E How Wind Power Caused The Great Texas Blackout Of 2021–Part II

<< Read Part I: How Wind Power Caused The Great Texas Blackout of 2021 

  • Texas has the freest deregulated electric power market in the country and enjoys the lowest electricity rates. While there are rare occasions when this vibrant free-market approach fails to satisfy all consumer demands, and The Great Texas Blackout of 2021 was one of those occasions, many Texans believe a few days of inconvenience are a fair price to pay for decades of cheap electric power.
  • Notwithstanding irrefutable published data, national press and media organizations are uniformly spreading a fairy tale that dismisses wind power’s contribution to The Great Texas Blackout of 2021 and lays blame at the feet of gas-fired power producers.
  • According to hourly electricity generation by energy source data published by the US Energy Information Administration:
    • Wind power production fell from 9 GW at 6:00 pm on February 14th to 5.5 GW at midnight;
    • Natural gas-fired power production ramped from 41 GW at 6:00 pm on February 14th to 44 GW by 9:00 pm, followed by a slow decline to 40.5 GW by 2:00 am on the February 15th;
    • Wind power production collapsed from 5.5 GW at midnight on February 14th to 649 MW at 8:00 pm on February 15th;
    • Natural gas-fired power production spiked down from 40.5 GW at 2:00 am on February 15th to 33.1 GW at 3:00 am as rapidly falling wind power and rapidly rising consumer demand set off a cascade of failures that took a third of the State’s gas-fired plants offline.
    • Coal-fired power production fell from 11.1 GW to 7.7 GW between 2:00 am on February 15th and 3:00 pm as declining wind power production and rising demand tripped automated safety systems.
    • Nuclear power production fell from 5.1 GW at 5:00 am on February 15th to 3.8 GW at 7:00 am as declining wind power production and rising demand tripped automated safety systems.
  • The result was a widespread power grid failure that left 1 in 3 customers without electricity for a few days. Now that temperatures have moderated and things are back to normal, The Great Texas Blackout of 2021 is little more than an unpleasant memory, coupled with a fabulous opportunity to learn from extraordinary circumstances.

Last Thursday, I published an article titled “How Wind Power Caused The Great Texas Blackout of 2021” If you haven’t read that article, you should probably do so because it contains much of the foundation for this piece. Since many national press and media organizations are spreading a fairy tale that lays blame at the feet of gas-fired power producers and this article challenges their journalistic integrity, I’ve created an Excel workbook that starts with the hourly data that I downloaded from the US Energy Information Administration and adds two spreadsheets with my analysis. You can download a complete copy of my Excel workbook by clicking this link.

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Old Time Investor 1 month ago Member's comment

Very interesting article that deserves some deeper discussion. Once concern is that the great majority of the power capacity lost was from non-wind sources.. Your headline implies otherwise. Also, wind turbines can easily be winterized to avoid the problems that occurred in Texas.

Dick Kaplan 1 month ago Member's comment

According to this analysis fossil fuels/nuclear power lose over 10GW, but you put the blame on the 3.5GW lost by wind?

John Petersen 1 month ago Author's comment

Wind power was the first domino to fall, losing about 4 GW of capacity before the first gas fired plants started tripping out, and that, coupled with soaring demand, set off a much larger chain reaction that came within five minutes of a catastrophic grid collapse that would have taken weeks to black start. The wind producers knew they were unprepared for a major oncoming weather event that would take their turbines offline with no advance notice. Instead of standing aside and leaving the heavy work to generators that can do heavy work, they took advantage of the ERCOT system and flooded the market with unreliable wind power that pushed more reliable systems offline. The hard cold truth is wind power is useless to an industrialized economy without 100% backup from dispatchable fossil fuels. The harder colder truth is that when you calculate the LCOE of a reliable system that can provide reliable power 24/7/365, the LCOE is higher than the LCOE for reliable fossil fuels with no wind.

Justin Vargos 1 month ago Member's comment

Interesting but I wonder if some of this is spin put out by big oil/coal... the power companies would not winterize the grid... Antarctica, with average temp @ 0 and as low as -40 uses windmills... wind mills through out the mid west with no cold related problems....

John Petersen 1 month ago Author's comment

I provided full download access to the hard data I originally downloaded from the US Energy Information Administration. The suggestion that my article is based on spin rather than facts is offensive. The suggestion that big oil/coal companies sponsored the spin is laughable. Every man is entitled to his own opinion, but no man is entitled to his own facts. If you can argue a different conclusion from the facts, I offered I'd love to hear it.

Katy Lin 1 month ago Member's comment

Where is Part 1?

Alpha Stockman 1 month ago Member's comment

There's a link to it at the beginning of the article.