As Texans struggle with the aftermath of an unprecedented winter storm leaving them with water and energy problems, Dallas County Judge (in Texas, County executives are called “Judges”) Clay Jenkins joins Stephanie Ruhle to discuss what residents need to do now.

Wall Street Journal:

Texas’s deregulated electricity market, which was supposed to provide reliable power at a lower price, left millions in the dark last week. For two decades, its customers have paid more for electricity than state residents who are served by traditional utilities, a Wall Street Journal analysis has found.

Nearly 20 years ago, Texas shifted from using full-service regulated utilities to generate power and deliver it to consumers. The state deregulated power generation, creating the system that failed last week. And it required nearly 60% of consumers to buy their electricity from one of many retail power companies, rather than a local utility.

Those deregulated Texas residential consumers paid $28 billion more for their power since 2004 than they would have paid at the rates charged to the customers of the state’s traditional utilities, according to the Journal’s analysis of data from the federal Energy Information Administration.

The crisis last week was driven by the power producers. Now that power has largely been restored, attention has turned to retail electric companies, a few of which are hitting consumers with steep bills. Power prices surged to the market price cap of $9,000 a megawatt hour for several days during the crisis, a feature of the state’s system designed to incentivize power plants to supply more juice. Some consumers who chose variable rate power plans from retail power companies are seeing the big bills.

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CNBC’s Brian Sullivan discusses what went wrong in Texas as the state reels from its energy crisis with Daniel Cohan, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Rice University

Imagining a V2G Grid

February 24, 2021

Imagine if the 4 million Texans who lost power last week had electric cars, that could have been tapped to support the grid during the emergency, or even just to keep the lights on in the households?
That potential will begin to emerge in the coming decade.


European take above, had some new information for me, in regard to the potential for the additional cycling of EV batteries to actually add to, not detract from, battery life.

Powerful ad by Shawn Lassiter, a new candidate for congress in Texas.

Denton (Texas) Record-Chronicle:

Denton Municipal Electric since Tuesday has spent $207 million to buy electricity, and officials now have to borrow the same amount to make the company whole in a crisis they didn’t create.

“This is a situation that no one could have predicted, obviously,” said David Gaines, an assistant city manager and Denton’s chief financial officer, in a virtual Denton City Council meeting Friday morning. “Our power expenses on a single day exceeded the expenses for the entirety of last year.”

DME is the city’s electricity provider.

“The immediate concern we have is what this means to our fund,” Gaines said after the meeting.

The DME budget is about $231.4 million.

“The $207 million we spent is for buying power off the grid,” he told the Denton Record-Chronicle later. “The immediate concern is that depleted our reserves. We had $100 million fund balance in the electric fund, but we had $200 million in unexpected costs. We’ve got to make up that whole $200 million just for immediate cash flow needs.”

Council member Deb Armintor called it a “statewide financial crisis.”

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OK they probably use some current – let’s generate it with renewables.

As Texas showed us last week, climate change impacts can sneak up on us because the underlying signal is (in human terms) very gradual, but jumps out when extreme events stress engineering or economic systems beyond the design assumptions – it’s an emerging pattern.

In reviewing my 2014 interview with Richard Alley, I found he spoke exactly to this point, in terms of both built and economic infrastructure.

ClimateWire:

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen yesterday offered a glimpse of the Biden administration’s approach to mitigating the risks that climate change poses to the financial system.

Progressives were discouraged by what she had to say.

During a virtual event hosted by The New York Times, Yellen said the Treasury Department may facilitate “stress tests” to gauge banks’ and insurers’ ability to stay afloat amid economic volatility spurred by rising temperatures.

But she stopped short of saying climate-related stress tests would come with any tangible consequences for banks or insurers that are identified as overexposed to mounting climate threats. Those threats, she said, could stem from future environmental regulations — such as carbon prices — or the financial fallout of extreme weather.

That marks a significant departure from the stress tests the Federal Reserve currently conducts.

First used widely after the 2007-08 financial crisis, the Fed simulates hypothetical, yet plausible, economic shocks to test banks’ ability to continue lending amid an economic downturn. When firms fail those assessments, they are required to correct the problem — and avoid potential collapse down the line — by socking away more money, among other actions.

But Yellen said this week that when it comes to climate-related stress testing, “it’s not envisioned that these tests would have the same status in terms of limiting payouts and capital requirements.”

Even so, Yellen said, they would be “very revealing both to regulators and to the firms themselves in terms of managing their own risks.”

That line of thinking runs contrary to policy proposals touted by advocates promoting private and public financial sector actors to stem the flow of capital into planet-warming sectors.

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Financial reporters cut to the chase.

No coincidence that the smart people who can land an SUV on Mars remotely, also give us the best science and data about climate.
Something to remember. The achievements of the last week are a balm to those of us who are raw from years of science denial and ignorance.
This is America. We can still do stuff.
UPDATE: Now, the sounds of Mars.