US Blackouts Cascade Beyond Texas in Deepening Power Crisis

23:07  15 february  2021
23:07  15 february  2021 Source:   bloomberg.com

Energy-rich Texas suffers energy nightmare with ongoing power outages

  Energy-rich Texas suffers energy nightmare with ongoing power outages Even mighty Texas, the energy powerhouse of America, is feeling the wrath of Mother Nature. © Matthew Busch/Bloomberg/Getty Images Pump jacks operate in the Permian Basin in Midland, Texas, U.S, on Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021. The arctic freeze gripping the central U.S. is raising the specter of power outages in Texas and ratcheting up pressure on energy prices already trading at unprecedented levels. Photographer: Matthew Busch/Bloomberg via Getty Images A deep freeze this week in the Lone Star state, which relies on electricity to heat many homes, is causing power demand to skyrocket.

The Department of Energy issued an emergency order allowing several Texas power plants to produce as much electricity as possible, a move expected to violate anti-pollution rules that comes amid a deepening electricity crisis in the state that has cut power to millions of homes. Blackouts Cascade Beyond Texas in Deepening Power Crisis .

Rolling power blackouts were ordered across Texas early Monday morning as a winter storm gripped the state.

(Bloomberg) -- Blackouts trigged by frigid weather are spreading across the central U.S. and into Mexico as an energy crisis that’s already brought Texas’s power grid to its knees deepens.

a man riding a snowboard down a snow covered slope: People cross the street as snow falls in North Bergen, New Jersey on February 7, 2021. © Photographer: KENA BETANCUR/AFP People cross the street as snow falls in North Bergen, New Jersey on February 7, 2021.

As more than 2 million homes in Texas are already without power, the operator of an grid spanning 14 states from North Dakota to Oklahoma ordered utilities to start rotating outages to protect the system from failing amid surging demand for electricity. The outages have also spread into Mexico.

“In our history as a grid operator, this is an unprecedented event,” the grid operator, called the Southwest Power Pool, said in a statement Monday.

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(Bloomberg) -- The arctic freeze gripping the central U.S. is raising the specter of power outages in Texas and ratcheting up pressure on energy prices already trading at unprecedented levels.In Texas , where temperatures in Dallas are forecast to be 3 degrees Fahrenheit Monday (minus 16 Celsius), the operator of the state’s power grid warned it may need to resort to rolling blackouts as surging demand for heat strains the electrical system. While outages may occur Sunday, the risk is higher on Monday and Tuesday, when officials expect power demand in Texas to reach a record high.“We could be in

Power outages & blackouts happen for many reasons, including scheduled "rolling" blackouts . Learn more about what causes blackouts , and how to prevent them. Recently, utilities that operate in wildfire-prone areas have resorted to intentionally shutting off power to parts of their network during what’s called red flag warnings, days or even weeks of extremely high winds and warm, dry weather. Utilities do this to avoid a scenario where a live wire is knocked loose by the wind, falls on vegetation, and starts a fire.

The brutal cold striking Texas -- ironically the capital of the U.S. energy industry and home of some of the world’s largest oil and gas companies -- is emblematic of a world facing more unpredictable weather due to the rising impact of climate change. The outages underscore how as the globe moves away from fossil fuels into an all-electrified system that relies more and more on renewable energy, the grid becomes more vulnerable too.

Such weather conditions are very rare in much of Texas, and they have unleashed chaos on the ground. In Houston, the state’s largest city, roads are iced over and there are long lines to refill household propane canisters. Firewood is selling out.

Besides the human impact, the cold is wreaking havoc on the energy industry itself. Oil production in the Permian has dropped by 1 million barrels a day, helping U.S. crude prices to trade above $60 a barrel for the first time in more than year. The region’s industrial plants built to cope torrid summers rather than arctic weather, and the biggest U.S. oil refinery went offline on Monday, reducing the supply of gasoline and other fuels.

As millions remain without power amid more snow and ice, blame and questions mount

  As millions remain without power amid more snow and ice, blame and questions mount Water supplies in several Texas cities are at risk, officials said, and it could be days or weeks until power is restored. More than 100 million people live in areas of the country under some kind of winter weather warning, the National Weather Service said in an advisory Wednesday, with more bad weather to come.

The Northeast blackout of 2003 was a widespread power outage throughout parts of the Northeastern and Midwestern United States, and the Canadian province of Ontario on August 14, 2003

A power outage (also called a power cut, a power out , a power blackout , a power failure, a power loss, or a blackout ) is the loss of the electrical power network supply to an end user.

Large swaths of Dallas, Houston and other cities have been plunged into darkness as extreme cold and surging demand for heat pushes generators to the brink. The outages began as controlled, rolling power cuts but have cascaded into prolonged blackouts in some areas.

“We anticipate we will need to continue these controlled outages for the rest of today and perhaps all day tomorrow,” Dan Woodfin, a senior director for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which managed the state’s power grid, said during a briefing Monday.

In Mexico, at least 400,000 homes, businesses and other users lost power as the cold in Texas triggered a natural gas shortage and forced power plants offline. About 60% of those impacted had their power restored by midday, according to the grid operator, Cenace.

In the last six months, extreme temperatures have led to rolling blackouts in the two most populous U.S. states. In August, California grid operators shut off power when record heat push demand beyond capacity, and now Texas’ record cold has led to the same result.

'A complete bungle': Texas' energy pride goes out with cold

  'A complete bungle': Texas' energy pride goes out with cold AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Anger over Texas' power grid failing in the face of a record winter freeze continued to mount Wednesday as millions of residents in the energy capital of the U.S. remained shivering with no assurances that their electricity and heat — out since Monday in many homes — would return soon or stay on once it finally does. “I know people are angry and frustrated,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Tuesday. “So am I.” In all,“I know people are angry and frustrated,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said Tuesday. “So am I.

South Africa’s state power company intensified rolling blackouts to a record, signaling a deepening crisis at the debt-ridden utility and raising the risk of a second recession in as many years. Power cuts also dented the economy in the first quarter, when it contracted the most in a decade, led by a drop in manufacturing, mining and agriculture output. Eskom’s announcement marked the end of a torrid day on Twitter for South African President Cyril Ramaphosa. His weekly letter to the nation highlighting how Medupi is a fitting symbol of the importance of state-owned companies was derided on the

Investing.com -- Bitcoin nears ,000 amid fresh reports of mainstreaming and continued dollar weakness. Apple and Nissan fail to reach terms on an EV cooperation; oil surges as an Arctic blast causes blackouts in Texas , and stocks are drifting higher after the Senate’s acquittal of Donald Trump underlines In addition to driving a spike in demand for heating oil, the weather front has led to Texas power grid operator ERCOT having to impose rolling blackouts in a state that accounts for much of the country’s oil and gas output. The incident is likely to spark fresh controversy over the rapid buildout of

The extreme cold appears to have caught Texas’s highly decentralized electricity market by surprise. Power plants with a combined capacity of more than 34 gigawatts were forced offline overnight, including nuclear reactors, coal and gas generators and wind farms, Woodfin said. It’s not clear why, he added.

Wind power in particular appears to have been a major victim of the weather conditions, with turbine blades rendered inoperable due to ice, a phenomenon that reduces efficiency can ultimately stop them from spinning. Wind generation has more than halved to 4.2 gigawatts.

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Power is going to continue to be cut across the state through Monday and potentially into Tuesday morning until enough generators come back online, Woodfin said.

“Every grid operator and every electric company is fighting to restore power right now,” said Bill Magness, head of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which runs the state’s grid.

Texas' woes foreshadows future climate-change disasters

  Texas' woes foreshadows future climate-change disasters Hot-weather infrastructure and an isolated power grid have left the state unprepared for extreme weather.The storm, which froze nuclear facilities, coal and gas power stations, and wind turbines, offers a cautionary tale of how extreme weather can paralyze critical energy facilities and throw vast swaths of country into chaos. Across the U.S., experts says, states like Texas are largely unprepared for a range of climate emergencies, from Arctic-like cold in warmer regions to widespread flooding, droughts, wildfires and other symptoms of a rapidly heating planet.

These are the first rolling blackouts caused by cold weather since 2011 in Texas. Spikes in electricity demand usually happen in summer in Texas when air conditioning use rises. A loss of frequency on the grid has caused 30 gigawatts of generation to halt. Many stations will have been undergoing scheduled maintenance, leaving the grid more exposed during unusually large spikes in demand.

Parts of Texas were colder than Alaska, according to the National Weather Service. The temperature at 5 a.m. in Houston was 18 degrees Fahrenheit, matching the reading in Anchorage. In the Dallas-Fort Worth area it was 5 degrees Fahrenheit.

Frigid temperatures and a parade of storms in the U.S. follow other instances of extreme winter weather this year that have snarled ports and upended energy markets in Asia and Europe. Texas, which isn’t accustomed to winter’s full fury, is getting a big taste. President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency, mobilizing federal assistance to aid local response efforts.

Power crunch

The average spot price for power across the Texas grid hit the state’s $9,000 per megawatt-hour price cap shortly after 9:30 a.m. local time. LNG exports from the U.S. also plummeted after the freeze shut ports and wells, and oil production also took a hit, with Permian oil production plunging by as much as one million barrels a day. West Texas Intermediate futures rose by as much as 2.5%, above $60 a barrel for the first time in more than a year.

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Cold Weather Cuts Permian Oil Output by 1 Million Barrels a Day

The cut to crude supplies is threatening to unleash a rush for everything from propane to heating oil, fuels that are used in mobile heating devices.

Odessa in West Texas, one of the largest cities in the Permian Basin, still has power, but San Antonio has lost power with rolling blackouts lasting 10-15 minutes, according to sources on the ground.

Houston may pick up as much as 2 inches (5 centimeters) of snow overnight, along with ice and sleet, the National Weather Service said. It will get hit by another storm bringing ice and freezing rain Wednesday.

“It is going to be a cold week,” said David Roth, a senior branch forecaster at the U.S. Weather Prediction Center. “The southern plains are in a cold pattern and it is going to take a while for them to break out of it.”

Among the other markets moving on the cold:
Gas in Chicago hit $220 per million British thermal units, traders saidPhysical gas was going for as much as $300 at a Texas hubOklahoma gas prices have swung anywhere between $50 to the high of $600Spot gas prices across the eastern U.S. remained subdued amid milder temperatures, assessed at anywhere from $4 per to $12 on Friday, pricing data compiled by Bloomberg show

(Adds Mexico outages in the fourth paragraph.)

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