Texas to boost grid resilience with more wind & solar, according to Clean Technica


Texas to boost grid resilience with more wind & solar, according to Clean Technica

12 hours agoDavid Middleton212 Comments

Guest “I really couldn’t make this sort of schist up if I was trying” by David Middleton

Reporting from Ice Mud Station Dallas… The pool is now ice-free for the first time on record (the record started very recently… ;).

Texas to Add 35 Gigawatts of Wind & Solar in Next 3 Years — Boosting Grid Resilience
By Zachary Shahan
Published 16 hours 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.”



To the extent Texas is adding wind & solar to the grid, these plans were made long before Winter Storm Younger Dryas. The notion that this is for the purpose of “boosting grid resilience,” is totally fracking retarded.

Solar is flat-out not a factor in Texas’ electrical grid. While wind is a key component of our grid, generating 20-24% of our electricity over recent years. It totally failed over the past 10 days. As temperatures dropped below normal in the DFW area on February 7, wind output dropped from 35-65% of capacity to 10-30% from February 9-18. Over the same time period coal and natural gas power plants ramped up to nearly full capacity very quickly. As of Sunday February 14, the system was functioning normally. As temperatures plunged from 20 to 40 °F below normal in the DFW area, some thermal power plants went offline for a variety of weather and demand surge related issues and by Monday morning ERCOT was in full emergency mode.

DFW temperatures (dashed lines) and wind, natural gas and coal generation as a percentage of estimated capacity.

The graph above is preliminary, a “work in progress.” I’m still working on gathering more detailed data on capacity by fuel type. However, it clearly demonstrates that more wind generation capacity would have been as useless as mammary glands on a bull.

ERCOT’s single biggest failure was the lack of reliable backup capacity for wind power… ERCOT expected the wind power to fail under these conditions. It appears to me that the only way ERCOT could have made it through this unscathed, would have been for natural gas, coal and nuclear power to have delivered 80-90% of capacity for 7-10 days during record-cold weather (20-40 °F below normal in the DFW area) with a system geared toward hotter than normal weather. This was not a realistic expectation. ERCOT also failed to be sufficiently proactive in implementing rotating outages and when they did, they were unable to adequately rotate the outages.

Regarding the “cold-weather package” horst schist…

Why wind turbines in New York keep working in bitter cold weather unlike the ones in Texas
Updated Feb 19, 2021

Syracuse, N.Y. — Texas Republicans were quick to blame the state’s wind turbines for the massive power outages that millions of Texans experienced this week during an unusual blast of cold weather.

Texas leads the nation in wind power, with nearly 15,000 wind turbines producing 23% of the Lone Star State’s electricity last year. Many of the turbines shut down when the cold descended on Texas.


But we couldn’t help but wonder why wind turbines in cold-weather states like New York can operate in the winter with seemingly little trouble when their counterparts in Texas can’t.


“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.”


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.

In Texas, wind turbines are not equipped with such de-icing packages because operators there never expected to need them, Kurt said.

“Turbines in Texas are built for the type of temperatures they usually get in Texas, where it’s 110 degrees, not 10 degrees,” she said. “It’s a cost thing.”

Rick Moriarty covers business news and consumer issues. Syracuse.com

So… Heating elements (which require electricity) melt the ice and the wind turbines have to be shut down to deice them? Maybe that’s why New York’s wind turbines generate almost no electricity all winter long.


Unlike New York, Texas doesn’t have a nice, steady, winter electricity load. Our load varies quite widely and our wind turbines can generate over 40% of our electricity on favorable days. Even at the peak of our recent deep freeze, Texas wind turbines generated more electricity than New York’s. There are days when Texas wind turbines generate more electricity and then all of NYISO.


Texas needs to winterize at least some portion of its most reliable generation capacity: natural gas, coal and/or nuclear. Texas doesn’t need to emulate what doesn’t work in New York.

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