renewable energy sources they can continue to be financially stable with the oil companies contributions. The old story of “Money Talks, everybody else walks “.

Carlos Ponce

No, George Laiacona, this just goes to show the Republican legislatures have listened to the experts, assessed the problems we had in February and are addressing those problems.

Perhaps you missed the part that states: "Renewable energy companies, and their close allies among tech and financial giants, are now powerful enough to fight back, but so far they have been unable to derail the legislation."

Add to "their close allies among tech and financial giants" National legislation which subsidizes "green" energy. Replacing plentiful natural gas generators with solar panels increases pollution. Natural gas burns cleaner than other sources while "Fabricating the [solar] panels requires caustic chemicals such as sodium hydroxide and hydrofluoric acid, and the process uses water as well as electricity, the production of which emits greenhouse gases."

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/article/141111-solar-panel-manufacturing-sustainability-ranking

The only problem with natural gas generators was water in the gas supply line. An easy fix, placing a filter inline.No one I know with natural gas in their homes lost out. Gas powered fireplaces, stoves, ovens all functioned.

Bailey Jones

This is the sort of stupidity that I've come to expect from Austin. Wind energy is now so cheap that gas and coal can't compete - so the "solution" is to tax wind to support gas and coal?

What I'd like to know is, what is the plan to winterize Texas' oil, coal, and nuclear power generators, and our natural gas supply infrastructure, so that the February disaster doesn't happen again next winter? When will these power plants be taken offline for this critical maintenance - this summer during an expected record heatwave? Where are the regulations requiring all power sources - wind, solar, gas, coal, and nuclear - to winterize so that the February disaster never happens again? What is the plan to protect consumers from exploding spot market prices when the grid fails again?

Gary Miller

Bailey> Wind so cheap? Without tax subsidies wind costs 4 times as much as Nat Gas.

Without the taxpayers paying for much of the cost the wind farms would shut down.

Wind and solar failed to meet their contracts of having ready backup if they shut down. To meet their contracts their backups should have been winterized.

Carlos Ponce

Bailey posts "Wind energy is now so cheap that gas and coal can't compete"

That's only because of the GOVERNMENT SUBSIDIES. Without the government's "help" it would be very expensive.

Gary Scoggin

The ability to freely emit CO2 and other pollutants into the atmosphere is also a public subsidy.

Carlos Ponce

Gary Scoggin emits CO2. You get a public subsidy?

Gary Scoggin

As I mentioned elsewhere, the ability to throw away excess carbon emissions into the atmosphere is a public subsidy. It is the free use of a public good for the benefit of a private entity.

According to Trump Administration numbers, the social cost of carbon - i.e., the cost to society of an incremental ton of CO2 emissions is $7.00 per ton. (This is down from Obama Administrtion calculations which were much higher.) In 2019, NRG's W.A. Parrish in Fort Bend County emitted over 13 million tons of CO2 (Ninth in the nation). This amounts to a public subsidy of $91 million, or about 10.5 cents/kilowatt hour (based upon its generating capacity of 3.65 GW and a 65% operating factor.) I couldn't readily find the comparable numbers on wind and solar subsidies so I can't give an apples to apples comparison, but if you go to look it up be aware that most comparisons don't include the cost of carbon for fossil sources.

Bailey Jones

10.5 cents per kw-hr is about what I pay. You're saying that without the effective public subsidy, electric power from fossil fuels would cost twice what it does now (21 cents/kw-hr), if my math is right, which is never a guarantee.

Speaking of subsidies - how many billions in taxes have been spent to provide the roads that demand the cars that give gasoline companies their customer base? How many trillions have we spent trying to keep the middle east stable enough that we can extract its oil and ship it home?

I'm not opposed to any of this - it's what good governments do - but it's important to realize the hidden costs, as you say, when comparing other forms of energy to fossil fuels.

Raymond Lewis

Good article. Thanks GCDN.

Jim Forsythe

Some of the biggest wind farms in the world Are in Texas and three of the top ten in the world are in Texas. Below are the one's that are in Texas.

Located 45 miles south-west of Abilene in Texas, US, Roscoe Wind Farm is owned and operated by Germany-based company E.ON Climate and Renewables . It's a 781.5MW wind farm.

Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center is located in Taylor and Nolan County, Texas, US. It is a 735.5MW facility owned and operated by NextEra Energy Resources. NextEra Energy Resources (NEER) is a wholesale electricity supplier based in Juno Beach, Florid.

The 662.5MW Capricorn Ridge Wind Farm that is located in Sterling and Coke counties, Texas, US, is an onshore wind farm owned and operated by NextEra Energy Resources. The wind farm generates enough electricity for more than 220,000 households.

If Texas try's to do this, why would these companies remain in Texas? I have not look at all the wind sources in Texas but most are likely owned by companies that are not based in Texas.

Carlos Ponce

And Jim has a giant windmill outside his back door!

Jim Forsythe

Yes I do, been looking at a Vertical wind turbine, combined with solar panels and a battery backup.

But that is not what we are talking about.

I know people that have leased land to wind power companies, and have made a a lot of money.

One I know has has hit the trifecta, in leasing to wind, gas and oil companies.

It is easier (cheaper) to winterize wind power vs. gas.

Carlos Ponce

Don't forget to pick up the dead birds, Jim.

Jim Forsythe

5 billion birds die every year in the United State and all the years that I have lived in Hitchcock I have found only one dead bird.

The top threat to birds is cats (2.4 billion), followed by windows (599 million), cars (200 million), power lines — collision (25 million), communication towers (6.6 million), power lines — electrocution (5.6 million), agricultural chemicals (US number unknown, Canada is 2.7 million), and wind turbines (234,000).

Coal: Huge numbers of birds, roughly 7.9 million, may be killed by coal.

Nuclear: About 330,000 birds are killed by Nuclear power plants.

Carlos Ponce

Don't forget to pick up the dead birds, Jim.

Jim Forsythe

The dead bird was a Blue Jay , that I turned in ,because at the time Blue Jays were dying from a decease.

Less birds die from wind power than most means of electro production.

This one of the reason that wind power is a good choice.

Power lines — collision (25 million), communication towers (6.6 million), power lines — electrocution (5.6 million), wind turbines (234,000)

Coal: Huge numbers of birds, roughly 7.9 million, may be killed by coal.

Nuclear: About 330,000 birds are killed by Nuclear power plants.

Carlos Ponce

A Blue Jay..... Symbol of Jim Crow in Fort Bend County, Texas. Needville's mascot is the Blue Jay. In the "Jaybird" primary the Democrat Party was proclaimed a "White's Only" Private Club.

Winterizing wind turbines involves retro-fitting blades with warm air blowers or heaters. Or you could drench using hot water or other deicers applied using helicopters or drones for small scale operations. Neither way is inexpensive

Gas generators just need an inline filter attached.

Jim Forsythe

I have no idea why you are rambling on about the dead Blue Jay in my yard.

Jim Forsythe

All source of power had problems during the freeze. At the time wind was providing a small amount of the power for Texas (less than 13%).

Unless we address the problem in a truthful manor, will have the same problem in the future.

To try and place the blame only on wind, will not solve the problem.

Until we build new gas plants or spend the money required to retrofit what we have now, we will have another big freeze problem .

The other problem we are not addressing is in the Summer will will have a shortages of power which could cause loss of power.

When the freeze started, all forms of power started to have problems.

Natural gas plants, utility scale wind turbines, coal and nuclear plants alike began to trip — many lacked the investments necessary to keep them online during low temperatures.

It’s going to be difficult to retrofit gas-fired plants in Texas, said Morris Greenberg, senior manager of North America Power Analytics for S&P Global Platts. That’s because the plants are built to maximize profit.

“Retrofitting would be a questionable, challenging solution,” Greenberg said. “Most gas plants are built as lean as possible.

Retrofitting existing natural gas wells would be extremely difficult and probably cost prohibitive.

Wind turbine outages was responsible for less than 13% of Texas’ total power shortages, the nonprofit electric grid overseer Energy Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said.

Your idea that all we need is "Gas generators just need an inline filter attached." would not solve the problem. Unless you have worked in the industry, it may be hard for you to understand what needs to be done. What needs to be done, will cost a large amount of money.

One example of what could help is to take up Berkshire Hathaway on it's offer. Under Berkshire Hathaway’s plan, the average residential customer in Texas would pay approximately $1.42 per month as part of their monthly electricity bill in exchange for guaranteed power, Summer and Winter.

Carlos Ponce

"I have no idea why you are rambling on about the dead Blue Jay in my yard." You're the one who introduced Blue Jays into the thread, Jim.

And the poor performance of wind turbines placed a burden on traditional sources. Think of a basketball team that has many fouling out. When there is less than 5 on the court that places a burden on who remains.

Jim Forsythe

The poor performance of gas, coal and nuclear sources placed a burden on renewable energy supplies.

The largest loss of power was from gas, coal and nuclear sources with a loss totaling 30GW.

30GW being taken offline from gas, coal and nuclear sources was the main reason we had a problem Other source totaled about one half that amount. Until we winterize all forms of power, will will continue to have power losses when cold weather comes to Texas.

If all Texas does, is go away from Wind power, the problem will not be fixed.

Winterizing gas power plants, is not just slapping in some filters and calling the problem fixed.

If you have no idea what else needs to be done, ask Gary.

Carlos Ponce

I'll ask the power experts instead.

Gary Scoggin

Let me know what they come up with. I'd be interested in their response.

Gary Scoggin

"One example of what could help is to take up Berkshire Hathaway on it's offer. Under Berkshire Hathaway’s plan, the average residential customer in Texas would pay approximately $1.42 per month as part of their monthly electricity bill in exchange for guaranteed power, Summer and Winter." I hadn't heard this - it's always smart to bet on Warren Buffet.

Regarding gas lines freezing, it's the small ones that connect instruments, control valves, etc that you worry about. At most wellheads there is no power so everything is pneumatic, powered off the pressure from the well itself.

Jim Forsythe

You are in luck Carlos, because a power expert just logged in.

Carlos, if you have questions, just ask Gary!

Carlos Ponce

"guaranteed power, Summer and Winter'

Sooooooo.... when a hurricane hits the Texas Coast we'll have electricity is what you are posting.

That'll be the day.[tongue]

Jim Forsythe

Yes it would be guaranteed. What would not be guaranteed, is the transmission lines.

Carlos Ponce

In other words... NO GUARANTEE!

Jim Forsythe

Yes it is. It was not the power lines that failed us in the freeze this year.

Carlos Ponce

Let me repeat, JIM:

"Sooooooo.... when a hurricane hits the Texas Coast we'll have electricity is what you are posting."

So Jim JUMPS from HURRICANES TO FREEZING? Are you paying attention?

Jim Forsythe

As far as making all power winterized, it not a easy fix. First it will take money. The fix is not just install more filters. If a person had worked in a refinery they would know that filters are in place, along with dryers. For years Texas officials have know that we had this problem, but no one wanted to supply the money. Winterizing the wind power would be cheaper than some of the other fixes needed.

In West Texas, wellheads froze, curbing natural gas supplies bound for power plants. The cold stopped equipment from working properly at gas processing plants

The gas production that happen was with the gas from the Permian Basin which may not be the source for most homes in Galveston County.

Natural gas production was pretty much halved in Texas and its gas-rich Permian Basin during the recent cold and stormy weather. It fell from 22.5 billion cubic feet of gas produced per day in December to between 10 to 12 billion cubic feet of gas per day

Carlos Ponce

Placing a filter in natural gas lines to remove water will not take that much money.

Jim Forsythe

or fix the problem.

Gary Scoggin

Carlos,once again you demonstrate your ignorance of the gas industry.

Carlos Ponce

Gary Scoggin, your opinion is not constructive.

Gary Scoggin

Nor are your uninformed comments

Carlos Ponce

My comments are informative.[beam]

Gary Scoggin

"Placing a filter in natural gas lines to remove water will not take that much money" - Where exactly in the sytem do you place the filter? What kind of filters will remove water? On which instruments and control mechanisms? What is more prone to freezing up, high bleed or low bleed controllers? How many filters per well do you need? How much do they cost? How hard are they to install? Do you control water on the glycol dehydration units or just on the wellheads? What about compressor stations? What happens to the water that is collected? How is it removed without being subject to freezing? I look forward to seeing you reply based on your extensive knowledge of the industry (no Googling!). Hopefully, you find my questions constructive.

Carlos Ponce

"Filters for the Natural Gas Industry"

https://www.parker.com/Literature/IGFG/PDF-Files/Finite_Filters%20for%20Natural%20Gas%20Industry_Bulletin1300NG_USA_RevA.pdf

Jim Forsythe

and the filters are placed where in the system?

Carlos Ponce

Read the link.

Gary Scoggin

Carlos... congratulations. Even with Google you were not able to answer a single question of mine.

Carlos Ponce

The link answers ALL your questions.

Carlos Ponce

By the way, I NEVER Google.

Gary Miller

Wells with filters did not freeze. Instruments with anhydros nitrogen back flow did not freeze. Dry gas does not freeze. Federal and state subsidies should be repealed for any windmill not winterized.

Ted Gillis

Well, so much for Texas’s “Business Friendly Environment” label.

Jose' Boix

To me a significant key issue was the seemingly lack of having an effective and thorough strategic plan. A plan that should have had "what if" analyses/scenarios with active "trend tracking" of events that could or would lead to what we had. The University of Houston has the premier Foresight program with professionals with the know-how to develop and implement such effective plans. Just my thoughts.

George Laiacona

As long as the Republicans are in change of of legislation don’t expect any significant changes that will benefit us. Just prepare your home for next winter’s cold spell.

Irwin Fletcher

https://generation180.org/the-absurd-truth-about-fossil-fuel-subsidies/

Stay informed, or post wild non-factual based comments as fact - as most Trumplicans do.

Keep up the fight Baily!

Carlos Ponce

Take a look at the chart at:

"You Asked: How Much Does the U.S. Subsidize Renewable Energy Versus Fossil Fuels?"

https://news.climate.columbia.edu/2019/09/23/energy-subsidies-renewables-fossil-fuels/

The website is from Columbia University. Their source is

https://www.eia.gov/

From the GOVERNMENT website:

"Most current federal subsidies support developing renewable energy supplies (primarily biofuels, wind, and solar) and reducing energy consumption through energy efficiency."

https://www.eia.gov/analysis/requests/subsidy/

Your website is committed to promoting solar and wind. Biased?

https://generation180.org/about-us/

Irwin Fletcher

Biased is what you do say after day by only quoting those things you feel prove your point.

I’m simply providing the other side of the argument. Both sides are to blame because they believe one is better than the other.

Energy providers didn’t do what was necessary, people died, and now they are making the survivors foot the bill.

Nice business model.

Carlos Ponce

Your "other side of the argument" is not an argument but propaganda promoting "green" energy.

On the other hand, Irwin, I provided Columbia University source based on a Government study.

But you believe what you want. But honestly, your source is questionable and is NOT above reproach.

Irwin Fletcher

But you’re not disputing their ability to be reckless and cause people to die and make the survivors pay for the updates they should have had in place in the first place - great. Glad we have some common ground there.

Carlos Ponce

No common ground. Over reliance on unreliable wind turbines placed a burden on traditional power generators.

Gary Miller

Wind and solar are subject to service interuptions and are contracted to have standby backup if they go off line. They failed to meet their contracts and now must pay the fine.

Jim Forsythe

What's your point Gary, all power sources had problems and each had loss of production.

Karen Sawyer

SMH can't fix stupid but we sure can elect them apparently!

Ted Gillis

Did not Carlos. You’re lying again.

Carlos Ponce

We have a failure to communicate. Your terse post, not attached to any of my posts... I have no ideal what you are posting about. I feel sorry for your English teacher.

Ted Gillis

I’m commenting on your most recent post Carlos. That’s how it works, and how it reads. Repeating superfluous words just to keep the slow folks up to speed is not helpful to all of the other posters.

Your failure to understand that simple fact makes me feel sorry for your English teacher.

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