Build servers going offline due to inclement weather

Peter West pbw at
Wed Feb 17 00:38:20 UTC 2021

The problem is the dependency on windmills. Texas has 25Gw (nameplate only) of wind generation. 12Gw was frozen out (as of a day ago.) On Monday morning, ERCOT wholesale prices hit the cap of $9,000 per Mw-hr (average $25).

This story is being played out in Europe, particularly Germany, during this cold spell.

In Australia, the Eastern and mid States (Qld, NSW, Vic, Tas, SA - more than half the area of the contiguous US) are on a grid. Renewables are heavily subsidised, which is driving baseload generators out of business. Our problems tend to happen in summer.  A couple of years ago the State of South Australia (the wind-power state, like Texas) had blackouts for almost a day when storms brought down extended transmission lines from wind farms, and others had to feather the blades because of strong winds. The grid interconnectors couldn’t keep up with the load, and one of them shut down.

Our wholesale cap is $14,000 per Mw-hr (average around $40) and that cap has been reached on a number of occasions, including the one above. Solar isn’t very effective for more than half of the day, on a good sunlight day.

Australia in the early 2000s had almost the cheapest electricity in the world.

Good fun.


pbw at
“Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.”

> On 16 Feb 2021, at 11:15 pm, Todd Doucet <ttd at> wrote:
>> The rest of the contiguous United States shares either the east or west power grid, but most of Texas uses its own separate grid managed by ERCOT. Unfortunately right now most of Texas is very cold and everybody is using more electricity running their heaters. At the same time, the weather has knocked out some power plants. And since our grid is separate, there's no way to get surplus power from other states. Texas was not designed with such cold temperatures in mind.
> I read that Texas did import electrical power from Mexico a week or so ago.  I guess they threw the jumper cables over that "big, beautiful wall".
> My understanding is that, also, there is a connection to the East US grid, but using it might subject Texas to dreaded Federal regulation of the power industry there.
> Stay warm.

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