Dewhurst said he was told that water pipes at two plants, one of which is Oak Grove , forced them to cut electricity production. Natural gas power plants that should have provided back up had difficulty starting due to low pressure in the supply lines, also caused by the cold weather.(The other plant was Sand Hill).
While the system could normally buy enough compensating power from adjacent states, the large size of the storm system means that the power from those states was already being used, and even though spot prices rocketed (from $50 to $3,000 per megawatthour it was not enough to meet demand, and thus the power companies first imposed load shedding requirements, and then started the rolling blackouts. They have, at least for now, served their purpose, and ERCOT is reported as having ended them, at least for today. There remains a “strong possibility” that they will be re-imposed on Thursday.
Oh, and a minor comment, I was complaining to the Engineer (who is in Mass) about our weather and he laughed. He lives on the main street in Somerville, and they have had so much snow already that he doesn’t know where there is room to put what fell today, and which he has to move to get to his car. So far they have had, apparently, twice the amount of snow they get in a normal winter.
Climate scientists appear to have become so fixated on the likelihood of a continuing warming trend, and all the possible disasters that this might bring, that they leave Governments unprepared for any possible alternatives. Thus grit supplies were not increased this winter in either the UK or USA, dam levels were kept full in Australia, so that when a flood came there was nowhere to put the water, except down river – thus negating one of the very reasons the dams were put there in the first place. If it is not now apparent that colder weather can be at least as damaging as warmer, if not worse, then observational science, which used to have a considerable worth, has now yielded place to science by computer model, where the old GIGO rubric has been forgotten.
And if this post seems more like a rant, perhaps it is to do with the 3 hours it took to dig out my drive today, and the aches and pains that this has left in the aging corpus.