A Free-Market Energy Blog


Posts from December 0

Electrified Compressors and the Great Texas Blackout (a threat to grid reliability everywhere)

By Ed Ireland -- May 4, 2023

Ed Note: “Electric natural gas compressors contributed to the near collapse of the Texas power grid in 2021,” Ed Ireland argues below. “All U.S. power grids face the same risk.” His first-hand knowledge of this instance of ‘deep decarbonization’ politics gets to the why-behind-the-why of the still-debated Texas blackout, the worst electricity debacle in the history of the industry.

“The anti-fossil fuel movement started pressuring North Texas cities and towns to require electric compressors on natural gas pipelines based on arguments that the air pollution from natural gas-powered compressors was causing increased asthma and other health problems…. I said that electrifying natural gas pipeline compressors was a terrible idea that could affect the availability of natural gas when it was needed most, such as during bad weather events. Unfortunately, I lost that debate….”

Addressing Wind/Solar Instability: Hardwiring the Grid

By Ed Ireland -- April 17, 2023

The near failure of the Texas power grid, coming just 4 minutes and 37 seconds from a complete collapse on February 14, 2021, was the first alarm bell that something was dreadfully wrong with US power grids. Meredith Angwin, a physical chemist and power grid specialist, described the February 2021 failure of the Texas power grid failure as a seminal event that was not a surprise:

Those of us who were watching the grid had noticed for years that Texas ran with a very low reserve margin…and there were predictions that Texas was going to be in trouble, [1],”

Since then, more power-grid operators have been speaking out about the increasing instability of their grids due to an over-weighting of non-dispatchable wind and solar power. A report on February 24, 2023, from the largest power grid in the US, PJM, warned of “increasing reliability risks” affecting 13 states and the District of Columbia and 65 million people who get their power from PJM.…