“The Southern plains are in a cold pattern and it is going to take a while for them to break out of it” said a senior branch forecaster at the US Weather Prediction Center
Monday, power blackouts spread across the Southern plains as an energy crisis that has already hammered Texas’ power grid deepens.
The Southwest Power Pool, which controls a power grid spanning 14 states from North Dakota to Oklahoma, ordered utilities to start rotating outages, after exhausting all other options to protect its massive system from failing amid an unprecedented cold blast.
Millions of homes and businesses in Texas are already without electricity, and the grid operator there has warned they may be in the dark through Tuesday as temperatures are forecast to remain frigid.
Southwest Power Pool said in a statement Monday, “In our history as a grid operator, this is an unprecedented event.”
The brutal cold striking Texas, the capital of the US energy industry and home of some of the world’s largest Oil & Gas companies, is emblematic of a world facing more unusual weather.
The outages underscores the fallacy of the move away from fossil fuels into an inefficient system that relies on renewable energy, so much for solar and wind power.
This weather rare in much of Texas, and has brought on chaos throughout the state.
In Houston, the state’s largest city, roads are iced over and there are long lines to refill household propane canisters, and firewood is selling out.
The bitter cold is wreaking havoc on the energy industry itself.
Crude Oil production in the Permian has dropped by 1-M BPD, driving US oil prices to trade above $60bbl for the 1st time in more than yr. As the biggest US Crude Oil refinery went offline Monday, reducing the supply of gasoline and other fuels.
Large sections of Dallas, Houston and other cities have been plunged into darkness as extreme cold and surging demand for heat pushes generators to the brink. The power outages began as controlled, rolling cuts but have turned into prolonged blackouts in some areas.
In the last 6 months, extreme temperatures have led to rolling blackouts in the 2 most populous states.
In August, California grid operators shut off power when record heat push demand beyond capacity, and now Texas’ record cold has led to the same thing.
The extreme cold has caught Texas’s highly decentralized electricity market by surprise. Power plants with a combined capacity of more than 34 gigawatts were forced offline overnight, including nuclear reactors, coal and gas generators and wind farms and the officials do not know why.
Wind power is a major victim of the weather, with turbine blades rendered inoperable due to ice that stops them from spinning. Wind generation has more than halved to 4.2 gigawatts.
Power is going to continue to be cut across the state through Monday and potentially into Tuesday morning until enough generators can be brought back online
These are the 1st rolling blackouts caused by cold weather since Y 2011 in Texas.
Spikes in electricity demand usually happen in Summer in Texas when air conditioning use rises. A loss of frequency on the grid has caused 30 gigawatts of generation to Stop. Many stations were undergoing scheduled maintenance, leaving the grid very exposed during large spikes in demand.
Parts of Texas were colder than Alaska, according to the National Weather Service. The temperature at 5a in Houston was 18F, matching the reading in Anchorage, in the Dallas-Fort Worth area it was 5F.
Have a healthy day, Keep the Faith!