Texas ERCOT to Boost State Power Grid With … More Renewables!

If this wasn’t so unbelievable it would be laughable. From Clean Technica:

Texas to Add 35 Gigawatts of Wind & Solar in Next 3 Years — Boosting Grid Resilience

By Zachary Shahan Published 1 day ago

Clearly, the news story of the week — well beyond CleanTechnica — has been Texas and some neighboring regions freezing over and losing electricity. The vast majority of the power plants that went offline were thermal power plants (mostly natural gas). They were not equipped enough for the cold. A number of wind turbines were also down because no one had bought the “cold-weather package.”

ERCOT is a nonprofit group that operates the Texas’ power grid and, as the article implies, the organization allegedly didn’t do enough to prevent what happened over a week ago. In fairness, adding more wind and solar power was planned before the state’s recent debacle. But pitching this as a way as somehow boosting grid resilience is really off the wall.

Renewable energy, wind power more specifically, is a key component of Texas’ power generation that takes up somewhere around 30% of total power output. The author’s claim that Texas’ wind turbines froze because of the state’s inadequate planning and trying to cut costs does not match reality. A prime example is to see what happened in New York who’s windmills came with the winterizing the author discusses. From Syracuse.com citing EDP who is one of the operators of the state’s wind farms:

“Amy Kurt, senior manager of regional government affairs for EDP, said EDP and other wind power operators in this neck of the woods equip their turbines to handle the cold and, even more importantly, the ice that often comes with the cold.

“There are a variety of cold weather and anti-icing technologies that are used on wind turbines in the coldest regions,” she said. “These technologies help prevent the buildup of ice on turbine blades, detect ice when it cannot be prevented, and remove ice safely when it is detected.”

Kurt is further quoted as saying:

“The sensors can even tell which blades have ice on them and which ones don’t. When ice is detected, heating elements inside the blades turn on to melt the ice.

For safety reasons, the turbines are shut down while the heating elements melt off the ice, Kurt said. That way, there’s no chance of ice flying off spinning blades, potentially damaging the turbines or, worse, striking someone on the ground, she said.

“We’d rather the ice drop below the turbine,” she said.Once the ice is removed, the turbines are turned back on and the blades can safely spin in the wind again.”

The heating elements require electricity to work (those pesky fossil fuels again). So, in order for the windmills to be de-iced, they have to be shut down. As a result, New Yorkers can go without power and the same would happen in Texas even if they winterized their wind turbines like the Empire State did.

Remember, ladies and gentlemen, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.

PHOTO CREDIT: Unsplash

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