Grim Day on the Texas Power Grid

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Gold Member
Right of way costs too much? Too politically unpopular to condemn that much real estate?
Small government causes these problem and makes solutions difficult.

Staff Emeritus
Small government causes these problem and makes solutions difficult.
The population of Texas is nearly half that of the UK.
The GDP of Texas is nearly 2/3 that of the UK.
Do you call that small?

Gold Member
Texas is not the only place with concerns. Meanwhile, in California:
I can't imagine the cost of the miles of direct burial cable they are going to put in. Any Idea how much it may cost? Got to be millions?

Gold Member
The argument the Texans use is that it is a matter of independence. If they interconnect to neighboring states that puts the whole Texas grid subject to Federal regulation. THAT is something the Texans will not stand for!

(So far anyhow. I suppose more outages could change their minds.)

Gold Member
The population of Texas is nearly half that of the UK.
The GDP of Texas is nearly 2/3 that of the UK.
Do you call that small?
Interesting misunderstand there; sorry.
The phrase “small government” is used over here to describe a system in which the state is allowed minimal influence on private organizations.
This is the opposite to tight state control, as, as in totalitarian governments. (Big government). The state oversees all operations in extreme cases.
Using the phrase was not a quality judgement; more an Engineering description.

anorlunda
Staff Emeritus
I can't imagine the cost of the miles of direct burial cable they are going to put in. Any Idea how much it may cost? Got to be millions?
It varies so much that it's hard to give a single number. This http://sites.utexas.edu/energyinstitute/files/2016/11/UTAustin_FCe_TransmissionCosts_2016.pdfsays $2,500 per MW mile. Underground cables typically 7x more per mile than overhead, so$17,500 per MW mile. The California peak load is about 45 GW, so to transmit 10% of that 500 miles underground, the initial cost would be roughly 45*0.1*1000*17500=\$7.8 billion. Those numbers are for transmission, distribution needs a separate calculation.

There are also many engineering problems with long distance underground cables. Probably off topic for this thread.

dlgoff and sophiecentaur
Gold Member
@anorlunda
How about the transformers. Will they be underground also? I guess I'm thinking the distribution transformers. Would there be more than two transmission transformers?

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Staff Emeritus
@anorlunda
How about the transformers. Will they be underground also? I guess I'm thinking the distribution transformers. Would there be more than two transmission transformers?
I suggest you start a whole new thread on underground power. It's just too far off topic for this thread.

Fisherman199
This article suggests that Texas will move toward a capacity market. That is what I advocated in this thread under the name ICAP. But they are still letting politicians make the decisions rather than engineers. Worse, it has become a Republican/Democrat politicized issue.
Hasn't everything, now? Power and associated utilities cannot be removed from political discussion. They're too closely inter-twined. A capacity market seems the only good way for Texas to continue.

Staff Emeritus
Power and associated utilities cannot be removed from political discussion.
For example, I worked at the NY ISO. In NY the federal regulator (FERC) set broad guidelines. Details of the markets (including whether or not to have a capacity market) were left up to the participants.

The details of micromanagement should never be embodied in statute law. Saying that, doesn't make things apolitical.

Also IMO, micromanagement of the ISO by the legislature is the direct cause of the 2000-2001 energy crisis in California. Not Enron, but the legislature.

By the way, the governor of New York State was livid with rage when he discovered that the state had zero authority to tell the ISO what to do.

chemisttree