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  #16  
Old 02-17-2021, 12:10 PM
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Wind turbine blades operate much like aircraft wings and loose "lift" during icing conditions.
Turbine blades used in Northern climates are equiped with heaters to prevent icing - evidently Texas didn't feel like it was necessary to spend the extra money.

RGee
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  #17  
Old 02-17-2021, 12:47 PM
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An update -

still no juice here in south Texas. Gas is running low (vehicles and generators) and hotels are universally booked, at least the ones which do have power. We're hanging in there.
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  #18  
Old 02-18-2021, 12:31 AM
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The biggest problem seems to be than no one ever anticipated that south TX would ever see this much snow and ice, and freezing temps for this long. The wind turbines iced up and stopped working, one of the nuclear plants shut down when the cooling pumps froze, several natural gas wells froze up, and, of course, due to the huge influx of new Texans, no one added more generation capacity to the system to account for the new users.
No electricity means no heat for a lot of people. No heat and 16 degrees means frozen and broken water pipes. It's going to take a while to recover from this, and I hope the politicians will make some positive changes.
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  #19  
Old 02-18-2021, 06:29 AM
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The biggest problem seems to be than no one ever anticipated that south TX would ever see this much snow and ice, and freezing temps for this long.
I barely pay attention to news, but it seems like TX gets "cold" or "snow" just about every year. Is it just the duration of this event that is different?
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  #20  
Old 02-18-2021, 06:50 AM
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Extent and duration I'd say. Texas is a big state. For snow and freezing temperatures to reach down to the gulf is not unheard of but certainly in the "only happens every 30-50 years" category of unusual.

https://www.wfaa.com/article/weather...c-8141907b6cb8
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  #21  
Old 02-18-2021, 07:30 AM
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Didn't realize this was such a record setting event. Those are some impressive records.

The grid is down due to storm damage? Or is record demand bringing it down? I would have expected record demand to occur in the summer, not winter. But, then, I have to assume most Texans heat with electricity: heat pump plus 'coil backup'. The latter not being the most efficient way to generate heat.

We lost power here (Central Ohio) for a week ~10 years ago, but it was in the middle of September. And lucky for us the weather was beautiful. I know my kids fondly recall it as being one of the best weeks of their lives. As everyone was outside for a week and there was no school. I managed to find a 6A generator to keep our refrigerator going, so we were fine. Had the same thing happened in late January, we would have been more uncomfortable, but given we heat with gas, we could have limped by.
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  #22  
Old 02-18-2021, 08:46 AM
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A combination of equipment failures and unusual demand I believe tlbj6142. Agreed, electrical resistance heating is very inefficient. We had an all electric house for 25 years (built during the 70's energy crunch when the city wasn't permitting new gas taps.) Boy those bills would choke a goat in the winter! Now we have twice the square footage with forced air gas heat and the bills are half as much.

The only problem with natural gas heat is it needs electricity for the fan and control circuitry. Without a transfer switch and stand by generator it goes dead with everything else.

I hope those poor Texans get their power back soon!

Frank

Last edited by LtCrunch; 02-18-2021 at 08:58 AM.
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  #23  
Old 02-18-2021, 08:56 AM
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We live in SW Colorado where blackouts are not uncommon due to lightning strikes and winter storms. We have a 5000 continuous watt generator that lives on my from porch with a transfer switch. We can run the refrigerator, freezer, boiler for heat, light and heat in bathroom, a circuit in the living room and one in the kitchen. Yes to be on the safe side, we don't run all at the same time. We don't use it often but I'm still considering getting a big automatic one that will run from our propane tank used for heat.

Unfortunately if one has electric heat, you need a big one to keep warm. BTW, I am not a fan of windmill electric. The hidden costs are a lot more than people think. We have some windmill farms in Colorado and just like the one in Wyoming and California I have seen, only about half are running at one time.
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  #24  
Old 02-18-2021, 10:00 AM
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Didn't realize this was such a record setting event. Those are some impressive records.

The grid is down due to storm damage? Or is record demand bringing it down? I would have expected record demand to occur in the summer, not winter. But, then, I have to assume most Texans heat with electricity: heat pump plus 'coil backup'. The latter not being the most efficient way to generate heat.

We lost power here (Central Ohio) for a week ~10 years ago, but it was in the middle of September. And lucky for us the weather was beautiful. I know my kids fondly recall it as being one of the best weeks of their lives. As everyone was outside for a week and there was no school. I managed to find a 6A generator to keep our refrigerator going, so we were fine. Had the same thing happened in late January, we would have been more uncomfortable, but given we heat with gas, we could have limped by.
I live in Coshocton Co and remember the storm that hit late June '12. We were lucky only losing power for 52 hours. I was working then and after securing things at the house I ran my tail off for the next week at work. My first priority at home was to protect the cold food. My wife wanted the internet working so she could update her Facebook status🤔
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  #25  
Old 02-18-2021, 02:53 PM
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Texas -- it's like a whole other country. Seriously, we have days when it is 12F in Amarillo and 82F in Corpus Christi.
Last time we had measurable snow in San Antonio was 1985.
Last time we had five days in a row below freezing was 1952.

So, yep, it's a big deal.

Now, everyone knows that engineering design is an exercise in compromise. For example, you can't have the strongest, fastest truck with the best fuel economy and lowest price. In spite of the politicians and the bean-counters, sometimes physics gets in the way.

If you are designing a windmill for South TX, you probably are not going to spend the extra money for blade heaters, based on past temperature performance. If you do, that adds to the cost of the blades, adds maintenance costs, and adds operational costs. Most people would not want higher electric bills to pay for blade heaters in So TX. To give you all an idea of what it's like here, we usually put our tomatoes in the ground in mid-March. I have been Christmas tree shopping in shorts and sandals 20 times in the last 30 years. We have had Thanksgivings when it is over 100F. In short, we have a nine-month long summer and it is HOT.

When we have a weather event like this, you can't really blame the techies for not including protection against 6F for three days! It just doesn't happen here.

Now that it has, what's next? It will be interesting to see the knee jerk reactions of the politicians and the big-mouths in the media.

Personally, we went three days with no water, no electricity, no heat and no internet. In short, it was like a three day camping trip. Not really a big deal. If I was living under a bridge, it would have been bad, but there are about 150 missions and warming centers in SA and there were crews out looking for people to bring them inside.

I think we wait until Sunday (70F), thaw out, fix the wires and pipes and back to business as usual. Probably ought to give some thought to joining the national power grid and/or adding some more generation capacity.
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  #26  
Old 02-18-2021, 03:13 PM
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Going to circle back and maybe this is just a byproduct of my raising or where we were raised. Do large swaths of ya'll not have any backup power? Almost every home I grew up around had a janky old generator for the well house, fridge and a couple heaters. Usually rotated a 5 gallon gas jug every few months just to keep a fresh one around. Trying to think of a part of America that dosent have a natural disaster.... its earthquakes here, was wind and ice storms in Oregon, hurricanes and tornados where my grandparents lived. Guess it never occurred to me that very few people do not have some kind of little generator to "just get by", especially given the apocalyptical nature of last year.
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  #27  
Old 02-18-2021, 04:38 PM
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One of the interesting things about this part of the world is that we don't have disasters. I grew up in tornado country and when we moved here I couldn't believe there were no basements.
No earthquakes, floods (rarely, and very local), tornadoes, hurricanes, landslides, blizzards, and rare thunderstorms. Little known aspect of SA is that many, many corporations have their primary data center located here.
Some people have generators, but they are noisy and dangerous. Also, they are hardly ever needed.

It would be heaven if it wasn't so hot for so long.
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  #28  
Old 02-18-2021, 05:02 PM
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Going to circle back and maybe this is just a byproduct of my raising or where we were raised. Do large swaths of ya'll not have any backup power? Almost every home I grew up around had a janky old generator for the well house, fridge and a couple heaters. Usually rotated a 5 gallon gas jug every few months just to keep a fresh one around. Trying to think of a part of America that dosent have a natural disaster.... its earthquakes here, was wind and ice storms in Oregon, hurricanes and tornados where my grandparents lived. Guess it never occurred to me that very few people do not have some kind of little generator to "just get by", especially given the apocalyptical nature of last year.
Yeah but for some being within 5 minutes of a Starbucks is more important. Generators are for rural folk.
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  #29  
Old 02-18-2021, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Dr. Internet View Post
One of the interesting things about this part of the world is that we don't have disasters. I grew up in tornado country and when we moved here I couldn't believe there were no basements.
No earthquakes, floods (rarely, and very local), tornadoes, hurricanes, landslides, blizzards, and rare thunderstorms. Little known aspect of SA is that many, many corporations have their primary data center located here.
Some people have generators, but they are noisy and dangerous. Also, they are hardly ever needed.

It would be heaven if it wasn't so hot for so long.
Corporations triangulate their data centers around the country. Not one but 3 geographically spread around.
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  #30  
Old 02-18-2021, 06:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr. Internet View Post
One of the interesting things about this part of the world is that we don't have disasters. I grew up in tornado country and when we moved here I couldn't believe there were no basements.
No earthquakes, floods (rarely, and very local), tornadoes, hurricanes, landslides, blizzards, and rare thunderstorms. Little known aspect of SA is that many, many corporations have their primary data center located here.
Some people have generators, but they are noisy and dangerous. Also, they are hardly ever needed.

It would be heaven if it wasn't so hot for so long.
I mean, other than this one.....

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Yeah but for some being within 5 minutes of a Starbucks is more important. Generators are for rural folk.
I guess that's part of it, not a coffee drinker so don't fully appreciate the 5 minute Starbucks radius. Guess the idea of having a little generator was part of growing up and adulting. Didn't go much past college without one, every six months rotate ten gallons of spare gas just. At no point in the last few years have I regretted the cases of water under the bed or the generator in the garage, not exactly apocalypse prep but handy for a few days without utilities.
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