A letter from Gov. Greg Abbott to the Public Utility Commission of Texas confirmed what most Texans with any sense already knew. Despite Abbott’s assurances that two bills he signed into law in early June had done “everything that needed to be done ... to fix the power grid in Texas,” the grid is not fixed and unlikely to be fixed anytime soon.

In fact, if the PUC follows instructions in Abbott’s July 6 letter, Texas electricity likely will become more expensive and less reliable, with the added bonus of making the air and water dirtier and the climate less stable.

Michael A. Smith: 409-683-5206; michael.smith@galvnews.com​.

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(51) comments

Bailey Jones

[thumbup]Spot on editorial[thumbup]

Carlos Ponce

"Before joining Rice, Dr. Cohan worked for the Air Protection Branch of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division. "

https://profiles.rice.edu/faculty/daniel-cohan

Well, that explains things.......

Carlos Ponce

Governor Abbott's letter to Texas PUC:

https://gov.texas.gov/uploads/files/press/SCAN_20210706130409.pdf

Carlos Ponce

"corporate consumers are increasingly demanding clean electricity."

Wind and solar are NOT clean from production to usage to disposal. What "renewable" proponents omit is the carbon footprint from production of wind turbines and solar panels and the resulting carbon footprint from post use. Wind proponents also ignore the impact of birds and bats their blades kill. Recycling solar panels is possible but cost inefficient.

Mark Wyant

Humph...

Love how the guy reporting this came straight out of the green energy lobby. Not to mention the fact that the author failed to mention the greenies opposition to NUCLEAR power years ago led us here. But hey! Lets put up more dumb looking wind turbines and kill some more birds (oh, yeah, its calm today so...)

Jim Forsythe

Cats kill an estimated 100 million birds a year. Flying into windows kills an estimated 100 million birds a year. Cars kill 100 million birds a year.Take the highest estimate of wind turbine deaths and it is still 1/3 of 1 percent of any one of these other sources of avian mortality.

Also, Pesticides may kill 72 million birds per year. oil fields kill up to 1 million birds a year.

The carbon footprint of solar, wind and nuclear power are many times lower than coal or gas with carbon capture and storage (CCS). This remains true after accounting for emissions during manufacture, construction and fuel supply.

Carlos Ponce

Red Herrings from Jim! The absence of a wind turbine kills ZERO birds. Are you suggesting we terminate all cats, windows, etc?

"The carbon footprint of solar, wind and nuclear power are many times lower than coal or gas with carbon capture and storage (CCS)." Again you need to reread my post. You fail to account for pollutants made by producing wind turbines and solar panels and their disposal after use. What you post doesn't look at all the facts.

Jim Forsythe

About 46,000 avian mortalities were associated with wind farms across the United States in 2009 but nuclear plants killed about 458,000 and fossil-fueled power plants almost 24 million.

Carlos Ponce

source?

Jim Forsythe

When I worked at the plants in Texas City, dead birds was just fact. Live birds were also a health hazard.

Carlos Ponce

I wonder if Jim had his dinner plate ready.....

Jim Forsythe

Carlos, you may eat dead birds you find, but I do not.

I disposed of them in a respectful manor.

Jim Forsythe

The wind power industry produces far less composite waste compared to other industries, 85 to 95% of a wind turbine can be recycled. This was a true statement in the past, but it has changed for the better as recycling of the blades has now become a new industry of it's own.

DecomBlades consortium, consisting of ten project partners will investigate and develop solutions to recycle the composite material in wind turbine blades. The project focuses on three specific processes: shredding of wind turbine blades such that the material can be reused in different products and processes; use of shredded blade material in cement production; and, finally, a method to separate the composite material under high temperatures, also known as pyrolysis.

Also working on the problem, GE Renewable Energy signed an agreement with Veolia to recycle its onshore wind turbine blades in the United States. This recycling contract, the first of its kind in the U.S. wind turbine industry, will turn the blades into a raw material for use in cement manufacturing. The result: a 27% reduction in CO2 emissions. This solution, which can be rapidly deployed at scale, increases the environmental benefits of the wind industry.”

In 2019, Global Fiberglass Solutions (GFS) a U.S. company sells a product containing recycled turbine blades. The company is located in Texas. Once it gets to their warehouse, the fiberglass turbine blades are then chopped up and turned into EcoPoly Pellets and EcoPoly Panels. GFS has also tested other products like “decking boards, warehouse pallets, parking bollards and much more.” Once GFS processes fiberglass into raw material, they create versatile, customized products such as composite panels, railroad ties, plastic composites, and beyond. You can order fibers or EcoPoly pellets in bulk to make your own products.

Carlos Ponce

"85 to 95% of a wind turbine can be recycled." So you agree it's not 100% recyclable. But you fail to account to pollutants created in MANUFACTURE.. Again, not looking at the whole picture!

Jim Forsythe

This was a true statement in the past, but it has changed for the better as recycling of the blades has now become a new industry of it's own

Carlos Ponce

Production of a wind turbine creates 241.85 tons of CO2.

Jim Forsythe

The carbon footprint of solar, wind and nuclear power are many times lower than coal or gas with carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Carlos Ponce

Only if you don't consider the manufacturing carbon footprint.

Ted Gillis

I saw more wind turbine parts being hauled across the causeway this morning.

In other words, inbound freight coming through the port of Galveston!

Jose' Boix

For me, at the end of the day, we just don't really know the how, why or the fix of what happened. I would bet that as significant this occurrence was - and one likely to be repeated - no one has done a "root cause analysis" and as such we have no "fix." Finally, legislators and local governments can't "fix" with regulations and pronouncements. We can write and debate ad nauseam, only effective engineered solutions can approach solving this critical issue. Just my thoughts.

Dan Freeman

“Coal’s carbon footprint is almost 90 times larger than that of wind energy, and the footprint of natural gas is more than 40 times larger, according to the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory[NREL],” from the Trump DoE. The article continues Greenhouse gas emissions are produced when wind turbines are manufactured, built, maintained and decommissioned. But the “life cycle greenhouse gas emissions from solar, wind, and nuclear technologies are considerably lower and less variable than emissions from technologies powered by combustion-based natural gas and coal,” says the NREL. To be more exact, wind energy produces around 11 grams of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated, Garvin A. Heath, a senior scientist at NREL, and colleagues concluded after reviewing the scientific literature. That’s compared with about 980 g CO2/kWh for coal and roughly 465 g CO2/kWh for natural gas, Heath found. Heath also found nuclear power’s carbon footprint was close to wind’s at 12 g CO2/kWh.

https://www.factcheck.org/2018/03/wind-energys-carbon-footprint/

Carlos Ponce

Again, the wind turbine production carbon footprint is not even explored nor included - just the on-line numbers.[rolleyes]

Jim Forsythe

The carbon footprint of solar, wind and nuclear power are many times lower than coal or gas with carbon capture and storage (CCS). This remains true after accounting for emissions during manufacture, construction and fuel supply.

Carlos Ponce

Again, those numbers OMIT the carbon footprint during manufacture and in recycling if it is recycled.

Gary Scoggin

Carlos, do you have a source for your repeated statements here about the life cycle impacts of renewables versus thermal generation? Or can we assume that this is just another case where you have no idea what you are talking about?

Carlos Ponce

Production of a wind turbine creates 241.85 tons of CO2. AND THAT'S JUST ONE WIND TURBINE!!!!!!!!Now multiply that by the number of WIND TURBINES. But you refuse to look at the whole picture.

Bailey Jones

"Or can we assume that this is just another case where you have no idea what you are talking about?"

You know where my money is on this proposition, Gary.

Let's turn to our old friend, and Carlos' mortal enemy, math:

According to the US energy information agency (https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=74&t=11), the amount of CO2 that fossil fuels produce per MWh is:

Coal 1.15 tons/MWh

Petroleum 1.065 tons/MWh

Natural gas 0.455 tons/MWh

These numbers are for fuel only - and don't include the enormous carbon footprint of the generating hardware.

With a modest 12 mph wind, a windmill (with 120 feet blades) generates 1.5MW (http://www.acua.com/uploadedFiles/Site/About_Us/Windfarm.pdf). Assuming 241.85 tons of CO2 to create one windmill, and a typical 20 year lifetime (https://www.twi-global.com/technical-knowledge/faqs/how-long-do-wind-turbines-last), and let's say the wind only blows half the time even at 12mph, so that's 87600 operating hours or 131400 MWh of energy over the life of a single windmill. So the total CO2 per MW for wind is 241.85/131400 = 0.00184 tons/MW. 250X cleaner than gas, 625X cleaner than coal.

And thus it is proved.

Gary Scoggin

Bailey, thanks for doing the math. For a guy that purports to have taught it, Carlos doesn’t seem to understand it very well.

There are lots of engineers, scientists and investors that come to the same conclusions that you demonstrate. It seems that only a few folks here and our Governor are the only ones that don’t understand.

Carlos Ponce

Gary Scoggin, there is NO MATH involved in Bailey's post. Again, key elements of the carbon footprint are LEFT OUT.

Gary Scoggin

Bailey's analysis included the life cycle costs. Can you offer a competing analysis to show him wrong? Please feel free to show us your work.

Carlos Ponce

"Bailey's analysis included the life cycle costs. ' Not for wind nor solar.

Leave it to those who confused PROPAGANDA with science to confuse PROPAGANDA with math.

Bailey Jones

"Can you offer a competing analysis to show him wrong?" You know where my money is on this proposition, Gary. The Ponce Pontification - a specious argument unsupported by fact, logic, or reason. Very popular among the Trump crowd.

Carlos Ponce

Bailey and his propaganda machine. [thumbdown]

How about INCLUDING everything in the wind and solar carbon footprint cycle? You won't because it contradicts your false narrative.

Dan Freeman

Carlos cannot read so I will reprint: But the “life cycle greenhouse gas emissions from solar, wind, and nuclear technologies are considerably lower and less variable than emissions from technologies powered by combustion-based natural gas and coal,” says the NREL.

Carlos Ponce

NREL also ignores the total life carbon footprint for wind and solar.

Gary Scoggin

I’m not going tit for tat with Carlos because he is fact resistant and incapable of admitting a mistake. So I’ll say this to the reasonable people out there: Dan and Bailey are right. Ignore the troll.

Carlos Ponce

In other words you know by not including the life carbon footprint including manufacture of wind and solar units you give up knowing you are wrong.

Carlos Ponce

Leaving off the 241.85 tons of CO2 created per wind turbine in production really skews the numbers in favor of wind but it's fraudulent.[whistling]

Bailey Jones

Carlos, my analysis did include your "241.85 tons of CO2 created per wind turbine in production". It's your own data that proves wind to be 100's of times cleaner than fossil fuels. I understand that this has thrown you for a loop since endlessly repeating right-wing talking points is all you can contribute to this conversation. However, if you have any additional data to support your assertion, I'm sure we'd all love to see it. Otherwise, I think we can put this particular lie to bed.

Carlos Ponce

No Bailey, it did not.

Bailey Jones

Ridiculous. Here - let me repeat my comment from above - just for you:

"Assuming 241.85 tons of CO2 to create one windmill, and a typical 20 year lifetime (https://www.twi-global.com/technical-knowledge/faqs/how-long-do-wind-turbines-last), and let's say the wind only blows half the time even at 12mph, so that's 87600 operating hours or 131400 MWh of energy over the life of a single windmill. So the total CO2 per MW for wind is 241.85/131400 = 0.00184 tons/MW. 250X cleaner than gas, 625X cleaner than coal."

So, I have shown, using your own data, that wind is 250X cleaner than gas, and 625X cleaner than coal, including the 241.85 tons of CO2 required for the manufacture of each windmill.

At this point you have a choice to make - you can do the intellectually honest thing and accept that your data proves my point, or you can continue to lie as though you're too ignorant to understand this very simple mathematical exercise. Personally I hope you choose the latter. I'd hate to think that anyone need consider any of your comments as anything more than trolling.

Carlos Ponce

Bailey is like a dog trying to catch his tail.

Bailey Jones

So, in conclusion, based on Carlos' data, wind is 250X cleaner than gas, 625X cleaner than coal.

Carlos Ponce

Not based on my data.

Bailey Jones

Yes, Carlos, you are correct, wind is 250X cleaner than gas, 625X cleaner than coal. Thanks for providing proof of this fact.

Gary Miller

Dan> I'm sure including nuclear, the least emitter of all, makes wind and solar seem better. I suspect nuclear, nat gas and hydro are even better.

Ted Gillis

Oh, he’ll find something, even it’s some foreign site.

Jim Forsythe

For the ones with their heads in the cave, electricity from wind, solar in Texas is increasing, and other forms of power are not producing more power and in some cases less power. With the increase in wind, solar, we may be able to produce enough power, for the increase in power needs from the people moving to Texas, unless we have more unplanned outages. At this time, ERCOT is not doing what is needed.

Last year, for the first time, Texas generated more electricity from wind than from coal. Roughly 95 percent of new power capacity being planned throughout the state is in wind, solar, and batteries, according to ERCOT. The organization projects that power generated from wind in the state could jump as much as 44 percent this year, while power from large-scale solar projects could more than triple.

We were told to reduce use in June, because Texas could not keep up with the need. If we do not get our power plants fixed, we are in for more reductions, and periods of no power in the near future.

More than 110 Texas died because of the freeze, how many will die, if we have no power, with high temperatures.

Carlos Ponce

"how many will die, if we have no power, with high temperatures" Just those who think wind and solar can handle the heat. Look at the California model.

From Slate.com (a Leftist Source:

"The recent 'heat storm' in California has pushed grid operators to impose rolling blackouts for the first time since 2001. A combination of heavy air conditioning usage, the unplanned unavailability of some power plants, limited options for importing power from neighboring states, and insufficient solar and wind generation have led to an imbalance of electricity generation and consumption.

For years, renewable energy enthusiasts have insisted that most of the problems of the electric grid were caused by outdated and inflexible coal, natural gas, and nuclear energy technologies. A system built on solar panels and wind turbines, smart meters, electricity storage, and payments for flexible demand would lower costs and improve reliability for everyone. Some academic studies showed that renewables could easily supply 80 percent or more of an electric grid’s demands.

But with non-hydroelectric renewable technologies, mostly solar and wind, generating about 30 percent of California’s electricity today, we are witnessing the types of obstacles and problems that these new technologies introduce."

Jim Forsythe

The problem we are talking about is in Texas, and the unplanned outages at Texas power plants which increased more than tenfold in June compared to May. Between June 1 and June 30, power generation facilities underwent some 1,100 unexpected outages. In May, the number of outages didn’t hit 90, according to ERCOT figures.

Last month's plea for Texans to conserve electricity — despite seemingly typical mid-June weather — was triggered by breakdowns at some of the same power plants that failed during February’s winter freeze.

Most of these same plants went offline during February’s winter freeze and in in normal weather (for June) means their problems go beyond insufficient weatherization for freezing temperatures and reveals an underlying lack of sufficient maintenance. The plants' maintenance standards are inferior to what should be the norm. Why are these same plants going down multiple times? If something happens repeatedly, there is clearly a problem beyond just mere happenstance or accidents.

We were almost in really bad trouble because of our reserve, black start generators ,were not working as they should have been. . It is unaccusable that over 50% of the black start generators were down!

All of Texas black start generators use natural gas as a primary fuel, and only 13 generators at six sites can use fuel oil as a backup. Since they are our last line of defense we were in trouble because without working black start generators, power plants cut off from the grid have no way of getting back online. When the state would have needed them most, many generators were unable to fulfill their duties. The black start generator at the massive 3.65 GW coal- and gas-fired W.A. Parish power plant was down for 17 hours on February 15, the day the outages began.

More than half of the state’s 28 black start generators, which are crucial for bringing a collapsed grid back to life, experienced outages themselves, . Of the 13 primary generators, nine encountered trouble, as did six of 15 secondary generators acting as backups in case the primary backups failed. Some had trouble getting enough fuel to run, while others were damaged by the cold weather.

Ted Gillis

Let’s just use the republican method of fixing this. Instead of having multiple sources of power, no let’s restrict it, or make it more difficult to have more. If there is a way to get help from adjoining grids, no, restrict that too. If there is a way to encourage more generators to be built, no restrict that too. We have plenty of generators already.

Just using the republican voting fixes and applied them to the electrical grid issue.

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