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OT: Going solar power

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  • #61
    Originally posted by I make chips View Post
    Seems to corroborate the feel good mentality of wind production.
    All BS. I don't know who made the claim, but I assume someone wanting to slam alternative power. Yes, windmills work fine elsewhere in colder parts of the country, and as mentioned, they are not a big source of power here anyway.

    There was a host of different problems and inexplicably, several plants were not prepared for the bad weather, despite it being accurately forecast about 2 weeks ahead of time. As Matt points out, the NG facilities seem to have been the biggest problem. We have been having rolling blackouts, largely due to the absurd and extremely unusual increase in demand. The electric grid is not so overbuilt that when the temperature is at a 100 year low, and ALL those heat pumps get switched to strip heat, that it can deal with it without issues. It takes a LOT more energy to heat when it is 0° outside, as opposed to when when it is 20°, or even 10° (which is VERY unusual here), and LOTS more electricity to run the strip heat. Texas has a lot of rural areas, and it doesn't make economic sense to plumb NG everywhere here, like it does up north.
    An ordinary winter here is below freezing for a couple of days in a row, with nights in the 20's. The sun usually shines on most days - all winter long. It rocks (we came from Minnesota, and I thanked my father many times for moving us south!)

    Some of people are whining that overall grid capacity has to be brought up for this sort of winter storm, but my guess is that they don't actually want to pay for a bunch of infrastructure that will seldom see any use.

    I, for one, am rather pleased with what my energy bills are in Texas. My last tank of gas cost me about $1.90 a gallon. My electric bill for January was $54 (all electric/heat pump - no NG out where I am).
    While I DO have plenty of complaints about the power supply out here in the boonies, capacity to meet THIS need is not one of them.
    Last edited by Joel; 02-17-2021, 04:26 PM.
    Location: North Central Texas


    • #62
      I have lived in Texas since 77, and have been through plenty of bad weather and lots of ice storms, but we just never have weather like this, so few are prepared.
      We had an ice storm in 2011 (IIRC) and I was without power for about 8 or so days. That sucked, because I had to run the generator regularly to keep the fridge and freezer at temperature. But, the temps were only in the 20's, as would be expected here (and it was probably over 32° during some days). The ice made traveling problematic (my solution - be prepared and don't travel). Otherwise, we had zero problems and were always comfortable and warm.

      During this storm, it got down to negative 6° one night, and it hasn't been above freezing for 9 days, with 3 more to go. It was 65° before this hit, and it will probably be about 60° this coming Sunday. Actually, all winter has been nice, mild and more like spring.
      For all you northerners that say 'big whoop' about such a cold snap, understand that this crap pretty much NEVER happens here, so the building codes aren't overwhelmingly up to the task, on older homes especially. The concern is burst pipes, and lots of people just have zero experience with weather like this. Plus, the capacity of the grid, as discussed. I actually though about posting here to make sure I wasn't missing anything, but the level of derision has been rising here, and I was pretty sure everything was well covered.

      The cold doesn't bother me at all - the concern is the pipes (and plenty have burst - it will be a banner month to be a plumber here). I have cold weather gear, propane heaters (for when the power goes out), multiple UPS's, generators, and so forth, plus we had a LOT of warning, so I made sure I had everything I needed well in advance of the snow and cold. Life changed for me very little, other than I will pay about $90 more than normal for the propane and additional electricity, plus the hassle of having to set up my giant UPS, drag out the propane bottles stored in the shed, shovel a little pathway from the house to the shop, and the hassle of monitoring everything so I could be assured that I won't burst a pipe (so far, so good!). Hell, I am probably the only person for miles with a snow shovel (purchased for $1 in the spring clearance bin) and ice melter. They finally got their first use.
      When I was younger, I was not particularly prepared, so I try to be sympathetic and help out the folks who are clueless.

      Worth noting is that we get ice more often than snow, and boy is ice a bigger pain to deal with than snow. The trees bow to the ground and take out power lines everywhere, and the roads are literally ice skating rinks. Even with snow, the sun will come out, melt it, then there will be glare ice until it melts off.
      Up NORTH, weather like this is common, so there is an established infrastructure to deal with it. While we do have snow plows and are able to treat the roads with salt, weather like this happens so seldom, that is makes little economic sense to be much more prepared. How prepared should people in the Dakotas be for 2 weeks of 100° weather?
      Location: North Central Texas


      • #63
        Originally posted by Joel View Post
        We had an ice storm in 2011 (IIRC) and I was without power for about 8 or so days. That sucked, because I had to run the generator regularly to keep the fridge and freezer at temperature. But, the temps were only in the 20's, as would be expected here (and it was probably over 32° during some days).
        Hmm? Why not just toss the food from the frig and freezer into an outdoor shed which you would now call outdoor frig...

        No Genny needed for the outdoor frig JR


        • #64
          Originally posted by deltaenterprizes View Post
          Texas is experiencing power outages because 25% of the power is derived from the use of solar and wind!
          The wind turbines are frozen solid and the solar panels are covered with snow!
          It will be this way for a week!
          Not quite as simple as that, TX basically designed their grid with zero resilience. Any business's next quarter's profits always look great if you don't plan at all for adversity. That's why most American corporations and banks are leveraged to the max. 'Feed the shareholders' said Milton Friedman, and nothing else matters.

          From NYTimes

          Wind turbines can be equipped with heaters and other devices so that they can operate in icy conditions — as is often done in the upper Midwest, where cold weather is more common. Gas plants can be built to store oil on-site and switch over to burning the fuel if needed, as is often done in the Northeast, where natural gas shortages are common. Grid regulators can design markets that pay extra to keep a larger fleet of backup power plants in reserve in case of emergencies, as is done in the Mid-Atlantic.

          But these solutions all cost money, and grid operators are often wary of forcing consumers to pay extra for safeguards.

          “Building in resilience often comes at a cost, and there’s a risk of both underpaying but also of overpaying,” said Daniel Cohan, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Rice University. “It’s a difficult balancing act.”

          For years, energy experts argued that the way Texas runs its electricity system invited a systematic failure. In the mid-1990s, the state decided against paying power producers to hold reserves, discarding the common practice across the United States and Canada of requiring a supply buffer of at least 15 percent beyond a typical day’s need.

          Robert McCullough, of McCullough Research in Portland, Ore., said he and others have long warned about the potential for catastrophe because Texas simply lacked backup for extreme weather events increasingly commonplace as a result of climate change.

          “What they’ve done is systematic unpreparedness,” Mr. McCullough said. “It was not inadvertent. They planned this outcome.”

          Last edited by gellfex; 02-17-2021, 06:34 PM.
          Location: Jersey City NJ USA


          • #65
            The real "Black Gold" :


            • #66
              Wow, this thread has sure strayed away from my solar electric panel project.


              • #67
                Originally posted by Sparky_NY View Post
                Wow, this thread has sure strayed away from my solar electric panel project.
                Its interesting to note one of the power companies here is Iowa is using the same type of battery's you are. I am looking forward to your progress, especially since you are a fellow electrician!
                Retired - Journeyman Refrigeration Pipefitter - Master Electrician