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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: 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.