Experts Called For Winterization Of Texas’ Electrical Infrastructure Long Before Storm

This week in Texas politics with The Texas Tribune.

By Alexandra HartFebruary 19, 2021 1:30 pm, , , ,

Time again for the week that was in Texas politics with Erin Douglas, environment reporter for The Texas Tribune

Experts called for winterization of Texas’s electrical infrastructure long before storm

“In 2011, Texas actually had a similar cold snap and the grid had similar problems with large power supplies tripping offline blackouts. And after that, federal regulators warned the state in a report that the infrastructure was not prepared for the cold weather,” Douglas said. “ERCOT [Electric Reliability Council of Texas] officials said that there is no requirement to prepare power infrastructure for such low temperatures, but they did develop some best practices, do some messaging, that sort of thing. And some operators and generators did upgrade their plants to prepare for the cold and that appeared to be working.”

ERCOT says Texas grid was “minutes” from a total blackout

What officials were trying to avoid was a blackout that was uncontrolled. So if demand on your grid completely outstrips your supply, what happens is very bad. The grid operators lose control. We might have infrastructure failures. We might have substations blow, and that could take much, much longer for Texas to get power again.”

Windmills freezing didn’t cause the blackouts

Every energy source in Texas had problems during this storm. That’s what’s important to understand. And natural gas in particular struggles during the storm because we had frozen wells; we couldn’t get the gas out of the ground, we couldn’t transport it to the plants. And that makes it very difficult for the plants to run if they don’t have any supply. The plants themselves were also getting frozen and unable to run. And so there were problems across energy sources in Texas. And I think it is also important to note that natural gas is such a huge component of power and heat during winter like this.”

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