More on the Texas Electricity Catastrophe

If you are a certain age, you remember the anti-littering campaign, Don't Mess With Texas. Well, as we learn more and more about the simultaneous catastrophe and fiasco of the past six days, we can conclude that Texans can mess up Texas without any help from those of us in the other 49 states. 

I wrote about the organized campaign to make you think the collapse of wind power as the wet and extremely cold weather was a trivial concern, here. Since then, two important pieces have been published that shed light on what will likely be (when all costs are tabulated) among the top five natural disasters in the history of our nation:

  • Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr., has found that ERCOT (the non-profit, independent agency that runs the Texas electric grid) based its "worst case scenario" on temperatures that occur, on average, just every ten years. As Roger points out, most industries use a once in one-hundred or once in five-hundred year interval when building against a "worst case."
  • Dr. Judith Curry has posted a piece by Planning Engineer (PE) on how the system failed in Texas. PE is a pseudonym for a person working in the electric utility industry who reports the facts of the industry rather than the facts laundered by political correctness. I have followed his reporting for years and it is excellent. 
In reading the piece by PE and others, you will see the term "energy market" versus "capacity market." It is a somewhat difficult concept, so an analogy might help: if you want to be able to hear pleasant sounds whenever you want to hear them, would you invest in wind chimes or an iPod? Most everyone would answer, "iPod" because you can turn it on and off when you wish and set the volume to whatever level you like. Here's how that analogy plays into the Texas energy market,
  • In an energy market, you get paid simply by generating electricity whether it is needed or not.
  • In a capacity market, you get paid by generating electricity when it is needed.
The wind chimes would be an energy market because you get what you get. No control or reliability. The capacity market would be the iPod. 

Big Climate likes an "energy market" because it makes solar and wind look less expensive. We consumers want a capacity market because we want to be able to turn on a lamp or thermostat and get light and heat when we want it. Unfortunately, as is too often the case in today's America, we consumers do not count much in today's highly-regulated and political energy market. Utilities don't fight against wind turbines and other nonsense because they are expensive and in an "energy market" they are paid on a percentage of their costs. Would you rather get 7% of a million dollars or 7% of a billion dollars?

While on the subject of propaganda and global warming, Monday afternoon I posted:

To wrap up: I'm certain that, somewhere on Madison Avenue in NYC, press releases are being written to blame this record cold on global warming. 

Since then, as predictably as the sun rising in the east,

And, others. The MSM takes its marching orders from the NYT, WaPo and the various progressive groups and they all fall in line. 

This last one (from the 14th) is especially amusing....
...since just eleven months ago the BBC was telling us this about global warming.
The Beeb's forecast wasn't any better in England,
Of course, "global warming causes more extreme cold" doesn't even pass the laugh test. 

Have a great day!!


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