The state needs to start stringing power lines and fast because their inadequacy is one of the biggest challenges to handling another Winter Storm Uri.

Buoyed by the $33-billion surplus that the energy industry has handed it, the Texas House and Senate find themselves confronted with 10 percent of the state’s population not being reached by the power grid and serious doubts about some of the areas that it does.


(28) comments

Dwight Burns

$33billion dollars of the peoples money in the state of Texas, being held captive by a bunch of fools who remain in office only because of gerrymandering. This is crazy. Just as crazy as the banning of books. After World II and all the lives loss to prevent this type of thing from ever happening again, we, as Americans, find ourselves facing the same old enemy again rapped in MAGA Q-Anone craziness.

Charles Douglas

Funny thing because many of us think all of the woes we see happening in America now is because of the weak, pathetic leaders who were ushered into office by the WOKE-LEFT! You know, those who are trying to turn out little school kids into being individuals who change their sex and gender behind their parent's back! Those who have shutdown Fossil Fuel production from the first day Joe Cool was in office, and have facilitated a war in the Ukraine, and the advancement of Red China's world status as the number one Super-power on the Globe! You know,...the group that has inflation through the roof, and have divided this nation like at no other time since the Civil War!!!!!

Spurting Disinformation is a common thing if you get your one sided news from CNN & the FAKE MEDIA who packs water for the WOKE. I wonder is Joe Cool going to come out like a man and debate & answer questions during the next election, or will he hide-out in a hole somewhere like last time? Lolo.

Jim Forsythe

Charles, this is a Texas problem, because of ERCOT.

Ted Gillis

This is too complicated for our current bunch of politicians to deal with. They will however act quickly to remove books from library shelves. Removing books is easy stuff for them, understanding the state wide electrical grid is just too much too ask of them.

Carlos Ponce

The State of Texas does not own the power lines locally nor the long distance power lines. They are being rebuilt and being built by companies that contribute to the grid. . Do a web search "ONCOR CURRENT TRANSMISSION LINE PROJECTS". I count a dozen projects going on.

From their website:

"A dedicated group—including Oncor, ERCOT, the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), and state utilities—keep a pulse on our state's growing energy needs. It is a joint monitoring effort that constantly examines demand and supply, then follows a step-by-step expansion process that involves conducting engineering, routing and environmental assessments, evaluating connection requirements, securing certifications, determining right-of-way, and working cooperatively with landowners. "

Along FM 2004 (between Hwy 6 and FM 1764) I see work being done on those high towers to maintain greater crew access to lines.

Charlene Adams

So basically the Republicans in the Texas legislature want to ensure the “rates of return” are sufficient for the power transmission companies to build transmission lines to meet the growing demand in West Texas. This means they want to raise the charge we pay the transmission provider on our electric bill; a charge amount that is regulated by the state. They want to do this because oil and gas companies, who are making record profits in the last few years, need the infrastructure so they can continue their huge expansion of their extraction and processing in West Texas. Meanwhile we the people of Texas here on the Gulf Coast still don’t have the improvements promised after the disastrous winter storm Uri and no laws with any teeth to force the power companies to upgrade their equipment or face fines and legal consequences. If it’s for oil and gas, we can and must get it done, but if it’s just the people of the state, well it can wait. It’s time to elect leaders that care more about us than oil and gas companies!

Carlos Ponce

"still don’t have the improvements promised after the disastrous winter storm Uri "


"CenterPoint responds to power outages with equipment repairs" Mar 15, 2023

"CenterPoint upgrading Galveston equipment to improve reliability" Jan 14, 2022

"CenterPoint to move isle center to Santa Fe" Oct 7, 2022

Ted Gillis

Anyone with eyes can see the the Big Metal Stuff being erected by CenterPoint across the middle of Santa Fe, but thanks for pointing out the obvious again Carlos.

Carlos Ponce

Obvious to you, obvious to me, obvious to those who read the articles but there are still the uninformed.

Gary Scoggin

The issue in this editorial is not so much problems around here but in West Texas where supply and demand are far apart. The grid is less well developed and less resilient out there.

This editorial is from the Odessa paper after all.

Carlos Ponce

West Texas... Isn't that where the wind mills are? Just asking.

Bailey Jones

Yes, Carlos, that's where the windmills (and solar panels) are. Renewables are generating more energy than we have power lines to carry. (As I write this, wind and solar are producing 42.5% of your electricity, according to ERCOT's real-time metrics.)

Maybe an analogy will help. When fracking in the Permian Basin began liberating huge amounts of new oil and gas, Texas had to build new pipelines to accommodate it. It's the same thing.

Carlos Ponce

So the wind generator counties have plenty, they just want to ship it to where the money is. CHA CHING!

Bailey Jones

Yes, Carlos. A basic tenet of capitalism is that the goods and services you produce have to be available to the people that want to buy them.

You might want to read, "Business Basics For Kids: Learn with a Lemonade Stand", available at Amazon.

Gary Scoggin

But maybe not at a school library.

Carlos Ponce

Let the private companies build the transmission towers and don't expect the state to pay for it since they'll be making the $$$$$.

Charles Douglas

Hey, ask Red China and XI JINPING what they want done! He is the one calling the shots after all!. I can't see why the WOKE-LEFT is "sweating" this! I guarantee anybody,...anywhere that Red China is not having these made-up energy problems we are having now under the WOKE-LEFT leadership!

I'm waiting to see how the WOKE will use energy panels to replace Fossil Fuel for our military tanks and other weapons. You gotta love how Red China ...differently than Russia, has used selfishness, and greed in America to move past us, and to become idolized by the world! ...SMDH).

Gary Scoggin

It’s about matching supply and demand. There is lots of generation in West Texas and lots of demand elsewhere. More transmission lines are needed to get from A to B. While I agree for the need of more transmission lines, I disagree with this editorial on a couple of points.

First, the non-ERCOT counties in Texas don’t need to join. They are parts of multi-state interconnects that are already functioning. There is no need to make ERCOT even more complex unless the goal is to tie into the national grids and submit to the authority of FERC. (Which politically ain’t gonna happen.)

Second, I don’t think the State should be funding the needed transmission lines. There may be a role in financing, permitting, etc, but not as an owner.

Jim Forsythe

When the offshore wind farms come online, the Gulf Coast will become a larger player in electricity production. Right now we have a large producer on the coast.

Los Vientos Wind Farm is a 912-megawatt (MW) wind farm in Starr and Willacy counties in South Texas. It is the second largest wind farm in the United States behind the Alta Wind Energy Center (1,550- MW) in California.

Carlos Ponce

When the offshore wind farms come online they'll have to be shut down every time there is a storm that exceeds their specifications. Do any storms ever come into the Gulf Coast area of Texas?

Jim Forsythe

The wind farms they are building in the gulf, are not the first in the world. Engineers have worked out, how to protect them from high wind. It's no different from what we did when a hurricane came ashore in Texas City or in the area. When had things we did to reduce the damage to the refinery.

Wind Farms:

"They are designed to withstand a category 5 storm. Once the wind speed reaches (somewhere around) 25 meters per second (60 mph), the rotor is stopped, and the turbine is put in protection mode until the storm passes." It does not take very long for a hurricane to reduce to 60 mph and start producing power again.

"Wind farms in the Gulf of Mexico could generate as much as 508 gigawatts of electricity a year, which is twice what U.S. Gulf states consume. "

Carlos Ponce

"(60 mph), the rotor is stopped," So that means we will have to rely on more traditional electrical sources during a hurricane. Can't use wind... Jim says they're SHUT DOWN.

Jim Forsythe

The difference between a wind farm and a refinery as far as being offline because of a hurricane. Once it is determined that a refinery is going to experience high wind from a hurricane, shutdown will start. A wind farm will not shut down until the wind reaches 60 mph.

Once the wind has reduced to below 60 mph wind farm can restart. In a refinery the amount of time before they are back to full capacity can be days, weeks or months. Bringing a plant back online after a hurricane is a hazardous, multi-day process that can create new disasters. Not so, with a windfarm.

Charles Douglas

Is that how long it takes BP/AMOCO/ MARATHON to get back on line..or does that apply to All plants? I spent a few hours at a plant in TC myself, not many but a few ( 33.5 YEARS ). Strike that,... I'll get with Mr. George Croix when he quit hunting and ask him. Thanks anyway.

Carlos Ponce

"Wind turbines are vulnerable to hurricanes because the maximum wind speeds in those storms can exceed the design limits of wind turbines. Failure modes can include loss of blades and buckling of the supporting tower. In 2003, a wind farm of seven turbines in Okinawa, Japan was destroyed by typhoon Maemi and several turbines in China were damaged by typhoon Dujuan." PNAS

"In the most vulnerable areas now being actively considered by developers, nearly half the turbines in a farm are likely to be destroyed in a 20-y period. " PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America)

Carlos Ponce

Note to Jim: At 60 mph, it is not a hurricane. It is a tropical storm. Once winds reach 74mph you have a hurricane,

Jim Forsythe

Charles, I worked with George at the Coker. He was a operations Forman and I was a Maintenace person, assigned to the Coker. I worked for him many times.

As far as how long it takes to get a unit back up, it depends on which unit. The Coker would take a few days unless it was an unexpected shut down. One time it took us over a month to unplug the piping because of an unplanned problem. Units like the Cat could take a week or more, It depends on, if they had problems coming back up.

If the refinery was completely down, then all that is wrong must be fixed. This could take a long time, as it did one time, because we had to fix things that needed fixing for years. When we lost electrical power and steam power, we were down for a long time.

Things also changed when we were required to use LOTO, which increase the time in shutting down a unit and bringing it back up.

George could tell you all about hurricanes and refinery, as he was on the hurricane crew.

And yes, this applies to all crude plants. As far as chem plants, I do not know.

Gary Scoggin

For most plants, refinery and chemical, starting up a single process unit can be done in a few days, depending on the state of the shutdown. But bringing an entire plant up from a cold start will take at least a week or likely more. There is a certain sequence in which things must happen.

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