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  • The ghost of T Boone Pickens hovers over Texas.

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on February 16th, 2021 (All posts by )

    Texas is suffering severe power outages as the windmills are frozen and natural gas is having trouble with supply.

    T Boone Pickens did not live quite long enough to see what his wind farms wrought.

    Pickens focused his advocacy on alternative energy such as solar and wind. The Washington Post says that “perhaps the strangest role” Pickens “has fashioned for himself is his current one: the billionaire speculator as energy-wise man, an oil-and-gas magnate as the champion of wind power, and a lifetime Republican who has become a fellow traveler among environmentally-minded Democrats – even though he helped finance the ‘Swift boat’ ads that savaged” Sen. John F. Kerry’s presidential campaign. In an editorial, The New York Times reported Pickens “has decided that drilling for more oil is not the whole answer to the nation’s energy problems.

    Pickens’ “Wind Farms” resemble the Tax farmers of Louis XVI in 1789.

    The government of France contracted with private citizens to collect taxes and duties.

    In the 17th and 18th centuries the fermiers généraux became immensely rich and figure prominently in the history of cultural patronage, as supporters of French music, major collectors of paintings and sculpture, patrons of the marchands-merciers and consumers of the luxury arts in the vanguard of Parisian fashions. In his 1833 novel Ferragus, writer Honoré de Balzac attributes the sad air that hangs about the Île Saint-Louis in central Paris to the many houses there owned by fermiers généraux.

    They became rich and were hated by the general public.

    Antoine de Lavoisier was probably the greatest chemist in history, but he was also a tax farmer.

    It is generally accepted that Lavoisier’s great accomplishments in chemistry stem largely from his changing the science from a qualitative to a quantitative one. Lavoisier is most noted for his discovery of the role oxygen plays in combustion. He recognized and named oxygen (1778) and hydrogen (1783), and opposed the phlogiston theory. Lavoisier helped construct the metric system, wrote the first extensive list of elements, and helped to reform chemical nomenclature. He predicted the existence of silicon (1787)[8] and discovered that, although matter may change its form or shape, its mass always remains the same.

    All the same, when arrested, his scientific accomplishments meant little.

    According to a (probably apocryphal) story, the appeal to spare his life so that he could continue his experiments was cut short by the judge, Coffinhal: “La République n’a pas besoin de savants ni de chimistes; le cours de la justice ne peut être suspendu.” (“The Republic needs neither scholars nor chemists; the course of justice cannot be delayed.”

    I wonder if the modern day tax farmers who build these uneconomic “Green Projects” for the subsidies offered, will ever face retribution? The entire Global Warming/Climate Change hoax is a giant financial scam perpetrated on stupid politicians by soulless corporate titans and greedy scientists who live for grants.

    Pickens made millions from his wind farm subsidies and today Texans are paying the price, just as Australians paid the price during their last summer when rolling blackouts occurred as the politicians shipped coal to China.

     

    46 Responses to “The ghost of T Boone Pickens hovers over Texas.”

    1. Soviet of Washington Says:

      Karl Denninger has an interesting post on this subject today:

      https://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=241603

      We have a neighbor who had a massive solar installation put in a couple years ago. Doctor (family practice I believe Mike, aren’t they [and Peds] then leftests of the profession?), so between the subsidies and tax credits probably paid for itself for THEM. Taxpayers not so much. Of course they had to rub it in by putting a ‘We Support Green Power’ sign by their driveway. Sigh.

    2. Brian Says:

      “The entire [insert just about anything the government does today here] is a giant financial scam perpetrated [by] stupid politicians [with] soulless corporate titans and greedy scientists who live for grants.”
      FIFY, as the kids say.

      Fill in the blanks with: global warming / clean energy, education, medicine, defense, etc., etc., etc.

    3. Mike K Says:

      I’m in Arizona where solar makes more sense than most places. There is a big program going on here and I am going to look into it but it is crazy in any place that snows or, like Germany, is overcast most of the time.

      You are right about the politics of most pediatricians. That is probably the lowest paid specialty and is heavily female. There is a cartoon I saw in a medical magazine of a mother and a pediatrician looking at a sick child and the mother is saying “Do you think it is time we called in a specialist?”

      Most pediatricians are into well child care and development and most sick kids go to children’s hospitals. All doctors are going to go left politically because we (mostly men) used to be small business men. Signing the front of a paycheck is usually a sign of a conservative.

      Obamacare turned most doctors into employees. Politics will follow. I fear quality and enthusiasm will also follow.

    4. Xennady Says:

      If only there was a political party that would stand up against this sort of insanity and point out that it won’t work.

      Instead, even in Texas, we only have the same old geee ohhh peeee that is utterly clueless about everything, everywhere, always.

      “Just last week, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott proudly accepted something called the Wind Leadership Award, given with gratitude by Tri Global Energy, a company getting rich from green energy. So it was all working great until the day it got cold outside. The windmills failed like the silly fashion accessories they are, and people in Texas died.”

      https://townhall.com/tipsheet/leahbarkoukis/2021/02/16/texas-freezing-weather-windmills-n2584773

      That’s on Instapundit right now.

      Abbott is now going to this fiasco hung around his neck like that proverbial albatross and he has only himself to blame. The demonrats are of course going to blame him and the state GOP and use it against them. Of course, if they hence succeed in taking over Texas you can be certain they’ll double down on the green energy nonsense, regardless of what the told the voters during the campaign or what would prevent similar problems in the future. And if blue Texas gets a repeat, the left will simply deny any responsibility and blame the nearest Republican.

      This country is led by fools, hordes of them, everywhere.

    5. Brian Says:

      “If only there was a political party that would stand up against this sort of insanity and point out that it won’t work.”
      LOL. There’s not money in *that*.

    6. David Foster Says:

      It’s not yet clear how much of the problem is due to the wind turbines. The ERCOT (Texas) numbers show wind generation for January, pre-deepfreeze, as 7700 GWh, versus 11600 for gas, 6800 for coal, and 3800 for nuclear. There are apparently problems with equipment in gas plants freezing because it was located outdoors rather than indoors as would be done in a more northerly climate; here’s a link from 2014, provided by someone at AVI, which describes the likely problem.

      https://www.powermag.com/prepare-your-gas-plant-for-cold-weather-operations/

      On the other hand, the assertions that I’ve seen in some places to the effect that ERCOT wasn’t counting on much wind anyhow because of seasonality look to be wrong: best month for wind in 2020 was 8200 in June and 7198 in February…some seasonality, but not huge.

    7. David Foster Says:

      The ERCOT links are here:

      http://www.ercot.com/gridinfo/generation/

      …it will be interesting to take another look at the end of February.

    8. Mike K Says:

      Not looking to improve soon.

      Electric generating plants did not properly winterize their equipment, said Dr. David Tuttle in the latest episode of the Y’all-itics political podcast. Tuttle is a research associate with the Energy Institute at the University of Texas at Austin.

      “There are things that can be done, but it will cost some money,” he added. “About every decade we have these long-sustained periods. And then, you know weatherization is supposed to happen, and then, it doesn’t because it costs money.”

      I still blame Pickens.

    9. Kirk Says:

      Absent government mandates and subsidies, wind power wouldn’t even be a thing, outside of some way-out-on-the-edge cases.

      It’s the triumph of innumeracy; you go through the whole process from resource extraction to cleaning up after they wear out, and you’re left with the inescapable conclusion that you’re better off having burned the fuel you used simply to generate the electricity that you thought you’d generate.

      How much energy gets used to keep the damn things running, when you’re having to send up helicopters with giant propane torches to thaw them out?

      I first started to have suspicions about the whole thing when I noticed that the calculations for energy return had 100% full-time production as an assumption. Even with ideal conditions, the average wind turbine doesn’t manage that–I think the recorded average is around 40-60% uptime around here, which means that the break-even point for their calculations ain’t nowhere near accurate.

      The whole thing is a scam designed to separate money from the rubes, and put it into the pockets of the “investors” who got the legislation mandating this crap through in the first place. Same with the pipelines–Who benefits from crude oil being hauled around in train tank cars…? Oh, yeah–The guy who invested heavily in rail transport, and who has been intimately involved with the Democratic Party for decades…

      Follow the money.

    10. PenGun Says:

      Nothing like free enterprise to keep you safe. ;)

    11. Mike K Says:

      PenGun thinks the windmill thing is an example of”free enterpise.”

      By that standard so would the looting of Minneapolis and Chicago’s North Michigan Avenue stores be “free enterprise.”

      Best not to feed trolls. Sorry.

    12. PenGun Says:

      Yeah, we have a Crown Corporation for our power, and even sell quite a lot to Washington. Its true we are blessed with the best of power generation, those massive turbines turn slowly, 133 RPM at Mica creek, and keep us well lit. ;)

    13. MCS Says:

      Pickens was a big fish in the small pond of Amarillo when I moved there, he decided he’d like to be a medium fish in the much bigger pond of Dallas. One thing was constant and that was he never did anything that he didn’t expect to make him a lot of money. His last notable project was a plan to mine what’s left of the Ogallala Aquifer just north of I70 and pipe it down to San Antonio. He was about as green as a lignite strip mine.

      The only thing free about wind energy is the money stolen from the rate payers to give to the developers. The last figure I heard for land based wind was around 5% (five) of nameplate output per year actually delivered. The most common sight driving through West Texas is passing hundreds of stationary turbines.

      People need to realize that the best politicians are only a little less stupid than the worst.

    14. PenGun Says:

      “The most common sight driving through West Texas is passing hundreds of stationary turbines.”

      Why are they not operating? A fair amount of the world can make power with wind, quite reliably. You have problems with this?

    15. MCS Says:

      The 5% was world wide, they are a total waste. They can’t run when the wind is too low, they can’t run when the wind is too high, they can’t run when there is too little demand and the low base load factor means that when conditions are good there won’t be enough demand for more than a fraction of them.

    16. Raymondshaw Says:

      “Why are they not operating? A fair amount of the world can make power with wind, quite reliably. You have problems with this?”

      A reliable power supply is, by definition, available 24/7/365. That happens pretty much nowhere on earth with wind (and solar).
      Where they rely, in part, on wind & solar in europe, it is also 3-4 times the cost. ~$.50/kwh vs $.14/kwh. or thereabouts.

      See what happens to the cost when they (we) go to offshore wind.

      I think one of the wrinkles about wind power in Texas was that it was decided that the wind farm developers didn’t have to pay any
      of the expense of connecting to the grid. Neat trick if you can $wing it.

      About this time in winter 2017 I drove I-10 from Arizona to Houston. I was astonished at the number of windmills in west Texas.
      $omebody made billion$ in $ubsidie$ while the politicians made Million$ in campaign contribution$.

      I have to point out the remarkable hypocrisy of someone enjoying the benefits of hydropower at maybe $.06/kwh, trying to lecture
      anyone on the benefits of wind power. It is quite telling. Do you know how many dead salmon you bear responsibility for? What about the
      indigenous peoples whose birthright you deny? Man up Penny, tear down those damnable dams!

    17. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      Wind power – some folks might be interested in the experience of Denmark and the UK, where Greenies are thick on the ground and thick in the head.

      https://briefingsforbritain.co.uk/the-costs-offshore-wind-power-blindness-and-insight/

      In short, real world experience shows that the whole windpower fantasy is built on subsidies & mandates. Costs are high and Increasing. Not sustainable. And that is without even considering the incidental slaughter of endangered birds. As Prof. Constable notes:

      “The assumptions with underpin the BEIS [UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy] estimates of the cost of generation for wind and solar power are fanciful, and do not withstand even cursory scrutiny; under close analysis they disintegrate and are a disgrace to the civil service and an embarrassment to ministers.”

      But hey! China is doing OK, building wind turbines for export to the foolish West while building nuclear power plants for themselves. Fits the pattern, doesn’t it?

    18. Brian Says:

      I’m very skeptical that when there are rolling blackouts across the Northeast in a couple years, it will be a good thing for Democrats electorally, but I’ve been surprised that their “Make America California” strategy has gotten them this far, so I could be wrong…

    19. Gavin Longmuir Says:

      The real test is going to be what happens right now in Texas. Will the people turn on the politicians & bureaucrats who have killed Texans through their foolish devotion to “renewables”? Or will the people go back to peacefully complying with the latest mask/vaccine mandate (Covid kills, you know!), and forget about the problem once the weather warms up and the power comes back on?

      If Texans roll over without a fight, then the prospects are that future NorthEasterners will simply applaud Saint Kamala when she takes credit for keeping power on for nearly 6 hours per day.

    20. Mike K Says:

      Some lefties over at Althouse (and I’m sure elsewhere) are ecstatic that Texas is being punished for its sins against global warming. They are boasting that wind power is working just fine in the northern states.

      The killer of the Texas windmills seems to be freezing rain that caused the blades to stall from icing and the turbines to freeze bearings. It may be that the windmills are so damaged that they will not recover with the thaw. This might be a good time to reevaluate the whole solar/wind boondoggle. I wonder if Abbot can do it ?

    21. miguel cervantes Says:

      a similar thing happened in australia, under trumbull, the romney down under with a sky dragon fixation,

    22. PenGun Says:

      Wind power can work well. You have drunk the cool-aid so no reason will be of much use. I will point out that where there is a lot of steady wind, and you set up your system to deal with the intermittent nature of that power, it can be a useful addition to any grid.

      They run vast wind farms in the North Sea and conditions there are extreme.

    23. Mike K Says:

      This is what we get for feeding the troll. I apologize to serious commenters.

    24. Raymondshaw Says:

      Mike,

      Feed him baited kibble. Obviously he didn’t read the link from Gavin. Next he’ll tell us the virtues of battery storage. Stunning lack of self-awareness.

      What will the Europeans do when they are paying 4 x current cost in constant dollars ($1.50-$2.00/KWH)? I particularly liked the comment about using greatly
      increased carbon credit cost to deflect criticism of the actual cost. They’ll notice when they have lost all of their remaining industry.

      We can always burn cow chips to stay warm. If they let us keep the cows.

    25. Xennady Says:

      If Texans roll over without a fight, then the prospects are that future NorthEasterners will simply applaud Saint Kamala when she takes credit for keeping power on for nearly 6 hours per day.

      Yay! The power ration has been increased to 6 hours per day from 12 hours!!

      Some lefties over at Althouse (and I’m sure elsewhere) are ecstatic that Texas is being punished for its sins against global warming. They are boasting that wind power is working just fine in the northern states.

      Which once again shows that leftists are hate-filled monsters and also idiots who understand nothing more complicated than a fork.

      It may be that the windmills are so damaged that they will not recover with the thaw.

      They weren’t economical before and they won’t be now. The ratepayers will just get to pay more to fix them, no matter what the cost.

      I wonder if Abbot can do it ?

      At this point, I suspect not, or else he wouldn’t have gone down this path in the first place. I expect he offer up the usual dear-in-the-headlights excuses the GOP is famous for when something goes wrong and then surrender to whatever demands the left makes upon him. In the background, the usual suspects of the GOP donor class will be made whole with a taxpayer funded payoff, leaving them disinterested in the fate of the electrical grid and whatever happens to Greg Abbott and the Texas GOP. After all, they’ll have gotten paid, and that’s all they care about.

      Pardon my cynicism.

    26. Xennady Says:

      Another link for PenGun to ignore, from Australia:

      https://catallaxyfiles.com/2019/06/13/indexed-real-consumer-electricity-1955-2018/

      There’s a lot of ruin in a nation but only so much.

      Governments can’t keep making stupid decisions forever without consequences, as many Texans are finding out right now.

    27. PenGun Says:

      LOL We got upset when a KWh hit a nickle. Now we are paying 2 figures, 13c, well some of the time. ;) It should be lower but our government screws things up as well as anyone.

      If your stuff is going down at moderately cold temperatures, it was designed and built to minimum specs. If a bit of freezing weather permanently destroys your stuff, it was built so cheaply, its probably better that it did fail.

      Hey Elon sold batteries to Australia so they are so dumb, you can expect them to fail a lot. The Conservative governments have probably done the most damage but you would have to do a study to actually find out.

      A Wind Turbine is just another turbine, very similar to the ones in every power system, driven by other things. A modern Wind Turbine is about $3.5 mill and generates about 2 megawatts when it operating. That will be an average of 30% of the time, but its really up to the guy who places it. They are not a bad thing but they have serious weakness in any place where power can be cheaply generated. In places where power is expensive because of lack of natural resources etc etc, they can be a very good idea.

    28. Mike K Says:

      Abbot, of course, came along well after the die was cast. That’s why I blame Pickens and the other tax farmers that run corporations like these. Notice Berkshire Hathaway there? Of course.

      What now ? This could be an opportunity to get back on a sensible track but the graft incentives suggest it will be, once again, missed. Texas, after all, is the home of fracking. Abbot could start the process for another nuclear plant. Will he ?

    29. Kirk Says:

      The problem with the whole “green power” idea is that the people coming up with it aren’t actually engineers, and they can’t do the math.

      If you go looking at what calculations they have made, and published publicly, what you’ll find is a whole lot of unexamined premises and blue-sky projections. They never include the full energy costs for building the “green power” sites, nor do they include all the excess costs, like the grid going to each individual wind turbine. All of that takes material, much of which is produced at high energy cost elsewhere in the system–Not to mention the minor details of ecological damage due to mining rare earth elements and all the rest of the ancillary costs.

      I’ve gone digging through their various websites, and what I’ve concluded from that research is that either they know better, and are lying about it all, or that they are actually too stupid to comprehend that they’re doing the equivalent of “2+2=W”, where “W” is “Whatever the hell we want it to be…”.

      Politicians need to understand that actual science and engineering ain’t like accounting and budgeting, wherein you can tell the wonk doing the math what you want for a result, and he’ll produce it for you. That works in science and engineering, true, but the problem is that the real world gets a vote, and when it does, your bridge is gonna fall down on your constituents. With the usual effect on your future electability…

      I’ve yet to see a really believable cradle-to-grave accounting for any form of “Green Power”. The ones I have seen, performed by suitably cynical engineers who’re dubious of the entire proposition, indicate that the whole thing is a huge boondoggle/scam of truly epic proportions.

      The whole thing will eventually go down as the biggest “scientific” scandal in history, when it all finally shakes out in the middle of the soon-to-come Eddy Minimum wherein we will be saying “Yes, we have no sunspot activity…” for decades to come.

      Of course, by then, just like the Solyndra crooks, the politicians and the politically connected will have made off with and hidden their boodles, creating “generational wealth” for themselves while ripping the rest of us rubes off. It’s all flim-flam and criminal fraud, all the way down…

    30. Brian Says:

      “It’s all flim-flam and criminal fraud, all the way down…”
      Yep, which is why all your stuff about “unexamined premises and blue-sky projections” is besides the point. Look at ridership projections for any mass-transit program. They always overestimate the number of people who will use it, often literally by orders of magnitude, and underestimate the cost, again by orders of magnitude. The point of what they’re doing isn’t to honestly assess the project, it’s to get the thing approved so the money can start flowing to the right pockets.

      Remember: “The villagers who met under the village tree could also hang their politicians to the tree. It is terrible to contemplate how few politicians are hanged.”

    31. dhmosquito Says:

      Last Saturday at my house just W of Rapid City we got down to —22F. I heat with natural gas, and we’ve not lost power up here. At least not this time. (Winter Storm Atlas in Oct 2013 we were out for 72hrs.) I do realize, however, that the air handler of my HVAC requires electrical power. I got tired (on the rare occasions that power was lost) of manhandling my 7KW gasoline generator around multiple-foot snow drifts to plug into my whole-house hookup by my electric meter, so we installed a standby 12KW NG whole house generator. If you have NG (or even propane) availability, it’s the way to go. At least until society breaks down and the electrical/natural gas infrastructure breaks down. Hope Dr Kennedy’s prediction of ten years+, not five, is more accurate. One thing about life in the Upper Midwest, as I frequently say, is winter weather tends to keep the riffraff out, Minneapolis notwithstanding. And yup, solar doesn’t make sense with the snow we’ve had covering everything for over a week now.

    32. bobby b Says:

      So many of our current controversies and needless expenditures would be avoided if we could simply put the “global warming” lie away. Every time I think we’re close, it comes screaming out of the grave.

    33. Sgt. Mom Says:

      After the half a week just past in South Texas, I’d say that the Green New Deal/Renewable Energy thing in Texas is dead, dead as a squashed armadillo in the middle of the road. Four days of spotty or erratic power or no power at all, no water, and below freezing with four or five inches of snow on the ground … this being conditions which wouldn’t raise an eyebrow in the upper midwest or mountain west? My neighbors are pissed, pissed beyond words. It’s as if we went straight to Venezuela conditions in the space of 48 hours.
      And this when our mayor and head of the utilities had almost a weeks’ notice that something unexpected in the way of bad winter weather was coming down the pike? Oh, pitchforks and torches around their homes would be the kindest treatment they could expect for this incompetency. As it seems they and theirs didn’t suffer any outages at all. Which has really infuriated us ordinary bill-paying consumers most of all.

    34. Joe Wooten Says:

      Most of the gas fired plants in Texas are now combined cycle plants built by merchant power producers building to the lowest possible cost. Like the ones I have seen up here in Illinoisy, they have NO backup fuel oil storage for when the gas gets curtailed during very cold times like this year and 1986. Industrial and utility plants are cut way back or cut off entirely depending upon the pipeline capacity in the area so they lines do not choke from too high demand and cut off homes from gas heat. In 1986, gas was also still the majority of Texas power production, but then it was in the form of a utility steam plant and every plant had enough fuel oil stored for at least 5 days of full power production. Some plants had even more previously, but the PUC made them sell off a large part of the stored oil to save a few cents for the consumers. These plants were also heat traced to make sure sensing lines in outdoor units did not freeze and trip the plant.

      In 1986, very few plants tripped off line due to extended single digit temperatures, and all were curtailed from using gas, but were burning fuel oil, Some plants were having huge trains or hundreds of trucks coming in bring in more oil. I was working at Comanche Peak nuke plant at the time, and even though we were not online yet, we were able to fire up all 4 emergency diesels for several days to put another 30 MW online. Now the gasfired plants there geenrally do not have dual fuel capability, so when gas is curtailed, they are stuck on zero. several of those able to operate went offline due to not having any freeze protection due to overly cheap construction.

      Wind turbines are horribly environmentally UNFRIENDLY. Designed for 20 year lifetimes, they are lucky to get 15, average operating only about 30% of rated capacity, blight magnificent landscapes, kill millions of birds, and are completely dependent upon “fossil” fuels to get manufactured, built and operated. BTW….they ALL ice up when conditions favor it,no canadian exceptions.

    35. bobby b Says:

      All very logical and rational analyses.

      But now we’ll see a month of national press about how it really wasn’t the small loss of wind power that made the difference, that it was really systemic problems linked to Republican governments looking to live cheaply through substandard equipment and shirking on maintenance, that windmills up north don’t freeze, yada yada . . .

      And they’ve already started in on how the deep freeze was caused by weather patterns changing because of warming at the North Pole . . .

      If we’re lucky, this catastrophe will only be a net zero in the global warming crapfight.

    36. PenGun Says:

      It does seem that the failures of natural gas plants has the most impact. The wind turbines failed as well, but they are a far smaller part of the whole.

    37. Xennady Says:

      Abbot, of course, came along well after the die was cast. That’s why I blame Pickens and the other tax farmers that run corporations like these. Notice Berkshire Hathaway there? Of course.

      I’m not so willing to let Abbott off the hook. One big problem the GOP has in my view is the complete unwillingness to challenge any corporation ever, even if what the corporation wants will eventually lead to disaster or is simply not in the interests of the party’s constituents. I suspect this is because the GOP believes its true constituents are those corporations and not the people who vote for the party, but no matter. The party continually gets blindsided because corporations act in their own interests without regard to the political fortunes of the Republican party, not least because they are often or usually controlled by partisan democrats.

      I note that Berkshire Hathaway apparently makes vast sums of money transporting oil by rail, a business that would have been negatively impacted by the Biden-cancelled Keystone Pipeline. I’ve never heard of the GOP using this to attack the democrats as shills for their rich friends like Warren Buffett, which is all too typical gop incompetence.

      Back to Abbott. If he had a problem with the green energy schemes in his state, he should have said so, and acted accordingly. Instead, he put the albatross around his own neck- I mean accepted a green energy award- and that’s leave him looking like a fool. I hope I’m wrong, but I expect the demonrats will campaign against the mistakes that led to this fiasco- of course- with Abbott trying to defend the idiot policies he inherited all while trying to keep the blessed corporate interests safe.

      Again, I hope I’m wrong, but this strikes me as the standard operating procedure for the gee ohh peeee since forever and the party elite seem to be terribly indifferent to elections it loses them.

      To quote Mitt “Mittens” Romney, corporations are people too- and some people are more equal than others.

    38. Xennady Says:

      So many of our current controversies and needless expenditures would be avoided if we could simply put the “global warming” lie away. Every time I think we’re close, it comes screaming out of the grave.

      My apologies for sounding like that old proverbial broken record, but this reminds of yet another way the gee ohh peee has managed to fail.

      The party often holds useless hearings by some worthless GOP led committee that get a lot of press from conservative inc outlets and outrages leftists but produce absolutely no real world results. If I recall the global warming hearings were led by Senator Jim Inhofe. At the time, I was paying much more attention to all that razzle-dazzle than I am now, and I recall hearing a good bit about the hearings. I don’t recall hearing anything politically relevant from them, such as how often the warmists get caught lying and faking data or any mention of how none of the treaties proposed to fight global warming would have any impact at all on any US competitor, such as China.

      In retrospect, this was an important lesson teaching me that the GOP was and remains a worthless sham.

    39. Xennady Says:

      These plants were also heat traced to make sure sensing lines in outdoor units did not freeze and trip the plant.

      Great comment. There’s an old joke that says economists understand cost but not value. The people making decisions for the grid appear to economists. They plainly understand the cost of being ready for outlier conditions but not the value.

    40. Joe Wooten Says:

      Great comment. There’s an old joke that says economists understand cost but not value. The people making decisions for the grid appear to economists. They plainly understand the cost of being ready for outlier conditions but not the value.

      Back in the 80’s all the utilities in Texas were run by guys who came up as engineers. By 1995, the money boys had taken over and cost and short-term profit overruled engineering.

    41. pouncer Says:

      From a historical stance note that Enron was based in Houston Texas and made whatever profits it reported from trading/distributing — not generating — energy.

      Texan media types are being hard on ERCOT, our independent electrical grid. But from my direct experience I’d have to say they’re doing fairly well as intended. Texas has over invested in too few types of generators and so suffers both limited supply and shared/common vulnerabilities. This by design — “we have no choice IFF we are to deal with the global warming crisis (100 years ahead)” What limited amount of electrical pie exists has been sliced thinly and passed around quickly and seemingly fairly — with of course some exceptions. There are always exceptions, some tragic, some maddeningl. But ERCOT as a distributor is getting more blame than they deserve.

      If more generators had been built — wastefully, like Bernie Sanders’s excessive productions of toothpaste and underarm deodorant — then some new marginal users of electrical power would be buying and productively using that excess. Say’s Law. Hard to say what those uses might have been — compressed air tanks (nitrogen, oxygen, CO2) or desalination of Gulfstream waters or electrical steel mills — but NOT residential. Then, when some disaster of cold or wind or hurricane or “warming” had dropped some generators and boosted consumer load, there would be “load to shed” on the industrial side, rather than residential. No sadder words of speech or pen: “what might have been”.

      Anybody wanting better industrial batteries reveals himself to be more political than ecological or than practical.

      Texas still has a small number of small rural electric “co-ops” dating back to the era of FDR. These are part of ERCOT and are distributors not generators. But they have the potential to be more responsive to local vocal activists. Perhaps the co-ops can quickly build up some small scale (probably natural gas) generators of their own. We’ll see.

    42. PenGun Says:

      We had a 5 day out a few years ago when a really strong storm just flattened 1/4 mile of pole, not far from here. A freak storm, maybe. GW is changing weather all over the planet. Not a flavour of cool-aid you like, I know. ;)

      A tip. What I do when the power is down for a long time. I have a propane bottle I put a construction style heater on top of and it heats really well. They are like $50 and a good back up, when stuff goes wrong.

    43. Xennady Says:

      Texas still has a small number of small rural electric “co-ops” dating back to the era of FDR. These are part of ERCOT and are distributors not generators. But they have the potential to be more responsive to local vocal activists.

      A few years ago I had occasion to talk to an elected board member of a rural electric co-op not in Texas. He described at great length the measures the co-op was taking to please the green activists, including setting up a scheme where they could pay the extra cost to get green energy themselves but wouldn’t be able to force everyone else to do so.

      Of course, this wasn’t good enough. He also described how the activists were trying to change the policy of the co-op to force open board meetings, obviously so they could arrange for a bunch of their deranged friends to show up and intimidate the board into agreeing to their idiot demands.

      I explained this to him, but there was no evidence he understood it. I took him as a nice clueless old man, and likely, a Republican.

    44. Mike K Says:

      The recriminations have begun and sound justified.

      Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, told WFAA that he was “totally shocked” to learn a third of the ERCOT Board of Directors lived outside Texas.

      “People who are making literally life and death decisions on behalf of our families and our communities don’t even live in the state of Texas,” Leach said. ”… I’m frustrated and cannot believe that the board chair of our leading energy decision maker doesn’t even live in Texas, but lives in Michigan. It just cannot be that way here in the Lone Star State.”

      Leach said he has begun drafting legislation to prohibit non-Texans from serving on the ERCOT Board. Now, board members are appointed by a nominating committee made up of current members.

      How did those Board members get chosen ? And why ?

    45. MCS Says:

      Pengun,
      Please read this:
      https://www.propane101.com/carbonmonoxideandpropane.htm

      There will be stories forthcoming of people killed and injured by running different sorts of heaters indoors without ventilation. The most deadly is charcoal but people have been killed from using a kitchen stove for heating.

    46. Mike K Says:

      There is a reason why so many politicians end up multi-millionaires. AOC, the Socialist Congress woman is well on the way.

      After Ocasio-Cortez defeated Rep. Joe Crowley in the primary in June 2018 and won the general election in November of the same year, she became the youngest woman ever to serve in Congress at the age of 29. Soon after, she opened in a New York Times interview that she was worried about affording an apartment in Washington, DC, before her $174,000 annual congressional salary kicked in. At the time, she had $15,000 in savings.

      Her current net worth stands at an estimated $100,000, according to Celebrity Net Worth. At the start of her career, she earned $26,581 working at a coffee shop/taqueria. Once she entered politics, she earned $6000 from her campaign as a salary. Apart from $174,000, she also receives a $3000 living expense credit, health/insurance, and retirement benefits from her post as a congresswoman. She does not own property, stocks, or any other financial assets.

      Obviously, the graft is not included. Not bad for a bartender.

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