The Great Texas Blackout of 2021: Triumph of the Unreliables

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 20, 2024 No Comments

“The Kiesling/Giberson (et al.) narrative is a call for more government. MORE wind. MORE solar. MORE Batteries. MORE central planning to correct prior. And rationing from ‘smart meters’ to forgive all that came before. Think Big Brother, the Electricity Road to Serfdom.”

Three years ago this month, a prolonged, extensive cold snap did the unthinkable to Texas’s huge electricity grid. The shared narrative from proponents/apologists of forced energy transformation (‘Energy Transition’, ‘Decarbonization’, ‘Net Zero’, ‘Green New Deal’, ‘Virtual Power Plant’) focused on the failure of natural gas infrastructure as the cause of the debacle, a sort of “market failure” from “an Act of God.” The cancer in the system, intermittent wind and solar ($66 billion worth), was forgiven, and central planning of the state’s grid by Austin politicians, regulators, and administrators was treated as a neutrality.…

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

By Ed Ireland -- May 4, 2023 3 Comments

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….”

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The Texas Blackout: Markets or Regulators?

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 24, 2023 No Comments

Is there a ‘free market’ solution to the question of capacity incentives versus volumetric charges? I contend this the PUCT/ERCOT is in a central planner situation versus a true free market where integrated gas and power companies would solve the economic calculation problem, not state and federal regulators. More here:

Joseph Pokalsky: Integrated gas and power companies and gas companies are monopolies, don’t compete, and essentially tax ratepayers through rate setting by Public Service Commissions, a.k.a. Central Planning Committee Kommissors.

Robert L. Borlick: ERCOT is the furthest away from a central planning paradigm as any power system I know of. To argue that a free market consists of integrated gas/power companies is laughable. You don’t appear to understand the concept of a natural monopoly. As for the document you cited, it is a political rag that misrepresents the situation in Texas and unfairly blames Professor William Hogan for the irresponsible behavior of the Texas politicians.…

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An Exchange with Michael Webber (UT- Austin) on the February 2021 Texas Blackouts

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- February 15, 2023 No Comments

“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.…

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Renewables and the Great Texas Blackout: Baker Institute Study Tip-toes to Key Causality

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- September 29, 2022 6 Comments Continue Reading

Electricity Markets: Contrived/Distorted vs. Real (debating the Texas Blackout)

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- April 8, 2021 3 Comments Continue Reading

Texas Blackout: Costs, Blame Mount

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- April 5, 2021 No Comments Continue Reading

Civil Society and Natural Gas during the Great Texas Blackout

By Robert Bradley Jr. -- March 24, 2021 No Comments Continue Reading

Numbers and the Great Texas Blackout

By -- March 4, 2021 4 Comments Continue Reading

Restoring Sanity, Reliability, and Affordability to the Texas Electric Grid

By -- June 20, 2024 No Comments Continue Reading