Few of us will forget February’s Texas freeze. How could we? Many thousands of us still are finding or paying for damage done to homes and commercial buildings when power went out for days in subfreezing temperatures.

But lest we forget, our state elected officials and power transmission companies have conspired to ensure we’ll have monthly reminders in the form of rate hikes. It’s a classic exhibit of a system that likes to privatize gain and socialize pain.

 Laura Elder: 409-683-5248; laura.elder@galvnews.com.

Locations

Recommended for you

(56) comments

Robert Braeking

No doubt the power grid was caught like Santa Anna on siesta. But look around. They are actually doing something about it. Centerpoint is beefing up the lines going into Santa Fe. Texas city and La Marque are getting heavier lines as well. If the grid is stressed again, the plants that have generating power need to go on generators early. Many individuals have added generators as well. Things are happening. If you don't have foresight, at least hindsight is better than blindness.

Charles Douglas

Mr. Breaking> [thumbup][thumbup] I like how you think! You think like a leader!

Susan Fennewald

Those of us (most of Galveston County I believe) who were without electricity during the freeze, and didn't use the expensive electricity at the time, should be exempt from the rate increase being imposed to pay for that electricity.

(And don't tell me they don't know who was without electricity - they have a day to day (maybe even hour to hour) record of my electricity usage.)

Charles Douglas

Me. Fennewald> Great looking out!!!!! [thumbup][thumbup]

Carlos Ponce

Galveston County during the big Freeze became the "fly over" part of the state as the powers that were lit up deserted downtown Houston not those who huddled in the dark cold.

Jim Forsythe

Downtown Houston is served by its “underground network” and some downtown buildings are classified as “critical load.” Each building was in charge of reducing power usage for their building, as they were part of the Inter-connected network that served critical sites and each building could not be managed by the power company.

Has the Public Utility Commission started working on a way to have non critical buildings and such removed from Inter-connected networks during time like the big freeze? If not , why not. If the PUC or others in charge, let the buildings and other non critical customers to remain in charge of power during times when reduction is needed, we will have another event like the one we just had.

What did the mayor do during this time.

Turner said he asked the Downtown Houston Management District to have unoccupied buildings turn off their lights. He said the city cannot cut off all power downtown because some people are staying in hotels and sheltering at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Bob Eury, president of the Houston Downtown Management District, said district officials sent a message to businesses urging them to conserve power.

CenterPoint Energy, the utility company that supplies electricity to the Houston area, said it was “working with businesses to shut off power at locations not critically needed” downtown and in the Galleria area. CenterPoint spokeswoman Alejandra Diaz said downtown Houston is served by its “underground network” and many downtown buildings are “critical load.”

Robert Braeking

Mr. Ponce, We became flyover country because the lines supporting the county had not kept up with the growth that we have experienced. Under normal circumstances the lines were loaded to capacity. They tried to reconnect the Santa Fe substation several times during the storm but it couldn't handle the surge of starting everyone's heaters and well pumps at once. With a little foresight the power company could have disconnected all the smart meters in the area and reconnected them incrementally......but that would take foresight.......something they have demonstrated that they did not have at the time.

Carlos Ponce

A lesson learned from my father: In a large scale blackout after a major storm, turn off the AC (in this case heater) and don't use water, use emergency supplies. From what I hear, my neighbors did likewise. You don't need a smart meter if you have common sense.

Robert Braeking

Agreed, however, common sense is no longer common. That is especially true for the younger people who need to call an electrician to change their light bulbs.

Carlos Ponce

The Arctic Blast was felt throughout all of Texas. Democrats want you to forget the Biden approved of only 77 counties out of 254 for disaster aid. Abbott requested the entire state.

Jim Forsythe

Many states have been deigned help from the Government, this has also included Puerto Rico. Sometime a Governor will request help for the whole state when only a a small part of a state meets the requirement for help.

President Trump has denied federal disaster aid to Pennsylvania for Tropical Storm Isaias. The denial was issued three weeks after Trump vowed retribution against the state’s Democratic governor for imposing restrictions to contain the pandemic.

Add Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. Under Trump's leadership, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approved just 75 out of 2,431 requests for funeral assistance stemming from Hurricane Maria-related deaths in Puerto Rico.

The Federal disaster assistance requested by Gov. George W. Bush of Texas to help rebuild Jarrell and neighboring areas in the aftermath of last week's tornadoes was denied today.

These are just a few of the times aid was denied or limit.

Carlos Ponce

"Sometime a Governor will request help for the whole state when only a a small part of a state meets the requirement for help." Not here, Jim.

Jim Forsythe

FEBRUARY 14, 2021 --In all 254 Texas counties.

Today, President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. declared that an emergency exists in the State of Texas and ordered federal assistance to supplement state and local response efforts due to the emergency conditions resulting from a severe winter storm beginning on February 11, 2021, and continuing.

The President’s action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures, authorized under Title V of the Stafford Act, to save lives and to protect property and public health and safety, and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe in all 254 Texas counties.

Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency.

Bailey Jones

As my conservative friends like to tell me, there is no free lunch. If you want cheap energy, don't be surprised to learn that your energy infrastructure is being neglected. If you want more reliable infrastructure, don't be surprised that to learn that you need to pay more for your energy. This is why we (should) regulate utilities - market pressures always favor the short-term, never the longer view. Regulation ensures that power companies invest in reliability, and that customers pay for it.

George Laiacona

Years ago Texas politicians decided not to join the National Grid System. Until they wake up and join the system we will have a repeat freeze problem again and again. We need a backup support system that is already working all over our country.

Carlos Ponce

No thank you.

Jim Forsythe

As Baily said, Texas has neglected energy infrastructure. As George said, when Texas decided not to join the National Grid System, we decided at that time not to have a backup power source. What they were saying is, if we ever need extra power, such as we did this year, we will chance it. Texas got by for many years, but this year we paid the price for lack of preparation for freezing weather and having no backup power from other states.

If this same thing happens this or next year, is Texas ready? If you think Texas is, what have we done to change the outcome form what we had this year?

Carlos Ponce

"As Baily said, Texas has neglected energy infrastructure." No Texas did not. Unfortunately it was spent on "green energy". Don't you remember the award Abbott got for going green?

"Texas Gov. Greg Abbott Receives Tri Global Energy's Wind Leadership Award"

https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/texas-gov-greg-abbott-receives-tri-global-energy-s-wind-leadership-award-1030062475?op=1

Sometimes getting an award isn't worth it politically.

Jim Forsythe

Carlos, when did Texas start paying for winterizing of businesses? Can any business be Subsidized by the state for winterizing. All the places I worked for payed for their winterizing.

What money has Texas used on Green Energy, that would have been spent on winterizing power plants?

"Texans know that responsible stewardship of our environment must be a priority as we continue to utilize the natural resources available to us while also preserving the treasure that Texas is," said Gov. Abbott in his Clean Energy Week Proclamation. "For this reason, clean and renewable energy are a valuable part of America's future and are closely tied with Texas' prosperity and success. While Texas continues its leadership in production in our oil and gas sector, the Lone Star State also is a national and international leader in wind energy."

https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/texas-gov-greg-abbott-receives-tri-global-energy-s-wind-leadership-award-1030062475?op=1

Dan Woodfin, a senior director at ERCOT. “It appears that a lot of the generation that has gone offline today has been primarily due to issues on the natural gas system,” he said during a call with reporters.

Gov. Greg Abbott specified that fossil fuel sources were contributing to the problems with the grid when describing the situation Monday afternoon.

“The ability of some companies that generate the power has been frozen. This includes the natural gas & coal generators,” he wrote in a tweet.

All sources of power had problems. If all power sources had been winterized, we may not had the problem of losing power.

Has anything changed since the big freeze?

Carlos Ponce

Again, Jim Forsythe thinks BIGGER government will cure all.

You winterize your business when you build it. DUH!

Gary Scoggin

Once again Carlos shows how little he knows about energy infrastructure.

Carlos Ponce

One again, a man who claims to be a moderate shows he's a braying Donkeycrat.

Jim Forsythe

Gary, it just went over his head, and he has no idea that is how Texas got in trouble during the freeze.

Carlos Ponce

Jim is so wrong.

Jim Forsythe

Texas continues not to take the actions needed. In the past Texas has not done what was needed to keep from having another event. Will this event be just be another read the report, and do nothing about the problem? This is the fourth time Texas has had a freeze- related outages in the past decade.

The power companies freeze- related problems will not go away by just reading a report. Winterizing must be done, and problems must be repaired when needed.

On Tuesday, the federal government issued its final report into February's winter freeze that knocked out power for millions of Texans and killed at least 200 people.

The report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) recommended owners of power generators in Texas to winterize their equipment so a repeat of the power grid failure doesn't happen again.

History has already repeated itself. The report shows in just the past decade, there have been four instances of extreme cold that threatened the power grid.

Each time, the report says the commission issued recommendations to keep similar events from occurring.

The final report shows the following:

81% of freeze-related generating unit outages occurred at temperatures above the units' stated ambient design temperature

87% of unplanned generation outages due to fuel issues were related to natural gas

Natural gas fuel supply issues were caused by natural gas production declines

The report also included 28 recommendations such as:

Generator owners should retrofit existing generating units, and when building new units account for weather events including extreme temperatures

Generator owners and operators should perform annual training on winterization plans

Develop corrective action plans should freeze- related outages occur

Carlos Ponce

Jim is singing his same tired Liberal song.[yawn][yawn][yawn][sleep]

Stephanie Martin

The state of Texas has billions of dollars in the rainy day fund. Perhaps some of this could be used.

Gary Scoggin

Governor Abbott didn’t want to use the rainy day fund to recover from literally the rainiest day in Texas History. Why would he use it now?

Carlos Ponce

The "rainiest day" is a matter of perspective. The money is being utilized wisely at the border.

Ted Gillis

Ms Elder, you should run for office.

Jack Cross

Left out of the argument is the impact of wind industry that unfairly gets state and federal subsidies. The federal tax credit that started in 1993 and was supposed to end in 1998 when wind bacame profitable. it never has., on top of that is the Chapter 13 exemption ( google it) where billions of dollars are being skimmed off and you the property owner is paying the bill. But that is another story itself.

Then when wind got all this favorable credits and tax exemptions, They needed transmission lines and again the state drained $8 billion out of the budget to build the transmission lines. So when the freeze came, and the wind mills froze and there is no battery back up, it fell on the the other power sources to be the back up.

Yes, I know there are screw ups outlined in some of the above posts, but with traditional power sources operating at a tax disadvantage, why would they put money into backup sources that most of the time is not making money.

Wind is not only not only needs to be subsidized, it puts the grid at risk and they know this, but the push for green energy is so great they keep giving the tax credits thinking some day wind can operate without state and government help..

Dan Freeman

Renewables receive some subsidies but these are dwarfed by a century of subsidies to fossil fuels which continue today. For example: "Coal, oil, and natural gas received $5.9 trillion in subsidies in 2020 — or roughly $11 million every minute — according to a new analysis from the International Monetary Fund." https://e360.yale.edu/digest/fossil-fuels-received-5-9-trillion-in-subsidies-in-2020-report-finds

It is time to admit Texas has been benefitting from the Federal and state fuel trough for too long and has given back too little

Carlos Ponce

Oil and natural gas production on Texas Public lands help the Permanent School fund. How do your "renewables" produced out of state, out of country, benefit Texas students?

Ted Gillis

The Biden administration just conducted the largest offshore oil lease sales in history. Larger than the previous administration’s efforts.

Maybe that might help.

Carlos Ponce

Look carefully, Ted. 80.9 million acres was offered for lease and that's impressive.... passing the 76.9 million acres offered during President Trump's administration.

BUT energy companies, led by Exxon Mobil Corp., only placed bids on a total of 1.7 million acres. Why? Too deep to be financially feasible. Oh, they can reach it but the cost makes most of it prohibitively high. On the other hand the Gulf Coast Continental Shelf land offered during President Trump's administration SOLD.

Jim Forsythe

Energy companies including Shell, BP, Chevron and ExxonMobil offered a combined $192 million for drilling rights on federal oil and gas reserves in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday.

Chevron USA was the top bidder, offering almost $49 million for 34 tracts. BP Exploration and Production had $30 million in high bids on 46 tracts, and Anadarko US Offshore had almost $40 million in high bids — including the day's highest bid, $10 million — on 30 tracts. ExxonMobil bid nearly $15 million in two areas off the Texas shoreline in the northwest Gulf.

Exxon Mobil Corp on Wednesday offered to lease a half million acres off the Texas coast, securing space for what could become a massive project to capture and store carbon emissions. Under pressure by investors to address climate change, Exxon in April floated an up to $100 billion industry hub to collect planet-warming emissions from Gulf Coast petrochemical plants and bury them under the Gulf of Mexico.

Wednesday's nearly $15 million in bids are "potentially the first time federal Gulf of Mexico acreage has been leased for purposes other than the extraction" of oil and gas, said Rystad Energy oil analyst Colin White.

Some of the property is near Freeport, Texas, where offshore driller Talos Energy on Monday proposed its own carbon capture and sequestration project with a year-end 2024 launch.

HOUSTON, Nov. 18, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Talos Energy Inc. (NYSE: TALO) (“Talos” or the “Company”) today announced that it was named as the apparent high bidder in the Outer Continental Shelf Federal Lease Sale 257 on ten deep-water blocks comprising 57,600 gross acres, or 36,720 net acres, for a net total consideration of approximately $4.8 million. Nine of the blocks are in close proximity to the Company’s operated Green Canyon and Mississippi Canyon facilities, while the remaining block offsets the Company’s recent Puma West discovery. Talos was the one of the most active bidders behind ExxonMobil, bp, Chevron, Oxy and Shell.

Jim Forsythe

What you missed Carlos, is that the total acers leases sold on November 17 2021, was largest number of acers sold in a single Gulf auction.

."In total, 33 companies participated, lodging 317 bids for 308 tracts spanning 1.7 million acres (688,000 hectares), according to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management". "Not since 2014, when West Texas Intermediate crude was priced around $80 per barrel, have more leases been sold at a single Gulf auction, according to bureau data."

Carlos Ponce

Read on from ABC News:

"It marked the largest acreage and second-highest bid total since Gulf-wide bidding resumed in 2017."

Not the largest ever but the largest since 2017.[rolleyes]

Jim Forsythe

Not since 2014 in post above

Carlos Ponce

Ted posted, "The Biden administration just conducted the largest offshore oil lease sales in history."

Jim posted, "not since 2014".

So Jim is saying Ted is wrong.

Jim Forsythe

Yes

Jack Cross

Ted, yes the offshore leases will help, but Biden blocked the leases. The only reason they opened back up is because the courts over ruled his order. Yet the administration is again cooking up restrictions on fossil fuel

Jim Forsythe

You can dislike wind power all you want, but it here to stay. If you go to Galveston's dock areas you can see many wind generator waiting to be transported to wind farms in Texas. Within 10 year we will have major offshore production of power, from wind-power. In Texas, many oil and gas operators get state severance tax relief to the tune of about $1.5 billion a year, or about 63% of state energy subsidies.

Data indicate that the production tax credit has actually been a net benefit for Texas. In the ERCOT market, wind has reduced wholesale market costs about $1 billion a year. That means for about every $1 in taxes a Texan pays to fund the PTC, about $2 is saved in the wholesale electricity market.

By 2028. Texas is likely to see offshore oil projects begin to use wind-powered generation to run their operations in the Gulf of Mexico.

Carlos Ponce

"If you go to Galveston's dock areas you can see many wind generator waiting to be transported to wind farms in Texas."

So WHERE are they being made? Doesn't sound Made in the USA to me!

Jim Forsythe

As I said above, a person may not like wind power turbines , but they are here to stay.

The wind turbines I saw, may be ready to leave by rail. last week a full train load went thru Hitchcock. These where coming from the Galveston location. Did these wind turbines come from overseas or did they come from a USA manufacture and transport to Galveston to distribute. They may be brought to Galveston by ship from a USA manufacturer because it is easer to move these large loads by water.

GE Wind Energy is a branch of GE Renewable Energy, a subsidiary of General Electric. The company manufactures and sells wind turbines to the international market. GE based in Boston USA is the fourth largest wind turbine manufacturer in the world.

If they came from overseas, they were ordered over a year or more ago.

Carlos Ponce

Yes, some people are easily fooled into thinking wind and solar are ecologically friendly.

Jim Forsythe

As I said above, a person may not like wind power turbines , but they are here to stay.

Carlos Ponce

Until the hurricane takes them away.....

Jim Forsythe

Hurricanes were a problem in the past, for offshore wind projects. But not as much now. Offshore Wind farms are now being manufactured to with stand extreme wind speeds.

Also being worked on is using wind turbines to slow down hurricane winds.

“Typhoon-ready turbines are essential for offshore wind to reach its full potential in places like Japan or Taiwan , as many of the areas where wind can be harnessed are also exposed frequently to typhoons,” says Masato Yamada, MHI Vestas Offshore Wind Regional Manager Asia Pacific. “Many countries have seen the volatility of fossil fuel prices during this time and many are focused on driving their respective recoveries by ensuring funding for green technologies and investments such as offshore wind projects.”

“Typhoon-ready turbines considerably expand the available market for wind energy,” says Erbslöh at MHI Vestas Offshore Wind. “They enable green and cost-competitive electricity generation in harsh offshore environments all over the world.”

“The V117-4.2 MW is designed for typhoon conditions from the start, meaning that the blades and hub are already sufficiently strengthened to withstand extreme wind speeds.”

Jim Forsythe

Putting more windmills in the path of a hurricane might make all of them safer. The Stanford models suggest thousands of turbines could slow down hurricane winds by more than 90 mph — sometimes enough to knock a Category 5 hurricane all the way down to a tropical storm, which wouldn't threaten the hardware.

This would need a lot more wind power. That single prospective field would require more turbines than there are in the U.S. right now, especially offshore. So far, there's just one group of five ocean turbines sending power to the U.S. grid. But a massive hurricane wind farm would earn its keep, even in the offseason. An array big enough to affect a hurricane could also create enough year-round wind power to replace about a third of U.S. electrical output.

Carlos Ponce

And Jim Forsythe will HUFF, and then PUFF, and blow that Hurricane away......

Jim Forsythe

Engineers working to solve a problem, and coming up with a very useful solution, is the American way.

How much is it worth to be able to reduce a category 5 hurricane into a non-hurricane, while producing electricity.

Just because you do not like wind turbines, does not change the future of wind power production.

Carlos Ponce

Atlantic hurricanes can be reduced by re-forestation of North Africa.

Jim Forsythe

I do not think many would finance, re-foresting the Sahara desert. Companies are already in place to build offshore wind farms.

Carlos Ponce

" Companies are already in place to build offshore wind farms." And they want to make money. Nothing wrong with that, even if it is not the best path.

Sue Emmite

[thumbup]

Welcome to the discussion.

Real Names required. No pseudonyms or partial names allowed. Stand behind what you post.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.

Thank you for reading!

Please log in, or sign up for a new account and purchase a subscription to read or post comments.