Power plants that burn coal and natural gas to produce electricity had significant drops in generation as a winter storm hit the US Southeast, forcing blackouts that left hundreds of thousands in the dark.

Duke Energy Corp. and the Tennessee Valley Authority cut power to homes and businesses during the holiday season as an extreme winter storm pummeled the region. Duke instituted rotating outagesDec. 24 that interrupted service to about 500,000 customers, while TVA for the first time in its history had rotating blackouts Dec. 23 and Dec. 24.

The disruption was the latest instance of a major failure to generate electricity in the US following a storm or natural disaster, a trend that’s brought attention to the state of the nation’s energy infrastructure and its dependence on fossil fuels to keep the lights on even as the Biden administration advocates for a transition to renewable energy. 

The failure of coal and gas highlights how even the power sources that have long served as the backbone of the US electrical grid can still falter, especially as the South sees its population increase and relies more on electric heat.

TVA saw power generation from coal plants drop about 68% from more than 4 gigawatts early Dec. 23 to a low of about 1.5 gigawatts on Dec. 24, according to federal data. While gas generation increased Dec. 23, on Dec. 24 it fell roughly 25% from about 11.5 gigawatts to less than 9 gigawatts as the utility ordered outages for almost six hours.

High winds damaged several of the protective structures at the Cumberland Fossil Plant, the biggest TVA coal plant, as well as multiple gas-fired combustion turbines used during peak power periods, a TVA representative said in an email.

Read more: Top US gas supplier EQT saw output drops of 30% 

Duke also saw its gas generation drop off just when it was needed most, according to federal data. Generation from its plants fell about 42% from more than 6.6 gigawatts to a low of about 3.8 gigawatts on Dec. 24, the day it instituted outages.

The weather caused a reduction in Duke’s generation and extra electricity couldn’t be brought in from other power producers or from out of state because those utilities were also facing shortages, a Duke representative said in an email Thursday. And some of Duke’s generation was also offline due to planned or maintenance outages unrelated to the storm. 

WPLN Nashville:

The Tennessee Valley Authority holds the capacity for nearly 34 gigawatts of nuclear, fossil fuels and renewables. That capacity is supposed to hold up in worst case scenarios like Arctic blasts. 

When temperatures dropped to single digits across Tennessee last weekend, however, some of that fossil fuel generation froze, triggering rolling blackouts. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Above, Texas Governor Abbott has a pattern of misleading in a crisis.
Uvalde shooting response compared to 2021 winter storm debacle.

If you have not seen the true story of the Texas blackout disaster, you need to watch the video below.

No Comment Needed

December 30, 2022

Some things are just too good.

As the saying goes, “a conservative is a liberal who’s been mugged.”

The corollary of course, is “..a liberal is a conservative who’s been arrested.”

Andrew Tate is the flimflamming, misogynist, climate denying troll who fucked around and found out when he got arrested in Romania for Sex Trafficking after harassing Greta Thunberg on line.

I mused today on what the jail conditions in Romania might be like. Tate reportedly might be facing 20 years.
A correspondent sent me this.

EU Political Report:

The EU should demand urgent action on Romania’s shameful prison conditions.

The conditions discovered by the CPT parliamentary team fall far below expected European standards for the treatment of prisoners. Their report stated that, during their visit, the team was informed of a considerable number of allegations of physical ill-treatment of prisoners by prison staff, notably by members of the masked intervention groups based in four of the five prisons visited. The CPT found the situation at Galati prison particularly alarming, describing a climate of fear. The report detailed several allegations of ill-treatment by staff corroborated by medical evidence and raised serious concerns over the lack of recording of injuries by the prison health care service and failures to subsequently investigate allegations effectively. In the light of the grave findings, the CPT questioned the raison d’être and modus operandi of the masked intervention groups. There have been calls on the Romanian authorities to reconsider the need for their continued existence. 

The report also documented several cases of severe beatings and sexual abuse by prisoners in their cells, notably among young adult prisoners at Bacău Prison. The CPT urged the authorities to put in place a cell-share risk assessment process for each person entering prison before they are placed in an admission cell, followed by drawing up and implementing of an individual risk and needs assessment. As part of the strategy to combat inter-prisoner violence, the CPT recommended that the authorities invest far more resources in recruiting additional prison staff and developing their professionalism and training. It seems clear that purposeful activities are very much in need inside Romanian prisons, if there is to be a hope of rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders into civil society after serving a custodial sentence.

I’ve been following the impact of climate change on the insurance industry, as people continue to insist on living in at-risk areas, and expect the rest of society to bail them out indefinitely.
That thread may be coming to an end in places like Florida.

Climate deniers all.

Whither Tesla in 2023

December 30, 2022

Above, NASA data visualization.

Below, National Snow and Ice Data Center from September 22, 2022.

On September 18, Arctic sea ice likely reached its annual minimum extent of 4.67 million square kilometers (1.80 million square miles). The 2022 minimum is tied for tenth lowest in the nearly 44-year satellite record, with 2018 and 2017. The last 16 years, from 2007 to 2022, are the lowest 16 sea ice extents in the satellite record.