New Video: Texas Blackouts a Failure of “Baseload Power”

March 3, 2021

The Blackout in Texas was a watershed event that showed us definitively that the whole myth of “baseload power” is just that.
We’ve been told the only way. to be safe from power shortage is to have enough fossil fueled power plants, coal and gas, or nuclear – which are thought magically to never fail.
The polar vortex proved that wrong.

Experts explain above.

15 Responses to “New Video: Texas Blackouts a Failure of “Baseload Power””

  1. Hobart Stocking Says:

    Wow! Absolutely the wrong headline to broadcast. The unintended consequence is that the more we repeat the frame or fight it the worse it is for renewable energy. Here’s my take on it and how to respond to this trap set by the fossil fuel industry.
    Hobie Stocking

    • J4Zonian Says:

      Hear, hear! We can’t emphasize that enough.

    • greenman3610 Says:

      totally right, I made an error here, and will correct.

      Kind of like “I am not a crook”

    • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

      Don’t go overboard people. The moronosphere have already been told the sun rises in the west and renewables are the problem. Nothing there changes. At worst, the truth is out there.

      • J4Zonian Says:

        But the moronosphere’s corona, a majority in the US, doesn’t buy into that because of psychologically-determined ideological reasons; they only buy into it when actual explanations aren’t available or when peer pressure makes them do it. We need to provide an after-school special for them to teach them that it’s wrong to go along with the bullies.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      The GOP rules at framing. The Dems seem to have only recently figured that out.

  2. J4Zonian Says:

    Video 3:00
    All of the above, part 2. Still a lie. (Wind actually outperformed expectations.)

    • Mark Mev Says:

      Does anyone know of a site that shows a detailed timeline of thermal (coal,gas,nuclear) and wind electrical generation failures and the amounts lost.

      • J4Zonian Says:

        I don’t have any comprehensive timeline, only some resources I’ve used when the subjects come up.

        Crude Oil Transportation: A Timeline of Failure (US)

        pcs[DOT]gr[DOT]jp/doc/incident/incidents_e.html A Map of

        Worst coal disasters



        All [12 of] the U.S. Nuclear Plants That Almost Melted Down in 2012 (60 over the last 3 yrs)
        All “Near-Miss Events”, defined as anything that raises the chances of a meltdown by at least 10 times
        Reasons: (aging) equipment failures, security failures, in most cases, lax oversight by the NRC,

        Lists of nuclear disasters and radioactive incidents

        A 2015 study found that about 85 percent of Diné homes are still contaminated with uranium

        How many Solyndra-equivalents did we waste on various CONG projects?
        Link doesn’t work; I couldn’t find the page

        Note: worth mentioning that the much cited Solyndra bankruptcy was part of a  portfolio of support for cutting edge renewable energy business models, the vast majority of which were successful, *so much so that the taxpayers will realize a 5 billion dollar return on the investment.** [actually $5-6 billion]

        * thehill[DOT]com/policy/energy-environment/223997-program-that-backed-solyndra-turns-profit
        ** thinkprogress[DOT]org/scandalous-solyndra-program-actually-earned-taxpayers-a-5-billion-profit-f0cb10ca99d3/

Georgia’s nuclear revival: 28 Solyndras:
        Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository: 180 Solyndras
        Hanford Nuclear Reservation cleanup: 224 Solyndras
        Department of Energy’s non-energy work: 35 Solyndras/yr
        FutureGen and FutureGen 2.0: 5.6 Solyndras
        Kingston, Tenn. coal ash spill: 2.1 Solyndras
        LUST and clean air (Leaking Underground Storage Tanks): 58 Solyndras
        Federal oil and gas subsidies: 8 Solyndras/yr
        BP’s Deepwater Horizon penalty [and way, way too small—didn’t come close to paying the costs, let alone the punishment that should have been levied]: 9 Solyndras
        Ethanol subsidies—neither renewable nor sane, this yields an EROEI of about 1:1 and is essentially a money and energy laundering scheme for oil: 40 Solyndras over 30 years
        America’s spending on salty snacks: 44 Solyndras/yr
        Food wasted in the US: 300 Solyndras/yr

        28 Solyndras: Georgia’s nuclear revival
        Southern Co.’s proposed new nuclear reactors near Augusta are behind schedule and already 1.8 Solyndras over budget, an amount that will be tacked on to the 28-Solyndra price tag the [reactors] will already cost the utility’s ratepayers.
        180 Solyndras: Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository
        This one is a tad unfair, if only because the costs are still rising. The Nevada site will likely never open – even after running up a 180-Solyndra price tag. Utilities have been paying into a project fund for years while managing their nuke waste on-site, and both they and state agencies have sued the feds to recover their 60-Solyndra stake.
        224 Solyndras: Hanford Nuclear Reservation cleanup
        This tab comes for a Department of Energy site that’s already amassed a multi-Solyndra cleanup tab every year for two decades. The agency’s cleanup plan calls for at least four Solyndras annually until at least 2065.
        35 Solyndras a year: Department of Energy’s non-energy work
        A reasonable person could ask why would Congress – or any overseer of the Department of Energy – even worry about Solyndra, let alone the agency’s green energy program. It’s a rounding error compared to the task that gets two-thirds of the department’s budget: Maintaining and cleaning up after America’s nuclear weapons inventory.

        5.6 Solyndras: FutureGen and FutureGen 2.0
        Uncle Sam’s two clean-coal research efforts never locked away so much as a ton of carbon dioxide. The paltry return on 3.6 Solyndras’ worth of industry and government investment in the original 2003 edition didn’t stop the Obama administration from doubling down with two more Solyndras in 2010. 
        2.1 Solyndras: Kingston, Tenn. coal ash spill
        What’s the cost of our appetite for coal power? Residents of Kingston, Tenn. woke up to a nightmare three days before Christmas in 2008. Some 5.4 million cubic yards of coal ash slurry – a noxious, toxic flow from the Tennessee Valley Authority’s nearby coal-fired plant – ran like a “black wave” through the tiny Emory River after a holding pond dike collapsed. 
        More than four years later, TVA and local authorities are still dealing with cleanup and arguing over damages. The spill brought national attention to coal-fired power’s waste stream. Federal officials estimate that there are 47 “high-hazard” coal ash ponds across the United States. 

        58 Solyndras: LUST and clean air
        Leaking Underground Storage Tanks have given us both the Environmental Protection Agency’s kinkiest acronym and widespread water contamination from the gasoline additive Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether, known as MTBE, used to clean the air. MTBE contaminates groundwater in minute concentrations – as low as two parts per billion – and some 1,800 water systems have detected the additive in their tap water. In 2007, the American Water Works Association estimated the cleanup costs at 58 Solyndras.
        8 Solyndras: Federal oil and gas subsidies/yr.
        Speaking of hard-to-cut programs, the oil and gas industry’s annual largesse from American taxpayers is still about eight Solyndras per year. On the campaign trail, Obama promised to bring this to an end.

        9 Solyndras: BP’s Deepwater Horizon penalty [and way, way too small]
        BP just settled with the U.S. Justice Department to pay nine Solyndras in criminal penalty, on top of the vast sum they’ve spent attempting clean up the Gulf of Mexico and compensate the 2010 spill’s economic victims. The company hoped to recoup its losses via an 80-Solyndra lawsuit against its former drilling partner, Transocean. Last week Transocean settled with the feds for a 2.8 Solyndra payout.

40 Solyndras: Ethanol subsidies
        In a rare bipartisan show last year, members of Congress from across the political spectrum (but not from the Corn Belt) let a federal subsidy for ethanol expire. The tax break cost at least 40 Solyndras over its 30-year history. Ethanol had been criticized on multiple levels, from its diversion of farmland to its contributions to water pollution to its inefficiency as a fuel source. In the “fiscal cliff” drama, ethanol subsidies were extended into 2013.

        44 Solyndras: America’s spending on salty snacks

        [Other things to look up: energy wasted on…
        oversized and 2nd+ homes ? ]

        Food wasted in the US every year: 300 Solyndras

        • Mark Mev Says:

          Ok, first thank you for that long informative post. I’ve saved your info for later arguments.
          I, of course, forgot to be explicit or even close to correctly wording my question. I have been in discussions with people inflating the number of MWs lost and the timing of wind generation failures during the the Texas blackouts. I’ve seen some graphs that sort of show the declines in the different sectors, but it is not real clean. So, I have been searching for more explicit data showing when the different electrical generators in Texas started failing.

        • John Oneill Says:

          ‘180 Solyndras: Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository
          This one is a tad unfair..’
          It’s definitely unfair, since the nuclear power companies were paying a levy on every kilowatt they sold to cover it, while getting nothing in return – they’re still housing all the spent fuel. ( It’s not ‘waste’ unless you waste it, and it’s not really spent either – it still contains about twenty times as much embodied energy as the day it first went into a reactor. Leaving it in casks till it’s ready to be burnt in fast reactors would cost little and risk nothing.)
          The Hanford cleanup has nothing to do with nuclear power either – it was a weapons facility. Plutonium production reactors for weapons generate far more spent fuel than power reactors, since you have to take all the fuel out after a month or so, and dissolve it in nitric acid. Fuel rods for electricity generation stay in the reactor for four and a half years, after which they stay inside their metal tubes and cool down, either forever, or till the cost of uranium triples.
          A ‘Near Miss Accident ‘ is ‘anything that raises the chance of a meltdown by at least ten times’ ? Interesting arithmetic. In any case, the US has already has one meltdown, which killed approximately zero people, as opposed to coal plants, which kill about thirty-five Americans every day, without even needing an accident. So if the Tennessee Valley Authority had carried on building the eleven reactors S David Freeman cancelled -like you, he was keen on renewables and efficiency – they could have shut down similar numbers of coal plants a lot sooner, not built most of their fifteen gas plants, and they’d have a few more tons of spent fuel sitting in casks that would also have killed nobody.

          • J4Zonian Says:

            I don’t know why you guys keep arguing this; the issue has been decided. Nukes lost.

            The energy of the 21st century is clean safe renewable energy.

            You should also try reading things before jumping in with both hands open, trying to turn calm discussions and boxing matches into slap fights.

            Hanford is an ENERGY DEPT. facility because nuclear weapons and nuclear energy are inextricably intertwined in an unholy twinity, from basic research to dangerous polluting waste. They even share the paradigm of creating useless and dangerous stuff and keeping it around forever hoping it might be good for something someday. There’s deep psychological meaning there we’d do well to investigate before letting the paradigm’s adherents have any sharp objects or things we could all choke on.

            It IS unfair, because 180 Solyndra-equivalents was only the start; it’s much higher now and still rising, as even more money’s wasted both on expensive—and ever more expensive—energy, and phenomenally expensive yet useless weapons. They haven’t been used by any of the countries holding them since 1945 (the very definition of useless) except to intimidate and terrify, something I’d call unAmerican if it weren’t completely United Statesian, intimidation and terror, especially for profit and the domination demanded by malignant narcissism being the MO of this country for more than a century, that finally found its perfect mirror in the Trumpian Republicans. And of course, if calling it unAmerican didn’t unfairly include South and Central America.

            But I guess it’s working after all; we are certainly terrified of allowing mentally ill Mussolinis to have nuclear anything. They’re as good a reason as any to not keep either weaponized energy or de-weaponized weapons around.

            Yes, coal is bad. Thank you for that wisdom. But both arms of the unholy twinity have killed people, while only providing that aforementioned uselessness plus monumentally expensive energy and being a drag on the transition to rational energy systems.

            The nuke industry getting the taxpayers to pay for a terrible plan the spent fuel rods in charge helped create is hardly a just punishment for such malevolence; they should be forced to keep the stuff in their closets, leaking and hidden away as it is now.

            I can’t think of anything worse for a crumbling civilization than—I notice you avoided using the word—breeder reactors making more deadly waste and requiring it to be carted around the country, even the world. That world is full of terrorists because we’re also following the same paradigm there, creating more every time we try to get rid of the existing ones. The dual nuke industry has killed lots, and if any attempt is made to increase its use of reactors, relegating the B-team to it, and the C-team…and the Q-team… there will absolutely without any doubt be more accidents, some of them even worse. If it’s someplace like…well, I was going to say the aptly-named Turkey Point, but it could be any of the many reactors near hundreds of thousands or millions of people.

            Without the dishonest, illegal and pathologically immoral behavior of both the fossil and fissile fuel industries and their minions and allied lunatic right wing, the world would already be powered by clean safe renewable energy, so using the lack of it as an excuse is pitiful and disgusting. Nook boosters have no one to blame but themselves and their equally psychopathic co-conspirators for the fact that fossil fuels are still most of our energy. You should find a new cause.

          • John Oneill Says:

            To J4Z-
            The Department of Energy funds stuff like solar and pollution reduction, as well as weapons, reactors, and fossils.
            The Cold War, unlike the US nuclear power industry, didn’t kill nobody, but it killed far fewer than the hot wars which preceded it, and eventually forced even the Russian Communist party and Ronald Reagan to acknowledge that war between the majors was pointless. I live in hope that the same thing will happen in the subcontinent – India and Pakistan fought three wars, with millions of casualties, before they both got the bomb. At that point, they installed a hot line between Delhi and Islamabad, to prevent any stupid mistake from starting a real war, and they’ve been careful to keep the pot from boiling over ever since. Same thing with China and India – they conduct their occasional border clashes with fists and sticks, very chimpanzee territorial style. Soldiers still get killed, but only a few, and cities don’t get razed, like they used to in fossil fuel wars. That’s why the Israeli right wing is so keen to stop Iran getting the bomb – not because they think Iran would destroy their country, but because they’d have to quit playing cowboys all over the Middle East and actually negotiate with the people they share the region with, and Yahweh forbid, make some genuine concessions… At least the Israeli bomb stopped the series of full scale Arab-Israeli wars that had preceded it.
            Incidentally, you might have forgotten the horrors of the first, and last, SOLAR war .. yup, Archimedes used mirrors to try to set fire to the Roman ships besieging Syracuse. They lost that war, and I’m pretty sure the solar warriors will lose the war against climate change too, if we let them take it over.

  3. Failure of “baseload power”?

    Myth of “baseload power”?

    Logical absurdity:

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: