Life is About to Get Extremely Harsh, This Country’s Electric Grid is in Shamble–Texas

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Electricity Prices Explode With Power Grid On Verge Of Another Meltdown…

Goldilocks will not be pleased. Texas power prices infamously exploded higher during the frigid temperatures of the February winter storm that crippled so much of the state; and this time, amid blisteringly hot temperatures, Texas power prices are exploding higher once again as The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) asks Texans to reduce electric use as much as possible today through Friday, June 18.

ERCOT issued the following Conservation Alert:

significant number of forced generation outages combined with potential record electric use for the month of June has resulted in tight grid conditions.

Generator owners have reported approximately 11,000 MW of generation is on forced outage for repairs; of that, approximately 8,000 MW is thermal and the rest is intermittent resources. According to the summer Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy, a typical range of thermal generation outages on hot summer days is around 3,600 MW. One MW typically powers around 200 homes on a summer day.

“We will be conducting a thorough analysis with generation owners to determine why so many units are out of service,” said ERCOT Vice President of Grid Planning and Operations Woody Rickerson. “This is unusual for this early in the summer season.”

According to generation owners, the number of outages should decrease throughout the week.

Wind output for today is expected to be 3,500 to 6,000 MW between 3 and 9 p.m. This is roughly 1,500 MW lower than what is typically available for peak conditions. Wind output is expected to increase as the week goes on.

Today’s peak load forecast may exceed 73,000 MW. The peak demand record for June is 69,123 MW set on June 27, 2018 between 4 and 5 p.m.

Please take these simple actions to help reduce electric use:

  • Set your thermostat to 78 degrees or higher – every degree of cooling increases your energy use by six to eight percent.
  • Turn off lights and pool pumps and avoid using large appliances like ovens, washing machines and dryers.
  • If you don’t need something – we are asking you to turn it off and unplug it if possible.

This sent power prices spiking with SPGlobal.com reporting that Real-time locational marginal prices across major ERCOT zones topped $1,000/MWh around 1:30 pm CT, and reached almost $2,000/MWh around 2:15 pm CT, the current systemwide cap.

ERCOT spokeswoman Leslie Sopko said during a media call that as of 2:30 pm CT, the total capacity offline in forced outage was 12,178 MW offline, of which 9,066 MW was for thermal resources, while the remainder was for renewable resources. The total offline is three to four times what would typically be on forced outage during summer peak hours.

During that call, Warren Lasher, ERCOT senior director of system planning, said, “it’s unclear why we are seeing so many unplanned outages right now.” Less than 500 MW of the generation on outage is out for long-term maintenance issues, he said.

Some of the lost capacity appears related to derating – meaning generation is producing less than its nameplate capacity due to weather, mechanical, or fuel issues – but Lasher said he had heard of no problems with fuel delivery associated with this event.

Once again “renewables” are just not up to it as wind generation is reportedly playing a notable role in helping to push prices up, with average wind generation for June 15 predicted to tumble 28.8% to 3.5 GWh from about 4.9 GWh forecast for April 14. Despite the lower wind forecast, “wind output is expected to increase as the week goes on,” according to ERCOT.

And given the response from one Texas resident and long-time friend of ZH: “All I know is that I’m heading home and just absolutely cranking up my AC. Fuck ‘em!”

We suspect prices will be going higher given the weather forecast for the rest of the week.

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It’s clear that damage to the power grid, whether the work of enemies or due to some natural disaster, would be disastrous to our country. Unfortunately, according to the report of the congressionally funded EMP Commission, power grid failure for one year would result in the death of nine out of every 10 Americans.

Here are six reasons all of us should be extremely concerned about our power grid problems:

1. The age of the power grid.

Our electrical grid is old. Originally designed to last 50 years, many parts have already surpassed that. There are even parts that are about 100 years old. Yet little is being done to replace the aged parts. This has resulted in the American Society of Civil Engineers giving the power grid a D+ for reliability.

Get Free Backup Electricity — That Works Even During Power Grid Failure

Black outs can be a result of a weak power grid

Part of the problem is financial. Currently, the grid needs an estimated trillion dollars worth of repairs and upgrades. Power companies, many of which run on a narrow margin, say they can’t afford to replace aged equipment, so they keep patching it up and using it. This is especially true of the companies who own the oldest equipment.

The other part is governmental. Everything from installing a new power pole to building a nuclear power plant requires an enormous amount of red tape. None the less, a wide number of government agencies have their finger in the pie, making the job all that much more complex.

2. Increased blackouts from power grid failure.

According to statistics gathered by the Department of Energy, major blackouts are on the upswing. Incredibly, over the past two decades, blackouts impacting at least 50,000 customers have increased 124 percent, according to DOE data. This is mostly the result of our aging power grid; with equipment staying online longer than its programmed life, chances of problems increase.

But we’re not just talking about power plants here. Much of the thousands of miles of wiring that makes up the grid is old, too. The weather takes its toll. Pretty much every major storm leaves people without power, and work crews rushing to make repairs. However, in recent years, those repairs have been larger and have taken longer to accomplish.

3. The war on electricity.

The power grid

Most people have heard of President Obama’s war on coal – which Hillary Clinton supports — but the liberal war on power is much older than that. For decades, they’ve been waging a war on nuclear power, claiming that it is dangerous and that it pollutes.

While both of those are true, the reality of it is nowhere near the hype that is used to demonize nuclear power. In fact, it is one of the cleanest forms of power we have. It is also one of the cheapest sources of electrical power there is, mostly due to the fact that there is almost no “fuel” consumed for the huge amount of power that a nuclear power plant can produce.

Yet government agencies, particularly the EPA, have been holding up the works on building new nuclear power plants.

The war on coal compounds this, working to take away our most plentiful means of electrical power production.

4. Risk of an EMP or solar storm.

Surprisingly, one of the biggest power grid problems today is that of an EMP attack or solar storm. A high-altitude EMP, created by a nuclear device exploded 300 miles over the center of the country, could kill the entire grid, as well as destroying the vast majority of our electronics. Almost nothing has been done to prepare for this threat. Additionally, a major solar storm – such as the 1859 one that took out telegraph machines – could wipe out the power grid.

Both North Korea and Iran have publically stated a desire to destroy the United States. North Korea has nuclear bombs and is working hard at improving their missile technology.

Either of these countries, both of which are enemies, could destroy the United States with one EMP explosion, launched from a cargo ship in the Gulf of Mexico. Even with missile technology as simple as the SCUD missile, which dates back to the German V2 rocket at the end of World War II, a large part of the country’s grid could be put out of commission. Sadly, with two to three simultaneous attacks, using these simple missiles, the entire country would go dark.

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We have no defenses against an EMP – or protection against a solar storm. Some parts of the military are protected, but not even the government is properly protected, let alone the rest of us.

The transformers within the power grid are custom built for each substation, meaning that there is no inventory of replacements. If several are taken out, it could take months to replace them.

5. Possibility of cyber-warfare.

Power grid failure

Every day our power grid is “tickled” by foreign hackers, attempting to infiltrate and find ways of taking control and cutting off our power. The cutting edge of cyber-warfare is in China, with Russia close behind. However, our defenses against cyber-attack are weak, something you can be sure our enemies know.

It is believed in fact that, at the highest levels of our intelligence community that China could shut down our power grid at any time. This has already been done in other countries; one example was when Russia shut down the grid in the Ukraine. If they can do it, you can be sure that China can, as well. They started the idea of cyber-warfare.

6. Direct terrorist attacks against the power grid.

It wouldn’t take anything as sophisticated as cyber-warfare or an EMP to take down the grid. In 2014, an attack was conducted on a power substation in San Jose, California. However, while the perpetrators were never caught, many think this was a practice run for a direct terrorist attack.

In fact, taking out as few as nine critical substations in the country could destroy the entire grid, according to a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) report. While the locations of those particular substations are a tightly held secret, our enemies certainly are trying to learn where they are.

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