NewEnergyNews: TEXAS: LIGHTS ALMOST WENT OUT; FLORIDA: LIGHTS WENT OUT

NewEnergyNews

Gleanings from the web and the world, condensed for convenience, illustrated for enlightenment, arranged for impact...

The new challenge: To make every day Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: HAWAII'S UTILITIES PLAN FOR 67% RENEWABLES BY 2030
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: CAN WARREN BUFFETT'S PACIFICORP BRING THE NORTHWEST'S RENEWABLE RICHES TO MARKET?
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: A UTILITY IN THE MAKING: THE MUNICIPALIZATION OF BOULDER, COLORADO
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT NATIONAL HIGH VOLTAGE TRANSMISSION SYSTEM?
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    GET THE DAILY HEADLINES EMAIL: CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS OR SEND YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS TO: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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    THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: THE STATE OF THE U.S. WIND INDUSTRY (AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR UTILITIES)
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: HOW SACRAMENTO'S PUBLIC UTILITY IS GETTING IN THE RESIDENTIAL SOLAR BUSINESS
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: HAS APS INVENTED A ROOFTOP SOLAR BUSINESS MODEL FOR UTILITIES?
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: THE GRID NEEDS INDEPENDENT DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM OPERATORS
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: HOW SHOULD UTILITIES VALUE SOLAR?
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: IS PUERTO RICO THE NEW POSTER CHILD FOR THE UTILITY DEATH SPIRAL?
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • Weekend Video: Reindeer Stresses
  • Weekend Video: Pink Fracking
  • Weekend Video: Fighting Duke For Solar
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    Anne B. Butterfield of Daily Camera and Huffington Post, is an occasional contributor to NewEnergyNews

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    Some of Anne's contributions:

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT), November 26, 2013
  • SOLAR FOR ME BUT NOT FOR THEE ~ Xcel's Push to Undermine Rooftop Solar, September 20, 2013
  • NEW BILLS AND NEW BIRDS in Colorado's recent session, May 20, 2013
  • Lies, damned lies and politicians (October 8, 2012)
  • Colorado's Elegant Solution to Fracking (April 23, 2012)
  • Shale Gas: From Geologic Bubble to Economic Bubble (March 15, 2012)
  • Taken for granted no more (February 5, 2012)
  • The Republican clown car circus (January 6, 2012)
  • Twenty-Somethings of Colorado With Skin in the Game (November 22, 2011)
  • Occupy, Xcel, and the Mother of All Cliffs (October 31, 2011)
  • Boulder Can Own Its Power With Distributed Generation (June 7, 2011)
  • The Plunging Cost of Renewables and Boulder's Energy Future (April 19, 2011)
  • Paddling Down the River Denial (January 12, 2011)
  • The Fox (News) That Jumped the Shark (December 16, 2010)
  • Click here for an archive of Butterfield columns

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    Some details about NewEnergyNews and the man behind the curtain: Herman K. Trabish, Agua Dulce, CA., Doctor with my hands, Writer with my head, Student of New Energy and Human Experience with my heart

    email: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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    Your intrepid reporter

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      A tip of the NewEnergyNews cap to Phillip Garcia for crucial assistance in the design implementation of this site. Thanks, Phillip.

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    Pay a visit to the HARRY BOYKOFF page at Basketball Reference, sponsored by NewEnergyNews and Oil In Their Blood.

  • ---------------
  • Monday, March 03, 2008

    TEXAS: LIGHTS ALMOST WENT OUT; FLORIDA: LIGHTS WENT OUT

    When a drop in Texas wind energy facilities’ production on February 26 forced The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the state’s grid operator, to shuffle energy supplies around, the Operations Center sent out an email: "This situation means that there is a heightened risk of ... regular customers being dropped through rotating outages, but that would occur only if further contingencies occur, and only as a last resort to avoid the risk of a complete blackout…"

    In other words, “Don’t worry, everything’s fine, we have plans for just such a contingency…”

    Earlier the same day, human error at a Florida Power & Light (FPL) switching station took two nuclear facilities, a natural gas facility and two other plants offline, causing a widespread power failure affecting approximately 2.2 million people.

    FPL president Armando Olivera: "We don't know, still, why that particular employee took it upon himself to disable both sets of relays…"

    The drop in wind was foreseeable, predictable and manageable. Human error, though surely foreseeable, is unpredictable. So here’s the question: Does U.S. leadership going forward choose to build an energy infrastructure consisting of New Energy with manageable intermittency issues? Or nuclear power plants and Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) facilities that become potential disasters in the event of an unpredictable and statistically unlikely but eventually inevitable human error of greater consequence?

    In the short term, the next quarter-century, vested economic interests will hold their places in the market. There will be new nuclear plants. A license application moved forward this past week. And it is to the credit of the Florida nuclear facilities that they handled the shutdown safely. Considering the potential consequences of a nuclear accident, it is indeed a good and fortunate thing that everything went well and the nuclear industry insists its plants are now safer than ever.

    There will also likely be new coal plants in the next quarter-century, though perhaps not before a system of carbon-capture-and-sequestration (CCS) becomes mandatory for them
    (see KANSAS REJECTS EMISSIONS) or at least economically necessary as a result of a cap-and-trade system (see CALIFORNIANS FIGHTING CAP-AND-TRADE). Coal is ambitiously developing and testing CCS technology.

    It was North Texas wind that finally saved the situation at ERCOT. It took some time to manage the “interruptible” customers, find out first-choice back-up energy supplies were unavailable and shift the North Texas power. Newer levels of wind prediction are available but were not yet in use last week. But there will soon be better ways to know of such wind changes in advance and mediate with other wind energy sources. Solar energy and wave energy will eventually be available to supplement wind, too, and there will soon be ways to store solar- and wind-generated electricity against periodically lagging supplies or suddenly peaking demand.

    Leadership is about setting long-term goals, like when JFK pointed to the moon and when President Truman established a cold war doctrine. The upcoming change to new leadership offers an opportunity to imagine an energy infrastructure for the 21st century and create energy policies to move the country in that direction. Right now, there is no perfect choice. Representatives of Old Energy (coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear) will complain that New Energy offers problems like underdevelopment and intermittency. Old Energy’s problems, global climate change and nuclear nightmare, are all too well known.

    Tuesday, February 26, the citizens of Texas and Florida and the rest of the country got a chance to compare the quality of those problems. It was not the first look and it will not be the last. Given an overburdened, constrained economy and the nation’s many competing needs, the decision is this: What kind of energy infrastructure does the nation build for its future? Not yet perfected or widely-used New Energies like wind, solar, wave and biofuels? Or widely-used but presently destructive and potentially dangerous Old Energies?


    ERCOT is proudly independent. Florida is hanging off the end of the Eastern Interconnect. (click to enlarge)

    State almost saw rolling blackouts Tuesday night
    February 28, 2008 (AP via Houston Chronicle)
    and
    Loss of wind causes Texas power grid emergency
    Eileen O'Grady (w/Carol Bishopric), February 28, 2008 (Reuters)
    and
    Human error caused widespread power failures in Florida, state’s largest electric utility says
    March 1, 2008 (AP via International Herald Tribune)
    and
    FPL Group Says Human Error Caused Power Outage
    Matthew Dalton, February 29, 2008 (Dow Jones Newswires via CNN Money)

    WHO
    The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT); Florida Power & Light (FPL)

    A lot of that Eastern Interconnect, including lines into Florida, is heavily congested. (click to enlarge)

    WHAT
    - Texas: A dramatic drop in wind energy generation in conjunction with a failure of other energy providers to meet scheduled production and a spike in demand led to a stage two emergency and cutoffs to industrial clients whose power arrangements include lower rates in exchange for “interruptible” service.
    - Florida: An engineer disabled two levels of system protection to check a malfunctioning switch. During the check, there was a short, a noise and smoke that was read as fire, setting off a response that, without the two levels of protection, led to a cascading shutdown.

    WHEN
    - Texas: The event began at 6:41 PM, the “interruptible” service was restored within 90 minutes and the event was history by 9 PM.
    - Florida: The power outage began around 1 PM and was essentially smoothed out by 8 PM.

    Interestingly, FPL is one of the biggest boosters of wind energy. (click to enlarge)

    WHERE
    - Texas: The West Texas wind fell off and soon North Texas power was shifted to replace it.
    - Florida: 26 of FPL’s 435 transmission lines and 38 of 600 substations were affected. The two Turkey Point nuclear reactors and a natural gas unit at Turkey Point, as well as Indiantown and Lauderdale plants shut down protectively. The outage was from Dade County to the Tampa Bay and Jacksonville regions.
    - ERCOT is based in the Texas capital of Austin.
    - FPL is based in Miami.

    WHY
    - Both ERCOT and FPL have customers who voluntarily sacrifice power at times such Tuesday in exchange for lower overall rates and both lost power on Tuesday, in Texas for approximately 90 minutes and in Florida for approximately 7 hours.
    - Because colder temperatures moved into the region, West Texas wind dropped from 170 megawatts to 300 megawatts Tuesday evening. At the same time, demand jumped from 31,200 megawatts to 35, 612 megawatts. Normal emergency response procedures put 1100 megawatts onto the grid within 10 minutes.
    - In conjunction with new capacities to anticipate drops in wind, new grid technologies make it possible to link wind farms in a 500 square mile area to eliminate the impact of wind variability.
    - FPL officials are investigating the employee. They explain he probably needed to disable one level of protection in order to test and repair a switch. They have no explanation as to why he disabled two levels.

    FPL, in fact, owns a lot of wind power in Texas and is building more. (click to enlarge)

    QUOTES
    - Susan Williams Sloan, spokeswoman, American Wind Energy Association: "When the wind is not blowing somewhere, it's always blowing somewhere else…"
    - Armando Olivera, President, FPL: "While the investigation is ongoing, to this point we have no indication that there are any deficiencies with the design of our facilities or with our maintenance procedures…"

    1 Comments:

    At 7:58 AM, Blogger Tom Gray said...

    For a good followup on the Texas utility system event, see the March 1 Houston Chronicle article.

    When the wind stops blowing and wind farm electricity generation drops, the process usually takes hours. By contrast, other power plants may go out of service instantaneously when a problem occurs. Wind forecasting, which could have helped address the ERCOT situation, can be and is being used by utility system operators to manage wind on their systems, and will become standard practice as the use of this clean, renewable energy source continues to grow.

    Regards,
    Thomas O. Gray
    American Wind Energy Association
    www.powerofwind.org
    www.awea.org

     

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