soooo Texas froze before Hell, thought it was never going to happen but it did 🥴

Had a meeting scheduled for today, but since my employees (crucial for the meeting) do not have power I had to reschedule.

VP: I saw that you cancelled the meeting
Me: yes I did sir, my people do not have power at their homes so I decided that we can postpone it for later.

VP: Understandable, I just wanted to see if you guys were ok.

Me: yes sir, we are thank you and yourself?

The rest of the conv was standard pleasantries.

Why can't it be like this for all devs around the world?

  • 9
    "Why didn't you reach office and have the meeting?" - what I was thinking I was about to read
  • 15
    What's interesting is the fake news spread through quite some media that the cause for the electricity problems was frozen wind power turbines.

    In fact, 30 GW were switched off - 26 GW from thermal power plants (i.e. around 35% of the gas and coal capacity), and only 4 GW from wind turbines. So what actually happened was gas pipelines freezing, heating gas demand soaring, and insufficient grid redundancy across states such as HVDC links.
  • 10
    @Fast-Nop Rather unsurprising, conspiracy theorists and religions persist by providing plausible explanations and making sure people hear them before they would research the truth.
  • 3
    Winter is coming...
  • 2
    @Fast-Nop Texas has its own grid so that federal government can't control it.
    ✅ Worth it
  • 0
    @electrineer Having some HVDC links would still give them control over the net on state level, but also provide redundancy.

    I mean, some network segregation is probably a good thing because a fully meshed nation-wide network could be difficult to control in case of cascading failures, but emergency decoupling at some HVDC transfer points would do that job easily.

    In this situation where coupling would be the useful thing, the president would then deliver some cool speech about how folks in other states could save lives just by throttling down their air conditioners so that more energy could be re-routed over such HVDC links.
  • 3
    Now is a good time to run MATLAB, Android studio, xcode and Visual studio all at the same time... Keep yourself warm...
  • 2
    @johnmelodyme yeah, that's the solution to everything, especially in a blackout
  • 0
    @electrineer Yeap you able to see your laptop glowing .
  • 2
    @johnmelodyme bitcoin miner too 😉
  • 1
    @atheist that would be a fireplace. .
  • 2
    @Fast-Nop While they have been greatly exaggerated, there actually is some truth to the wind-turbine claims. The reason the electricity they produced didn't drop by much is because the turbines were already producing very little power due to lack of wind, as is normal in the area at this time of year. The fact that the drop in production was expected does not negate the fact that it occurred.
    But wind was only a contributing factor, not the main culprit. It was the combination of non-cold-proof infrastructure, along with a "free market" energy pricing system that does not pay energy producers for extra reserve capacity (only for actual production) that did the Texas grid in.
  • 1
    @Georgelemental In other words, the wind turbines were not the culprit, if only because they were not planned to deliver at that time anyway.

    Here's another gem of "meanwhile in Texas". The gas power operators had contracts with their electricity customers with fixed price per kWh, as is normal. That business model relies not only on gas, but on sufficiently cheap gas. Only that the spot market gas price was soaring so that each delivered electric kWh would make them more loss.

    So what did they do to avoid that loss? Why, switch off the power plants of course. Free market and shit, right?
  • 1
    @Georgelemental there are real challenges in green energy, but what happened in Texas had nothing to do with them.
  • 1
    @Fast-Nop Ah, the pleasures of a society where no one provides anything without profit. No wonder the capitalist world crashes every other decade for no reason other than greed.
  • 3
    @homo-lorens Wouldn't be such a problem with proper regulation, e.g. mandate either an insurance against momentarily spiking gas prices, or mandate supply contracts that don't work on spot basis.

    But having natural monopolies like infrastructure with as little regulation as possible is a pretty bad idea.
  • 0
    @homo-lorens You are correct, nothing is free. So if you need something you have to to pay for it. What the Texas grid needed was reserve capacity and cold-proof infrastructure to handle extreme events like this. But Texas, in the name of the "free market,'' chose not to do so, and reaped the consequences.
  • 0
    @electrineer It does though. Wind turbines only work when the wind is blowing, which is something you cannot control. Your power grid needs to be able to consistently deliver enough power to meet the entire demand, all the time, including during demand spikes. If demand spikes are correlated with an event that reduces the energy production of wind power to near zero, as is the case with winter weather in Texas, then you need other power sources to meet that demand.
    So any reliable grid will need to have enough non-wind capacity to meet all the demand even at peak demand times. And that extra capacity will have to be maintained and cared for year-round, even when it's not in use. So if you are going to need enough non-wind power sources to meet all the demand anyway, why not just dump wind completely and build nuclear plants instead? Far cheaper in the long run, more reliable, and arguably better for the environment. The same logic also applies to solar power.
  • 1
    @Georgelemental Because nuclear power plants have several problems.

    1) They generate waste that the next some 10000 generations will have to deal with. We are dumping our waste into their future.

    2) Nuclear power plants are even less economic than wind power. The only reason to have them is to move some of the nuclear weapon budgets off into seemingly civilian budgets to deceive the voters about the true cost of nuclear weapons.

    3) If something serious happens to a nuclear power plant, whole areas become uninhabitable for centuries. You will not find any insurance that will cover a nuclear power plant. Meanwhile, every fucking car needs to have an insurance although the potential damage is much smaller.

    4) Wind blows always, just not everywhere. That's what nation-wide or even continental HVDC links would have covered.
  • 0
    @Georgelemental In a healthy, regulated situation, the costs of running statewide infrastructure even at a loss would be covered by the average profits of the companies involved. They would be forced to continue production in unforeseen circumstances and have a week to month long notice period for shutting down due to economic reasons. Notice periods are perfectly normal even in a free market, the only issue is that service providers for fundamental services like water and electricity aren't required by law to use them and the average consumer doesn't care about anything other than price per kWh.
  • 0
    @Georgelemental can you elaborate how nuclear power is better for the environment than wind or solar?
  • 1
    @asgs Wind and solar require large areas to produce power and landworks on this scale usually have effects that are hard to predict. Nuclear power plants are comparatively much smaller and the effects on the environment come in compact metal containers that we can keep an eye on. I don't like how these barrels have to be secured for hundreds of thousands of years, but this is the general argument for nuclear power - although this is the first time I hear it in opposition of renewables.
  • 2
    I was not expecting this to blow up into such a conversation, but I am thoroughly enjoying it
  • 0
    @Fast-Nop @asgs The only major emission of nuclear power plants is water vapor. The amount of radiation emitted by a nuclear power plant into the environment while in normal operation is insignificant—ash from coal plants is more radioactive. Even the technicians working inside the plant are less exposed to radiation than airline pilots. Nuclear waste is far less dangerous than commonly claimed—it has never hurt anyone, and if buried underground it never will.
    Excluding Chernobyl, less than 10 people have ever died because of a civilian nuclear accident, and all of them were plant technicians. Assuming the people in charge are more competent and concerned with human life than the USSR, the likelihood of an accident that kills people outside the plant is approximately nil. And, in terms of number of deadly accidents on average to generate the same amount of electricity, uranium mining is far safer than coal mining or mining for heavy metals to make solar panels.
  • 0
    @Georgelemental "while in normal operation". Yeah sure. It's not just Chernobyl, and not just Fukushima, there are dozens of cases where operation was not normal.

    And yeah sure, bury it underground. Then you can't see it, therefore it must be safe. Wait, what? We are also drinking water that comes from there, called ground water? Ooops.

    Nuclear tech has too much risk and is not manageable as history has shown - and that is not taking into account that it isn't economic either. The nuclear subsidies dwarf those of renewables, after all.
  • 1
    As for the environmental effects:
    - Wind power is an unmitigated disaster for birds and bats. Worldwide, maybe hundreds of millions of birds and bats die from wind turbine blades every year. And it isn't the songbirds that are dying, but birds like seabirds and birds of prey that are already seriously endangered. And because bats play a critical role in pollination and eating insects, when they die it can have knock-on effects that hurt agriculture.

    - Solar panels require large amounts of land area if you want to get significant power. Even following a highly conservative estimate from a group that supports solar, to power the whole US with just solar you would need a land area the size of South Carolina. That is a lot of habitat you need to destroy. Solar panels are also full of toxic heavy metals, and while they could in theory be safely recycled, it would be expensive, so most just end up in landfills where the toxic metals can leach into the soil and water.
  • 1
    @Fast-Nop Casualties per energy unit are far lower with nuclear than with anything else, even including Chernobyl.
  • 0
    @Fast-Nop One plant technician died from radiation at Fukushima. That was the only radiation death. One person, no more, despite the massive tsunami that completely flooded the reactors. Meanwhile smog and ash from fossil fuels kill many thousands of people every year even when there are no accidents. Even if you include Chernobyl, in terms of deaths per kilowatt hour nuclear power is many times safer than the alternatives.

    As for cost, nuclear does require a large upfront investment to build the plant. But once it is in operation of is extremely reliable, and that reliability means the actual cost per kWh of nuclear energy ends up being about half that of coal and wind power, and a quarter that of solar.
  • 0
    @homo-lorens The point is not casualties. The point is the huge cost in the future. 10000 generations will have to deal with that shit while only ours has any use from it.

    And whoever really thinks that barrels will hold for 100000 years is batshit crazy. In reality, it means that they will probably last 25 years and be out of warranty.
  • 0
    @Georgelemental It isn't reliable. France is betting huge on nuclear power, and they have problems every summer (rivers too hot for cooling) and winter (not enough water or frozen rivers).
  • 0
    @Fast-Nop Once it's under Yucca Mountain our grandkids can forget about it. Even that is likely overkill. There really isn't that much highly radioactive waste produced, and even then "highly" is relative—the whole reason it's waste is that it's no longer radioactive enough to use for fuel. It's on the "you'll get sick if you keep a chunk of it unshielded in your living room" level, not the "one pinch of dust will wipe out a city" level. In fact the vast majority of "waste" actually does get recycled to make new fuel, and that proportion rises every year as reactor designs improve.
  • 0
    @Fast-Nop Getting cold water for your reactor is far easier than making the sun shine on your solar panels and the wind blow on your wind turbine. And the half-life of Uranium-235 never falters—that's why radioactivity is used to power the world's most accurate clocks.
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