HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » Latest Breaking News (Forum) » ERCOT: Texas Was 4 Minute...

Wed Feb 24, 2021, 10:33 PM

ERCOT: Texas Was 4 Minutes and 37 Seconds Away From a Blackout That Could Have Lasted Months

Source: NBC

The board that oversees ERCOT held an urgent meeting Wednesday morning to discuss the winter storm that crippled most of Texas last week. They offered apologies for the devastation the power outages have caused and pledged to gather the facts to help lawmakers determine how to prevent it from ever happening again.

ERCOT’s CEO, Bill Magness faced questions from his own board about why these power outages were so severe and why the agency was not able to predict such a devastating outcome before the storm hit.

“I mean, we saw something here that, you know, outstrips any extreme scenario,” said Magness.

... snip ...

One chart presented at the meeting shows Texas was less than five minutes away from a blackout that might have crippled the power system for weeks or months.

Magness expressed frustration at the meeting about how long it took to bring some power plants back online. The graphs shared today showed for days many were not able to re-start and that's what turned this into such a devastating crisis with lives lost and homes damaged.

Read more: https://www.nbcdfw.com/investigations/ercot-texas-was-4-minutes-and-37-seconds-away-from-a-blackout-that-could-have-lasted-months/2562592/



Clueless fools

37 replies, 3176 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 37 replies Author Time Post
Reply ERCOT: Texas Was 4 Minutes and 37 Seconds Away From a Blackout That Could Have Lasted Months (Original post)
UpInArms Feb 24 OP
msongs Feb 24 #1
Xipe Totec Feb 24 #2
machoneman Feb 24 #3
LudwigPastorius Feb 24 #4
captain queeg Feb 24 #6
caraher Feb 25 #22
texasfiddler Feb 25 #23
captain queeg Feb 25 #25
caraher Feb 25 #32
TwilightZone Feb 25 #12
Miguelito Loveless Feb 24 #5
texasfiddler Feb 25 #24
Miguelito Loveless Feb 25 #27
OverBurn Feb 25 #33
harumph Feb 24 #7
dalton99a Feb 25 #15
Miguelito Loveless Feb 25 #28
RockRaven Feb 24 #8
dalton99a Feb 25 #9
Red Oak Feb 25 #17
Red Oak Feb 25 #10
mobeau69 Feb 25 #11
TwilightZone Feb 25 #14
Red Oak Feb 25 #18
Pas-de-Calais Feb 25 #13
Sgent Feb 25 #21
susanr516 Feb 25 #16
burrowowl Feb 25 #19
Initech Feb 25 #20
bucolic_frolic Feb 25 #26
Miguelito Loveless Feb 25 #30
lark Feb 25 #29
Javaman Feb 25 #31
RussBLib Feb 25 #34
Dopers_Greed Feb 25 #35
Javaman Feb 26 #37
roamer65 Feb 26 #36

Response to UpInArms (Original post)

Wed Feb 24, 2021, 10:35 PM

1. gee could this be self serving propganda to take our minds off what really happened? nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to UpInArms (Original post)

Wed Feb 24, 2021, 10:39 PM

2. Toxic Individualism. nt

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to UpInArms (Original post)

Wed Feb 24, 2021, 10:40 PM

3. Scare tactics! We could have sunk at sea but no, we beached...

Last edited Thu Feb 25, 2021, 02:31 PM - Edit history (1)

...the ship and only lost 100 lives. What Texazz bullshit!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to UpInArms (Original post)

Wed Feb 24, 2021, 10:41 PM

4. "Texas Was 4 Minutes and 37 Seconds Away From a Blackout"


Well, that's certainly a specific detail.

I'm not saying they are lying to excuse their actions, but I've found that liars will sometimes insert a random detail in order to try to "sell" their version of reality.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to LudwigPastorius (Reply #4)

Wed Feb 24, 2021, 10:54 PM

6. Yeah, that "fact" would need to be explained quite a bit more

The bottom line, in the ERCOT briefing was when he stated the storm exceeded anything his forecasters had projected. So what sort of projections do they base their business on? Projections for profit are going to use different parameters than projections for reliability. Which is what the rest of the US does.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to captain queeg (Reply #6)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 02:35 AM

22. Their presentation said that figure is based on a frequency stability issue

On page 12 of their PowerPoint there's a graph of the frequency of the system over about a 45 minute period as outages piled up. As they lose generation the frequency falls in response, and evidently (i.e. according to the slide) the system can only tolerate 9 minutes of operation at less than 59.4 Hz without triggering more shutdowns (I'm not sure why). They got almost halfway to the 9 minutes and staved off hitting that milestone by two "load-sheds" totalling 6.5 GW.

The ERCOT Fundamentals Manual I found online states that the chief concern is the integrity of turbine blades in steam turbine generators (from p. 10-68, which is p. 433 of the .pdf):

Prolonged operation at frequencies above or below 60 HZ can damage power system equipment. The most serious consequences are with respect to the turbine blades of steam turbine/generators.


The figure below (taken from post 15 below - thanks!) shows an operating frequency range of basically 59.5-60.5 Hz.



Outside that range,

During operation (while under load) at frequencies other than 60 HZ, the natural frequency of oscillation of the turbine blades can be excited, resulting in severe vibration of the blades.This vibration can lead to failure of the blades. The long blades on the low- pressure steam turbine are most susceptible to damage from abnormal frequency operation. Once the first blade fails other blades in the turbine stage and eventually the entire turbine may suffer severe damage.

Steam turbine blades can be exposed to only a certain amount of off-frequency operation (while carrying load)over their entire lifetime. Utilities may track the amount of off-frequency operation and replace turbine blades when they have reached their time limit. This helps to avoid a blade failure.

The best way to prevent this problem is to avoid substantial off-frequency operation while under load. Steam/turbine generators often have under and over-frequency relays installed to trip the unit if it is operated at off-frequency for too long a period.
(emphasis mine)

These are cumulative limits. This means the limits apply for the lifetime of the turbine. For example, the figure tells us that a typical steam turbine can be operated—under load—for ten minutes at 58 HZ before damage is likely to occur to the turbine blades.

These ten minutes are over the lifetime of the turbine. For example, the ten minutes can be reached via one - ten minute interval or via ten - one minute intervals.

Actual steam-turbine off-frequency limits will vary with the turbine manufacturer and individual utility tolerance.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to caraher (Reply #22)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 07:21 AM

23. High V/Hz can damage major pieces of equipment on the grid due to over fluxing.

"the system can only tolerate 9 minutes of operation at less than 59.4 Hz without triggering more shutdowns (I'm not sure why)." As the denominator (Hz) goes down, the V/Hz ratio goes up. The generator voltage regulators continue to maintain voltage through the field controls so the numerator (V) stays constant.

Replacing major transformers could take months.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to caraher (Reply #22)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 07:52 AM

25. Thanks for digging into it. That makes some sense.

Frequency is the primary controller on the grid. I’m a little surprised that they operated 0.5 off of 60 for that long. In WECC the deviation limits are something like 0.05, but that’s what they are supposed to maintain. I don’t know what actions are prescribed when you get that far out of whack and didn’t know that about steam turbine blades. Certainly have even hydro units start vibrating violently and have seen blades fall off. For a hydro unit a broken blade would tend to get washed downstream and not be bouncing around hitting other blades. That would be bad news. Nowadays there’s a big emphasis on “predictive maintenance” and vibrations are closely monitored. I could see units tripping offline on their own with human actions taking place. It all just seems like they were operating a system lacking sufficient reserve capacity.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to captain queeg (Reply #25)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 04:06 PM

32. "seems like they were operating a system lacking sufficient reserve capacity"

Exactly!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to LudwigPastorius (Reply #4)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 12:18 AM

12. Grid measurements are pretty precise, for obvious reasons.

I would guess that there's a calculation to determine the figure. Before they shut down a significant chunk of the grid, demand was double supply so it wouldn't surprise me if the figure is accurate. They didn't shut down millions of people on a whim, and they clearly knew how many they had to shut down immediately to protect the grid.

The immediate response to the impending crash wasn't the problem - it was a necessary evil. The lack of preparation and an apparent lack of any significant backup solution were the problems.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to UpInArms (Original post)

Wed Feb 24, 2021, 10:44 PM

5. At no point do they explain

What happened and why the grid would have failed for months have 4:37 time elapsed.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Miguelito Loveless (Reply #5)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 07:43 AM

24. High V/Hz ratio is the main reason. High V/Hz ratios over-flux transformers

This creates heat and over a set time can permanently damage them taking months to repair or replace. The Voltage on the numerator is maintained through field system voltage control on the generators. As the frequency (Hz) drops the V/Hz ratio goes up. They could have probably added that to the discussion.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to texasfiddler (Reply #24)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 09:51 AM

27. Ah, thank you

so wiping out a huge number of transformers which would taken months to replace.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Miguelito Loveless (Reply #5)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 04:27 PM

33. Crazy, right.

It's funny how a few people in a forum can explain things in a few paragraphs. "Experts" and writers of articles never seem to explain things properly.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to UpInArms (Original post)

Wed Feb 24, 2021, 10:55 PM

7. out of phase frequencies can damage generators.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to harumph (Reply #7)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 12:30 AM

15. Yep. They wanted to prevent damage to the turbine/generator blades

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dalton99a (Reply #15)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 09:54 AM

28. Thanks,

another little piece of information to add to my education.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to UpInArms (Original post)

Wed Feb 24, 2021, 11:13 PM

8. Saying "We narrowly avoided a worse disaster by choosing a better disaster" is a distraction

from the fact that a much, much, much better disaster or even a non-disaster would have been the outcome with better policies.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to UpInArms (Original post)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 12:03 AM

9. Data from ERCOT:
















Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to dalton99a (Reply #9)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 12:39 AM

17. Great data. Thanks for posting. Some questions.

If you look at the temperature charts from the 2011 and 2021 events, they look somewhat similar over the first 24 hours. Temps in Houston from the 40s down to the 20s. Dallas in the 20s down to the teens.

In 2021 the big power generating loss occurred just after midnight on 2/15. The loss of generation was almost four times the amount lost in the entire 2011 event. The 2021 loss occurred over 24 hours before the coldest temperatures of the weather event.

Could it be that plants were taken off line to artificially increase the price of power, but the difference in 2011 vs 2021 was that it kept on getting colder for the next 24 hours in the 2021 event and the gas feed lines then froze to the point that plants could not be put back on line?

Your posted data puts the lie to Abbott's "it's the green new deal killing us" BS. While wind generation was impacted by iced up blades due to no heat packages installed on the Texas turbines, this was a natural gas fired plant disaster with natgas losing almost 15,000 MWh of generation in the first 8-10 hours of the 15th for a total of 25,000 MWh of natgas generation being lost. Unbelievable.

Is the Texas grid so weak it cannot survive 24 hours of cold in the teens? Also unbelievable.

Gotta love the free market. Think this whole thing will happen again in ten years? My bet is yes.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to UpInArms (Original post)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 12:07 AM

10. Why did the first generating plants go off line? Were they pumping up the price of power?

I want to know why the first power plants went off line. Who owns them? Were they initially taken off line in order to drive up the price of power with the intent to restart them later when the price of power went from $20 a megawatthour to $9000 a megawatthour (the Texas legal cap)? Why were these very first plants taken off line instead of being ramped up to full capacity?

A possible scenario, totally legal in Texas to my knowledge, is that this was a fake power scarcity play that got out of hand. Say you own a few plants. You take one of your fully operational plants off line while demand is rising in order to rapidly drive up the free market price of power, fully planning on a restart later at a higher price to make lots of profit. The price of power goes from $20 MWhr to many times that, then up to the $9000 (arbitrary) cap that Texas has in place. With power at 450 times the normal price it is time to make some money! The problem was the cold was so severe that the plants could not be re-started. The loss of those initial plants may have started a ripple effect of even more plants tripping while demand is still going up, forcing even more generation off line until load was shed with forced blackouts called by ERCOT. At some point, with so many plants off line, there was no way to get power back on for everyone until temperatures and demand moderated over the entire network area, essentially the entire state of Texas. Those plants that continued to run during the crisis made a killing if they were selling power at $9000 a MWhr. A year's worth of revenue in less than a day. Those plants that were not running also made a killing, but in a wholly different context.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Red Oak (Reply #10)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 12:18 AM

11. Balancing supply to demand is critical in the distribution of electric power. Demand got way out of

Wack with the supply side’s ability to provide it.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Red Oak (Reply #10)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 12:27 AM

14. Demand was double supply at the point of shutdown.

It was a generational snow event, combined with a generational temperature event, preceded by two days of freezing rain. The immediate solution to demand that was twice that of supply was to shut off as much demand as was necessary to protect the grid.


There was no "fake scarcity". This wasn't some made-up event. Not everything is a conspiracy.


Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to TwilightZone (Reply #14)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 12:50 AM

18. Certainly the event as a whole was not fake scarcity

On the whole, I agree that power generation is supply/demand balance. On the whole, over several days, this was a supply/demand imbalance brought on by cold weather.

Now, let's look at the start and the first plants to go off line. That is where I have questions. Why did the first plants go off line? Supply/demand imbalance? Maybe. Or maybe not.

Concerning not everything is a conspiracy. I agree with that, too. I also vividly remember Enron's fraud failure in the power business and also the "burn baby burn emails" as fake scarcity was created in California a few years back during fire season. If I am not mistaken, plants supplying power to California were taken off line to drive the price of power up.

My question is, did this California scenario happen at the start of the Texas disaster and did it contribute to a cascading supply demand imbalance that was unexpected by the first operational plants that were pulled off line?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to UpInArms (Original post)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 12:26 AM

13. Ercot acknowledges 4:37 blackout scenario but



Ignores 11 year old report
Which would have prevented
The entire incident, IF they followed it

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Pas-de-Calais (Reply #13)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 01:37 AM

21. Ercot

can't "follow it" -- its up to the TX legislature to do so. All they can do is make recommendations to power generators, they can't require anything.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to UpInArms (Original post)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 12:39 AM

16. We had the answer 10 years ago

The power grid failures in 2011 could have largely been avoided had the power plants and pipelines been properly winterized. However, laissez faire TX could only issue recommendations to winterize the system, rather than mandates. I'm a 4th generation native Texan. I doubt the Lege will do anything more than issue another toothless batch of recommendations.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to UpInArms (Original post)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 01:22 AM

19. KICK!

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to UpInArms (Original post)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 01:23 AM

20. Keep electing conservatives guys, see where that gets you.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to UpInArms (Original post)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 08:09 AM

26. The old "It could have been a lot worse" trick

Sorry. Don't believe it.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to bucolic_frolic (Reply #26)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 10:14 AM

30. Actully, it really

could have. This reminds of the incident in Goldsboro, NC in 1961 where a B-52 broke up in flight, and two 3MT bombs plummeted to earth. In one bomb, 3 of the 4 "fail safe" devices failed. Had the last one failed, it would have been a LOT worse.

In this case, ERCOT came damned close to destroying a huge number of transformers, which would have taken months, possibly over a year, to repair/replace.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to UpInArms (Original post)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 10:10 AM

29. Not clueless, greedy sucking reich wingers is what they are.

They refused to do any contingency updating because they are greedy fuckers and wanted the max profits and didn't feel one iota of responsibility for their actual jobs of providing energy so bailed on the state and killed it citizens - and they still don't give a fuck and won't do one thing to fix this because repug legislature won't make them.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to UpInArms (Original post)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 12:04 PM

31. as a Texan who lived through this bullshit...

am I supposed to thank Ercot for not totally screwing me?

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Javaman (Reply #31)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 06:09 PM

34. I keep hearing this, "oh, it could have been much worse"

But I hear no details about this claim. Oh, really? Well, then phew!

Fuck that!

Sounds like a "shut up" type comment to me.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Javaman (Reply #31)

Thu Feb 25, 2021, 06:59 PM

35. There's not much ERCOT can do

They are just in charge of running a crappy system.

It's up the Texas government to change the system.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to Dopers_Greed (Reply #35)

Fri Feb 26, 2021, 09:13 AM

37. ercot gives heavily to repukes.

there is plenty both ercot and the repukes can do.

No one gets a pass. fuck them.

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink


Response to UpInArms (Original post)

Fri Feb 26, 2021, 01:22 AM

36. Insurance companies are going to the sue the pants off from ERCOT.

Sounds like ERCOT and their member electric companies ignored warnings and reports on weatherization. If they did, they are wide open to lawsuits based on gross negligence.

This is just the tip of a very large iceberg. It’s the preponderance of the evidence in civil cases and it’s going to be billions of dollars.

https://www.law.com/texaslawyer/2021/02/19/texas-utility-ercot-hit-with-two-lawsuits-over-winter-storm-damages/?slreturn=20210126004156Hey

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread