- March 3, 2021
- Posted by: Art Berman
- Category: The Petroleum Truth Report
Explanations for the outages include lack of generating plant winterization, natural gas shortages from frozen wells and pipelines, and poor grid management. These were all factors but the triggers for the power crisis were the failure of electricity generated by wind and poor planning by the state’s grid operator ERCOT.
Temperatures commonly dip below freezing for a few hours on a few winter days in parts of Texas. Last month, temperatures fell into the low-20 degree Fahrenheit range in south Texas (Figure 1). The mean Houston temperature in February is about 57 degrees Fahrenheit. On February 15, it was 20 degrees.
This was the first time since 2011 that a freeze left so many in the state without power. The weekly energy used for space heating during the 2021 crisis was 56% higher than for the crisis week in 2011.
The storm was not a surprise. The state’s grid management company ERCOT ramped up electric power generation a week in advance. In the early morning of February 15, net generation dropped 15 GW (gigawatt hours) from 68 to 53 GW (Figure 2). By early evening, it had fallen another 9 GW to 44 GW. The result was loss of electric power to millions of homes.
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