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1/3rd of ERCOT Board Resigns: Just 2/3rds More To Go

Throughout the cold blast of last week, much news was made about the fact that three of the key members of the board of the Electric (non) Reliability Council of Texas weren’t even from Texas. In fact, it turned out the chairman lives in Michigan, the vice-chair also lives out of state, along with one other member of the 15-member board.

Well, guess what? Those news reports actually understated the out-of-state issue with this board. Turns out that there were no fewer than five non-Texans running Texas’s power grid. Happily, each and every one one of them resigned yesterday, along with a sixth non-Texan who was scheduled to move onto the board in the coming weeks:

Five members of the board of directors at the entity that operates Texas’ electrical grid will resign from their posts on Wednesday, according to a notice posted to the Public Utility Commission website.

Board Chairwoman Sally Talberg, Vice Chairman Peter Cramton, and members Terry Bulger, Raymond Hepper and Vanessa Anesetti-Parra will all resign from their posts on Wednesday, during the next meeting of the board of directors of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT.

ERCOT has come under fire for its handling of widespread blackouts that left millions of Texans without power and water as the state faced subfreezing temperatures, snow and ice.

None of the five members resigning from their posts live in Texas.

“Our hearts go out to all Texans who have had to go without electricity, heat, and water during frigid temperatures and continue to face the tragic consequences of this emergency,” the letter reads. “We have noted recent concerns about out-of-state board leadership at ERCOT. To allow state leaders a free hand with future direction and to eliminate distractions, we are resigning from the board.”

Craig Ivey, who was set to fill a vacant position on the board, said in a separate letter that he was withdrawing his candidacy “in order to avoid becoming a distraction” due to his out-of-state residency.

[End]

Look, I love non-Texans, so don’t get me wrong here. But ERCOT is a quasi-government entity – technically a 501(c)(4) non-profit – that runs the grid that supplies 80% of the state with power. It reports directly to the Public Utilities Commission (PUC). In a state with 28 million residents, it seems to most of us here in Texas that we ought to be able to find 15 actual Texans who know how to manage a power grid.

I mean, we don’t elect Michiganders to our state legislature, or Marylanders to serve as our governor, do we? The governor can’t appoint Californians or Alabamans to serve on our PUC, can he? We don’t have a Louisianan as our attorney general, even though that might end up being tons of fun and all manner of shenanigans.

At the end of the day, my one and only problem with these five folks leaving the board – from which they were likely to be fired, anyway – is that the number is not 15.

My suspicion is that, like any other semi-accountable board of this type, ERCOT’s board has become a big social club, a cushy assignment with a huge paycheck that none of its members take too seriously. I honestly can find no other explanation for the fact that, when this board met on February 9, as the first of 3 arctic fronts was already pouring into the state, it spent just 45 seconds (that’s not a typo) of a 2-hour meeting discussing preparation measures for what they already knew at that point would ultimately become a major winter weather event.

The fact that not one of the 15 members had a single question or concern about preparedness for such a major event that they wanted to raise in that meeting tells me that there are no serious people currently serving on that board.

So, 5 down and just 10 more to go. If they won’t voluntarily resign, then the PUC and Governor Abbott needs to resign them. In fact, after the clownshow Texans suffered through last week – with more than 70 human beings ending up dead – the entire organization needs to be demolished down to the studs and reconstituted. Only a bold move such as that will give Texans any comfort that we won’t just be living through a replay of last week again sometime in the near future.

Are you listening, Governor Abbott?

That is all.

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than Whatfinger.com is the only real conservative alternative to Drudge, and deserves to become everyone’s go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

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The New York Times Gets it Half Right on Texas Blackouts

Hey, half-right is better than the New York Times normally does whenever writing about Texas, so I suppose we should applaud the authors of the piece I’m looking at this morning, titled “Texas Power Grid Run by ERCOT Set Up the State for Disaster.” Like so many other slanted media reports over the past week on this subject, the Times gets some things right while ignoring inconvenient realities that end up causing the writers to miss the fundamental point.

While most of the facts the piece lays out are in fact accurate, the headline gets the fundamental problem wrong: The power grid itself didn’t set the state up for the disaster; the failure of the people who manage the grid to recognize the utter folly of their ways did. Of course, since the folly that those grid managers at ERCOT engaged in was to focus all their efforts over the last decade on incentivizing the building of more and more wind and solar in Texas while refusing to recognize the reality that those sources of energy would fail us in a weather emergency like the one that took place last week, the leftwingers at the Times didn’t want to focus on that reality.

Perhaps the key paragraph in the entire piece is this one, which illustrates the perilous position that the failures of ERCOT had put the state in when the winter storms began to hit the state on February 9:

One example of how Texas has gone it alone is its refusal to enforce a “reserve margin” of extra power available above expected demand, unlike all other power systems around North America. With no mandate, there is little incentive to invest in precautions for events, such as a Southern snowstorm, that are rare. Any company that took such precautions would put itself at a competitive disadvantage.

[End]

Though factually accurate as far as it goes, this paragraph is where the entire thesis of the piece falls apart. While the facts presented in the paragraph are fundamentally true, the slant by the writers in blaming it all on the evil (in any liberal’s mind) “de-regulation” is simply not correct. What the authors ignore in this paragraph is the fact that, while natural gas prices were high during the first decade under the de-regulated system, Texas had a boom in the building of new combined-cycle natural gas power plants, which have enabled Texas to retire much of its fleet of coal-fired plants and lead the nation in emissions reductions over that time frame.

See, the part of the system these authors don’t inform their readers about is the fact that ERCOT’s de-regulated system allows power providers to base their rates to consumers – which appears as a “fuel charge” on our bills – on the price for the highest-cost fuel source, which from 2000-2009 was consistently natural gas. It was that higher fuel charge that provided the incentive to build all of those new, clean, natural gas plants in the first ten years of this century.

But the fundamental failure of ERCOT came when the price for natural gas began to collapse to chronic lower levels in 2009, where it has remained ever since. When gas prices began to collapse in 2009, my own summer-time electricity bills quickly dropped from ~$500 per month to half of that. The loss of that income from millions of consumers robbed the market of the incentives to build new baseload power.

Lacking that profit incentive, and with no other incentivization being provided by ERCOT or the Texas legislature, power providers have since chosen to invest their capital dollars elsewhere. Meanwhile, ERCOT’s policies have continued to heavily incentivize the build-out of new wind and solar, both of which failed the state so miserably during this crisis, which I detailed for readers in a piece posted last night:

Just so everyone knows that all forms of power generation in Texas failed us to some extent this past week, I wanted you all to see the chart below. Here is what it shows, in terms of the % of power loss by energy source from 11:00 p.m. Feb 14 [At the peak of the chart] to 11:00 p.m. Feb 17, when 4 million Texans were without power:

May be an image of text

 

Natural Gas fell from 43 mwh to 32 mwh, a loss of 26%

Solar dropped from 1 mwh to ZERO, a loss of 100%

Wind dropped from 8 mwh to 3 mwh, a loss of a whopping 63%

Coal fell from 12 mwh to 8 mwh, a loss of 33%

Nuclear fell from 4 mwh to 3mwh, a loss of 25%

It is also key to note here that, from midnight on February 9, when the first blast of cold weather began to set in across the state, until 11:00 p.m., February 14, when output peaked, Natural Gas rose from 14 mwh to 43 mwh, or roughly 300%. Over that same span of time, Wind dropped from about 30 mwh to 8 mwh, or about 72%.

So, although a relative handful of natural gas power plants did freeze up, either due to the weather or due to lack of natural gas supply as some pipelines also lost pressure, the unarguable fact of the matter is that so-called “renewables” were utterly useless to Texas consumers during this life-threatening emergency, and that without Natural Gas, the entire state would have been left freezing in the dark.

[End]

ERCOT has known for years now – and has informed the PUC and the legislature of this on a regular basis – that the Texas grid lacks adequate reserve capacity to get us through a weather calamity such as the one just past. We don’t have enough baseload reserves, and literally everyone has known that (or should have known it), yet no one in a position of authority has had the political will to force that to chance.

Here is where the NY Times writers get the fundamental issue right, in the following paragraph:

With so many cost-conscious utilities competing for budget-shopping consumers, there was little financial incentive to invest in weather protection and maintenance. Wind turbines are not equipped with the de-icing equipment routinely installed in the colder climes of the Dakotas and power lines have little insulation. The possibility of more frequent cold-weather events was never built into infrastructure plans in a state where climate change remains an exotic, disputed concept.

[End]

Indeed, the same features of the de-regulated market that have saved Texas consumers billions over the last 20 years have created this lack of incentivization to build new capacity and to properly winterize pipelines and power generation facilities. The heavy competition by power providers to offer the lowest rates to consumers created a cost-cutting and cost-saving mania among the generators, and any costs not required by regulators have naturally been avoided.

Here’s the other fact that the NY Times writers omit: Even with the lack of adequate reserve power generation capacity, last week’s blackouts would have been avoided had pipeline operators and power generators properly winterized their plants. But, as I’ve written several times over the past week, winterization has been suggested and encouraged by regulators, but it has never been required.

Another aspect of all of this that the Times writers leave out of their story is what happened in the cities of Austin and San Antonio last week, and is continuing into this week. Both of those cities run their own, city-owned and regulated power systems, although they do purchase much of their electricity from the same power providers that generate electricity for the Texas grid. The blackouts in both of those “regulated” cities were far more severe than those across the rest of the state, and both cities are still under “boil water” advisories today due to their water systems having lost power for several days.

Bottom line: This was not a disaster that was directly caused by the liberal boogeyman of “de-regulation.” This disaster was caused by the utter failure of the managers of that system (ERCOT) and the policymakers who oversee them (PUC, legislature) to adequately deal with a dangerous situation that they have all been well aware of for more than a decade now.

Blaming the “system” is what biased journalists and regulators do to shift blame and avoid taking responsibility for their own inactions. The “system” in Texas isn’t the problem: The human beings are.

That is all.

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than Whatfinger.com is the only real conservative alternative to Drudge, and deserves to become everyone’s go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

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What Really Happened in Texas Last Week

Just so everyone knows that all forms of power generation in Texas failed us to some extent this past week, I wanted you all to see the chart below. Here is what it shows, in terms of the % of power loss by energy source from 11:00 p.m. Feb 14 [At the peak of the chart] to 11:00 p.m. Feb 17, when 4 million Texans were without power:

May be an image of text

 

Natural Gas fell from 43 mwh to 32 mwh, a loss of 26%

Solar dropped from 1 mwh to ZERO, a loss of 100%

Wind dropped from 8 mwh to 3 mwh, a loss of a whopping 63%

Coal fell from 12 mwh to 8 mwh, a loss of 33%

Nuclear fell from 4 mwh to 3mwh, a loss of 25%

It is also key to note here that, from midnight on February 9, when the first blast of cold weather began to set in across the state, until 11:00 p.m., February 14, when output peaked, Natural Gas rose from 14 mwh to 43 mwh, or roughly 300%. Over that same span of time, Wind dropped from about 30 mwh to 8 mwh, or about 72%.

So, although a relative handful of natural gas power plants did freeze up, either due to the weather or due to lack of natural gas supply as some pipelines also lost pressure, the unarguable fact of the matter is that so-called “renewables” were utterly useless to Texas consumers during this life-threatening emergency, and that without Natural Gas, the entire state would have been left freezing in the dark.

That is according to the official data coming from ERCOT and the U.S. Energy Information Administration. So, next time you see the leftwingers at the Texas Tribune or Houston Chronicle or New York Times or CNN tell you it was all the fault of natural gas, you know they’re really failing to tell the real story.

That is all.

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than Whatfinger.com is the only real conservative alternative to Drudge, and deserves to become everyone’s go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

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Ted Cruz Becomes This Week’s Media Shiny Object

Just another shiny object for the media to distract you with. – The first few weeks of the sock puppet Biden administration have been a disastrous time for Democrats. Among other horrific stories, the elderly, brain-addled Biden and his fellow Democrats have created the following raft of negative stories:

– More than 85,000 Americans dead of COVID;

– Tens of thousands of jobs cancelled by Biden’s first-day executive orders, at least 10,000 of which were in the oil and gas industry;

– New York Governor Andrew Cuomo responsible for the deaths of thousands of Biden’s fellow elderly citizens in his state’s nursing homes;

– Cuomo now under investigation by both the FBI and the New York Attorney General’s office;

– Biden and Anthony Fauci both ignoring actual science by c0nspiring with teacher’s unions to needlessly keep our kids out of school;

– Biden’s anti-oil and gas policies causing skyrocketing gasoline prices;

– Biden’s ramping up of the U.S. interventionist war machine;

…and on and on and on it goes.

Biden’s friends in the corrupt news media needed a shiny object to use to distract the public’s attention from all of these hugely negative stories, because that is what the media does for Democrats. On Thursday, they found their bright and shiny object in the form of Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

Senator Cruz decided to follow through on a long-planned spring break trip with his kids down to Cancun, you see. When he arrived, some fellow Americans recognized him and posted video of him on their social media accounts. Smelling a bright and shiny object in the making, corrupt fake reporters decided to pick up on the story and chastise the Senator for abandoning Texas when it was in the midst of a major winter storm that had millions of Texans struggling without electrical power in their homes.

Here’s a sampling of the idiotic stories run by the Texas and national news media:

Man, Democrat media agent Chris Hayes even managed to get in a shot at the late Rush Limbaugh while taking shots at Cruz, a real media two-fer badge of honor.

If Ted Cruz happened to be Governor of Texas, or even a member of the state’s Public Utilities Commission or holder of a seat in the Texas Legislature, this would have been an actual legitimate news story. After all, people in any of those offices have an actual role to play in what happens with the Texas power grid. Any of those folks leaving the state during this weather emergency would have deserved to be literally tarred and feathered, not just slammed by a biased media.

But a United States senator like Cruz has zero role to play in determining how electricity is delivered to the 28 million citizens of Texas and the businesses that serve them. Where he goes this week literally makes no difference to anyone else. Well, except to “news” reporters desperate to focus on something, anything other than the disastrous beginning for the China Joe Biden sock puppet presidency.

For being a good dad, Senator Cruz became this week’s shiny object, and now his kids will have to vacation in Cancun without their dad. Because that is what the corrupt news media in this country does for the Democrat party.

That is all.

Today’s news moves at a faster pace than Whatfinger.com is the only real conservative alternative to Drudge, and deserves to become everyone’s go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.

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