Texas shutdown from a little chill

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joeatomictoad
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Texas shutdown from a little chill

Post by joeatomictoad » Fri Feb 19, 2021 12:53 am

Speak of the weather, the Republic of Texas essentially shutdown because...cold. Texas can gracefully survive a Category 5 hurricane, but has yet to figure out cold.
https://www.tiktok.com/@coollifeinusa/v ... copy_url=0

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Re: Texas shutdown from a little chill

Post by Montana St Alum » Fri Feb 19, 2021 9:45 am

I think a big part of the problem is that the Texas (ERCOT) grid design is isolated, so it's really hard to "import" power into their grid. They were planning on a loss of 8600 MW and peak demand of 58,000 MW. It ended up a loss of 34,000 MW and peak of 69,000 MW! They have the power capability to generate over 125,000 MW, but that's in warm weather.
And, ERCOT has possibly been guilty of poor upkeep on their infrastructure.
The operative term is "oops".

The acronym would be PPP.





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Re: Texas shutdown from a little chill

Post by joeatomictoad » Fri Feb 19, 2021 3:48 pm

@Montana St Alum
Texas drank the Kool Aid, and for many years it tasted great. Retail energy rates were reasonable for consumers, and profits were high for the providers. I have been paying between USD$0.05 to $0.08 / kW-h for years, which has been wonderful to my wallet. There’s no profit to be made for preparing for a weather event like this, so no preparations were made.

As for connecting the West coast grid, East coast grid, and Texas grid... check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tres_Amigas_SuperStation. Technically, it’s to be a huge rectifier-inverter plant, with limited capacity. (Can’t just hard wire synchronize the 3 grids because each is using a frequency just a little off 60-Hz.) Politically, sounds to be a nightmare for the project managers. I generally shy away from superlatives, but am leaning towards “never going to happen” with this project.





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Re: Texas shutdown from a little chill

Post by Montana St Alum » Fri Feb 19, 2021 3:56 pm

Early in my airline career I was a flight engineer. Combining 3 generators, one from each engine, wasn't terribly difficult, but it had to be done manually at the time. And that's a simple combination.

Interesting video on the subject of separate grids.





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Re: Texas shutdown from a little chill

Post by joeatomictoad » Fri Feb 19, 2021 4:44 pm

Montana St Alum wrote:
Fri Feb 19, 2021 3:56 pm
Early in my airline career I was a flight engineer. Combining 3 generators, one from each engine, wasn't terribly difficult, but it had to be done manually at the time. And that's a simple combination.
I know a thing or two about sparky-go-spark. Paralleling 3 generators is pretty easy. If you manually did it, most likely they were of the same capacity. So just adjust the governors to make load sharing equal across all three.

Paralleling generators of different capacity is not impossible manually, of course, but load sharing gets to be tricky.

Whatever electrical plant you were in charge of had a specific amount of rotational mass. So, when bringing a new generator on the line, these rotational masses “adjust” at the moment the breaker is closed, the rotating fields are synchronized when hard wired together. If you do it correctly, with the synchroscope rotating “slowly in the fast direction”, and when the synchroscope is immediately before 12 o’clock position (or synchro lights are just extinguished, for the really old plants), the you won’t hardly notice anything. If you perform the procedure out of spec a little, can notice some vibration, which is wear and tear on all associated machinery.

Now, imagine the aggregate rotational mass of the steam turbines/ gas turbines on the West coast, and East coast, and Texas having to adjust to each other simultaneously. That adjustment will cause issues... like bearing failure issues, like catastrophic eddy currents on the bus bars issues.

Really, the only way to unify the country to one grid would be to pick a grid (maybe East Coast) as parent grid. All other generators on all other grids be taken offline. Then one generator on West coast grid is synchronized with East coast grid. Then, all other West coast generators are synchronized to the West Coast grid.

It’s not impossible, but takes a lot of coordination, a lot of broken rice bowls, and a lot of broken egos because there will be only one master. Additionally, reducing quantity of wide area grids for the country has a huge impact to the Failure Mode Effects Analysis (FMEA) for the country’s electrical redundancy. Currently, the failure mode for the entire country is actually protected by using separate grids. So, a huge undertaking in mitigating these extra risks would have to be implemented to maintain the same level of redundancy / battle hardening / etc.

Nothing is impossible. I foresee these discussions becoming much more relevant in the next decade or two.





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