If there isn’t a shake up in leadership in the State of Texas after this debacle, then I sincerely do not know what it will take. The latest discovery, coming out of legislative hearings in Texas is that the Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant came within three minutes of shut down, which would have compounded the magnitude of the catastrophe Texans were already facing by putting another 2,600 megawatts out of use, which would have thrown thousands of more homes into blackout, plus causing greater delay in full power coming back. What compounds the shock of this is the fact that this was not something that happened out of the blue. This was all foreseen.

Bloomberg is reporting extensively on the hearings and right now account reads like the script to Chernobyl.

Ercot Saw Blackout Potential Days Beforehand (3:40 p.m.):

Calpine Says It Wasn’t Warned of Blackouts (3:15 p.m.):

Vistra, NRG Say Costs Won’t Pass to Customers (1:29 p.m.):

Gas-Supply Issues Fueled Outages (12:27 p.m.):

Grid Operator, Generators Disagree on Grid Issues (11:12 a.m.):

Vistra, Calpine and NRG said they had plants forced offline after the flow of electricity on the grid — called frequency — plunged during the early morning of Feb. 15, when blackouts were first ordered. Their comments contradict the version of events presented by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, known as Ercot, which manages most of the state’s grid.

Cold weather started forcing plants offline two hours before blackouts

Maintaining frequency at around 60 hertz is critical to keeping the grid stable. Ercot operating protocols say a deviation of 0.2 hertz “for a long period” could cause damage to generators and customer equipment. On the day of the blackouts, frequency dipped to 59.4 hertz for 4 minutes and 23 seconds, according to an Ercot presentation. It fell as low as 59.3, according to Bloomberg data.

NRG’s Gutierrez said the dip “threatened the majority of the fleet” but ultimately only caused one plant to go offline. Calpine’s Hill said in written testimony that two of the company’s natural gas-fired power plants tripped offline for the same reason.

Vistra was within three minutes of losing Comanche Peak nuclear plant because of low frequency, Morgan said. “We came dangerously close to losing the system,” he said.

This is a worthwhile read to get the entire picture of what happened in Texas. You knew the night that Greg Abbott got on Fox News and spun ridiculous tales of windmills and green energy failure that it was a farce, but read this article in its entirety and the level of insult to the intelligence by not only Abbott but Ted Cruz, John Cornyn, the lot of them will blow your mind. They have to deflect from what really happened because the level of incompetence is staggering.

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  1. ‘because the level of incompetence is staggering.’

    Because they are run by Republicans. Who worry more about whether things are ‘conservative enough’ instead of whether they work.

    The only people who get things done are in the Democrats, because we’re not worried about what label to put on something, just that it works in the best way.

  2. I find myself thinking of the Fukushima Daitsu disaster of last decade but that feels unfair. For one, it was an earthquake rather than a winter storm that set that one off. For another, the designers did the best safety measures they could, only to come up. ERCOT didn’t even try.

  3. The Texas power grid worked EXACTLY as designed…to prioritize profits over reliability! That is why the operators wanted to avoid federal regulation, so that they could maximize profits, and minimize spending on maintenance and upgrading and weatherizing!


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