It is so cold....

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by AggieMike88, Feb 9, 2021.

  1. Bob Noel

    Bob Noel Touchdown! Greaser!

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    wrt Texas problems with the cold... a few years back the Boston (massachuestts) MBTA had a number of problems with "frozen tracks"... people blamed the cold, but the root of the problem was failure to properly maintain the heating elements. The system was designed to handle really cold weather, but the system wasn't designed to handle inadequate (e.g., completely missing) maintenance.
     
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  2. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    Even so, wind power generation isn't particularly great in the winter for OK/TX as it is. Even if the cold weather packages had been installed, it probably wouldn't have resulted in a ton of power generation due to large cold weather losses and the wind not really blowing enough to generate much of anything. I think the capital invested in "green" energy projects took away some of the capital for maintaining/expanding the existing nuclear/fossil fuel generation facilities. When you've been told they have to be phased out or that the power company will be subject to heavy taxes/fines for not having enough green energy, you get what we saw this week. Law of unintended consequences for gov't meddling in free markets (as free as power generation can be anyway).
     
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  3. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    As I mentioned in post #96 above, where I live we get serious winter. 11% of the installed power generating capacity is wind turbines. Once the arctic fronts that create the serious cold move past us and south towards Texas our coldest periods are from stable, nearly stationary high pressure systems that just sit. And in those conditions, as we've been having recently, so do the wind turbines.

    We have 23 wind farms feeding the grid in our region. This morning 10 of them are showing output, the combined total of which is <9% of the installed wind turbine nameplate capacity, and <2% of current consumption. We don't have power problem because gas and coal generation is carrying the load.

    There's no one answer that is right or wrong about generating power. A diversity of sources and types of generation is usually the most prudent. The main problem in Texas is both the wind turbines (yes, they are turbines, not windmills) and the natural gas supply sources for those generators have both been compromised by the persistent cold.

    Coal plants are usually built adjacent to thermal coal mines, or have significant fuel stockpiles from rail unit train deliveries. Can't do that with natural gas. Or wind. The advantage of wind is there is no ongoing energy input cost. But the utilities need a fairly high utilization rate to make the numbers work. Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas are three of the places where the numbers actually work well given the wind frequency and intensity range. Nuclear might make a comeback, but uphill to overcome public concerns after TMI, Chernobyl and Fukushima.
     
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  4. Craig

    Craig Line Up and Wait

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    Power back on a couple of hours ago and now stable. Got my first decent hot meal since Saturday...Animal crackers, a ham sandwich and a cup of ramen since Sunday morning.

    ERCOT and producers have a lot to answer for on this event, as well as well operations maintainers. A lot of plant design and maintenance people are going to be looking hard at why individual plants went down. STNP dropped a unit offline due to exterior cooling water freezing in pump lines. Couple of gas fire plants went down due to low line pressure, which was caused by well pumps losing power and not being able to feed the pipelines. Heck of a mess.
     
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  5. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    I think the bigger hurdle is finding companies/investors willing to accept the much longer payback period on money invested. From my understanding, natural gas/coal plants start seeing positive cash flow after about 5 years or so and payback is 15-20 years. Nuclear is double that amount, so you have 30+ years to payback at a minimum. Not too many companies want to tie up the enormous amount of capital to build a nuclear generation facility waiting on a 3-4 decade payback, although it is (on paper) cheaper in the long run.
     
  6. Craig

    Craig Line Up and Wait

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    Did hear that a couple of coal plants dropped offline due to not being able to move coal from the stockpiles to the feed system. Hard to dig ice laden coal.......
     
  7. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    Just have to make it to to the weekend when we can get some higher temps to help thaw the natural gas supplies out a bit. Lots of busted water pipes in TX right now (and a few in OK). Plumbers are going to be millionaires by the time the month is over.
     
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  8. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    The natural gas system lost supply mostly because the produced water from the oil and gas wells is freezing in the surface production equipment. The separator water boots, dumps, produced water storage tanks and the surface lines in between equipment in the Permian basin all froze solid. Even the saline produced water was freezing in the extreme (for West Texas) temperatures - almost unheard of. Numerous companies shut in entire fields as they judged it unsafe to continue to operate.

    Take a gas supply source like the Permian largely offline, replicate that in a few other producing basins in the Midwest region, and the gas distribution networks lose pressure quickly as communities and industries just try to keep their buildings from freezing.

    All the diesel anti-gel in Midland and region got snapped up at the onset of the cold weather so even keeping the diesel black-start generators running has been a problem out there.

    Dallas got hit with more snow last night. This morning I have crews in the field across a region that stretches from Houston to Jacksboro, TX, north to Tulsa and east to Lebanon, Missouri and Fort Smith, Arkansas. The east side is seeing the gas system pressures starting to return as it started warming noticeably yesterday and space heating demand is slowing a bit as a result. We are tracking the system pressures and make-up flow rates at the locations we are working real time on the telemetry installed on our equipment.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2021
  9. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

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    It's 44 degrees and clear in OKH. no snow on the ground.
     
  10. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down PoA Supporter

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    @GRG55 is giving me flashbacks to my Texaco pipeline ops and tanker scheduling days. Loooooong long ago. Twitch. Twitch.

    Gotta go create some new permanent trauma now in telecom ops... Comcast finally let me talk to their PM a month plus after requesting a circuit move....

    It only hurts until you're dead. Lol.
     
  11. Craig

    Craig Line Up and Wait

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    Had to laugh when you mentioned Texaco tanker ops... Dad and a couple other metallurgist and lab techs had to chase, I think it was the North Dakota, up and down the eastern seaboard for a couple of weeks trying to do a cylinder inspection and determine why they were chewing up a couple of main engine cylinders pretty regularly. The tanker would dock and go to shore power and start pulling the specified cylinder down and cooling it so dad and the other guys could enter it and do their testing. He said it felt weird riding the piston up and down as they barred the engine over to make the moves that were needed. They were finally able to figure out what what going on and how to prevent it in the rest of the company fleet.
     
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  12. David Megginson

    David Megginson Cleared for Takeoff

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    I just want my fellow pilots down in Texas to know that no one up here in Canada is making fun of you for the struggle with the winter weather. We do make jokes about how incompetent Boston, NYC, or even Toronto are at dealing with a snowstorm (seriously? they shut down for 3" of snow???), because they should know better, but there's no reason you guys should have the infrastructure to deal with this, any more than we should have all our buildings hurricane- and earthquake-proofed in Ottawa.

    Cold weather's not a big deal here only because we're set up to deal with it. Our houses are insulated, we all have central heating and warm clothing, our transformers and power lines are built to cope with low temperatures and heavy snow, and we have huge fleets of snow plows ready to hit the streets and sidewalks as soon as the first snow flurry falls. So when we "deal" with the cold, it's because we're propped up by a lot of planning and infrastructure to help us do it.

    So keep warm, Texan friends, and look after your neighbours. Best of luck.
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2021
  13. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator Final Approach

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    Yup, one of the first things I did on Sunday was get a large bottle of Diesel Power anti-gel. Dumped about 40oz into a 44gallon tank to make sure I was covered. Supposedly my diesel fuel station uses winterized diesel in Tulsa, but I'm not in a mood to play a game of "how cold is their blend good for". I wouldn't be surprised if the auto parts stores in Tulsa are running pretty low on anti-gel by now with so many people in the area not really used to using it during a typical winter. Probably some backlog at diesel shops for changing out fuel filters and thawing out the trucks who didn't get anti-gel in the tank soon enough.
     
  14. TCABM

    TCABM Pattern Altitude

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    Several plants also had water cooling inlets freeze.

    The Texas problem right now is systemic. Demand exceeds the ability to supply for various reasons, transmission is interrupted due to everything from line loss and downed lines to local utilities unable to implement rolling blackouts from a capability/technology stand point.

    Those failures cascade to water utilities that don’t have power to pump houses to refill gravity feed tanks to mainlines freezing back from hydrants and other exposed areas, to wells freezing.

    Politicians are busy eating their own and throwing blame everywhere else instead of looking inward and asking how did we let this happen and how do we prevent it from ever happening again. The answer has to start with baseload, because that has to be stable to deliver any excess capacity generated by alternative means.

    Stable baseload in extreme conditions doesn’t get fixed overnight and it requires big dollar investment that voters just don’t want to approve.
     
  15. Dan Thomas

    Dan Thomas Final Approach

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    Yup. Canadian energy producers deal with this all the time, so thing like the natural gas processing and delivery systems are designed so they don't ice up. Most Canadian homes don't rely on electric heating, either, unless they're in some really temperate location like Victoria, and much of that was due to the non-availability of NG there until a pipeline was built across to the Island maybe 25 years ago. Now, Vancouver wants all new houses to be fossil-fuel-free fairly soon so they can suffer like Texans.

    Way back in the 1960s when BC Hydro was building hydroelectric dams all over the province there was a big push to "Live Better Electrically" by using electric heat in new homes. When power was dirt-cheap. We looked at such a house in 1980 that had electric heat, and once we got a look at the utility bills we walked away from it. Can't remember how much per month in the winter the cost was, but it was at least as big as the mortgage payment itself.

    We have wind turbines here that sit still in the cold weather, due, again, to the fact that a high-pressure system that just sits there generates no wind. And that's when things are coldest in the winter and hottest in the summer, both big factors in energy consumption. Ice storms in western Canada are rare; I don't know if the turbines here have heated nacelles and blades, but if they did it would require a significant chunk of the produced capacity to heat those blades to keep them ice-free. If the thing isn't generating, the energy would have to come from the grid. More costs.
     
  16. David Megginson

    David Megginson Cleared for Takeoff

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    Mostly true, but not in Quebec, where people have long been encouraged to use electrical heating (since Quebec has so much hydroelectric power), and it seems to be the norm.

    Unfortunately, while my house is natural-gas-heated in Ontario, we still rely on electricity to drive the furnace ignition and fan. I could probably rig up something to work around that with a generator or large battery. On the bright side, power outages are rare and usually quickly fixed, and tend to come from thunderstorms and wind bursts rather than snow and ice (therefore, during warmer weather).

    People in rural areas with wood stoves and/or fireplaces are the best off, because they can keep their places warm regardless.
     
  17. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    Personal boredom’s has spawned a question as a result of this “stay indoors” cold weather....

    What will be the percentage rise in birth rate come November?
     
  18. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Texans are a renewable resource.
     
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  19. David Megginson

    David Megginson Cleared for Takeoff

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    We've already been asking that question with COVID-19 since last March. :)
     
  20. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    58 hours later, our fridges and those of all the restaurants & grocery stores are empty of spoiling food...but our power is back on.

    Just read a lengthy 'explanation' by the ERCOCK I mean ERCOT CEO which consisted of nothing but air and no acceptance of responsibility nor promise of improvement.
    We need to clean house and put in people who have actually implemented an infrastructure in other areas which has excess capacity and is designed to weather a little cold. &$!*@
     
  21. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Is it just me or can you also only hear fluff and doublespeak, no real explanation for why they were not prepared nor what improvements are planned? (ERCRACK CEO explains)
     
  22. David Megginson

    David Megginson Cleared for Takeoff

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    For future reference -- when you have a power failure in cold weather, pack your food into a cooler and put it outside (e.g. in an unheated garage or shed). I like to defrost our freezer in the winter for just that reason.
     
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  23. AlleyCat67

    AlleyCat67 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Free markets would dictate more wind and solar since they are becoming the least expensive source for much of the country. Seems like the solution is a diversity of sources, and a robust national grid so that deficits in one location can be fed by other locations. The Texas “go it alone” model may not be the best option.
     
  24. NealRomeoGolf

    NealRomeoGolf En-Route

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    Texas wants to be its own country. Let them be stupid.
     
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  25. Plano Pilot

    Plano Pilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    We live in North Plano and until today power was out most of the time Monday and Tuesday. It got down to 57 inside the house on the coldest night. Phone data usually almost died with the power. We are near a Home Depot and their WIFI stayed on so we could get internet. Unfortunately it blocked several sites including this one.

    Had a waterline burst, yesterday, in the attic of the garage but caught it quickly. Was able to cap it, I think it goes to an outside faucet. We are doing well and have had power since 9:45am today and water. Helped 4 neighbors turn off their water after lines burst, one place had water running out the front door!
     
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  26. AggieMike88

    AggieMike88 Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    The original "I don't know it all" of aviation.
    It was weird that during the middle of the night in Monday, the warmest place in my house was the interior of the refrigerator
     
  27. Plano Pilot

    Plano Pilot Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I had the freezer stuff outside and the refrigerator stuff in the garage.
     
  28. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    No they don't!
    It's just a few vocal idiots that you read about in the news which gives you that impression.
    Most Texans don't (but they do think about it when the feds try to impose something stupid on them!)
     
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  29. NealRomeoGolf

    NealRomeoGolf En-Route

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    I dunno. I lived in Texas for 10 years. Sure seemed like a thing.
     
  30. AKBill

    AKBill En-Route

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    There is always drill and blast..:rolleyes:
     
  31. RyanShort1

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    Challenge accepted, please.
     
  32. NealRomeoGolf

    NealRomeoGolf En-Route

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    See, @Let'sgoflying! ;)
     
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  33. iamtheari

    iamtheari Administrator Management Council Member

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    I can’t remember where I saw this, but it was sometime last spring: “If there is a baby boom in 9 months, they will all be first-born.”
     
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  34. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    I guess when I saw the failure of the Republic of Texas militia , I figured there was no interest!

    btw, the standoff for this group actually started right out front of my property when I was planting a couple of pine trees in 1997. Police had stopped a member for a minor traffic violation and the dude figured this was 'it', the government was going to quash the movement so he radioed back to headquarters to 'dig in, the siege is on!' They then kidnapped friends of ours Joe and his wife, M.A. Joe got shot but lived, he's still around as far as I know. (The band of thugs has dispersed)
    https://www.mrt.com/news/article/1997-Republic-of-Texas-standoff-intense-damaging-7597664.php
     
  35. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    I was doing some work in the UK about 15 years ago and leased a flat in Kensington for a few years. London is the only place I've ever had a residence and didn't feel the need to own a car to get around. One day on the way to Trafalgar Square I was strolling through St. James and came across this plaque. A little research and I found out three years before that Texas established an embassy in Paris, France.

    So let's cut them some slack. It hasn't even been 200 years since the Republic of Texas was downgraded to a mere State in the Union, on par with say Delaware. :rolleyes: They just need a bit more time to get over it. :D

    IMG_0709.JPG
     
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  36. TCABM

    TCABM Pattern Altitude

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    Wasn’t Texas Embassy Cantina somewhat nearby?
     
  37. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    Yes, it's just a short distance away, just off Pall Mall as you get close to Nelson's Column at Trafalgar Square
     
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  38. IK04

    IK04 Pattern Altitude

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    Older houses built in Texas had their water pipes in the ceiling to keep the pipes warm, but then people began insulating their ceilings, so the pipes froze.

    Newer homes like mine have no pipes at all and all water is conducted through copper tubing embedded in the concrete slab. The only water lines more than three feet above the slab are the shower heads. Even the outside water spigots are run up through an insulated interior wall...

    Despite all this, I now have no running water because I live on a hill and the supply system can't get the water up to my neighborhood (for all the usual reasons).

    I have been melting snow to have water for washing dishes, etc. and have several gallons available.

    It's like camping! Fun! :frown2:
     
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  39. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    According to this um, ex-Texas mayor we are all lazy and need to get out there and find our own electricity and water, lol!
     
  40. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

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    Now that is the ultimate self-sufficient, capitalist society.
    Saw that in action in Nigeria. A country so corrupt and broken nobody depends on the government to do anything. Need reliable power? Buy your own generator and arrange your own fuel contract. Want the road in front of your house paved? Hire your own contractor. Telephone? Get a satellite dish installed on your roof. And on it went.
    No thanks.
     
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