Hippie heating in Texas

Fifteen years ago there were virtually no wind turbines dotting the Texas landscape, but now a quarter of the state’s electricity is generated by those big fans … which have frozen solid in the current cold snap.

What were they thinking?

Texas is chockablock with energy sources from oil to natural gas. As some wag wrote this week, going without energy in Texas is akin to starving to death in a grocery store. You can only do it on purpose.

I heard from my second ex-wife yesterday. She lives in Houston, and there is no power in her house. She is hunkering down with a ski parka and cap. She put the contents of her fridge in her sun room, which is essentially putting it outdoors but where the possums and squirrels cannot get to it.

Meanwhile, Sleepy Joe has canceled the Keystone Pipeline.

What is the moral of all this? Stick to what works and avoid fads.

Copter running on fossil fuel tries to get the hippie fan to function.

63 thoughts on “Hippie heating in Texas

  1. Germany generates more power from renewable sources including wind than it does from non-renewable fossil fuel sources. They export electricity. And they have a far more harsh climate than the temporary cold weather in Texas. Uruguay generates nearly all of its electricity from renewable resources. And there are a lot of other countries doing something similar. Renewable energy is hardly a fad.

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      1. It’s obvious that you are passing along excerpts from social media sites. To really learn what has happened in Texas, and with their electrical nonprofit agency, you should read other sources and get the facts regarding their problems.

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    1. Antonio: Essentially true, but Germany now has the highest electricity costs in Europe, and problems with reliability, which is driving industry out of the country. Meanwhile, France gets 80%+ of its electricity from nuclear, and has some of the lower electricity rates in Europe. I’d not be looking to Germany as the way out of the carbon problem.

      Cheers,

      Kim G
      Boston, MA
      Where we have somehow, absurdly enough, managed to avoid this cold snap that’s hitting the rest of the country.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Our weather is not unusual. Or at least not unusually bad. If anything, it has been warmer than normal. And don’t confuse that with “pleasant,” because it’s anything but.

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          1. Kim: I just learned that much of Central Mexico will experience rolling blackouts between 6 and 11 p.m. to counteract the worse problems in northern Mexico due to a cut in natural gas from the United States due to the freeze. It’s 6:30 as I write this, and all is well.

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            1. Yes, I have also read about that. Apparently it’s so cold in Texas that the various bits of equipment which supply oil and natural gas are not working properly.

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              1. Sadly, Mexico flares off its natural gas. What a waste. I have to wonder why? They import gas rather than use their own. Someone must have an interest in the business.

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                1. Robert: While I understand the economics of flaring off natural gas — not economic to build pipelines for the amount of gas lost — it always enrages me. My last natural gas bill for January was $351, and it annoys me that I’m paying for a fraction of what’s just burned off all over the world as an inconvenience.

                  That said, pipelines are enormously expensive, and can only be justified if the reserves of natural gas are large. This isn’t the case for many oil wells, where the gas is just a by-product. So they flare, enraging both of us, but it does make sense.

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  2. Electricity prices in Germany are over double what you pay in Texas. Some of their renewable sources are biomass, burning wood and other farm wastes. At 33 cents American, I know I don’t want to buy any of their electricity.

    Uruguay gets much of its renewable from burning biomass (47%). Kind of like burning coal.

    It is a fad. The only renewable that is cost-effective is hydro, and there are only so many rivers to dam up.

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  3. If Germany is so energy independent, why are they so crazy to complete the Nord Stream pipeline? While it may warm their homes for a while, it will make them really dependent upon Russia. Remember what happened to the Ukraine when they couldn’t pay up what the Russians wanted for the natural gas? They spent the winter burning fences and furniture to stay warm.

    T. Boone Pickens said that natural gas would have to get to eight dollars before those windmills would be worthwhile. The real money in windmills is in the federal subsidies. Living off of the stupidity of those who think they know better.

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    1. Señor Gill: Thanks for that. I depend on the wider knowledge of the smarter people who weigh in here. Truth is that I know little of the energy industry. I just trust my instincts and distrust of things hippies prefer.

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  4. Bloomberg showed natural gas at $3.06 this morning, so we have a long way to go before those windmills pay their way.

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  5. The actual cost to produce electricity in Germany is less than half of the cost to the consumer. Taxes, which are typically higher there, make up more than half the cost to the consumer. Meanwhile Texans are freezing due to the lack of cheap electricity!

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        1. Señor Gill: While I favor renewal and alternate energy (why not?), it appears some states are jumping on the bandwagon prematurely. I believe the fad aspect is rushing us into alternate energy before the technology has been nailed down.

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  6. Being a Texan, I can tell you the cattlemen are keeping their families and cattle well-fed, and are working overtime to break the ice on water troughs and tanks. Wolf Brand chili for breakfast isn’t half bad and we know to gas up vehicles, not because you’re going to be driving, but you go there to warm up and charge your phone. The rolling blackouts are working effectively in some areas but not all. Don’t worry about us … those of us in rural areas
    will be fine. I can’t answer for folks in the cities.

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    1. Bev: I am sure the city slickers are suffering the most. And I used to be one too. Glad I’m here. It froze here the last three nights, but it warms up quickly when the sun appears. I love Wolf Brand chili. Wish it were available here. You’ve gone and made me hungry.

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    1. Antonio, PS: Don’t be surprised that most folks who pass through my website do not agree with you. It would be like my leaving comments on Huffpost and being surprised they disagree with me.

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  7. Well, a free exchange of ideas is what makes our society work. Eventually, we come up with something that works. Just don’t believe the lies the media put forth. Yes, the windmills work in some cases. On islands or other isolated places. They may work fine in sunny Mexico.
    Yes, the income from them is nice. They make weird noises, but on our ranch, there is no one there except the cows and rattlesnakes, and they are in no position to complain. And, I really don’t care about the birds.

    The Biden administration has banned fracking on federal lands. That means that in states that have checker-boarded federal lands with private lands, that lateral drilling and fracking cannot occur. That is too bad for states like New Mexico that are really dependent upon that revenue. But it is good news for Texans.

    One of the first things the new administration did was to cancel the Keystone pipeline. That means that Canada’s only other option to sell the Alberta oil is to ship it overland in the Trans Mountain pipeline to the BC coast and sell it to China.

    It sure looks like he is doing China’s bidding already. Hang on, it will get worse.

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  8. Felipe:

    I have it from a reliable source that the picture of the helicopter de-icing windmills is from 2016, so entirely unrelated to the current crisis. Basically it’s a fake news photo, or at least one taken well out of context. Windmills in places like Nebraska are already set up to work under extreme cold, but the windmills in Texas may not have that feature.

    In Germany, they are having problems because there’s simply no wind, which is not totally unusual in the winter, according to what I’ve read.

    It would seem that nuclear power is one of the best solutions to global warming, but the people most concerned about GW don’t like nuclear. Instead they want things like windmills and solar. As to the latter, there’s a solar farm near my house, which surrounds a giant gas tank. I drove by it the other day. Half of each panel is covered with snow, which literally defeats the purpose. Not to mention the fact that it’s pretty grey and cloudy here much of the winter, so that also cuts down on electricity production.

    Yes, renewable energy is a good idea, but it’s not sufficient for reliability, and it must not cost too much or we will all be impoverished.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where at least we can deal with whatever Mother Nature throws at us.

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  9. Must be a Texas thing – a power company in western Minnesota reported today that their 1,600 windmills are operating as normal (The temps there fell to -37 F this weekend.)

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      1. Felipe: According to what I’ve heard, there are apparently windmills that are designed for extreme cold and those designed for places that aren’t extremely cold. Texas is the latter, but is having a very unusual situation which is why the windmills aren’t working. Or so they say.

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        1. OK, I’ve seen more about this Texas energy failure. And apparently, it’s more due to a shortage of natural gas than anything to do with windmills going offline. Check out this story:

          https://reneweconomy.com.au/massive-texas-gas-failure-during-climate-extremes-gets-blamed-on-wind-power/

          The “renewable energy failure caused Texans to freeze” story was a little too spot-on for folks who don’t want to think about climate change.

          Apparently the natural gas demand for residential heating is causing shortages at power plants.

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          1. Kim: Perhaps, but I cannot help noticing that website is one that promotes alternative energy, which very well might — and likely does — slant their view. Possibly the truth lies somewhere in the middle, as it often does.

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    1. Sounds like Texas can use the expertise of the Minnesota hippies when it comes to wind power. I converted -37F to Celsius and came up with -39. That is what we call in México “un pinche friasaso.”

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      1. Antonio: See my comment above. Apparently the energy shortage in Texas has more to do with a shortage of natural gas than anything going on with windmills.

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        1. Kim, I had already read about the real cause of the power shortage. I always try to be informed before offering an opinion. But as our estimado don Felipe pointed out, the people that post here are not receptive to anything outside of their view of the world.

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  10. The price of natural gas was so depressed for so long, a good many wells were not shut down, but not used. They paid us for seepage rather than pay the shut in royalty.

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  11. Our power came back on Tuesday afternoon after being out for 36 hours straight. Monday night the overnight low at DFW was minus 2 degrees. It was 39 degrees in the house. It sucked.

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    1. Thirsty: Yipes! We get occasional outages here — far more frequently than I did in the United States — but it usually lasts just a few minutes or even a few seconds. We did get one that lasted about seven hours not too long ago, and it was caused by the power company replacing poles along the street. It was a real inconvenience. One that lasts 36 hours in an ice storm is nasty. Glad it’s back on, and may it stay that way.

      We were told to expect rolling blackouts last night between 6 and 11, but it did not happen.

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  12. Being a duly registered occupant of Texas, I would have responded sooner, but the power was off at our house in mostly rural Texas for a little over 48 hours. Came back at midnight and is still on at 2.45 a.m. It was 0˚F at sunrise Monday morning. That is quite unusual for this part of the world. It’s far more common to deal with 100˚F for days, creating electric grid overloads and a lot of discomfort.

    Climate change is real. It has been real for thousands of years. Long before gasoline and diesel were actual things it was real. We will not solve it by using less of those; do a scientific check on what spews from a couple of belches from an active volcano (of which there are several).

    The wind farm world is owned by companies who want tax write-offs, not profit. There is some nice profit for large landowners in Texas who have dozens of windmills. Same goes for solar farms. I have never heard one of those folks brag about anything regarding their wind farms other than the checks they cash. And, I know several of them fairly well.

    We are decades away from wind and solar being economical in the real world. If we can keep government out of it, we will get there sooner. But, that’s not looking good at the moment.

    Want some nice entertainment? Watch the Texas news over the next few weeks. The loudest screams so far are from those Woke Folks in the cities.

    Saludos, señor!

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    1. Ricardo: Of course, the climate changes. Always has. What we relative insects (humans) can do to affect that is inconsequential in my opinion.

      “We are decades away from wind and solar being economical in the real world”? Quite so. Now it’s mostly a fad.

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  13. Thinking about it, Texas and Oklahoma really depend upon heat pumps, which are just air conditioners that are reversed in winter. They run on electricity. People that heat from a gas tank seem to be all right.

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  14. Felipe:
    Long ago and far away, I was the fuels guy for an electric company. We burned coal and natural gas. The coal was from Colorado, while the gas was from Texas. The coal mine also had lots of natural gas but no pipeline to deliver it, so it was flared off. At that time it was estimated that the U.S. alone had an 800 YEAR supply of coal reserves even accounting for the increases in demand over that time. Our reserves of gas and oil were equally in the 100s of years. I think that is the whole scheme behind this “green new deal.” The rest of the world, especially Europe and Japan, don’t have anywhere near these resources and want to tie the hands of the U.S. behind its back so they can “compete.” Other, less friendly, countries may also just want to tie our hands behind our back! Also, Felipe, check out the Isthmus of Mexico down by Tabasco or Oaxaca. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of wind turbines happily spinning away in the breeze. Maybe even some of your electricity comes from them.

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    1. Pablo: Yes, the United States has a plethora of energy sources within its borders, enough to last even longer than you say, from what I have read. As for the hippie fans in the south of Mexico, they aren’t likely to get hit by ice storms. I have nothing against them as long as they work. Anything that works well is valuable and fine by me.

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  15. Here is a very interesting and informative video from The Federalist. It addresses not just the current weather crisis in Texas and its causes, but the energy problems, many caused by politics, in the United States in general. Toward the end, Germany’s embrace of green energy is addressed too. My amigo Antonio pointed to Germany’s system positively in the comments here.

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  16. You quickly changed the subject to your barrio as more and more information about the Texas energy crisis came to light!!!! LOL!

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    1. Antonio: What I did was move on to another topic on a later day, which is standard operating procedure. As for Texas, it’s become even more obvious that the hippie fans were the basic cause of the Texas disaster. Sadly, it was Republican Gov. Rick Perry who ordered the increase in the hippie-fan percentage about 15 years ago, from 6 percent to 25 percent. Things went downhill from there. I hope the state comes to its senses now, especially since what happens up there affects what happens in Mexico.

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