Texas; Cold & Dark Might Do It

Looks like a Bit-O-Cold has come to Texas, and that has also shut down wind turbines causing a rolling blackout to be in place.

One wonders if being a bit Frozen and in the Dark will get the message across about “dispatchable” power? Or not… California is flirting with this same kind of disaster, but ours tends to come in Summer with A/C demand. Lucky for us, being HOT is uncomfortable but here, not typically lethal as it tends to be a dry heat. I, personally, loved it at “110 F in the shade and there ain’t no shade” when I was a kid. But in Texas, with temperatures headed into the MINUS ranges, that’s lethal if you can’t find some warm somewhere.

I first ran into this on the U.K. site of Tallbloke:


Blackouts in Texas as big freeze upends energy markets
Posted: February 15, 2021 by oldbrew in Energy, Temperature, weather

What a surprise! Energy demand soars in really cold weather. One researcher served up the bad news: “When wind-turbine blades get covered with ice, they need to be shut down”. This in turn can cause sudden frequency problems on electricity grids. Global warming falls short yet again.
– – –
(Bloomberg) — Millions of households in Texas are suffering rolling power blackouts for the first time in a decade as an unprecedented Arctic freeze wrought chaos in U.S. energy markets
, reports Yahoo News.

The largest cities from Houston to San Antonio were without power for spells of up to an hour at a time
as supplies in the U.S.’s second largest state fluctuated wildly.

“Every grid operator and every electric company is fighting to restore power right now,” said Bill Magness President and Chief Executive Officer of Ercot, the operator of the state’s power grid.

Gee, we get 2 to 3 hour shots of outage in California. Guess you freeze faster than you sweat… unless the wind is blowing a LOT, then we can be out for days. Seems that PG&E was held liable for a wind downed power line causing forest fires, so now they shut off the electricity when the wind is blowing a lot (losing a $Billion or so can do that to you…) so WE can not use wind power when the wind is really blowing… Somehow I think folks have not thought through the consequences of saying to use wind but shut off the grid when it is windy… but I digress.

San Antonio, and Houston are HUGE, so you can see that this is a huge problem too. Per the wikis:

San Antonio, officially the City of San Antonio, is the seventh-most populous city in the United States, and the second-most populous city in both Texas and the Southern United States, with 1,547,253 residents in 2019
Houston is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Texas, fourth-most populous city in the United States, most populous city in the Southern United States, as well as the sixth-most populous in North America, with an estimated 2019 population of 2,320,268.

But the story is in other places too:


Weather impacts: Slow-rolling power outages, thousands of flights canceled across Texas
With actual air temperatures expected to be hovering in the single digitals, winds gusting 20 to 30 miles per hour will make it feel well below zero outside.

Author: Jennifer Prohov (WFAA)
Published: 4:32 AM CST February 15, 2021
Updated: 1:07 PM CST February 15, 2021

Slow-rolling power outages are in effect across the state of Texas as officials work to conserve as much electricity as possible during extreme cold and record demand on the grid.

Residents were initially told to expect to lose power for 15 to 45 minutes, but that has now been “significantly extended,” Oncor officials tweeted out just after 9 a.m.

“Outages due to this electric emergency could last for hours
& we ask you to be prepared.”

Oncor is advising Texans that they may also experience multiple outage rotations.

“We recognize how unsettling these outages can be and strive to minimize impacts.”

The energy provider is also responding to outages caused by the winter storm itself.

Their video per Dallas is saying some folks have been without power for 6 hours+, so it’s all over Texas:


Well, 150 Million People with winter advisories? That might explain the low number of comments today ;-) And cold setting record lows and record low highs.


150M people under winter advisories as ‘unprecedented’ storm stretches across 25 states; Texas sees power outages
Doyle Rice
An “unprecedented” winter storm continued its assault on the nation Monday, leaving millions without power in Texas and wreaking travel havoc across a wide swath of the central and southern U.S. due to the heavy snow and ice.

As of Monday afternoon, more than 150 million people were under a winter storm warning, winter weather advisory or ice storm warning in 25 states, stretching over 2,000 miles from southern Texas to northern Maine,
the National Weather Service said.

Bitter, record-smashing cold
accompanied the storm across the central U.S. Hundreds of daily record low temperatures have been or will be broken during this prolonged “polar plunge,” the weather service said, “with some February and even all-time low temperature records in jeopardy.” More than 50 million people could see temperatures dip below zero during the next several days, according to the Capital Weather Gang.

Power outages were widespread Monday. In Texas alone, more than 2.7 million customers were in the dark as of noon local time, according to poweroutage.us, a utility tracking site.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt and Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson each activated National Guard units to assist state agencies with tasks including rescuing stranded drivers.

In a statement, President Joe Biden also declared an emergency in Texas and ordered federal assistance to aid state and local response efforts. The declaration allows the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster relief efforts and provide assistance, equipment and resources to those affected by the storm.

Hey, Potu-Sino Biden! How about you just abandon the Green Nuisance self Dealing? Let us have reliable fuel driven power plants, eh?

One video also says it is expected to get worse in the next couple of days. Watch that space…


Currently says:

Top Areas by Outages
Texas 2,842,736
Oregon 329,945
Virginia 114,018
Louisiana 109,089
Mississippi 55,467
Last Updated
2/15/2021, 07:34:05 PM

But it isn’t just the USA. Over at Iceage Now:


Germany freezing due to snow ‘blanketing millions’ of solar panel – Heavy snowfall grips Istanbul – Soon headed for Athens
February 14, 2021 by Robert

And 30,000 wind turbines are idle because there is no wind. See video.

Germany is held up as the world’s solar and wind capital by “renewables luvvies” but Germans are freezing through winter due to “millions of solar panels blanketed in snow” and turbines sitting idle, according to Rowan Dean.
Heavy snowfall grips Istanbul, Turkish Thrace, shuts waterways. FEB 14, 2021

Snow began to fall over Istanbul, Turkey’s most populated city, late Saturday, commencing a week of projected sleet amid fears of a harsh winter the city has not experienced in years

The long-rumored and feared cold front coupled with heavy snowfall arrived in Istanbul after moving in from the country’s northwestern Thrace region.
Snow Falls In Greece Due To Cold Weather System. 14th February, 2021

Temperatures in Greece fell below freezing on Sunday with snow hitting many parts of the country.

It’s down to a low pressure weather system, dubbed “Medea”, that’s currently in its first phase.

It first arrived in northern and central Greece with snowfall making traveling and transportation more difficult.

According to the National Observatory of Athens weather service, after Sunday afternoon the bad weather should improve in the north and head east and south.

It’s expected to extend to lower altitudes and even the northern suburbs of Athens.

Somehow I think “the children” ARE going to know what snow is…

So is THIS the “Globull Warming” we are supposed to panic about?

Me? Generator fueled up and ready to go.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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113 Responses to Texas; Cold & Dark Might Do It

  1. Ossqss says:

    Borrowed from Mike Zaccardi via twitter.


  2. p.g.sharrow says:

    Ain’t nothing between Texas and the North Pole, but a few Barbwire fences…pg

  3. michaelh says:

    “One wonders if being a bit Frozen and in the Dark will get the message across about “dispatchable” power?”

    Probably not.

    Most of the Texans don’t want them, but residents been hamstrung in their efforts to resist them. It’s also hard to fight greed when there’s so much money to be made in subsidies.

    T. Boone Pickens knew that the real genius behind wind power was driving natural gas prices sky-high. The old “Pickens Plan” from 2008 was all about driving up demand for natural gas – like using natural gas for automobiles as a “bridge” away from fossil fuels. When windmills stop, natural gas power generation has to be fired up to compensate – the only fuel source agile enough to meet the drop in the supply curve. Hmm, wonder what’s happening to natural gas futures today?

    He also wanted the state to pony up $1B for transmission lines from West Texas to the North Texas ERCOT grid. Fortunately that got squashed.

    Windmills are pretty good at pumping water from the ground. Well, there’s not much of that in West Texas outside the over-pumped Ogallala Aquifer. That didn’t stop Pickens from lobbying the Texas Ledge from changing the law to allow private individuals to form water districts – complete with right of way and eminent domain. Enter “Mesa Water District.” The ultimate plan was to pipe fossil water from West Texas and sell it to North Texas. Shortages? Bah, a little planned scarcity is just an opportunity in disguise.

    But maybe the glaciers coming over North America will bring meltwater to West Texas.

  4. Roger Knights says:

    I doubt that grid-scale backup batteries would store sufficient power to cope with long-lasting outages like this. Perhaps the cold would cut their capacity too. (Does anyone know?)

  5. Nancy & John Hultquist says:

    ” . . . unprecedented Arctic freeze . . .”
    BS on that. Rare, okay.
    Cold air has to go somewhere. Such used to be called “Polar Outbreaks.”
    The 1960s and prior Earth Science textbooks had maps thereof.

  6. cdquarles says:

    I have been watching this. As a Southerner, I know that cold is a lot worse than hot. There is a fairly strict hard upper bound to temperatures given our orbital position then axial tilt changes and eccentricity changes impact that.

    In 24 hours, the forecast overnight lows dropped from the upper 20s to the upper teens. Keep in mind that exposure to the weather even at temps near 60F (15C) are cold enough to kill you via hypothermia, depending on conditions. Freezing rain was in the forecast for the western parts of the state north of roughly 32 degrees N, all the way to Tennessee. No ice accumulation was expected where I am earlier; but we have had quite a bit of rain and the temps have dropped a good 10F since 1pm Central.

    Let me pull up the NWS site. Yep, still talking about freezing rain for the western parts of the state from roughly Demopolis to Scottsboro. A secondary system is expected to come through mid-week over the top of this cold air. We may see more ice then. Wet roads may ice after dark. Folk here do not know how to drive in this …, so things could get very ugly later.

  7. cdquarles says:

    Rough rule of thumb for chemical reactions: + 10C = doubled rate, depending on other conditions. Invert that, so yes, very cold temperatures would greatly impact battery performance.

  8. E.M.Smith says:

    It will also depend on battery chemistry used. Some work well in the cold but suffer degradation when hot (reactions other than the desired one become possible…) while others work well hot, but stop when cold (like liquid sulfur batteries that just turn solid and quit at room temperature).

    One of the things people usually ignore is that any industrial battery facility will have huge heat management issues (and power consumption…). Say you have a 100 MW battery (that isn’t really all that big compared to total consumption in, say Dallas) and have a 95% (astoundingly high…) charge efficiency. That means you will have 5 MW of heat to dispose of when charging. (Likely also when discharging as it is not 100% efficient either…). Oh, and likely another 5 MW to dump from the charger itself as they are not 100% either… Now add to that the need to cool / heat the battery room. Even if you water jacket the batteries to suck out the waste heat, there will be some leakage into the battery room AND you need to assure the water jacket never freezes…

    We had a 16 x 16 foot water tower with a 4 inch chill water line to cool our 750 kVA Cray site. So about 7 of those needed per 5 MW…


    Lithium iron phosphate batteries can be safely discharged over a wide range of temperatures, typically from –20°C to 60°C, which makes them practical for use in all-weather conditions faced by many potentially cold temperature applications including RVs and off-grid solar. In fact, lithium-ion batteries have much better performance at colder temperatures than lead-acid batteries. At 0°C, for example, a lead-acid battery’s capacity is reduced by up to 50%, while a lithium iron phosphate battery suffers only a 10% loss at the same temperature.

    Note that grid batteries are unlikely to be a LiPo as it is mostly sold as a cold weather battery. Each battery chemistry has high temp and low temp limits and the associated reductions of power, efficiency and lifetime.

    Oh, and if it is “Very cold”, you can’t just use the waste heat to warm the battery up by running the charger on it. FIRST you must warm it up, THEN start charging, otherwise you can blow your battery and get a very nice lithium battery fire…

    The Challenge of Low-Temperature Lithium Charging

    When it comes to recharging lithium-ion batteries, however, there’s one hard and fast rule: to prevent irreversible damage to the battery, don’t charge them when the temperature falls below freezing (0°C or 32°F) without reducing the charge current. Unless your battery management system (BMS) communicates with your charger, and the charger has the ability to react to the data provided, this can be difficult to do.

    Dendrites… it’s a thing… the worst form of “lithium plating”…


    If the ambient temperature of a battery that does its best at 20 degrees Celsius is increased to 30 degrees, its performance efficiency will reduce by about 20 percent. If it’s continuously charged and recharged at 45 degrees C (113 F), the performance loss can rise to a whopping 50 percent. Keep in mind that these numbers don’t necessarily translate into lost driving range on an electric car, though.
    In low temperatures, performance drops significantly because the chemical reaction is simply slowed down, but only when it comes to discharging the battery. Li-ion batteries can actually power an EV at – 40 degrees Celsius (- 40 Fahrenheit), albeit with a reduced discharge rate and only if they are fitted with thermal management systems, but there is simply no way you will be able to charge them at those temperatures because they simply slow down too much.

    So yeah, you need to know the best temperature for your battery and keep it near there. Otherwise it sulks, or commits suicide…

  9. E.M.Smith says:

    Note that the “day ahead” from the graph posted by Qssqss has a 74,493 MW peak.

    I’m not sure what area that covers. (Texas is one of 3 “grids” in the USA. Yes, Texas is its very own power grid – it might be the whole of Texas for all I know). But whatever it is, say you wanted “Battery Backup”:

    First off, you likely need a 100,000 MW battery so that some parts can be down for maintenance, or not fully charged when the demand hits AND remember both battery and inverter are not 100% efficient. Next, how many days do you need power? 1? A week? Say it is 5 during severe prolonged bad weather, that’s then:
    100 GigaWatts x 5 x 24 = 12000 or 12 TeraWatt-Hours.

    As they say “Good luck with that”…

    (And yes, I know really you need the area under the Duck Curve not the peak, but for ‘first figures’ you always want to look at worst case. An eyeball average of day ahead looks like 68,000 so not that far off)

  10. H.R. says:

    michaelh says, 15 February 2021 at 8:49 pm

    “T. Boone Pickens knew that the real genius behind wind power was driving natural gas prices sky-high. The old “Pickens Plan” from 2008 was all about driving up demand for natural gas – like using natural gas for automobiles as a “bridge” away from fossil fuels.”

    I always admired that guy. I think he was one of the early subsidy farmers.

    Probably couldn’t grow a tomato if his life depended on it, but dang! That man could farm subsidies like no one else.

    America watched “Dallas” on TV while T. Boone Pickens was capable of buying and selling “Dallas” a dozen times over. T. Boone was too busy raking in the dough to shoot J.R. 😜 Twarn’t him.

  11. The True Nolan says:

    @E.M. “Lithium iron phosphate batteries can be safely discharged over a wide range of temperatures, typically from –20°C to 60°C, which makes them practical for use in all-weather conditions faced by many potentially cold temperature applications including RVs and off-grid solar.”

    I have a small LiFePo battery solar setup in my workshop. Temperature tonight? Predicted -18C. Already moved the pack inside the house a few days ago! When we started getting temps about 5C the automatic charge cut off kicked in. That was a clue.

    More challenging has been keeping the greenhouse above freezing. A combination of tarps, space blankets, propane and electric heater is doing pretty good so far.

  12. philjourdan says:


    Short term: Cold is fine. We can add more blankets and sweaters

    Short term: Heat is a bitch! We do not tolerate it well (emotionally)

    Long term: Cold is the killer – as the 1000 mating pairs 10k years ago proved

    Heat is what led to the Roman empire, the Renaissance, and the birth of modern civilization.

    So what is government trying to do? Send us back to the cold era.

  13. philjourdan says:

    BTW: The polar vortex stopped at the Alleghenies. Sorry CD.

  14. cdquarles says:

    Not unusual for that to happen. “Blue Northers” affect OK and TX way more than they do affect me; but I am well away from the moderating effect of the Gulf. Sometimes that’s a good thing, other times it isn’t, like now.

  15. Graeme No.3 says:

    Germany may fare better than Texas in that they have 8 interconnectors to other countries. Polish coal fired and Czech nuclear will be making money. Unfortunately the French nuclear plants may not be enough as 13 of them were shut down recently (Union action citing health & safety problems). Norway is getting less enthusiastic about being the battery for the EU (they’re rejected a connection to Scotland).
    The UK is also struggling, but thanks to stronger winds and firing up those ‘unwanted’ coal fired stations, along with wood, biofuels and gas (all of which are said to be free of CARBON emissions) may get through. No publicity on the BBC about all those diesel generators under the STOR scheme.

  16. E.M.Smith says:


    Getting worse in Texas.

    Texas Winter Storm – February 2021
    Update: 10:30 PM, 2/15/2021

    On Monday evening, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) instructed AEP Texas and other electric utilities to increase the number of service interruptions in addition to the existing interruptions that began early Monday morning. AEP Texas is prepared to begin restoration of service to customers as soon as it receives the order from ERCOT.


    Customers Tracked: 12,462,925
    State Outages: 3,993,525
    Last Updated: 2/15/2021, 11:38:23 PM
    ERCOT: Level 3 Alert – Load shedding is ongoing.
    GPL, CTEC, and TCEC, systems are not providing updated data, their outage counts may be out of date.

    I make that roughly 4 million out of 12 million. 1/3 … note that is “customers” not individuals. Texas population is about 29 Million, so close to the 2.x per family avg. Maybe 9 million people dark and cold. Then some power companues no longer able to respond…

  17. E.M.Smith says:

    Not just Texas. Portland Oregon is suffing big outages from icing. Then:


    The Southwest Power Pool, which manages the electric grid across parts of 14 states, warned that demand has exceeded its electric supply, and told its members to begin controlled outages. SPP said individual utilities would determine how to handled the outages.

    “After exhausting usage of available reserve energy, SPP has now subsequently directed its member utilities to implement controlled interruptions of service to prevent further, more widespread and uncontrolled outages.” SPP said said.

    SPP manages the electric grid in Kansas and Oklahoma, and in parts of New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana, Minnesota, Iowa, Wyoming, and Nebraska.

    Rolling blackouts, which were supposed to last 30 to 60 minutes, had already started in Kansas City and Independence, Missouri, KSHB reported. The alert also affected electric cooperatives across Kansas, including much of the central and western parts of the state, KSHB reported.

    Oklahoma Gas & Electric said rolling blackouts also had begun in that state, KWTV reported.

  18. beththeserf says:

    Texas, home of yer true grit. Them Texans, they’ll survive global cooling, yer Washington greeny city slickers maybe not so much, least wise I hope so.

  19. another ian says:

    From Beth’s photo above to an OMG for the day

    “Bill Gates Goes Full Captain Planet, Wants To Change ‘Every Aspect Of Economy’ While We Dine On Fake Meat


    Or one might have a listen to Norma O’Hara Murphy’s “I ride with the vanishing horsemen” and adapt to species

  20. beththeserf says:

    Back ter the swamps, serfs! Let them eat

  21. A C Osborn says:

    Electricity spot price. $9000/mw/hour.
    Blackouts spreading to other states.

  22. rhoda klapp says:

    You first, Bill Gates, and I’ll look after your house, planes and cars while you make the transition.

  23. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jon K:

    The absolutely crazy aspect of the “spread dust” idea is that all we would need to do (IFF this were actually a problem…) is to put 2 kinds of fuel in our jet transports. They have multiple tanks and switch between them, so:

    1) Fill the tank used for take off with the low sulfur fuel of today so ground smog is kept low.

    2) Fill all the other tanks with the cheaper high sulfur fuel like we used in the ’60s and ’70s before we started taking all the S out.

    That way the Sulfur oxides will be deposited at altitude and reflect sunlight. AND it costs less than at present in the process.

  24. Jon K says:

    There you go thinking like an engineer again. I can’t imagine what the contrails folks would say about that lol.

    I seriously hope we never take that approach. Every time humans try to manage a system they don’t fully understand, it ends in disaster.

  25. Ossqss says:

    So the Texas Gov. going to investigate how to not let this grid collapse happen again? Ya think they already know how?


  26. E.M.Smith says:


    Usually when a Government Official says they are launching an investigation it means 2 things:

    1) I need to find someone else to blame and toss under the bus.

    2) I need to get in front of any proposed “solutions” to assure my share of the “campaign contributions” get deposited in the right accounts and / or countries…

    While I think the Texas Gov. is a lot cleaner than most in that regard, he IS a politician…

  27. The True Nolan says:

    @Ossqss:So the Texas Gov. going to investigate how to not let this grid collapse happen again? Ya think they already know how?

    The simplest solution is to adjust the number of useless eaters down by 90%. Then the system would have a huge surplus capacity.

    (Obviously NOT my opinion — but there are a lot of influential people who see that as the fix. Me? I’d vote for decentralized, small scale nuclear.)

  28. Ossqss says:

    The finger pointing is beginning, but no mention of reliable renewable problems. Go figure.

    Abbott blames >private power companies that “fell short,”


  29. E.M.Smith says:


    Yeah, blame the power company is the GoTo answer for politicians avoiding the consequences of their political mandates. What it comes down to is:

    “We ordered you to do something impossible and silly and you were unable to pull it off without any problems, so it’s your fault!”

    Like the Houston City Center lit up while residential areas went black. Try explaining that all of: Power Company emergency HQ, Police HQ, Communications both radio and Telco, Fire coordination, major Hospitals, and more are all in Downtown, so they must keep the power ON in that BLOCK and that the Power Company can not just shut down individual buildings as they don’t know which ones have what emergency stuff occupying them…

    So it’s their fault they didn’t shut down the skyscrapers…

    The other one I found interesting was when they started to do “rotating outages” and then didn’t have enough power to do the rotation… Essentially all they had left “up” were “essential” blocks (hospitals, police, etc. in the block). In some cases, the power company itself ran out of power and were blocked via their own facilities being “out”. So it is their fault that Texas has so much “wind power” that was suddenly gone that there just wasn’t enough left to run a normal outage / rotation… And exactly who approved / ordered Texas to go to about 1/4 wind power? Hmmm?

  30. Ossqss says:

    It appears it is not just Texas any longer. Interesting distribution of power sources listed also. Let’s get rid of coal eh?


  31. E.M.Smith says:


    Interesting page. Wow! 72% of current power from Coal & Natural Gas combined.

    Somehow I don’t think they’re going to find another 72% that is dispatchable when the wind turbines are frozen…

  32. Ossqss says:

    Can you find wind and solar energy that is going to usurp fossil fuels in this global Total Energy Supply by Source data? We often only discuss electricity, but we use much more than just that as a source of energy globally. Hopefully some people in politics can do some basic math when they talk about rapidly changing things.


  33. E.M.Smith says:


    One of my favorite things to point out about going “all electric” for transportation is that for the USA our total fuel used for transportation roughly equals our total existing electrical generation from all forms.

    This of necessity means that to go “all electric” we would need to not only replace the 95% or so of total electricity from various fuels and nuclear, but we’d also need do DOUBLE the entire capacity using only wind and solar… Just not physically possible.

    Oh, AND you get to entirely duplicate the whole grid one time over to carry that double capacity of electricity around the nation… ALL those rights of way, hundreds of thousands of miles of cables and towers… All that cement for piers for the towers and more… All those GLASS insulators made with what fuel again?… All that steel made with what fuel again?…

    It is a very odd intersection of inability to understand numbers, ignorance of basic chemistry and industrial materials, being blind to “quantity has a quality all its own”, and a fundamental dogged insanity of belief in a Magical Solution; coupled with self dealing. Essentially Engineering Idiots using Magical Thinking to promote Self Interests.

  34. Scissor says:

    Good idea on the jet fuel sulfur E. M.

    The high altitude fuel could probably contain 10,000 ppm sulfur. Jet fuel in the past routinely contained 1000 ppm but it’s down to probably around 100 ppm because of shared feeds and hydrodesulfurization needed to make diesel.

  35. another ian says:

    Somewhat O/T



  36. philjourdan says:

    @CD – I know. I was just thanking the Gods about where it stopped. In 83, it did not stop! And I suspect in 1609 it did. But that was because weather is racist,

  37. philjourdan says:

    @EMS – Texas tried to do the “PC” thing. But they are not idiots like in Cali. Wind and Solar for a fun time in Paris. FF for the real deal. You do not mess with TexASS!

  38. philjourdan says:

    @Another Ian – Re: Bill Gates.

    The man has more money than he can ever spend. So he spends it on mild altering drugs.

    He has no responsibilities. He just has his doobies.

    Just as Bezos has.

  39. cdquarles says:

    I’d like people to get away from the notion that billionaires have lots of currency they sit on. They have lots of various assets. They have lots of various liabilities. It is just that the market value of their assets exceeds the market value of their liabilities at any one point in time. Sure, they can liquidate some of that to get currency to play with; but, for the most part, they don’t. The foundations they found get made using their assets and a bit of the currency from liquidation. As long as those assets keep generating cash, they are fine. And yes, folk like Bill Gates can find themselves as paupers if and when the rest of us won’t buy what they’re selling.

  40. The True Nolan says:

    Wind, solar, and even natural gas all share one particular quality which gives them a political value not shared by coal or nuclear. They cannot be depended upon. Imagine you are a psychopathic person with an addiction to power. A metropolitan area depending on wind will not maintain power if it is shut off from the rest of the grid. Same with solar. Same with gas; shut the pipeline and the boilers go cold. Immediately. On the other hand, coal can be stockpiled by literally piling it up outside. A generating plant can have a month or two worth of coal with no problem. Also, coal is the most regionally available of all fossil fuels. Almost everywhere has some form of coal within a few hundred miles, with the West Coast being the area with the least available. Nuclear fuel, while hard to get, can keep a plant running for a long time between fueling.

    A reasonable person sees vulnerability to being cut off as a bad thing — but it is a good thing if you want to control an area and YOU control the fuel. Of course we here in the US are blessed to not have such people in positions of power. They would never do such a thing, no more than they would start wars of aggression, corrupt an educational system, or destabilize financial institutions for their own profit.

  41. E.M.Smith says:


    There’s actually an abandoned coal mine a few dozens of miles from me. It is trivial in size (might support 2 families…) and poor quality coupled with high cost. But it was used a little back in the Old West days.

    Surprised the heck out of me that it existed. Useless, but there are trivial amounts of Coal here. Just enough to keep geologists entertained ;-)

    Looks like at one time someone found a bit in Trinity County and leased it from BLM, but now that’s ended too:



    Little coal has been mined in California for 30 years, though the estimated resources of 90.7 million metric tons (Averitt, 1975, p.43) has caused a resurgence of interest in its potential during the energy crisis of the 1970s. The occurrence of coal has been reported in 43 of the 58 counties of California; the major coal-bearing areas are shown in figure 1. Generally, coal beds are of Cretaceous to Pliocene and Pleistocene age and range in thickness from less than 1 meter (m) to about 7 m. The rank of coal ranges from lignite to high-volatile B bituminous coal. Thirty-five references concerning coal deposits in California are annotated in this bibliography. These reports are considered to be the most comprehensive of more than 130 references available on coal deposits in California. Current (1978) stratigraphic information has been added to the text in brackets where appropriate. Reports on coal published prior to 1922 were listed in a bibliography compiled by Boalich (1922) and some of these reports are annotated in the present bibliography.

    90 Million tons sounds like a lot until you realize that’s scattered all over as a meter or two thick “beds” that are often also disjoint due to differential lifting of blocks… Basically a PITA to get to and then it isn’t much you get…

    So mostly it shows up as old 1800s small mines that someone used to warm their cabin or fire an old steam engine…

    One of the biggest, now a museum / park:

  42. YMMV says:

    cdquarles “I’d like people to get away from the notion that billionaires have lots of currency they sit on.”

    That’s an interesting topic. You don’t have to be a billionaire to have “too much money”. If you can do the basics, food, clothing, shelter, and so on, then you have the problem of what to do with the rest. You can spend more, or you can save it for a rainy day. If you want to save it, it really is a problem. You want to eventually use it, but every way to “save” it has some risks of losing it.

    One way to save it is to buy other things that you could hopefully resell later. Or loan it to somebody at interest. So a billionaire might not have a lot of currency they sit on. Meanwhile, they are still rich.

    But I have zero empathy for billionaires who got rich by ripping off their customers. Like Bill Gates.

    “folk like Bill Gates can find themselves as paupers if and when the rest of us won’t buy what they’re selling.”

    Too late, Bill Gates already sold his stuff and he already has the money.
    When Bill Gates becomes a pauper, I hate to think what sub-pauper class the rest of us will be in.

  43. another ian says:

    “Reliable Green Energy”


    “The helicopter is working just fine!

  44. another ian says:

    “The Day After Tomorrow: Renewables Fail Edition

    Guest “The best laid plans of mice and men…” by David Middleton

    Eric Berger, Space City Weather: “Eventually about one-third of the anticipated capacity went offline. This included a handful of freezing wind turbines, but the majority of the volume losses were due to coal and natural gas plants going offline.”

    “A handful of freezing wind turbines”? At least half of the wind generation capacity has been knocked offline since Sunday. It’s only a “handful” in the sense that wind power only accounts for 20-25% of Texas electricity generation. When you start with only two hands full of wind turbines and you lose one hand to frostbite, I suppose you’ve only lost a handful… [/SARC]

    “The majority of the volume losses were due to coal and natural gas plants going offline”? Well, no schist Sherlock. About 70% of ERCOT’s generating capacity is comprised of natural gas and coal-fired power plants… So, of course, the majority of the volume losses have been among natural gas power plants. However, coal-fired and nuclear power plants (all two of them) have been relatively unaffected.

    The fact is that almost all of the electricity currently being delivered to the ERCOT grid is coming from natural gas, coal-fired and nuclear power plants.




    Also worth reading


  45. philjourdan says:

    The height of stupidity? (sure to be topped tomorrow)

    AOC said Texas would be fine if they had the GND.

    So let’s see. Fossil fuel guzzling helicopters are towing NG burning blasters to thaw out frozen windmills. And building more windmills would help more helicopters to fly and NG burners to burn how?

    The only thing more stupid than AOC is the fake news.

  46. jim2 says:

    I don’t know Phil, AOC is pretty dang stupid.

  47. another ian says:


    See Tony Heller on “Reliable green energy” that I posted above at10:30

  48. Steven Fraser says:

    @ EM: Now, a few days into the shebang, some other details come out: one of the two units of the South Texas Nuclear Project scram’ed due to a cold-related failure of the external freshwater supply. The reduction removed 1200+ Megawatts from the grid. Yes, you read that right..1.2GW.

    As for the other shortfall… now being blamed on reduced NatGas supplies to the power plants… ‘frozen pipelines’ or some such thing.

    Here in Plano, (Metro Dallas) as of 1:46 p.m. on Thursday, electrical power has been continuous since 9:30 yday morning… 27 hours. Gas heat is keeping things comfy, but its still plenty cold outside. I think I am going to look into generation capabilities to run core household systems, and the heater system would be central (pun intended) to that effort. I’ve heard that Honda has a 3500 w unit that runs on gasoline, and not too difficult to start with the pull-rope.

    We will see.

  49. Steven Fraser says:

    @EM: As to the ‘unprecedented’ hype going around, I was living in Houston for the winter of 1989, and temps were below freezing for 11 days by my recollection. As things began to thaw out, people discovered that their piping had frozen in the attics, quite a common occurrence here.

    On fellow that sang Tenor in the Barbershop group I directed came back from a Christmas Trip, to find that the ceiling drywall in his living room had fallen to the floor, and it was sitting in 6″ of water. Huge Mess. Oh, and should say that my neighbor next door… 2nd story flat, had water running out his front door… The complex had to turn off the water to all the residents until it could be repaired. Added insult to injury.

  50. pinroot says:

    @TheTrueNolan – “More challenging has been keeping the greenhouse above freezing. A combination of tarps, space blankets, propane and electric heater is doing pretty good so far.”

    Put a humidifier in your greenhouse if you haven’t already. Moist air holds the heat better than dry air. We used to use one in ours, and it really made a difference when the temps got below freezing.

  51. Taz says:


    3. People who were driving a school bus blindfolded (and crashed it) should never be given a new bus. The economics establishment (universities, regulators, central bankers, government officials, various organisations staffed with economists) lost its legitimacy with the failure of the system. It is irresponsible and foolish to put our trust in the ability of such experts to get us out of this mess. Instead, find the smart people whose hands are clean.

    4. Do not let someone making an “incentive” bonus manage a nuclear plant – or your financial risks. Odds are he would cut every corner on safety to show “profits” while claiming to be “conservative”. Bonuses do not accommodate the hidden risks of blow-ups. It is the asymmetry of the bonus system that got us here. No incentives without disincentives: capitalism is about rewards and punishments, not just rewards.

    This isn’t an equipment problem. It’s a people problem. A vast store of incompetence and greed.

    Fixing it starts by terminating EVERY supplier and deliberately forcing them into bankruptcy. Then bribing to get the names of their employees so each individual can be banned from state contract participation for life.

    The equipment is going nowhere. It will be resold, and the new owner can find COMPETENT people to run it….secure in the knowledge that failure would mean their head too.

    This problem is an old one. It’s regulatory capture. You fix it by executions….not by tolerating their excuses.

    These people are paid good money for delivering results like this. Must stop. No one can afford these Bufords any more.

  52. Mongo says:

    I sing the praises of the lowly 400W propane generator.

    60 hr runtimes from a single propane tank. Would have used up fuel quicker had we been forced to rely on electric blankets.

  53. philjourdan says:

    @Another Ian – sorry for the duplication.

  54. philjourdan says:

    @Steven Fraser – that is almost enough to power the DeLorean time machine. :-)

  55. Steven Fraser says:

    @philjourdan: damn straight!. Maybe its time for the development of ‘Mr Fusion’. and a Flux Capacitor.

  56. The True Nolan says:

    @ pinroot “Put a humidifier in your greenhouse”
    I had not thought of that. Good idea, thanks!

    So, how is the Big Freeze going in Texas? Here is one look at how well power is being distributed. WARNING! LOTS and LOTS of bad language:

  57. philjourdan says:

    We skated (literally and figuratively) today. They were predicting 1/2-3/4 inches of freezing rain. But we lucked out. When the worst hit us, it came down as sleet. Does not cling to tree limbs and power lines and melts faster than freezing rain (it is almost all gone now).

  58. philjourdan says:

    @TTN – I bet he votes democrat. Every GD time. He sounds like he does.

  59. E.M.Smith says:

    As I understand it, there were also some units tripping off line as the frequency left spec and might cause damage. A “Cascade Failure”.

    First the windmills stop / freeze so supplies are marginal and frequency sags, then some minor plants start to trip; and then the wallop as the Nuke drops out and then a big cascade of frequency sag / disconnect / shutdown… etc. etc. etc.

    The difference between a stable grid and an unstable grid is “reserve capacity” and they just did not have enough spinning reserve to handle the various dropouts all coming at once.

    @Steven Fraser:

    I had a 5 kW {something with a Briggs & Stratton engine and Generac generator, I think Generac brand) and a 1 kW Honda inverter generator. After a ‘many day’ outage of using them both, I sold the Generac to a friend and kept the Honda.

    Why is pretty simple: The Honda was quiet, efficient and worked well. Ran about 9 hours between fuelings, so about one fueling / day. The Generac made a holy racket and was a pain to get started. About every 1.5 to 2 hours I had to shut it down to add gas.

    For me, from here on out, Honda is my #1 choice. I may buy something else some day, but it will be more for evaluation and play than for “I’ll really need this to work and not be a problem”.

    Oh, and I took my Honda out of mothballs a few months back. It had been sitting unused for about a decade. (I had put kerosene in the gas tank to prevent varnishing). Drained the tank. Drained the oil. New oil. New gas. Took some ether in the air intake to get it to run enough to clear the Kerosene out of the carburetor, but then it ran like a champ. This is about a 20 year old Honda at this point… Maybe 25… (Let’s see, Loma Prieta was what, ’87? So about 20+13? Maybe it’s over 30… I forget if I got it before or just after Loma Prieta… But whatever. ) The point is: It STILL runs and I’ve done NOTHING to it but change oil. It sat on the patio for about 15 of those years. Maybe 20. Under an awning, but that’s it. In the garage it would be more protected, so some of the plastic case is looking dusty oxidized.

    The eu3000is has electric start. Problem there is remembering to charge the battery every so often… $2500 per Honda.com

    Me? I’d likely get the 2 kW version and have 2 of them. You can gang them together for double the power… EU2200i is about $1k and the EU2200i Companion with the 30 A socket and gang ability is about $1.4k per Honda.com (you can find cheaper…)
    Looks like it is $1200 at harbor freight:

    Honda EU2200iTAG1 Companion Inverter Generator — 2200 Surge Watts, 1800 Rated Watts, Parallel Capable, CARB-Compliant, Model# EU2200iTAG1 Companion
    Only $1199.00 Free Shipping (Lower 48 states)

    Ship It Free (Lower 48 States)
    Backordered Online — will ship in 30 or more Business Days
    See Shipping Options
    2,200 surge Watts; 1,800 rated Watts
    Honda 121cc GXR120 engine with recoil start
    30A, 125V locking plug allows parallel connection to another EU2200i or EU2000i with parallel cable (not included)
    CO Minder for essential protection from harmful carbon monoxide
    Bluetooth connectivity lets you monitor generator performance from smartphone

    I’d buy one, play with it. Get comfortable. Find out what all it will carry of load. Then, IF I need more power, buy the 2nd one to gang together if / when needing the extra juice…

    I think there are 3 total models, non-gang, gang-no-big-plug, and ‘gang with 30 A’ socket, so you will want to know just what you are plugging in which kind of socket.

    Or if you know already it’s over 1.8 kW continuous, just jump right to the 3 kW at $2.2k Northern Tool price:


    Power for Home or On The Go
    Perfect for Home, RVs, Jobsites and More
    The Honda EU3000iS Inverter Generator provides dependable electricity for RV camping, outdoor recreation, jobsites and home backup electricity. Use it to power a variety of appliances, including a furnace, microwave, refrigerators, most 13,500 BTU RV air condition units and more.

    Super Quiet
    With a remarkably low 50 to 57dB noise level, the EU3000iS is quiet enough to use virtually anywhere — great for campgrounds, backyard parties, home emergencies and anywhere you need reliable power with minimal noise.

    Built-in Safety and Convenience
    This model features CO-MINDER™ which automatically shuts down the generator if it detects carbon monoxide gas reaching unsafe levels, giving you greater peace of mind and confidence when using your inverter generator. Covered outlets provide additional protection from the elements.

    If the Honda price is a deal killer, the Predator line has had good reviews.


    About 1/2 the cost at $550 but about the same features. Surge is a bit optimistic and continuous is about 200 W lower:

    Run time: 12 hours @ 25% capacity
    Super quiet — only 65 dB
    Electronic overload protection
    79.7cc air-cooled OHV gas engine
    2000 starting watts, 1600 running watts
    Double your power with parallel capability – Need more power? Add a second Predator 2000 unit with optional RV Ready Predator Parallel Kit for up to 4,000 Watts of power.

    Low oil indicator
    Fully enclosed high-impact housing
    Recoil start

    Their 3 kW unit is about $850 …

    Using advanced inverter technology this super-quiet generator produces a pure sine wave power curve that is safe to use with sensitive electronics. The efficient design of this inverter generator gives you more power with lower fuel consumption. With 11 hours of run time at 25% load this powerful inverter generator is ideal for powering RVs, camping, supplying household emergency power and tailgating. Super-quiet power output (57 dB) makes this generator ideal for campsites. Parallel capable to double your output . 30 Amp RV adapter included for easy hookup to your RV.

    Run time: 11 hours @ 25% capacity
    Super quiet — only 57 dB

    Electronic overload protection
    212cc air-cooled OHV gas engine
    3500 starting watts, 3000 running watts

    Digital LCD Screen with low oil, overload and output light indicators
    Integrated smooth-rolling casters for portability
    (2) 120VAC grounded outlets, (1) 120VAC Twistlock Outlet, (1) DC-12V Two Pin Outlet
    Hassle free electric start for quick and easy starting

    Were I buying one today, I’d likely get the 3 kW Predator as the reviews are good and I don’t have an extra $1600 “uplift for the Honda name” laying around, but I could likely get together $850 for something to get me through the next couple of years…

    OTOH, if I were rolling in money and wanted ZERO to worry about, I’d get the Honda…

  60. philjourdan says:

    Yea, Ewelube Does love panic porn. Just not real news. Anyone going to ewelube for anything other than instructional videos is basically a liberal idiot. I work with one. He declared that Columbians that were prejudiced against Venezuelans were white racists. The stupidity of the woke generation has no bottom. They will always dig beneath it.

  61. philjourdan says:

    I have a B&S standard 5500. Did the “Generac” use that engine? If so, I will definitely trade up to the Honda since it is quieter. But the one good thing about the loudness of the B&S is that when it is starting to run out of fuel, you can tell (the sputtering). So maybe not. With Isabel (03) we went without power for 10 days. Spent a pretty penny on gas, but we had power after day 4 (lucked out, went to a lowes and a shipment had just arrived. SO I took a number (20 and there were only 12), but enough of the ones in front of me had taken a powder!)

    Damn thing has been working first crank every year, but it is loud. How often have you run that Honda? I do change the oil and gas every year (and the gas has Stabilizer in it). But other than that, Choke, yank start and it purrs (like an adenoidal lion).

  62. E.M.Smith says:


    Yeah, that was the engine. Friend is happy with it. I’m more noise sensitive.

    I’ve needed to run the Honda maybe a dozen times, for an hour up to 3 days at a shot. In addition I’ve used it for some convenience or other another 1/2 dozen times. It is small and light enough that instead of looking for a big extension cord to get some power to an electric tool at the far side of the yard, sometimes I just used it ;-)

    Maybe more, we did have the Gov. Grey “out” Davis years where power would die a few times a year… but in fact I had about 3 kW of UPS units distributed around the house, so didn’t need the generator until power was out for more than 30 minutes. I would wait 10 minutes (still watching TV and with lights ;-) and then start preparing to run the generator. (Lay drop cable from back door into living room to plug UPS / distribution into it…) then at 20 minutes, yank the starter cord, let the generator stabilize for a few seconds as I removed choke, then would just go unplug / plug in the kW UPS for the living room.

    After that, I’d go to the kitchen and plug the fridge into the drop cord too. (It is a smaller unit of about 700 W so the 1 kW Honda drove it and the entertainment cluster + room lamp easily). Then we were done until bed time. Oh, and I’d go shut off the computers and such so their 450 W UPS would shut up with the chirping ;-)

    It is sometimes a bit slow to start if cold and I’m not quick on the choke, but I think that’s more me than it ;-) Only “fail to start” was with the carb still having some kerosene in the mix… and again, that’s “me” not it.

    Only thing I gave up losing the 5 kW job was the A/C unit and the Washer / Dryer. I did run them on it once, but figured I really didn’t need to be doing laundry for a few days. The thing ran so lightly loaded with the AC that it would sag / surge on ‘kick on’ and I’m pretty sure that was not good for the compressor.

    That was when I bought my 1 kW inverter and battery box and was preparing to build an inverter / battery system that was better for those surge needs and were the Honda could easily charge the battery. But then we voted out Grey “out” Davis on recall and power stabilized under the Republican… so the project got shelved.

    On lesson learned was that trying to run a surging 0- 900 W load off of a 5 kW generator had it throttle hunting sag / surge. You want about 1/2 of full load on a generator so it’s spinning fast enough with throttle open enough to take some surge draw…

  63. philjourdan says:

    @EMS – got the sag/surge covered. Mine will not start up with a load on it. Period. So you start it and then add the load. And it has the loud purr of a over testosterone lion. But that is not all bad since I can hear it sputter, so I will stick with it. We use it almost every year, and often more than once a year. So no problem about sticking kerosene in it. I just drain the gas and oil once a year (usually in the spring) and make sure the gas has stabilizer in it.

    Thought about doing the whole house – and may with another bonus under the belt. But that means getting the 250gal Propane tank. An eyesore! But then nothing is growing in that corner of the yard, so may be a selling point (I would buy so the next owner does not have to hunt down the idiots who own it)l

    For now, we need a new Kitchen floor so it will wait.

    As the “non -CAGW” weather seems to be on the increase, I will probably go with it just because I am getting too old to deal with this shit!

  64. Ossqss says:



    On the Genny item, good extension cables keep the noise down for me. I have several 12 and 10 gage that allow me to put things at a distance, let alone the oversized back feed cables to the panel (RV outlets) if needed.

    The 20 year old Generac 4000 XL gives me about 14 hours at half load on 4 gallons of gas. More if I put it on idle control and the fridge and portable AC shut off. The big boy runs at a gallon an hour with a 12.5k top end startup and 10k run rate without idle control on. I use that to run the whole house air with the 50 amp outlet for the time it takes to cool the house down then shut it down.

    Phil is right, stabilizer help avoid gunk. I always will run the unit dry, dump some straight stabilizer in tank and run it again till it stops to get the bowl full of it before dormant times. Probably not recommended, but it keeps my jets and bowl cleaner and varnish free for the last decade. I do use synthetic oil also as it only take a little bit and seems to last better with oil filtered engines.

  65. E.M.Smith says:

    FWIW, I only did the kerosene thing once.

    We’d used the Honda Generator on and off for a few years (10?) and every year it was run enough that normal use / service cycles were fine and no gas got old. Then, it sat for a few years after Republicans returned stable power. Then….

    I got a call from Florida Friend. “Can I be in Florida for a security and disaster recovery contract for a year or more? Now?” So, OK, I’m going to be “on the road” in a day or two max, and for at least a year maybe more, and do not know what year I will return… So I ran the Honda generator dry, and dumped some kerosene in, then pulled the rope a few time to make sure it was all the way down. THEN hit the road.

    Skipping the middle bit ( I did 3? total contracts in Florida over 10 years and about 5? total years in Florida) I’m back here in California and it’s been a couple of years….

    We get Governor Nuisance… and electrical power goes flaky random again… Generator has sat on the patio about 15 years, and about a decade since I kerosened it… What maintenance will it take?… (This story I’ve told here before).

    I drained the (4 oz?) of oil out and refilled it. Made sure kerosene was dumped from the tank. (Later learned there’s a drain valve built in for draining tank and carb… NOW you tell me!!!) Refilled with gasoline. Yankyank Yankity Yank yank… sputter… Get the spritz can of spray starter ether. Squirt Squirt. Yank yank yank sputter SPPuutter RURmbble. purrrrrr…. (with smoke.. then smoke fades as kerosene washed out). and it’s just FINE.

    I can’t imagine anything sitting for between 14 and 10 years and just starting back up, but it did.

    Per synthetic oil: Yeah, I put that in this time. It was what I had… It doesn’t seem to care, really, what oil is in it.

    I LOVE the Honda. But realistically, I’d buy a Predator for a 2 to 4 year planning horizon extra need. Probably because I already HAVE a Honda for the worst case Gotta Have SOMETHNG!!! need and if a 3 kW Predator died in year 3, well, so what? Cut back to 1 kW from the Honda and count your quarters….

  66. another ian says:

    To help thaw out Texas

    “Righto up the Paris targets. Mt Etna’s gone off – the equivalent of 37 billion Vespa step-through years of CO2.”


    And the comments

  67. another ian says:

    Re-posted at E.M.’s suggestion

    About bigger hardware and potential Chinese contributions


  68. another ian says:

    philjourdan says:
    18 February 2021 at 9:13 pm
    @Another Ian – sorry for the duplication.

    Think of it as reinforcement!


  69. philjourdan says:

    @EMS – OIC (said the blind man to his guide). Yea, if you are gone for 10 years (or planning to be gone for 1+ years), that is a good idea! As our current latitude is a compromise between my wife’s desire for permanent year round temperatures under 70 degrees, and my desire not to get frostbit when I step outside in bare feet, we need not worry about a year sabbatical.

    As I do use my generator yearly (and since the “2 weeks to flatten the curve” turned into “12+ months of dictatorship by blackface Northam”, every time it even “blips” for more than 5 minutes, I am cranking it up. Years past, I would have come home to see the microwave clock reset to realize we lost power (but only know when it came back on, so not how long it was out).

    Now takes me about 5 minutes to switch from (dead) street power to generator. The only problem is the damn internet! Verizon has gone to a 2 box system and one is in the Utility room, and the other is in the Cat room! And that takes 15 minutes to come back up once power is restored! OI!

    So even a UPS would not work (2 might – getting old so may explore that option, although there is no very good place to put the one in the utility room).

    Even a Whole House would not fix the Verizon problem. And I am NOT going back to Comcrap. If I get rich enough, I may explore a Cell Modem. Did that for my wife’s outfit back in 11 when Irene came through. The device at the time cost $250, and the cost per month (with no usage) was $20, more when you actually used it. Nah! For 15 minutes? I will just tell my employer that is comp time.

  70. philjourdan says:

    @Another Ian – “Think of it as reinforcement!”

    Thank you I will! And I will use that (if that is ok) the next time I post without reading the latest comments!

  71. another ian says:


    Many years ago I was visiting with some extension folk, which visit detoured by a small town bar with a sign on the door saying

    “Hours – 2 pm till late”

    As we entered one said

    “Welcome to the liquid learning centre”

    And I said

    “I’m going to steal that from you”

    So feel free

  72. E.M.Smith says:

    I’ve seen some claims that the loss of one nuclear unit in Texas was much more important than the loss of the 25% of power from Wind Turbines. Here’s an interesting story on that:


    The shutdown of the reactor, one of the state’s four, has played a relatively small role in Texas’ power crisis, representing about 1,280 megawatts of the 30,000 megawatts of outages at the peak of the crisis Monday. Nuclear power normally provides about 11% of Texas’s electricity.

    So it amounted to 4.2% of the lost power. A hit, yes, but a minor part of the problem.

    Many of the state’s gas plants were knocked out from icy conditions, and some plants shut down from being unable to access the fuel they need because producing wells froze.

    Wind turbines froze, too, but to a lesser extent.

    Relative to gas, which is Texas’s largest fuel source, the availability of nuclear power is higher, at 75% of expected capacity compared to about 60%, Gilbert said.

    “So it certainly is one of many factors but is greatly outweighed by fossil fuel outages,” Gilbert said.

    That is an interesting point on the gas wells. I wonder just how often natural gas wells get cold enough to freeze?

    As we’ve not seen this happen in the last few decades, IMHO, that constitutes and existence proof that it was “colder than ever” during the life of those wells.

    Global warming is nowhere to be seen.

    FWIW, Texas Wind Power (per the wiki on it) is rated at 30,000 MW nameplate. So losing half of that would be 15,000 MW nameplate (and we don’t know how much wind was driving the other half or if they were producing at all. I’m sure someone knows, but not me and I don’t care enough to go digging for it…)

    Which makes that nuke a very small part of the problem. It also says the “rest of system” that was not generating was about 30,000-15,000 = 15,000 -1280 = 13720.

    So that means that Natural Gas fueled lost plants were less than the nameplate wind lost (if the 1/2 iced is correct AND the others were producing at usual rates… which I think was not true).

    So what this looks to be saying is that in order of Size Of AwShit:

    1) Wind turbines frozen or not windy enough.
    2) Natural Gas supply frozen / having issues.
    3) In a distant third at 4.3%, the nuke going off line.

    Texas will need to get warm enough for those gas wells to thaw and the wind turbines to melt their ice before things can get back to near normal.

    IMHO as the Sleepy Sun continues in a Grand Minimum and winters continue to get colder, this will return with increasing frequency.

    I did see where the Gov. signed something to require power generators to become more cold resistant / tolerant, but that will take time. Putting heated blades on the Turbines also means that in winter when wind is minimal, they become a net draw on those natural gas power plants and the nukes. Somehow I think making demand INCREASE when wind is off line is not a good thing…

    OK, were I proposing the fixes:

    1) Get a water heater on the intake water pond for the nukes. Just make sure they don’t freeze the water intake.

    2) Figure out what froze up the gas wells and put warmers on them, too (of replace with cold tolerant alternatives)

    3) Wind? You have too much of it already. Taking a 25% hit to power supplies when the wind stops is just going to continue to screw you over. Retrofitting with heated blades is either horrifically expensive or can’t be done for a few more decades until EOL of the present blades. IF you do put heated blades on, that makes the ‘no wind and frozen’ problems WORSE. That, IMHO, means you can’t look to that as the solution until you either fix the natural gas well freezing problem, or add more cold proof nuclear power. You simply MUST have more “rotating reserve” on line and ready to fill in for those turbines when the Canada Express arrives again, or you will be right back at frequency sag and dispatchable plants tripping off line.

  73. Ossqss says:

    I suspect much more will be coming. How do we adapt to unreliable sources of energy in a complex world?


  74. Ossqss says:

    I offer the TES data again. It is what it is, Globally.


    I think we overlook the globalist agenda far too often. What do they really want to alter is the question?

  75. E.M.Smith says:


    I think what they want is just more money and control.

    They get that by moving industry to China cutting costs, and breaking America who stands in their way. China can use the global coal supply, make dirt cheap products, that they then sell at big profit margins. USA gets “put in its place” as just another cog in the globalist portfolio.

  76. YMMV says:

    “Get a water heater on the intake water pond for the nukes. Just make sure they don’t freeze the water intake.”

    The water intakes should not freeze because they would not be on the surface, but somewhere lower down. We know that ice forms on the surface and it gets thicker as it spends more time below freezing. We also know that it takes a long time at cold temperatures before the ice is thick enough to skate on. So the water intakes freezing is unlikely. Also, running water doesn’t freeze easily either, so the pumps freezing is also unlikely.


    “At 0526 [CST] on 02/15/2021, Unit 1 automatically tripped due to low steam generator levels. The low steam generator levels were due to loss of Feedwater pumps 11 and 13 (cause unknown).”

    Something about the water pumps, could be cold related, but unknown.

    “Auxiliary Feedwater and Feedwater Isolation actuated as designed.”

    Then why did it shut down the plant if the backup systems worked?

  77. E.M.Smith says:

    Interesting detail on power generation over time:
    Includes this chart:

    Note that Nuclear is that thin purple band at the bottom, the one that barely changes and takes a tiny dip when one unit goes off line. That’s clearly NOT the problem. It didn’t help any, but the problem is somewhere else.

    Now look up a little above it. Yellow is solar and the Slime Green is wind. The outage started about 11 on 14 Feb so about at the peak power output, then it drops to the right.

    Solar goes to zero during the plunge, and Wind drops dramatically. They are essentially useless during this period. Look at the center of the graph. There they are a big part of total production. The Red is Natural Gas and the Grey is coal. Both doing load following and covering for the spikes from Wind. On 9 Feb as demand is spiking and making that mountain of Natural Gas generation, coal gets put on full power and stays there. Coal is not the problem at this point, and Natural Gas is taking ALL the added demand from the severe cold AND the loss of wind / solar. It’s the hero so far.

    Then it goes to shit.

    At the 15/16 transition, things fall apart. What it looks like to me is a Cascade Failure as frequency and likely volts too went unstable and powerplants started tripping. Also with that massive a gas draw, they started losing pressure at some plants. Just way over capacity draw being put on the gas supply (likely all the homes with gas heat also cranked up to high didn’t help…)

    We have the one nuke trip for valve or pump frozen issues (supposedly), and some of the coal goes offline (though why is unclear – protective trip on volts / freq sag or frozen something?) Gas has been doing great, but the peak just can’t be carried with wind, solar out of the picture AND excess gas demand in homes AND a small loss of nuke and coal. It’s over the edge and things trip.

    But notice total power stays about 40,000 MW which is about the peak of the days prior to the cold snap / plunge. It is STILL working harder than the prior weeks and gas is STILL putting out the lions share of total power. Gas has some problems, but it wasn’t the problem, it was saving things.

    What do I think WAS the problem? Look again at that prior weeks. Then look at the demand spike on the 15th. You are running Gas at about 10,000 MW and sometimes down near zero, then spike it up to about 50,000 MW of total. You just can’t have 60,000+MW of gas plant sitting around idle for a couple of years waiting for one of these events. It must pay for itself, and when you can’t use it due to wind & solar, it is losing money. So nobody is going to install the excess capacity needed.

    Frankly, I’m surprised they could run it up to 50,000 MW.

    They could stand losing a nuke. They could stand losing some coal. Heck, they could lose the entire 15,000 MW of those and still cover with gas. What they could not do was cover the loss of 20,000 MW of wind & solar AND take a hit on coal AND a nuke AND have their gas supply run low as total demand spiked beyond capacity to deliver.

    My best guess is they shut down too much coal replacing it with Wind & Solar and made things just too unstable and too uneconomical to keep spinning reserve in enough capacity, all while shifting to a more demanded fuel (gas) with a supply limit and no ability to store on site (like you can with coal).

    The article puts this in “percent of the source” which is not nearly as important as “percent of the total”.

    Natural Gas fell from 43 mwh to 32 mwh, a loss of 26%

    Solar dropped from 1 mwh to ZERO, a loss of 100%

    Wind dropped from 8 mwh to 3 mwh, a loss of a whopping 63%

    Coal fell from 12 mwh to 8 mwh, a loss of 33%

    Nuclear fell from 4 mwh to 3mwh, a loss of 25%

    But they do redeem themselves a little bit by noting how much gas ROSE before the event:

    It is also key to note
    here that, from midnight on February 9, when the first blast of cold weather began to set in across the state, until 11:00 p.m., February 14, when output peaked, Natural Gas rose from 14 mwh to 43 mwh, or roughly 300%. Over that same span of time, Wind dropped from about 30 mwh to 8 mwh, or about 72%.

    So, although a relative handful of natural gas power plants did freeze up, either due to the weather or due to lack of natural gas supply as some pipelines also lost pressure, the unarguable fact of the matter is that so-called “renewables” were utterly useless to Texas consumers during this life-threatening emergency, and that without Natural Gas, the entire state would have been left freezing in the dark.

    Were I choosing how to fix this, I’d cap wind and solar at their present size, adding more of what goes to zero in the time of most need is not a fix; and add more coal plants with a nice couple of months of fuel storage pile… You can’t add more natural gas plant to fix it as you then need more natural gas supply and pipelines that don’t exist. I’d add nuke, but it would take a decade+ just to get approval, if ever… That pretty much leaves coal as the available fix.

    Longer term, I’d add the nuclear plant as solar and wind aged out at EOL.

  78. E.M.Smith says:

    I’d love to see some confirmation of this:

    IF the EPA really did forbid the use of available fuel powered production, they ought to be on the hook for ALL the damages caused.

    Frankly, were I governor of Texas, I’d have just issued an Executive Order to the power providers saying it was OK to run anything they had…

    AND if I were one of the folks in Texas with a $Thousands power bill, I think those ought to be taken to court and sue the EPA to pay it. Class action?

  79. The True Nolan says:

    @E.M. Great analysis of the cascading Texas power failure.

    Cuomo sends sick old folks to elder care homes. DOE tells freezing Texas “no power for you!” I start to see a pattern.

  80. E.M.Smith says:


    All we need to know about Left Progressives is what they have said.

    ~”Humans are destroying the planet and we need to remove most of them.”
    ~”Never let a disaster go to waste.”

    At least some of them, and highly represented at the top, want us dead and don’t mind “disasters for effect”. Plan accordingly.

  81. E.M.Smith says:

    Why the one nuke unit dropped:

    dougbadgero | February 19, 2021 at 9:01 am | Reply
    FYI on the South Texas Project Unit 1 trip:
    STP1 tripped on low steam generator level due to a loss of two main feedwater pumps. The trip was caused by the freezing of a pressure sensing line.
    Determining what happened at a nuclear plant is usually pretty easy because they have to file publicly available event reports with the NRC. Per the daily status report today they are back at 100% power.


  82. philjourdan says:

    So Biden has already claimed his first victims. All the poor souls who died from hypothermia thanks to his adherance to Green energy and the lie heard round the world. I think we need to start a body count on him. NOt like the fake one of the WuFlu. A real one because these deaths in Texas are directly attributable to his obscene regulations. That not only killed Texans. But then made them pay for the death.

    Liberals are ghouls.

  83. YMMV says:

    “Britain’s National Grid warned on Monday the country’s electricity supply margins are expected to be tight this week.” “owing to a combination of weather-related factors and unavailability of power sources over periods of the day with higher demand” “Several of the country’s nuclear power plants are currently offline, while there are also forecasts for low output from Britain’s wind farms over the coming days.”

  84. E.M.Smith says:


    Maybe it’s time I did a little update on “Improvised and DIY Electricity Production” or emergency standby power options…. I have a couple of postings up already, but a few years out of date. And a bit scattered through the volume of other postings.

    Anyone interested in a “do over” where I review what kinds of Preparation let you be happy while the electricity is out? Or is it all pretty obvious by now?

    $30 or so inverter for up to 300 W from your car. Enough to run lights, charge phones and laptops, have communications and entertainment and such, but not ‘fridge or heater / AC.

    $150 or so inverter for hooking to car battery, 1 kW to 2 kW range, charged by idling car motor, good for small fridge too and depending on heater, some heat.

    $400 to $4000 gasoline or nat-gas or propane 1, 2 or 3 way fueled generator. Pretty much runs everything you really need including fridge and furnace. (Electric stove not so much so add a portable camp stove to the kit).

    Those in apartments without access to their car or without a car, need to substitute a very small gas generator, order of $200, for the first 2 steps. Set on the patio or balcony and close the door leaving just enough space for the power cord to get in… These are often noisy as hell 2 cycle motor jobs, but in an emergency, some noise is often acceptable during the daytime. Charge batteries for night time lighting, stock candles and a kerosene or similar camping lantern (the ‘waste heat’ is a feature in winter…).

    That’s the general outline.

    So is that enough, or is a more detailed survey worth doing?

  85. YMMV says:

    I think the weak point in the inverter+car system is the car battery. First it is not deep cycle and second it is not very big. Unless it is a Tesla-type car. Say it is 100 Amp hour (optimistic), which means 5 Amps for 20 hours. 5 Amps is about 60 Watts. If you draw 300 Watts, the time goes down. Non-linearly, so less than 5 hours. But that is at max depth of discharge. Any discharge more than half that is battery abuse, paid for by shorter battery life (more expensive battery chemistries can avoid this setback), so make that less than 2.5 hours. On the plus side, you can run the car engine to recharge the battery.

    If you were to DIY a Tesla Wall type system, but with cheaper battery chemistry, you would need a battery, a charger, and an inverter. For the battery I would recommend FireFly Carbon Foam AGM for its ability to withstand deep depth of discharge and less than prompt recharging. LiFePO4 is beyond DIY.

    It’s interesting, in Ken Burns Country Music mini-series, the people often hooked up their radio to their car battery. Of course back then, they did not use electricity for heating, cooking, or refrigeration.

    The big question is “how long is the power going to be out?”

  86. E.M.Smith says:


    I use the car kit when on the road, or during the time I’m trying to get the generator set up and started… MUCH easier with light ;-)

    Yes, you need to start the car idling after about 20 minutes of decent load. But consider that modern LED / CFL bulbs will light up a whole room with about 20 W of power. Even 9 W is enough. That and charging the cell phone lasts a long time…

  87. jim2 says:

    Texas’s largest electric-power cooperative filed for bankruptcy, saying it is overwhelmed by the more than $2.1 billion in sudden bills stemming from the extreme winter weather that blanketed the state last month.


  88. philjourdan says:

    @YMMV – yep. But I went the cheap route and got a 5500 watt gas powered generator (that has been running a lot since marshal law was declared the governor installed as dictorator in chief).

    But as I am in a technology company that is all Internet based (it was not originally as it was born in the 80s), I am still employed directing Human robots remotely when physical changes are required and doing the rest WFH. SO every “blip” in the grid now gets a Generator start. We covered our deck and I had my cousin install an inlet on the outside so it is 1-2-3 and in less than 5 minutes power is back on. I could do the WHG, but seriously, I do not want a 250gal propane tank on my propety!

  89. E.M.Smith says:


    Having lived through a few more blackouts than I can count… I Really Really like my generator ;-)

    Until just a few years back, we had Satellite TV. Great fun watching the news, LR fully lit, Fridge humming, hot dinner in hand, as the announcer moaned on about the sea of black around us…

    We’d walk around the block and do a Drive By Smugging ;-)

    A one kW is so physically small now, I can’t see us ever being without at least one.

  90. The True Nolan says:

    My personal experience is that even 100 watts of handy power is MUCH better than zero watts. Main uses? Light is first. Recharging small electronics is second. A small fan is wonderful. In hot weather even small 12VDC fans or old PC fans make a huge difference when you are sweating.

    Any type of heat for cooking or room heat is much better supplied by fossil fuel. Camp stoves that will run on unleaded gas can be used for either, and gasoline is almost always available in some quantity, even in emergencies.

    The first night my off-grid cabin had a few solar panels, a small 300 watt inverter and battery? LUXURY!

  91. E.M.Smith says:

    Oh, and Florida Friend is in a Gated Community with a Community Diesel. Lights go out for about 5 seconds, then it kicks in and you hear a bit of a distant thrumming. (It’s in an ivy surrounded fenced area about 200 feet from him… maybe a bit more. Serves the whole street near as I can tell, including street lights).

    I think we’ll see more of that popping up in various communities. Folks just saying “Screw it” and assuring local Diesel power is on standby. My Diesel Sedan has about a 100 Amp alternator, so figure about 700 W at idle. (Plus I can set the idle up with this nice dash mounted control…. Old Diesels, nice 8-) And that’s about my house average consumption. It will idle a very long time on 18 gallons of #2 Diesel… I’ve yet to “go there” but I have the inverter and cables if I ever need added juice beyond the 1 kW Honda (or run out of gasoline… though 3 other cars of gasoline and a bit of hose are also around…) I think that most of the time I’ve got emergency power for about 2 weeks. More if I stretch it ;-)

    So anyone going to answer the question about a ‘renewal thread’ on DIY power? Is it needed?

  92. E.M.Smith says:


    Yup! Thus my Minimalist Emergency Power kit that goes in the car pretty much 100% of the time:

    It isn’t a lot, but enough to light up the whole car, a camp site, or with long power cord, an interior room. Charge cell phone and laptop (and HotSpot). Car has a radio built in, so I’ve not seen the need for a rechargeable radio… Though I did run a very portable hand held TV from it once… (Now obsolete as it is not the new broadcast standard).

    You can live a much happier life with 100 W to 300 W. 100 W will run 10 of the 9 W CFL bulbs that are just enough for a room, and have a little power to spare. When I first set up our house for the Gov. Grey “out” Davis rolling power failures, I was surprised at how long a 140 W UPS would last with just a dinky light on it.

    I tended to get the UPSs for free as I was doing “building shutdowns” when Silicon Valley startups went bust and the general rule was “Throw everything in the trash” with permission to take anything you wanted. So for a while it was “one in each bedroom” and a 1 kW job in the Living Room / entertainment center (and another one on the tech setup…

    I’d let it go about a half an hour before I’d get the generator set up and running. We’d just watch TV and wait… if it didn’t come back on at about 20 minutes, I’d start doing the “transition UPS power cords to generator drop cord thing. Didn’t even blip the TV shows. After an hour or 2+ I’d plug the ‘fridge into the generator too. (By then the UPSs were refilled and there was excess capacity available, and the Fridge would stay cold 1/2 a day anyway). After about 6 to 8 hours, I’d have to shut it down for a refueling, but that was maybe 2 or 3 times? Usually wall power returned before then or bed time arrived.

    I still have the inverters, but most of them need new batteries and I’ve not needed them for a few years now. BUT… with Gov. Nuisance returning us to Democrat intermittent power, that’s “on the cards”. As, it would seem, is a Recall Election for another Dimocrat Governor who embraced rolling power failures… You would think they would remember Dem. Gov Grey “out” Davis… I do.

  93. philjourdan says:

    @EMS – Arrrgg me Matey!

    I fell in love with the 5500watt when we lost power for 10 days back in 03 (Isabel). Since then we have had one episode of 3 days (just a bad thunderstorm that radar said would die out before it got to us), but all the rest was less than 12 hours. The one that it really saved my bacon was a 7 hour outage when Gaston hit., You probably do not remember it as it was never more than a TS. But it stalled over here and dropped 14″ of rain in 7 hours. TG! I had the generator then. We did lose power, but had the sump pump going within minutes And it was still losing the battle! My wife and I started bricking all the furniture! But just when the sump pump was losing the battle, the rain stopped! (the water was 1/2″ from the top of the cistern).

    That was at 7pm. By 4am, the power was restored, But that baby has been purring since 03! And I am not getting rid of it.

  94. Ossqss says:

    Well, this was certainly interesting. Self inflicted?

    “As ERCOT issued the order to start load shedding – rotating blackouts – some of the darkened circuits included vital oil and gas infrastructure. This uncoordinated move starved natural gas power plants of their fuel – leading to a further loss of power and the widespread and incorrect rumor that wellhead and pipeline freeze off contributed to the disaster. ”


  95. E.M.Smith says:


    To go “green”, NatGas wells had gone from natural gas fired deicing to electrical deicing. It is highly likely that this change was not notified or noticed by ERCOT and others in the electrical business.

    What this means is that it is quite likely it was BOTH a self-inflicted shut off problem, AND a “green leads to freezing” problem…

  96. Power Grab says:

    @ EM re: the DIY power strategy…

    My house has a gas heater and water heater and cookstove. I’m pretty sure they all have electric components that don’t draw a lot of electricity. How would I ensure the electricity they need is available from a DIY arrangement?

    The cookstove has igniters that click when you turn the knobs, so I don’t know if they use electricity or not, but the controls for the oven use a touchpad of sorts.

    The house heater, of course, uses electricity for the blower and communication with the thermostat.

    I don’t know what part of the water heater might be electric.

    I haven’t used the gas/wood fireplace yet. It shouldn’t have any electrical components, should it? I was told the gas is for getting the wood to start burning, but you don’t have to continue using the gas after the wood starts. Does that sound correct? (I need a Fireplaces for Dummies tutorial…)

    FWIW we lost none of our utilities during the recent record-breaking cold (the coldest I saw was -13F one morning at my location). I’m wondering what the April utility bills will be like, though!

    Also FWIW, the Oklahoma Mesonet system (mesonet.org) has a page where you can see all the record extremes they have logged. The record lowest temp was on February 10, 2011 (ten years ago, then), when it got down to -31F in Nowata. It looks a lot like a solar cycle pattern to me.

    Curiously, however, the record hottest full summer occurred in 2011 as well.

    Today’s predicted high is 71F (it’s currently 69F under beautiful, clear blue skies).

  97. Ossqss says:

    I would note on power needs, this little item has come in handy more than once. It attaches to any one of my (9) 18v Ridgid batteries which also run several portable lights, fan, vacuum cleaner, and the recently added inflator (which works great and specs up to 150 psi) aside from the basic hand tools (all lifetime warranty items including batteries).


  98. The True Nolan says:

    @Power Grab re gas appliances
    “The cookstove has igniters that click when you turn the knobs, so I don’t know if they use electricity or not, but the controls for the oven use a touchpad of sorts.”
    I believe there are two types of “clicking knob”. If they click once, they are probably piezoelectric and don’t use external power. The act of turning the knob generates the spark. If they click multiple times (clickclickclickclick) they run off of AC power. No problem though, without electricity just use a match to light the stove top burners and you are good to go. The oven is another matter. You probably DO use electronic sensors to keep the temperature setting correct. Easiest solution? Don’t use the oven, or use a Dutch oven on the stove top.

    “The house heater, of course, uses electricity for the blower and communication with the thermostat.”
    Probably not a simple solution for that…

    “I don’t know what part of the water heater might be electric.”
    If it is an older water heater it may not use any electricity at all. It is probably just a “hold this button down, light the burner with a match and wait 30 seconds with the button held down”.

    “I haven’t used the gas/wood fireplace yet. It shouldn’t have any electrical components, should it?”
    Do you light it with a match or is it some sort of “clicker” also? Try lighting it with a match and see what happens.

    If you had experience with home power wiring there are any number of ways to feed a home generator power back into your blower, heater and oven — but the process can be dangerous if done incorrectly and can potentially kill workmen trying to restore power if your home brew power feeds into local lines. Hope this is some help.

  99. E.M.Smith says:


    What TTN said! ;-)

    For the water heater, go look at it. Does it have a wire / cable / plug to the wall? If not, it uses no electricity. Mine just has gas and 2 water connections.

    For the stove and fire place, I’m pretty sure all you need is a box of matches. To find out, flip the breaker to cut power to them and see if you can light the burner with a match.

    For the fire place, my gas / wood combo was fine with just not using gas at all. Built a fire in the usual way on the grate, light with a match and be done.

    For things with a heavy cable to the wall box and no plug, you pretty much need to “back feed” the house. This is VERY risky and a Very Bad Idea. It is what I did…

    I made a “suicide plug” with male connector on each end. Either end plugged into live power means touching the exposed connectors on the other end is lethal. Don’t do this. I would then flip the MAIN BREAKER to the house so that power would not back-feed into the power company lines (potentially killing a worker restoring power…) AND I’d flip off the breakers to things I didn’t want to power (like for me, my furnace motor as it’s never that cold in California SF Bay Area and I sold my 5 kW generator…). At that point, I can plug the Suicide Plug into any outlet and it powers up all the remaining circuits (that are basically just the Fridge and lights and the TV cluster). FWIW, I only did this 2 times as a test and then put it away as a “Deep Emergency Only” measure.

    My procedure was 1) Flip MAIN to OFF isolating from grid wires. 2) Flip other house circuits to OFF isolating them from box. 3) Double check only “generator outlet” feed and other desired destination on the same side of the breaker box are ON (other side of box is on other half of 240 V mains so gets no power). 4) Check it all again. THEN AND ONLY THEN, go plug in Suicide Plug to house and generator THAT IS OFF. 5) Have a bit of a think. Really really think. Did you get OFF everything but the ones you wanted on? OK… 6) Start the generator…, 7) Check that ONLY the rooms you wanted to have power will light a light… (Shutdown is the reverse. Generator off. Unplug Suicide Plug from home and generator. Flip mains on, flip house circuits on.)

    At most a typical wall plug can only carry about 15 amps so that’s a practical limit to this too. Also, houses are typically wired as 2 different sides of a 240 V supply, so plugging into one of those sides will only power the circuits supplied by that side. A 240 V plug into a 240 V outlet can backfeed all of them, but if you have a generator big enough to give several KW of 240 V you really ought to be doing it ‘the right way’.

    The proper way to do this is to install a Transfer Switch. This does all the same stuff (cuts off Power Company Mains, only switches over the load you choose at install time – which is usually the whole house as folks spending a $K or two for this switch gear and install are usually buying a whole house generator…) but does it safely and according to code.

    Personally, during a major power outage, I am NOT using high power consumption appliances like an oven. Even a gas oven. I’m cooking minimal power meals on a camp stove (my kitchen stove is electric…) and that’s about it. IF I need added heat, I’ll fire up a Coleman Lantern that’s a KW or three of heat with some free light added (and make sure a window is open 1/2 inch or so). Yes, everyone says to not do that, and I’d not do it in one of those East Coast Ventilation Free Vacuum Sealed homes, but mine is plenty leaky on air… OR, with a very large generator, I’d plug in a 1.5 KW “oil filled heater” or other electric heater on a fat wire from the generator. Only heat the one room at a time.

    The Suicide Plug and “backfeed the whole house” was prep for a “week or two post quake and need that option as the camping gear is running out” and not intended for regular use. FWIW, I isolated it to the Garage and Kitchen via flipping ALL the other breakers for the house to OFF. (Power goes into outlet in garage, back to house panel, then back out through ON breakers to other parts of the house AND back to the power company wires unless you flip the main breaker to OFF … so flip it OFF.)

    What I actually did during outages was lay a large drop cord from the back patio in through the back door (open about an inch…) and to the center of the house, then had added power cords to bedrooms and the Living Room / TV cluster, and to the Fridge. I did this precisely because I didn’t see using the Suicide Plug as a bright idea on a regular basis AND it assured 1 inch ventilation for any candles, kerosene lamps, coleman stoves & lamps, etc.

    Then again, my hot water works without electricity and I didn’t plan to use my kitchen stove or central heat… IF I lived somewhere that went to freezing or below on a regular basis, I’d really want that furnace to work and I’d likely invest in a 5 kW or better generator and a transfer switch. Or at least lay a drop cord to the furnace. (Mine plugs into the wall in a closet like space. Dinky ‘furnace’ that likely takes about 700 W for the motor, more at start up surge.) So look at your furnace. Hard wired to a metal box or plug in the wall? Then Transfer Switch or big drop cord accordingly.

    You CAN DIY, and a small one is about $70- $100 for the parts. Here’s a random how-to:

  100. philjourdan says:

    @Ossqss – partially. But mostly GND. As EMS said, they had to change their deicing due to GND. And when Wind and Solar went off line (again GND), the Feds refused to let them exceed CO2 outputs to compensate.

    Basically it is a text book case of what is wrong with the GND. It will mean in the future that thousands (not hundreds) die from hypothermia because the power grid is fragile due to being reliant on the climate which will always be unpredictable.

  101. philjourdan says:

    @Powergrab – re: Gas and electric.

    Back on 03 we lost power for 10 days. But like you I had a gas hotwater heater. It had forced air exhaust (which did not work of course), but it had a pilot light, so I had hot water (we just had to be very careful about using it).

    That click on the stove is the electric igniter. But guess what? A grill lighter works just as well (my BIL bought a brand new gas stove for my SIL – and almost from day one that damn electric igniter did not work! But a charcoal starter will always do the trick.)

  102. The True Nolan says:

    One of the things I learned from reading info about CAGW and CO2 is how amazingly more efficient convection is at moving heat than radiation is. During the recent Big Freeze I duct taped all the little cracks in my green house and that helped a lot. Even little cracks you would normally just discount will leak huge amounts of heat when the temperature differential is high enough. So, the lesson? If I ever experience a prolonged power outage during really cold weather, keep enough airflow to prevent potential CO build up, but block off unused rooms. Cover doorways with blankets or tarps. Duct tape when needed. Put plastic drop clothes over windows for an extra layer — bubble wrap is good and lets the light in. Confine living quarters as much as possible, combining kitchen, bathroom and sleep spaces as much as possible. If very cold, set up tents inside your house for one more layer.

    All of that is pretty basic common sense, of course — and yet to a lot of people normalcy bias prevents them from realizing the need to act BEFORE you freeze to death. I am not sure how many people froze during the recent cold, but I can guarantee that most if not all of them had all the materials they needed to survive if they had only acted sooner and smarter — maybe not in the comfort to which they were accustomed, but in relative safety. A Boy (or Girl) Scout would have known better.

  103. E.M.Smith says:

    Emergency COLD survival technique in a house:

    Find the most interior bedroom or the one with least window area. Cover the window with whatever you can to insulate it. Take the mattress and lean it against an INTERIOR wall (they are warmer than exterior) long ways on the bottom as a lean-too. Use furniture to keep the bottom edge from sliding out.

    Find every towel, coat, sheet, blanket, etc. that you can, and make a layer on the floor, drape some along the wall (pinned via mattress / box springs) and use others to drape off the ends. You now have a nice relatively snug lean-to tent with insulated walls set up INSIDE a water proof insulated structure. Put everyone inside it.

    People put out about 100W of heat. 2 or 3 people in that space will keep it comfortable enough even in very cold weather. For Damn Cold, wear your coats, socks and hats too. Make as many as needed to just barely fit all the people in the home in them when sleeping (i.e. one per 2 to 3 people, or 4 if King Sized mattress…)

    Oh, and remember to go shut off ALMOST all the water at the mains, open the lowest faucet you have outside, and let the water in the house drain out (IF you will be frozen long enough for pipes to freeze). Leave a small trickle running from the faucette via adjusting the mains valve so that the line in the ground does not freeze if the freeze depth will reach that deep. Otherwise just shut off the mains valve.

    Drain the water heater into buckets to fill the bathtub for an emergency drinking supply if the freeze will be long enough to freeze it, too (for folks with electric water heaters…). For gas heaters, turn it down to ‘vacation barely warm’.

    There’s more, but you get the idea. Nobody ought to freeze to death inside a furnished home, nor ought they have broken pipes inside the home. Thinking beats Fear and it sure beats letting things just break and cause havok.

  104. cdquarles says:

    Unprepared and wet, temps in the low 60s (15C is 59F) can get you via hypothermia, if you are not cold adapted (most Southerners these days are *not* cold adapted, they are warm/hot adapted, somewhat). So yes, Southerners these days do need to think about cold snaps; but the CAGW propaganda works against that (us Boomers and those who still have parents who can remember the hot 30s and the cold 60s/70s could teach some; but the young’uns won’t listen to us/take our stories seriously).

    Back growing up, my grandparents routinely turned the heater down to 50F at night, to reduce gas usage. The house was built in the 1920s, had high ceilings; and was designed to keep you cooler during the hot days. Insulation? What was that, beyond the wood frame and panels inside and out. The fireplaces had been blocked off and city gas was used. Still the occasional carbon monoxide poisoning happened during cold snaps. Some old buildings had propane or butane tanks outside, the smallest were 75 gallons the big ones 100 gallons or more. Those would occasionally explode, too.

    Folk back then shrugged stuff off. Dying young happened much more than it does now. Older folk remembered the 19th Century and the occasional famine or ugly disease like malaria or yellow fever or cholera killing lots of folk. Just a ditty, about Jack and Diane. Two American kids growing up in the Heartland. … Life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone.

  105. E.M.Smith says:



    How I grew up…

  106. The True Nolan says:

    @E.M. “Take the mattress and lean it against an INTERIOR wall ”

    Ooooh! Good idea — I had not thought of that, using mattresses and box frames for insulation. Put that futon pad on the floor. Turn that sofa on it’s side as a framework for a cave. Use the dining room table to frame a cubby hole surrounded by bedding. Put a layer of books on the floor with your quilts on top. Plenty of possibilities, but we are talking EXTREME cold or at least very prolonged cold.

  107. philjourdan says:

    Body heat is a good warmer. 14 cats do not hurt either. We have had a few 7 cat nights as my wife refuses to set the thermostat above 55 and then just to protect the cats.

    Best thing however, is get a 5500+ watt generator. It will not run HVAC, but it will run space heaters. Yea, I know. It is anti-GND. Well WGAF!

  108. E.M.Smith says:

    I think that will depend on your HVAC size. It would run mine just fine! (About a kW for the blower on my gas heater, and a wall AC… California does still have very mild weather ;-)

  109. philjourdan says:

    California does still have very mild weather ;-)

    And the highest taxes. And the highest gas prices. And the highest Electric fees. And the highest….

    Just about every thing. Paradise comes at a big cost. No thank you!

    My in-Laws live there. We will never move there. At best, we will move to Yuma, but I doubt it. My wife prefers 55, not 105!

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