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billeisele last won the day on October 30 2019

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  1. All that is fine and dandy except you have to pay for it. Not being connected to the "grid" definitely made the problem worse. That's the one part of this discussion that is missing - paying for the huge investment. Anything is technically feasible if one throws enough money at it. The questions is - does it make economic sense? The generator owners and gas pipe owners made the economic decisions to not add the "cold weather" package to those technologies. If they had, the electricity would not have been interrupted but electricity prices would have been higher. All the technologies work if money is spent to make them work. But those additional costs go into the cost of electricity. This graph was posted earlier. What is shows is no surprise, and exactly how these technologies work and how they are economically dispatched. Nuclear is base load and run at full capacity. For this system, coal is the next part of the base load. There is some variation in output most likely due to outages and system balancing. Natural gas is next and used for peaking and load control. It can quickly be ramped up or down to meet demand. Then there is solar and wind that operate when their fuel is available. With this system mix they can manage the load without too much trouble. The more renewable output and the lower the system load the harder it is to manage the fossil generators. Gas turbines aren't too difficult but a coal or gas fired plant can't cycle down too much without being very difficult to operate. Usually they will be shut off if the output gets down in the 35-40% range. It varies based on the design but the point is they can't easily ramp up and down. When they are shut off they must go thru a number of steps and it can easily be 6 - 10 hours before they can be restarted. That whole process is expensive (easily $100 - $500K) and would end up in the cost of electricity. You can't shut it off in the evening when the load drops and then just fire it off for the morning wake up. When they are operating below full load the efficiency is reduced and there are other issues that negatively impact the life span of major components. All those things increase operating costs. There is some economical mix of nuclear, coal, gas and renewables where they all play nice together and the customer gets the most economical price for electricity. That statement ignores environmental issues - the cost of pollution, landfilling turbine blades, battery management, and the list of other stuff that makes this more complicated.
  2. Folks, we've have a minor problem with the aircraft and will be returning to Denver. Your arrival to Hawaii will be delayed.
  3. Doubt that additional federal regulation is the answer. The last cold event was 1940. The folks that built the generation made purchase decisions each time they bought a generator. Wind turbines are available with heated gear boxes, motors and blades. Coal plants can be built for cold weather. Nuclear safety devices aren't supposed to get wet and freeze. Natural gas pipelines can be installed and made operational in cold climates. About the generators: the utility is held to a "reasonable and prudent" standard when their rate increase requests are made. The regulators look at the costs in the rate filing and decide if they are reasonable and prudent. Certain costs will be disallowed - such as alcohol, first class travel, employee recreational clubs, lobbying expense, certain advertising, glamorous offices, excess construction, and others. The utilities deal with the regulators on a regular basis and are familiar with how they make decisions. I suspect that the utilities knew that if they had bought the "cold weather" package the additional cost would have been disallowed. The regulators, in SC, are appointed and then elected by the politicians. Politicians are pestered by their electors. The public hates rate increases and they raise cane about everything. The utility would argue that the additional expense is justified because once in every 80 years it gets cold enough that it is needed. The intervenors in the rate case, Wal Mart, large energy users, the military, the consumer advocate, and anyone else that wants to testify, would argue that the cold weather package was not needed. So, they are having a once in 80 year event and, no surprise, stuff froze. The TX situation and every other grid is massively complicated. No one thing caused this problem and federal regulation won't fix it. Well, it could. They could easily require more redundancy, additional transmission capacity, more dispersed generation and just about anything else. That's fine except it costs tons of money. The expense would be paid by consumers. And consumers hate rate increases. Reliability is always a balancing act between the two. We have the same problem in SC after a hurricane. After Hugo in 1989, 31 years ago, everyone screamed, "if power lines were underground we wouldn't have this problem!" That's partially true except there are other problems with UG power lines that don't exist with overhead lines. And, it costs tons of money that no one wants pay for in a rate increase. As electricity is restored the next layer of problems is being revealed. Lack of water. The construction standards in some areas didn't contemplate this extreme. Many homes have detached garages connected to the house by a short breezeway. The copper line comes up the wall of the unheated garage into the attic area and over to the house. The pipe freezes and splits. As it warms up the leaks are evident. There is a shortage of plumbers and plumbing supplies. My buddy shipped 100' of Pex and a box of fittings to his son. There is enough stuff to fix a few dozen houses. The neighbors will luv him. Just about every problem can be prevented or minimized if one throws enough money at it. Most don't want to pay for prevention. What a mess, but no different than natural disasters in other areas of the country.
  4. The start of a lifelong journey, 1977.
  5. Yep, jumped the gun without all the facts, not good. Had to look up that word figuring you weren't referring to a small wing. Read one article thinking it was correct and repeated the info. Good ole reliable news media. Sure am glad that no one else does that. Maybe waiting for the FBI to finish their investigation and having comprehensive facts would have been good for Nancy. Regardless, you are correct. Please note my post this morning that is more comprehensive. The frozen spinners are part of the problem (lack of generation) but not the root cause of the problem. Regardless of the cause it's a mess and a black eye for the industry. It's an interesting issue and will raise questions about how much money should be spent and how many levels of protection are needed. Will probably see a surge in generator sales. You can be sure the ERCOT folks and the other grid operators are concerned about the fall out. It often means more federal oversight from acronym agencies. In SC after each ice event or hurricane, which both are fairly rare, people buy tons of generators and stock pile other stuff. A year later one can buy a used generator at a great price. And then it happens again. This event will be spun all kinds of ways.
  6. Plenty of "single point of failure" items have been discovered. Apparently they either: 1) didn't think about these, 2) did and determined that the risk was too small to worry about, or 3) something got wet and cold that wasn't supposed too. A safety device that froze and tripped a nuke plant. Good news is that safety systems work. NG pipelines that aren't designed for cold weather. Definitely a cost issue. Wind turbines that don't have gear box, motor and blade heaters. No clue about cost but nothing in the wind business is cheap except the fuel. Coal plants with frozen coal. That's a known issue. Plants are either built for cold or they are not. It's a cost issue. Once the coal freezes on the belt or in the hopper the only option is thawing. The running plant is the heat source. Once it stops many things start to cool off, oil get sludgy, other pipes freeze, anything with internal moisture is a problem, it's a long list. You'll find all the problems when you try to light off and put heat in the place. When the sun shines and warms stuff up things will slowly get back to normal. Putting heat in pipes, blades and generators takes time, and recovering the grid is a methodical process.. All this is solvable if one throws enough money at it but folks like low power rates. I'm sure we'll see a "commission" to investigate, cost estimates in the "billions and rates will rise xx%", and all the typical talking heads stuff. In the end not much if anything will be done. Next time it happens, "we should have learned our lessons from the blizzard of 2021." No easy answers.
  7. What is the technology and the cost? Texas - their own control area and frozen spinners, oops. Some mistakes are just not acceptable. It will be interesting to see what the residents have to say after the state thaws out.
  8. lol - the first sentence is BS, some call it reality, but regardless We're not seeing any movement towards these ultra expensive residential options. Is this happening in CA? The good ole duck curve has been around for years. It's actually become more complicated with solar. We're seeing rapid generation swings with moving cloud cover. The HVAC loads don't shift nearly as fast, if at all. Fairly simple - cloud comes over a solar farm, output drops to less then 20%, conventional generation is ramped up to serve load, cloud cover moves on, solar output rises, and generation is decreased to match load. All day, every day. The work load is up and equipment is exercised much more often. This issue is not much of a problem with residential solar because we don't have much and it's not as dense, as in your area, so a few large clouds don't cause much of a problem. An overcast day is equally not a problem because the solar isn't ramping up and down, it's just down. HVAC loads are down some but we have high humidity so the HVAC still runs just not quite as much. Solar owners sure like the grid on those days, you know, the one they don't pay for when they are using solar. That is our biggest problem but it's just a regulatory one, not a technical one. Luckily there is a lot of movement to fix that by eliminating the cost subsidy. It would seem that an easy (to understand) first step would be water heating. Solar thermal works. But we rarely see that. Electric water heaters and HVAC are the two largest residential contributors toward the peak. The summation of lighting, refrigeration and cooking add some but not as much as either of the other two. When utilities do load studies it's amazing how much specific data is collected with sophisticated metering installed on hundreds of residences. The biggest peaks we see are mornings like today. After a holiday weekend, and 4 consecutive days of cold wet weather, the mid tier manufacturing companies that run one or two shifts 5 days a weeks, and the retail operations are starting back up this morning. Everything is cold and the heaters are on full blast. Luckily we have a good supply of NG and plenty of users so that does a sizeable part of the work. But still, these are the ultra peaks and they are short duration. This is where the interconnected grid comes into play. Neighboring utilities help balance the load. Oddly/sadly enough, to our north where distribution lines are down from ice, the residential and small commercial load is non-existent, but the transmission system is working so we can buy generation fairly cheap. Solar is worthless until the sun gets up higher, a few hours from now, basically after the conventional systems have done the heavy lifting. There is a lot of thought that solving the grid problem requires remaking the grid. Not in our lifetime nationally and huge money. Point source generation and smaller regional grids make sense if they can get the generation to an economical level. Small modular reactors are a potential option. If the Navy can do it why can't the commercial world do it. The big advantages a military ship or submarine has is an unlimited cooling source, cheap labor and no P&L statement. If the cooling issue can be solved the rest is a social problem. One day Cow Power (Vermont) is good and the next day it's not. Incentives are provided one day and then penalties on methane are suggested. Is recycling a cow through the human gut a parallel to a dead tree off gassing it's carbon? We should have a study on this. And on we go. Technology, innovation, funding, environmental policies, and politics are all in the mix. What fun.
  9. This is always a fun topic. The real answer is, "it depends." It depends on a whole list of factors. The article is predicated on Scientists say solar panels lower peak demand on stressed traditional grids and have reduced the amount of infrastructure dollars that energy utilities must invest. I doubt the writers of the article cared to examine anything that didn't fit their study. Maybe because it's much more complicated than the factors they examined. Or maybe it would have had so many "what ifs" it would have had little value and definitely not printed in a Renewables journal. The "stressed grid" premise exists in some areas, but not many, and probably makes sense in those areas. Some of those areas also have rolling blackouts as a normal grid management technique. In my area there would be a lynching if that was suggested. I've discussed this topic at length with utility colleagues across the country and there are definitely regional differences. I can't speak definitely for any area other than the SE. In the SE the grid is not stressed, at least not today or for the foreseeable future. Electricity cost +/- 12 cents / kWh. In CA, MA, VT, RI and other areas with large amounts of renewables the cost is +/- 18 - 20 cents. Not saying that renewables cause all of that but it's a primary factor. In the SE the 12 cents cost is the all-in cost. If that is broken into 2 components we find that electricity production is in the 2.5 - 3 cents range and all other costs, the delivery system, delivery system maintenance, profit, etc., are 9 cents. From that one can infer that net metering should pay 3 cents because that is the cost that the utility avoids by not having to generate the power provided from renewables. The delivery system costs are not reduced and neither are just about any other costs. Yet the solar lobbyists have been successful in defining net metering as the full retail rate of 12 cents. That means that the solar owners on the system are being subsidized by all others. Solar owners are a small fraction of the total system load. Some argue that that is not true. Yet every customer has some type of "Distributed Energy Charge" as a line item on their monthly bill. It's been raining and cloudy for about a week and another 5 days is forecast. The solar output is ZERO. The solar owners are using the same amount of power and using the grid to have it delivered. It seems to make sense that they should pay for the use of the grid that they rely on. When the sun is shining and they use the grid less, it's still there and the costs don't diminish. At least that's one perspective. What that means is that the utility still must have sufficient generation and a delivery system to meet the peak load. The size and costs of the system are not reduced yet revenue is reduced. Well, temporarily, until there is a rate hearing and rates are increased to provide sufficient revenue to support the system. Therein is the problem. Costs are shifted to non-renewable owners and the renewable owners still have the benefits. That can be addressed with rates and it's done in some areas. Rates can be designed to equitably spread costs. One way is time of use rates, another is a separate rate for those that have renewables. A typical method is to have a $20 - $40 base fee for the grid connection, and a lower costs for energy. The base fee covers the infrastructure. The lower electricity fee is then the "net metering" value. Renewable folks don't like this because it "shines a light" on the true costs. The base cost is a huge ongoing discussion. A few studies have quantified it in the $22 - $28 range. This discussion is instantly complicated due to the claims that renewables "help" the grid. I've not seen any comprehensive studies that show it occurs or the value of it. Under the current net metering program renewable owners do not pay for the grid, in most cases, except when they buy power. I said "in most cases" because the regulated utilities own most of the grid and use that method. There are some system owners that use another method. Amen, I'm on one of those. They use time of use rates for all residential consumers. They charge approximately $30 a month for the grid connection (metering, reading, billing, etc) , 5.15 cents for electricity, and $12 / kW for demand during the 3 on-peak hours each day. Using this method no one is subsidized or is subsidizing a solar owner, It encourages load shifting, using an electric dryer during off-peak is smart. Interestingly, there is very little solar installed in the areas with these type rates. The traditional billing method charges 12 cents regardless of when the electricity is used. That creates a situation where the solar owner is subsidized by all other customers and the solar owner is not paying their "fair share" of the grid costs. Plenty of debate on that topic. I've looked at numerous solar proposals and it's rare to find one that is economical. The solar sellers have plenty of inaccurate info in their proposals, some is just outright lies. People are free to make whatever decision they want. Just wish the info was accurate so they could make an intelligent decision. Kallend is correct - Solar thermal, primarily water heating, is a good idea. It just takes space. Unless plumbers and roofers are educated it isn't done. BIGUN is correct - the VA has a system wide goal to install solar, that doesn't make it a smart idea. My VA did some and the economics were negative. There would never be a payback! They did it anyway because they got brownie points for doing it and a big award. The one plus is that it does provide some shaded parking. The cost to build the elevated structures to install the panels exceeded the cost of the panels and the operating system. A "real" business would have never done that but since the VA doesn't have a P&L statement and they spend your money...... Wendy's comment about house values is the opposite here. Folks that financed the panels are having huge problems. They sell the house but still have the payments!, unless they can get the new owner to accept the solar contract. Buyers are reading the contract and wondering, "who would ever agree to this mess." Those that have panels and now need a new roof are being quoted significant costs to have the panels removed and reinstalled. Some roofers refuse to do it or will not warranty the roof. In about 7 years when the inverters fail folks are finding that the cost to have them replaced is about 50% of the cost of the whole system. And there are plenty of other issues. What a mess. And let's not ignore the tax subsidies, grants, and other types of favorable financial treatment that renewables or conventional generation receive. It just makes it more complicated. Billvon will quickly and accurately point out that conventional generation and fuel sources have huge subsidies. I'd luv to see some PhD candidate unravel the tangled mess and provide an unbiased report. I'm not saying that solar or renewables are bad. They definitely work in some situations. In some or all of CA that has grid issues and economic forces, it makes sense. I'm saying it's complicated and the study doesn't address many of the issues.
  10. Joe - Agree with most of this except the tax thing. He said he would release them when the audit was over and apparently it's ongoing but regardless. All I'm saying is the President is the the President regardless. Folks want to parse and subdivide the issue based an criteria that makes sense to them to do what they want. You use the term "good and decent person." There is enough info out there to tell me that Biden is not a good and decent person. Harris is just as bad. She attended her lovers 60th birthday party and made it plain to everyone there that she was with him. That was done with his wife present. Crazy. We can just disagree on this one. As to the Senate trail. From my perspective the whole thing is a sham. There is procedure and it was not followed in the House. Nancy was so blood thirsty she shoved it through with no hearing of the evidence, no witnesses no nothing. It should have never left the House. That does not mean he is not guilty. All I'm saying is the politicians can't stand on some principals and ignore the others. All this political drama does nothing to resolve issues. Remember that Biden was about unity. When does that start?
  11. Uhhh ... disagree. If one wants to complain about someone using JB or something other than President Biden then if they didn't use President Trump they have zero credibility on the topic. And if they go further to say, "get used to it" and they didn't get used to President Trump then they absolutely have no credibility on the topic. Well, unless they are willing to accept the label "hypocrite." I always disliked, and publicly stated that fact, Trumps use of name calling. I really don't care if someone used Trump or Biden but it is irritating when they use knock-offs of those names to be negative. We would be better off focusing on improving the country rather than using school yard names and arguing about their use. It's not hard to be respectful even if one disagrees.
  12. Interesting comments on rising fuel prices. Here in SC it's up approximately 50 cents in the last month. That hurts those least capable of adapting, the lower income folks. They already struggle to make ends meet. Not good. Saw a video this morning of a woman with a son with diabetes. He needs 1 box of insulin a month. Most folks need 2 boxes a month. It had been costing $60 and in February it rose to $370 with a manufacturer coupon, $500+ without the coupon. That's not good. Doing a fact check on her statement that, "Biden did it", found that is not exactly correct. He did freeze Trumps EO 13937 on Access to Affordable Life-Saving Medications that was signed in July 2020 and supposed to go into effect January 22, 2021. It was delayed to March 22. The EO was to, "improve access to affordable insulin and injectable epinephrine for low-income individuals due to lack of insurance or high cost sharing requirements." It appears that when Pres Biden froze it the manufactures took that as a sign and raised the price. Biden can still "unfreeze" it and let it go into effect. And about calling him JB or anything other than President Biden - Did you use the respectful terminology with President Trump?
  13. Lucky man. It's amazing for sure. If folks knew how the grid was managed they would wonder why it ever works. One of the new challenges is chasing load when the grid has large amounts of connected solar. It's surprising how quickly the solar output drops or rises when a cloud comes or goes. A couple of the larger MW(s) solar systems are a real challenge to follow.
  14. Good morning Jerry. FERC, NERC and all the other acronym agencies decided they knew more about transmission system design than the utilities after the great North American blackout of 2003. The fundamental problem originated from the acronym agencies at an earlier date when they decided that deregulation was a good idea. When that happened the primary goal shifted from reliability to profit. The new goal, at least for some utilities, was a lower mix of reliability with higher profit. It was a complicated event but the basic explanation is: One utility did less tree trimming (saving money), the load on the line increased, as it heated up it sagged, there was a short circuit fault when the line got near a tree, and the circuit breaker tripped open, as designed. The loads automatically shifted to other circuits and one after another they overloaded, breakers tripped and the event cascaded across the NE. The adjacent utility "control areas" should have stopped it (like an advancing wildfire with fire breaks) but for whatever reason they didn't. Until it got to the SERC area where it was stopped. The Southeastern Reliability Council, VA CAR group, watched the cascading blackout creep across the US like a rapidly moving fire. They opened the tie breakers between themselves and the approaching fire. That's what stopped it. Good ole human intervention. Yep, some southern hillbilly redneck control room supervisor probably spilled their coffee and dropped a beef jerky snack when they instructed the control room operators to "Open the Tie Breakers." With a few clicks on a mouse it was done. A minute later they were the guy or girl that saved the day. If you haven't been in a utility control room you are missing out on seeing some incredible technology. One result of that mess was the acronym agencies now require more stringent vegetation maintenance. Any tree that hits a transmission line is investigated and reported to the feds even if no problems occur. If the tree is outside the federally prescribed corridor no problem. If it is inside, even by a foot, the corridor there are massive million dollar fines. Utilities went out and further widened the right of ways and removed any questionable trees. That shifted the priority back to reliability by threatening profits. And of course all those costs, except fines, are paid by the customers. There are actually plenty of double circuited transmission corridors but there are also circuits in other corridors that feed the same transmission substations. A loss of one corridor won't crash the system, at least that is true in SC. Interestingly, there are high pressure natural gas transmission pipes in the same corridor with electric transmission lines. You want to see something scary, watch a high pressure NG line that has been damaged ignite. It's the biggest, loudest, hottest thing I've ever seen. Luckily those lines are monitored and there are control valves that are electronically operated to isolate the leak. It still takes a while for the pressure and volume to burn off. Again, a very simplistic explanation.
  15. I was talking about this one. Dominion Energy and Duke Energy cancel the Atlantic Coast Pipeline | Duke Energy | News Center (