Energy Fun Facts 2-17-2021


The truth about the Texas electricity crisis

The Texas black out is dominating the news as I write this. There are still several blackout unknowns which are slowly being identified and I hope to comment on in the future.  These include why the coal and gas fired plants also failed to operate in several instances.  Right now, it appears the coal piles were frozen and there were water problem with some gas turbines which sounds very strange. More time is required to identify and explain these.

What is becoming evident is the climate alarmists are ignoring or minimizing the complete absence of wind.  Article after article either ignore this issue or mention it then go onto other issues.  However, a look at the numbers reveal a massive problem.  Wind is 23% of the Texas generating capacity.  This is based on nameplate numbers which the climate alarmist always use. This means with no wind 23% of the generating capacity was lost.  No grid system carries a 23% margin.

The reality is a little different. Nominal capacity for wind turbines is 35%, I have not checked the actual values for Texas. This reduces the wind turbine supply of power to the grid at about 8% of the MW required.   This would be about the reserve margin of the grid, if they are lucky.  What this means is when the wind stopped blowing the grid lost its reserve margin.  When the coal and gas ran into problems the grid began to crash. Simply the fossil plants could not supply the grid and the backup power for the wind. The reliable nukes also ran into problems due to pump problems caused by the cold.

If cold is the sole problem of the black out, coal, natural gas and nuclear can be modified.  However, there is no way wind power can fix the absence of wind.


Energy Fun Facts #1

  • Here is another technical idea that may have some application somewhere. Will this floating solar panel idea work, who knows right now? It will of course help save the world if it is sufficiently subsidized.
  • What this article shows is the real advantage of solar generated power is as a niche power source for out of the way places
  • shipping diesel fuel to Maldives must be expensive. Having a floating solar plant may be cheaper, who knows right now.

 Energy Fun Fact #2

9% Support: Let’s Make it Government Policy

This is interesting for the method used to claim support for a specific environmental action. The procedure is similar to the 97% settled science consensus assertion. Ignore facts, ignore all dissenting opinions, just make things up.  It means every assertion and claim from an environmental group or spokesperson must be assumed questionable or wrong unless proven right.

Energy Fun Fact #3

Shocker: Top Google Engineers Say Renewable Energy 'Simply won't work'

Perhaps President Biden should listen to the Google engineers of six years ago. All energy transformation equipment, the steam turbines, gas turbines, dams, wind turbines and solar panels are capital and energy intensive. Even if the fuel is free, it takes a lot of energy to make the equipment.  Does wind and solar produce enough energy to cover their production energy, this article says maybe, there are other articles that say yes.  Which is correct, that depends upon assumptions.

What is factual is coal, natural gas, nuclear and sometimes hydro can produce power 24/7 for weeks and months at a time. Wind and solar are dilute intermittent fuels that provide little energy when operating and operate sporadically. Producing enough energy to covers its production energy is not the criteria for an energy source.  Producing energy when required and in excess of its construction energy is the criteria.


Energy Fun Fact #4

Texas in Germany. Does this problem sound familiar? The common feature between Germany and Texas is the renewable energy Penetration into the grids.  Germany is about 30% and Texas 23-25%. When the grid failure of South Australia is included there is evidence that when renewables reach 25-30% of the installed power, the grid become unstable.  An unstable grid is one where the reliable power sources cannot back up the unreliable ones.


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Seth Grossman, Executive Director

(609) 927-7333.


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