“So here is the study that PUCT, FERC, Rice, UT, etc. do not want to do. It is very politically incorrect. Without wind and solar forcing, what would the wholesale margins have been, and how much thermal capacity would there have been? The study could do runs of wind/solar at 90% of the-then level … 75% …. 50% …. 25%.”
This exchange concerns a new University of Texas summary, “Two years after its historic deep freeze, Texas is increasingly vulnerable to cold snaps – and there are more solutions than just building power plants.” My interpretation—and policy recommendations—are exactly opposite of the UTA op-ed (see here), so I responded and was pleased to get some pushback from Professor Webber.
On LinkedIn, Webber wrote: “You might find our latest article to be of interest. Two years after the winter storm hit Texas, what have we learned and what should we do?” Our exchange follows with the links embedded.
This article not only forgives but blesses dilute, intermittent wind and solar. Wind/solar were the primary cause of the Texas crisis, not only by not showing up when most needed but because on full running days they ruin the economics of the reliables.
And the big picture:
So, instead of more government central planning on the supply side and the demand side, how about true deregulation and market reliance?
It makes no sense to say that wind/solar directly or indirectly caused the crisis without acknowledging the significant failures of the thermal fleet and the freezeoffs in the gas sector (for example production dropped 85% in the PB, coal piles froze, a feedwater pump froze at a nuclear power plant, etc).
Authoritative after-analysis by many entities–including PUCT and FERC–came to the opposite conclusion as you. Primary cause was failure to winterize the gas sector and the power sector. The power sector has since mostly winterized but the gas sector hasn’t. Somehow those regulations you mentioned don’t cause the same problems in other locations so there is something specifically amiss in Texas.
You are not getting to the ‘why behind the why.” (Please review the links I sent that get into the details.)
Yes, the thermal failures occurred. That is the seen. Economics is about the unseen, opportunity cost. Why the massive, deadly entrepreneurial error? And why never before in the history of the market [for] power in America since the 1880s?
Renewables ‘market failed’ the reliables by ruining the economics of the latter. Wind and solar, thanks to US taxpayers in part, but also because of the socialized CREZ line, come in. Once built, they have the lowest marginal cost and are run first, idling the gas plants, in particular. The result is that existing gas/coal capacity is (prematurely) retired, new such capacity does not enter, and cost-cutting or cost-avoidance occurs.
So here is the study that PUCT, FERC, Rice, UT, etc. do not want to do. It is very politically incorrect. Without wind and solar forcing, what would the wholesale margins have been, and how much thermal capacity would there have been? The study could do runs of wind/solar at 90% of the-then level … 75% …. 50% …. 25%.
And a second answer from me:
One other point regarding ‘expert failure’ in the absence of a true free market. NOAA got the February 2021 Texas forecast wrong.
“’NOAA’s timely and accurate seasonal outlooks and short-term forecasts are the result of improved satellite observations, more detailed computer forecast modeling, and expanding supercomputing capacity,’ said Neil Jacobs, Ph.D., acting NOAA administrator. (below)
“U.S. Winter Outlook: Cooler North, Warmer South” (NOAA’s prediction bust)”
And then … Michael Webber disappeared. So I tried one more time:
Michael Webber: To my (unanswered) question below:
1) To what extent did wind and solar set up the February 2021 crisis after a decade of wounding thermal generation, existing and would-have-been?
2) To what extent did regulatory pressure for gas compressors to go electric (from gas) contribute to the crisis given electricity cutoffs?
3) Why was there never a power crisis anywhere near what happened two years ago prior to the wind/solar era?
This exchange is rather typical of what I encounter with the climate alarmists or the forced energy transformationists. They start out surprised that someone could express such contrary views and answer. After some back-and-forth, if my argument is not easily countered, they disengage. It is never, in the style of open inquiry: “That is an interesting point. What about [this or that].” Or, “That is worth considering… tell me more.”
It is usually just hit-and-run and some ad hominem. At least Michael Webber above did not resort to that.
This said, I await an invitation from Professor Webber to come present my views on energy and climate to his students. There is power in the clash of opposite views, and climate alarmism/forced energy transformation is not doing well in the real world. It is time to question assumptions and get back to the real world.
Appendix: Other LinkedIn Exchanges