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Thread: Who would have expected this

  1. #1
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    Question Who would have expected this

    Extracted from a longer article in this morning's NYT:

    Texas has invested more in wind and solar power than any other state in recent years, but during the current cold snap, natural gas has played a key role in keeping the lights on.

    During the past few days, renewable energy was a small but meaningful part of the energy mix that delivered electricity to Texans. But starting on Sunday, as wind chills dipped below 0 degrees Fahrenheit in some Texas cities and demand surged, especially in morning hours when residents awakened, the grid leaned heavily on gas, according to data from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, the grid operator.

    As the mercury has dropped, many Texans have been thinking about the winter storm of 2021, when power failures were blamed for some 240 deaths. Disinformation spread back then, wrongly blaming wind energy. While some wind turbines froze in 2021 and coal plants were knocked offline, it was frozen natural gas plants that were the main problem. Power was out for days in some areas.

    Since then, state officials have weatherized pipes and gas equipment and also shored up wind turbines and other equipment. Grid operators have also issued calls for conservation during those crucial morning hours. All of that led them to project confidence that the grid would hold up this week.

    So far, they’ve been right.

    In areas of Texas where temperatures dipped the lowest, it has been frigid but sunny. Solar power performed well and, overall, provided a small share of total electricity generated. In Texas, winds die down in winter and aren’t expected to contribute as much to the energy mix as in the summer, energy experts say. On Monday, for instance, wind at its highest-performing level of the day was about 28 percent of the energy mix, compared with gas at about 48 percent. In the early morning hours, however, wind was barely more than 7 percent.

    “We still rely a lot on natural gas,” said David Spence, a professor of law and regulation at the University of Texas at Austin.

    Texas is a major oil and gas state, but is also a national leader in renewables. Two years ago, the state generated 26 percent of all wind-sourced electricity in the United States, leading the nation for the 17th year in a row, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Wind power first surpassed nuclear energy in Texas in 2014 and passed coal power in 2020.

    In 2022, Texas installed nearly as much new energy capacity from wind alone as California did for wind, solar and battery storage combined, said William Boyd, a professor of environmental law at the University of California, Los Angeles. Last year, solar made up 7 percent of the state grid’s power mix, up from nearly nothing five years before.

    “We can look at Texas as a red state that may have a lot of people in power who are climate deniers,” Mr. Boyd said. “But if you look at the state’s investments in clean energy, Texas dominates.”

    The development of renewable energy in Texas, a heavily Republican state with a Republican governor who is a strong proponent of fossil fuels, has little to do with politics and is largely because of the state’s relatively few regulatory barriers to entry for new power plants, several energy experts said.

    Renewable energy has become so prominent in Texas that some lawmakers worry it threatens fossil fuels. Last year, the State Legislature pushed back by passing measures designed to encourage the construction of gas-fueled power plants and to increase costs for rural renewable projects that seek to connect to the grid.

    “Natural gas is critical and essential to back up wind and solar,” said Thomas J. Pyle, president of the Institute for Energy Research, a research group that supports fossil fuels. “If it’s not going to be coal, people have to look at other sources of always-on, always-available electricity.”

    Other Republican-leaning states also are big generators of renewable energy, largely because of a lack of regulatory barriers, but geography also plays a role. States in the middle of the country tend to be windy and have ample space for the open land required by solar farms.

    In Iowa, 62 percent of the state’s total electricity net generation in 2022 came from wind, the largest wind power share of any state.

    Even oil-producing Oklahoma ranked third in the nation in 2022 in electricity generation from wind. All renewable resources combined accounted for 47 percent of Oklahoma’s electricity generation in 2022, up from about 10 percent in 2011.

    While some experts say natural gas acts as insurance for renewables, others point out that solar and wind offer their own role in reducing the amount of gas needed to power through brutal weather. Last summer, for instance, wind and solar energy propped up Texas during an intense heat wave.
    ...but....but...that can't be
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty” ---Sir Winston Churchill
    "Political extremism involves two prime ingredients: an excessively simple diagnosis of the world's ills, and a conviction that there are identifiable villains back of it all." ---John W. Gardner
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  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    Cool info. I had no idea Texas was into all of that.

    Hunter
    I don't care if it hurts. I want to have control. I want a perfect body. I want a perfect soul. - Creep by Radiohead

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by UTAH View Post
    Cool info. I had no idea Texas was into all of that.

    Hunter
    I suspect the "wind machine" in west Texas will continue long after west Texas oil production fades.
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty” ---Sir Winston Churchill
    "Political extremism involves two prime ingredients: an excessively simple diagnosis of the world's ills, and a conviction that there are identifiable villains back of it all." ---John W. Gardner
    “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” ---C. S. Lewis

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