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Power Cuts.
2277 Posts
Power outages in Texas have caused widespread chaos. Supermarkets have low food supplies. Water has to be boiled before drinking. The situation is desperate.

4 Replies
I agree it is very serious. It is a wakeup call to those who think that the reliability of the electricity supply is not very important. I see too that some commentators are attempting to blame the 15% shortfall in supply (possibly a lot more, the numbers are various in sources) is due to conventional plant freezing up. This is extremely unlikely, conventional plants have heat everywhere. There are lots of pictures of wind turbines fully iced up, and solar panels covered with snow, perhaps someone is trying to falsely report the situation? I would love to question Boris about how he is going to avoid the same problem here, I suspect a great deal of hand waving!
3144 Posts
The Us infrastructure of transmission and distribution is quite fragmented, and into competing enterprises, driving to designs to the lowest cost.
Wind turbines work really well in Antarctica, but they are designed to keep going in the cold....
I suspect, Texas being the oil state it is, that there is an attempt to score some political points and to hide rather than address the very real problems of under-investment and corner cutting.

We are not immune to the underinvestment issue it must be said, our own infrastructure is remarkably aged in parts, but there is a degree of robustness, driven by national standards and some regulation that requires supplies to be re-routable, perhaps oddly in part due to a desire for robustness against IRA attacks and the like, which were happening at the time a lot of the plans and guidelines were drafted.
This is of no help to cold Texans of course, but maybe they should be looking for more than one cause.
Chris Pearson
2252 Posts
Meanwhile poor old Senator Cruz has been vilified for having the common sense to take his family on holiday to Mexico. 😁
58 Posts
Safe to say that these problems are all down to people/companies cutting corners to line their own pockets. Reading alot of reports it seems that none of their generation is "winterfied" to stand cold temperatures like they currently have because it seems believed that they could save some dollars as the chances of that extreme weather actually affect Texas are small. They are also not connected to the eastern or western connected grid. A decision that again seems to be related to the associated costs that they don't want to pay. The fact the trigger to the California fires recently was from a transformer failing that was installed in 1937 tells you all you need to know about the investment stance of the electrical companies. Americans don't like to pay for something unless they directly need it (health care is a good example of this) so they probably won't want to pay higher bills to upgrade the grid when their lights are still working fine 


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