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posted by mrpg on Wednesday June 16 2021, @10:20AM   Printer-friendly

'Unplanned' outages hit Texas power plants in soaring temperatures

Officials with Texas' power grid operator pleaded with residents Monday to limit their electrical usage amid soaring temperatures and a series of mechanical problems at power plants.

The appeal, from the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, or ERCOT, comes four months after deadly blackouts during a winter storm left millions of people without power — and weeks after state legislators passed a package of measures aimed at fixing some of the problems exposed by the storm.

Officials with the nonprofit group, which oversees 90 percent of Texas' energy production, asked residents to set their thermostats higher, turn off lights and avoid using larger appliances until Friday.

A spokeswoman for the group told reporters that the outages accounted for more than 12,000 megawatts, enough to power 2.4 million homes. Some areas of the state, including Dallas and Tarrant counties, were warned about poor air quality and potentially dangerous heat, with the heat index approaching 110 degrees.

A senior official with ERCOT, Warren Lasher, said it wasn't clear why there were so many unplanned outages. But he said that the group is "deeply concerned" about the plants that are offline and that a thorough investigation is being conducted to better understand the problems.


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  • (Score: 1, Troll) by crafoo on Wednesday June 16 2021, @10:32AM (23 children)

    by crafoo (6639) on Wednesday June 16 2021, @10:32AM (#1145831)

    When the boomers finally die we can build nuclear plants.

    Starting Score:    1  point
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  • (Score: 1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 16 2021, @10:39AM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 16 2021, @10:39AM (#1145834)

    Yes but you millennials will hire nuclear plant designers based on their hair colour and number of preferred genders, leading to a whole new round of problems.

    • (Score: 2, Funny) by Runaway1956 on Wednesday June 16 2021, @10:44AM (1 child)

      by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday June 16 2021, @10:44AM (#1145837) Homepage Journal

      They'll be taking a census of uranium atoms to determine the proper gender ratios of the atoms.

      --
      Through a Glass, Darkly -George Patton
      • (Score: 5, Touché) by Tork on Wednesday June 16 2021, @04:55PM

        by Tork (3914) on Wednesday June 16 2021, @04:55PM (#1145989)
        But remember, the reason we're being that specific is we only want to count the votes of some of the atoms.
        --
        🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 17 2021, @07:53PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 17 2021, @07:53PM (#1146660)

      Ah, you've misunderstood.

      In the 1960's, they would have only hired masculine presenting white males in white shirts with black ties wearing black glasses.

      Now they'll try to hire the most qualified people. But since the bosses are all masculine presenting white males in white shirts with black ties wearing black glasses who originally got hired decades ago, they do some additional outreach to make sure all groups have an opportunity to apply. This is to help account for the extensive data about selection bias of the bosses tending to hire people they find familiar. So if the smartest nuclear engineer has purple hair, they aren't immediately filtered out of the hiring process for "not fitting in." It's not that we want to hire people based on their hair color. We want to avoid *not* hiring someone based on their haircolor like our forebears did. Trying to avoid haircolor based hiring decisions in misinterpreted by narrowminded out of touch fossils as being a haircolor based hiring decision. (Because filtering out people based on haircolor was typically an implicit rather than explicit part of the hiring process, and therefore went unexamined. Because, again, a lack of diversity in the hiring org led to a blindspot about the difference between the actual hiring process and the written hiring process.)

      This is part of why modern reactor designs are so much safer than legacy 1960's designs. There were some technological limitations, but there was also a lot of group think. Lack of outsiders led to a relative lack of "red team" thinking focused on disaster scenarios like Fukushima because engineering culture at the time focused more on consensus building rather than disruption as a path to advancement.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 16 2021, @12:57PM (9 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 16 2021, @12:57PM (#1145870)

    Sure, hopefully fusion plants.

    You know there is a great fusion reactor called the sun.
    Problem is, sometimes where we want power rotates away from it.
    I wonder if one could put up solar farms and a super circling the globe to move power from day to night?

    • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 16 2021, @01:48PM (7 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 16 2021, @01:48PM (#1145889)

      We need power now. Just build modern conventional nuke plants. They work.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 16 2021, @02:05PM (6 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 16 2021, @02:05PM (#1145900)

        Replying to my own post: nukes would take too long to build for a realistic answer. Texas needs to clean house with its electric power management board first. Bunch of incompetent cronies.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 16 2021, @05:00PM (5 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 16 2021, @05:00PM (#1145992)

          "The current management is incompetent, they should build nukes."

          Sigh.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 16 2021, @05:56PM (4 children)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 16 2021, @05:56PM (#1146023)

            Not what I said.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 16 2021, @06:03PM (3 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 16 2021, @06:03PM (#1146030)
              So you were saying "never mind", right?
              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 16 2021, @06:23PM (2 children)

                by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 16 2021, @06:23PM (#1146048)

                No, I think he was saying "Shut the fuck up, you lying sack of shit!"

                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 16 2021, @07:23PM (1 child)

                  by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 16 2021, @07:23PM (#1146077)
                  Yeah, duh. I just wanted to know if he was retracting his post. Or, in simpler terms: "Not what I said."
                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 17 2021, @02:17PM

                    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 17 2021, @02:17PM (#1146488)

                    There's no need to retract his post, the response was inaccurate, it's not what he said.

    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 16 2021, @03:26PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 16 2021, @03:26PM (#1145942)

      > Problem is, sometimes where we want power rotates away from it.

      Isn't there some way for the Forestry Service to change the Earth's orbit to correct that problem? *gomert*

  • (Score: 5, Touché) by DannyB on Wednesday June 16 2021, @01:46PM (3 children)

    by DannyB (5839) on Wednesday June 16 2021, @01:46PM (#1145888) Journal

    When the boomers finally die we can build nuclear plants.

    Texas definitely needs nuclear because:
    1. being such a tiny state, it lacks sufficient land to construct any solar, wind farms, and battery storage like Australia can do
    2. being located at such high latitude[1], it lacks sufficient bright sunlight to make solar practical.

    [1]Compare direct noon sunlight brightness in Texas or Florida versus, say, North Dakota where the annual funeral director's convention is held. Yes, that is a real thing.

    --
    Reminder: March is National Procrastination Week.
    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday June 16 2021, @01:58PM (2 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday June 16 2021, @01:58PM (#1145898)
      • (Score: 4, Funny) by DannyB on Wednesday June 16 2021, @02:21PM (1 child)

        by DannyB (5839) on Wednesday June 16 2021, @02:21PM (#1145905) Journal

        I suspect that the Texas legislature will discover "technical reasons" why nuclear just won't work in Texas. Lobbyists have researched this subject and given the legislators many small foldable paper reports on this subject.

        --
        Reminder: March is National Procrastination Week.
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 16 2021, @03:29PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 16 2021, @03:29PM (#1145943)

          Signed by Benjamin Franklin?

  • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday June 16 2021, @02:45PM

    by DannyB (5839) on Wednesday June 16 2021, @02:45PM (#1145919) Journal

    When the boomers finally die we can build nuclear plants.

    Solar farms are a way to gather nuclear energy.

    --
    Reminder: March is National Procrastination Week.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by mcgrew on Wednesday June 16 2021, @03:09PM (1 child)

    by mcgrew (701) <publish@mcgrewbooks.com> on Wednesday June 16 2021, @03:09PM (#1145928) Homepage Journal

    It isn't boomers, you dumb ass child, it's the amoral super rich in all generations who don't give a flying fuck about anything but personal riches and power.

    --
    mcgrewbooks.com mcgrew.info nooze.org
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 16 2021, @03:30PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 16 2021, @03:30PM (#1145944)

      Are you saying Don Jr is not passionate about climiate change?

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Tork on Wednesday June 16 2021, @04:20PM (1 child)

    by Tork (3914) on Wednesday June 16 2021, @04:20PM (#1145972)

    When the boomers finally die we can build nuclear plants.

    Oh yes, the failing power grid in Texas is the PERFECT TIME to push an alternative whose consequences at the hands of incompetence are far more severe.

    --
    🏳️‍🌈 Proud Ally 🏳️‍🌈
    • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Wednesday June 16 2021, @06:55PM

      by krishnoid (1156) on Wednesday June 16 2021, @06:55PM (#1146057)

      If we're lucky, they'll just rubber-stamp the nuclear plant [fs.blog] and not look too closely into how it works, while they have their hands full with the existing system which continues to have these issues.