by Bill O’Keefe

As temperatures dropped dramatically over the Christmas weekend, Dominion Energy’s advice to its customers — those who still had power — was to turn down their thermostats. Virginia was not alone. PJM, the regional grid management organization covering 13 states and the District of Columbia, made the same request because its gas plants couldn’t get enough fuel to meet the demand for home heating.

According to The Wall Street Journal, rolling blackouts were averted because PJM ordered some businesses to curtail power while switching some generators to oil. The large regions served by both the Tennessee Valley Authority and Duke Energy experienced rolling blackouts. And for the second year in a row, Texas faced a grid problem as wind power plunged and demand doubled.

The Wall Street Journal also noted that, “While there wasn’t a single cause for the power shortages, government policies to boost renewable energy snowballed and created problems that cascaded through the grid. There have been warnings about grid vulnerability for years but this Christmas proves that these warnings have not been taken seriously. The climate lobby blames climate change and greedy energy companies for this year’s problems but there have been colder Christmases — 1980 and 1983 for example. And, there have been colder Decembers that were survived without a grid breakdown or near breakdown.

The problems faced by utilities should be a warning and a reason for reassessment. Will Dominion heed that warning or will it continue on its present course? How will it prevent more serious problems as the demand for electrical power continues to increase and electric heat pumps are promoted and subsidized as responsible replacements for gas- and oil-fired furnaces?

That Dominion had to urge its customers to turn down their thermostats indicates that it did not have sufficient surge capacity to meet the demand caused by low temperatures. We need to know why. It could be the result of the 2019 decision to shutter all of its coal-fired capacity as part of its Net-Zero 2050 commitment and the General Assembly mandate to do so by 2024.

Unfortunately for Dominion and its customers, two recent reports cast doubt on the feasibility of net-zero carbon emissions and the assumptions of the Clean Economy Act. The first is from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI); the second from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC). The EPRI report concludes, “Achieving economy-wide net-zero CO2 emissions while maintaining reliable delivery of energy and energy services across the economy will require a broad set of low-carbon technologies.”

Many of these technologies are not commercially viable and require further technological advances before they will be — carbon capture and storage, bioenergy, and hydrogen and hydrogen-derived fuels. At the same time, NERC cautions that “capacity deficits … are largely the result of generator retirements that have yet to be replaced … energy limitations and unavailable generation during certain conditions (e.g., low wind, extreme and prolonged cold weather) can result in the inability to serve all firm demand.” To repeat in simple everyday language: retiring fossil fuel plants too fast creates a risk of grid failure and blackouts during extreme weather.

The transition that Dominion is engaged in seems to be analogous to planning a long vacation where plans can be made with a high degree of certainty and without contingency plans. Given all of the uncertainties that Dominion must overcome, a more appropriate approach would be to proceed as Lewis and Clark did in carrying out the expedition commissioned by Thomas Jefferson. That would require more caution, periodic reassessments, and fewer big dollar bets on technologies that don’t yet exist and its controversial BIG 176-square mile offshore wind farm.

Dominion owes its customers regular and independently validated reports on its technological progress and whether construction of its wind farm is on schedule, within budget, and remains practical. The General Assembly needs to reassess the feasibility and practicality of the Virginia Clean Economy Act, provide an honest and open assessment of achieving very low emission goals by 2050, and restore the State Corporation Commission’s regulatory authority.

William O’Keefe, a Midlothian resident, is founder of Solutions Consulting and former EVP of the American Petroleum Institute.


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Comments

101 responses to “The Big Christmas Chill Was a Wakeup Call”

  1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
    Eric the half a troll

    A wake-up call indeed… that we need to abandon the old unreliable fossil fuel-based energy grid for a newer, more reliable renewable energy-based one.

    1. How are weather dependent wind and solar more reliable than coal and gas, which can run whenever needed? You make no sense.

      1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
        Eric the half a troll

        Solar reliably produces in a very predictable manner (as does wind). They did not fall off and did not cause the outages. Natural gas production fell off significantly during the deep freeze (just like infamously happened in Texas) once again. I would not be surprised to find that this has something to do with Texas natural gas generation failing yet again (having not fixed what caused their last failures) and instead, this time, our power (or fuel) was diverted to them because 🤑

        1. Solar falls off to nothing every day. Frequently on partly cloudy days. How would this not cause blackouts if solar was depended on? You said no fossil energy. Please explain.

          1. Nancy Naive Avatar
            Nancy Naive

            The Earth both predictably and reliably emits more energy than we could ever use. Just need to catch it.

          2. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            Don’t you understand? When the sun will shine is something that has been predicted with incredible accuracy since the dawn of human civilization. It is very reliable. Now with the advent of reliable weather forecasting, the days solar and wind will be productive or idle are also very predictable. Nuclear is 100% reliable and predictable. The flow of natural gas and other fossil fuels has been very unpredictable (especially as of late) to our detriment. I thought you Conservatives were all about an “all of the above” approach to our energy supply… time to cut the string of over-reliance on fossil fuels… the sooner the better…

          3. Donald Smith Avatar
            Donald Smith

            “Nuclear is 100% reliable and predictable.”

            I thought you progressives and greenies hated nuclear. Have you cleared this with Greta Thunberg?

            And, are you telling us that all those nuclear plants that Greenpeace, Hollywood and Silicon Valley have been fighting for decades can now come on line in just a few months? Well—why didn’t you tell us so?

          4. LarrytheG Avatar
            LarrytheG

            Donald. I live 10 miles from a Nuke that sits on an earthquake fault that the designers knew about before it was built.

            I don’t want any more like that.

            I don’t have a problem with modern Nukes and I’d prefer the kind that will not melt down and can modulate in response to dynamic grid changes.

            You point to lefties but I’d bet that if a new nuke were proposed for Virginia, you’d not find a place where there was not huge opposition and it would be far more than just “lefties”.

            We have folks on the right pointing to the extreme left and claiming it’s representative of the “left” which is just not the truth.

            And as long as we continue to do that – how do we find common ground on any of it?

          5. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            Renewables are not just solar, you know…. also I said we need to abandon a fossil fuel-BASED energy system. We are too reliant on unreliable fossil fuels… that doesn’t mean they have no role to play but clearly we need to step away from them…

          6. LarrytheG Avatar

            informative chart:

            https://uploads.disquscdn.c

            https://www.eia.gov/state/?…

        2. You are confusing predictable with reliable. Renewables are predictably unreliable.

          1. Nancy Naive Avatar
            Nancy Naive

            You’re right. Pipelines explode reliably, but not quite predicably.

          2. William O'Keefe Avatar
            William O’Keefe

            Where is your data. Pipelines have a long history of reliability.

          3. Nancy Naive Avatar
            Nancy Naive

            Wiki… can’t post links for some reason…

            From 1994 through 2013, the U.S. had 745 serious incidents with gas distribution, causing 278 fatalities and 1059 injuries, with $110,658,083 in property damage.[79]

            From 1994 through 2013, there were an additional 110 serious incidents with gas transmission, resulting in 41 fatalities, 195 injuries, and $448,900,333 in property damage.[80]

            From 1994 through 2013, there were an additional 941 serious incidents with gas all system type, resulting in 363 fatalities, 1392 injuries, and $823,970,000 in property damage.[81]

            A recent Wall Street Journal review found that there were 1,400 pipeline spills and accidents in the U.S. 2010–2013. According to the Journal review, four in every five pipeline accidents are discovered by local residents, not the companies that own the pipelines.[82][83]

          4. LarrytheG Avatar
            LarrytheG

            can’t post links to refute O’Keefs false claims, hmmm

            ” Wed 21 Dec 2022 06.00 EST
            Keystone pipeline raises concerns after third major spill in five years
            An investigation into the pipeline’s largest spill is under way in Kansas as a recent report points to a deteriorating safety record”

          5. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            Rather predictably unreliable (which can be planned for) than unpredictably unreliable (which is what we are experiencing with our current fossil fuel-based grid).

        3. Sure, weather can disrupt natural gas production but it’s an order of magnitude cheaper to store natural gas to guard against such fluctuations than it is to store wind- or solar-generated energy.

          1. Nancy Naive Avatar
            Nancy Naive

            Only because we don’t seem to mind leaking +10% to the atmosphere.

          2. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            And yet, either we don’t or having it stored and using it to produce energy at normal rates during deep freezes is not possible. Either way, it is a fatal flaw that has now killed people on more than one occasion during a deep freeze across the country.

        4. LarrytheG Avatar

          am getting this on some of my responses: ” Hold on, this is waiting to be approved by Bacon’s Rebellion.”

          1. f/k/a_tmtfairfax Avatar
            f/k/a_tmtfairfax

            I’ve had that problem in the past. Maybe Bacon is not updating his software just like FCPS did, leading to a 6-week delay in remote teaching back in the Spring of 2020. 😉

          2. LarrytheG Avatar
            LarrytheG

            it’s no longer allowing links to articles or graphics.

            see if you can post a link to an article.

    2. Donald Smith Avatar
      Donald Smith

      On what planet are renewable energy sources, in their current state, “more reliable?” Not this planet.

  2. Eric the half a troll Avatar
    Eric the half a troll

    Once again the problem seems to be a failure of natural gas generation. Solar was consistent throughout as was hydro. Fossil fuels failed us yet again…

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/582076d14c4755c57e17cd3c7d22094f274a656843d2e502f1b128fbbc9c03cb.jpg

    1. Without demand data and weather data (temp and wind chill), I don’t think you can make the claim that gas failed. The fact that the line for gas declines on Dec 25 doesn’t necessarily indicate a problem. Christmas was when the warming started and the wind died down. The gas line could reflect a change in demand. In fact, looking at the graph, it appears to me that one failure was pumped hydro. (I am inferring pumped hydro since the output numbers go negative, and using grid energy to refill the reservior is the only way I can account for that.) It looks like hydro was being used to buffer solar at night. But it appears hydro was exhausted on the 25th and never recovered completely, so gas (and coal) was used to buffer the night solar losses. Is pumped hydro considered a renewable?

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        informative chart:

        https://www.eia.gov/state/?.

      2. LarrytheG Avatar

        ” Hold on, this is waiting to be approved by Bacon’s Rebellion.”

      3. Eric the half a troll Avatar
        Eric the half a troll

        Duke Energy announced Saturday (December 24th) that it was imposing rolling power outages in the Carolinas on Christmas Eve

        Solar on Duke’s combined system (DEP+DEC) performed quite well from Dec 23-26, generating 1.6 – 1.75X more than the daily average over the prior month.

        Duke’s gas output fell precipitously starting 8am Saturday morning (Dec. 24), from a combined ~10 GW down to 6.4 GW by 3pm, and its combined coal output fell from ~7.4 GW at 4am Saturday morning down to 5.7 GW by 4pm

        On a normal day, you’d expect Duke to ramp down their gas generation as solar generation ramps up. It’s very strange Duke would have ramped down their gas so much in the middle of rolling blackouts, unless one or more of their gas units failed.

        1. Again, your conclusion is not supported by the data shown. During your claimed failure of gas, coal also declined and petro went to zero output. Unless they all failed at the same time, your claim is not supported. Add the fact that they all came back up mere hours later, and I think a more reasonable explanation is that demand changed. Temperatures rose, the wind died and businesses were closed for the holiday, lessening demand. Also, a lot of energy was used at this time to refill the pool, yet grid demand was met.
          I’m curious about your claim that solar was 1.7 times normal. By what metrics? Was solar throttled at other times – if so, why? Did we just have 3 good, sunny days? Is the solar number a net figure taking into account the refilling of the hydro pool?
          It’s a great chart; it shows a lot about the system overall. One interesting point (among many) is at the beginning. Hydro is filling during the overnight -why? It would run for 26 hours during the peak of the crisis, but not contribute much after that – in fact, it was probably a net loss after that.
          Another interesting bit is that it shows the effect of the storm. At the start, the grid was running at 19Mw (10 nuke, 6 coal, 3 gas, 1 other and (-1) hydro. At its peak, it was taking 32Mw (10 nuke, 10 gas, 7 coal, 3 hydro, 1 other and 1 petro. Solar was 0 at the peak demand. Demand at peak was 1.7 x demand at start.
          It also points out that the only ones that could be ramped up were the legacy suppliers. Solar and wind are what they are, not what you need them to be.

          1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            Duke Energy tells us why they could not meet demand…

            “The company’s acknowledgment of lower-than-expected generation corresponds with federal data showing a dip in natural gas and coal energy production on Saturday morning. The data, recorded hourly, is reported by individual utilities and collected by the U.S. Energy Information Administration”

            https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/state/north-carolina/article270559742.html#storylink=cpy

            But this article suggests this was not just Duke’s generation that failed.

            “The company was also counting on generation from independent power producers and out-of-state energy purchases that fell through as other providers were similarly slammed by extreme weather, Norton said.”

            I’ll go back to my thought that Texas’ fossil fuel system once again failed but this time they had the ability to take power at higher prices from neighboring states. Guess we will find out tomorrow…

          2. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            Except, that is not what happened:

            “NC Utility Commission attorneys who represent energy consumers, known as the Public Staff, confirmed that multiple generating units were offline or not responding at the time of the outages.”

            and

            “”Duke sort of uses reliability like a cudgel to sort of fight renewables as an option. And this really is ironic, that, you know, their system failed with their own projections, they have complete control of it, and it was likely gas generators that failed,” says Carmody”

            Also, the chart shows that by and large combined solar and hydro maintained a net 1-3 Mw throughout the period of rolling blackouts – predictably and reliably. It is natural gas that tumbled from 10 Mw to 6Mw during the peak of the blackouts at the same time that coal dropped from 8 to 6 Mw that did the damage. Neither of them ever really came back on line at full capacity.

      4. LarrytheG Avatar

        informative chart:

        https://www.eia.gov/state/?.

    2. Solar and hydro are consistently erratic. If they were all we had we would have blackouts every day.

      The real problem is the supposed 20% reserve now includes renewables so is a fiction.

      1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
        Eric the half a troll

        According to yesterday’s anti-renewable energy Bacon’s Rebellion piece, renewables provide less than 5% of our current power needs. You fossil fuel shills really need to get your story straight. But note, during the Christmas fossil fuel failure, renewables produced at the same rate as they did prior to the event. It was natural gas production that dropped off… again… renewables were reliable and predictable, fossil fuels were not…. btw, cyclical is not “erratic”….

  3. walter smith Avatar
    walter smith

    “Climate change” is a first world luxury for grifting by our so-called betters in academia and the various bureaucracies, unfortunately now including many woke corporations (who go all in on ESG). Serious people would have nuclear power plants, and public serving utilities run by engineers, not political hacks. Serious people would not have idiot virtue-signaling politicians dictating to the utility what and how to produce. None of our so-called political leaders could actually explain “anthropogenic global warming,” all they know is it is a reason to create fear and arrogate power – like Covidiocy.
    Wake up! The climate change models are wrong, just like the Covid models were.

  4. Nancy Naive Avatar
    Nancy Naive

    Wait. So Christmas was a wake-up call? Are you forgetting the nearly dozen regional multi-day blackouts decades before renewable energy? I seem to recall a tree branch in Iowa or some hick state taking out the NE and NYC in the last 20 years. And what of every hurricane since Edison?

    1. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      In April 2004, the U.S.-Canada Power System Outage Task Force released their final report, placing the causes of the blackout into four groups:[10]

      FirstEnergy (FE) and its reliability council “failed to assess and understand the inadequacies of FE’s system, particularly with respect to voltage instability and the vulnerability of the Cleveland-Akron area, and FE did not operate its system with appropriate voltage criteria.”

      FirstEnergy “did not recognize or understand the deteriorating condition of its system.”

      FirstEnergy “failed to manage adequately tree growth in its transmission rights-of-way.”

      Finally, the “failure of the interconnected grid’s reliability organizations to provide effective real-time diagnostic support.”

      The report states that a generating plant in Eastlake, Ohio, a suburb northeast of Cleveland, went offline amid high electrical demand, putting a strain on high-voltage power lines (located in Walton Hills, Ohio, a southeast suburb of Cleveland) which later went out of service when they came in contact with “overgrown trees”. This trip caused load to transfer to other transmission lines, which were not able to bear the load, tripping their breakers. Once these multiple trips occurred, many generators suddenly lost parts of their loads, so they accelerated out of phase with the grid at different rates, and tripped out to prevent damage. The cascading effect that resulted ultimately forced the shutdown of at least 265 power plants.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        it’s way, way “bigger news” when it happens to California!

        😉

    2. William O'Keefe Avatar
      William O’Keefe

      I am talking about Dominion and the present and future. The past is history!

      1. Nancy Naive Avatar
        Nancy Naive

        And those who ignore history are… wait, it’ll come to me… give it a sec.

        1. William O'Keefe Avatar
          William O’Keefe

          And those who learn from it find other ways to err.

  5. LarrytheG Avatar

    The way to look at renewables is that they are not baseload and not dispatchable but rather when they are available, they can be used to supplant other fuels and especially so if they are cheaper. Natural gas is priced dynamically. When demand is high, the price of it skyrockets.

    Wind and Solar will never be primary suppliers of fuel for the grid unless or until there is a viable and cost-effective way to store it. If/when if ever the cost to store it is less than natural gas, momentous changes might play out.

    1. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      Use solar to move water uphill.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar
        LarrytheG

        yep. Solar could be used to recharge Bath County pump storage facility – and others.

        Solar could power run-of-river hydro also.

  6. William O'Keefe Avatar
    William O’Keefe

    The issues are why was Dominion not better prepared and is it spending too much on technologies that are no where near commercially viable, including its wind farm and too little on reliability, its grid and surge capacity. The NERC and EPRI reports raise serious questions that it should answer.
    Most of the comments below don’t address those questions.

    1. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      Until the grid is made “bullet proof” (literally) what all else matters?

      1. William O'Keefe Avatar
        William O’Keefe

        It never will but its reliability can be enhanced. Read the two reports that I mentioned. You might get a different perspective.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar
          LarrytheG

          Dominion’s exit from regional capacity market raises some eyebrows — and questions
          BY: SARAH VOGELSONG – MAY 25, 2021 12:02 AM

          The capacity market that has been run by PJM since 2006 is designed to ensure that electric generation in a region can meet demand in the long term.

          During an annual auction, owners of capacity (which usually refers to power generators, whether reliant on fossil fuels or renewables) offer to make that capacity available three years in the future at a specific price. PJM then tallies up those offers from lowest to highest, accepting the cheapest bid and then successively higher ones until it has ensured enough generation is committed three years ahead.

    2. LarrytheG Avatar
      LarrytheG

      So there were a number of electric utilities that were adversely affected by the recent weather, not just Dominion, to include Texas which has far more renewables than Dominion.

      Duke Energy in North Carolina also had rolling blackouts and it has far more solar than Dominion.

      So why just Dominion and what process should be used to address these issues?

      You got the blame part pretty good but it was my impression that NERC and PJM already have processes in place to address these issues , not just for Dominion but other electric utilities also.

      Can you name one or more other electric utilities that are doing this more/better “right” as models to be followed?

      1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
        Eric the half a troll

        “Duke Energy, Norton added, “believed we had adequate resources available to meet customer demand going into the weekend, even though some generation was unavailable due to either planned or maintenance outages unrelated to the storm. Some additional generation was reduced overnight as a result of weather.” The company was also counting on generation from independent power producers and out-of-state energy purchases that fell through as other providers were similarly slammed by extreme weather, Norton said.

        The reduced output — along with higher-than-expected electricity usage and the inability to ship in new energy from neighboring power companies — pushed Duke Energy to roll out the rotating blackouts, Norton said. The company’s acknowledgment of lower-than-expected generation corresponds with federal data showing a dip in natural gas and coal energy production on Saturday morning. The data, recorded hourly, is reported by individual utilities and collected by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.”

        A failure of fossil fuels… again…

        1. LarrytheG Avatar
          LarrytheG

          And it’s more than a failure of one electric utility because each of them were expecting to pull additional generation from other areas which works if the cold is not covering half or 3/4 of the area east of the Mississippi.

          This is not a failure of renewables at all, they currently have a miniscule part of the generation.

          And this has happened before when there was even less renewables o n the grid.

          these storms have occurred regularly over time long before renewables:

          “January 2018 North American blizzard
          From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
          The January 2018 North American blizzard caused widespread severe disruption and blizzard conditions across much of the East Coasts of the United States and Canada in early January 2018. The storm dropped up to 2 feet (24 in; 61 cm) of snow in the Mid-Atlantic states, New England, and Atlantic Canada, while areas as far south as southern Georgia and far northern Florida had brief wintry precipitation, with 0.1 inches of snow measured officially in Tallahassee, Florida. The storm originated on January 3 as an area of low pressure off the coast of the Southeast. Moving swiftly to the northeast, the storm explosively deepened while moving parallel to the Eastern Seaboard, causing significant snowfall accumulations. The storm received various unofficial names, such as Winter Storm Grayson, Blizzard of 2018 and Storm Brody. The storm was also dubbed a “historic bomb cyclone”.[3]”

          This is yet another false narrative from the anti-renewable crowd.

          1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
            Eric the half a troll

            I am becoming convinced that Texas was at the heart of these outages again but the utilities do not want to let us know. Duke Energy has a briefing on this failure on Tuesday. Interested in where they try to lay the blame.

      2. William O'Keefe Avatar
        William O’Keefe

        We get our electricity from Dominion which is pursuing a very expensive boondoggle at the direction of the General Assembly. We need to correct our problems and let others deal with theirs.

    3. f/k/a_tmtfairfax Avatar
      f/k/a_tmtfairfax

      Dominion has no interest in its customers except when it’s time to send monthly bills. We had 8 outages in McLean in 16 months.

      So far, only a two-minute outage with Wake Electric (a coop). BTW, my generator kicked on immediately.

    4. LarrytheG Avatar
      LarrytheG

      Are these “issues” going to be addressed resolved by the BOEM NEPA process
      or some other process?

  7. While it is easy to focus on the supply/generation side of the equation, short shrift is being given to the demand side.

    As Loudoun County has found, approving bulk load customer after bulk load customer has created a circumstance wherein N-1-1 NERC violations are not only possible but have occurred.

    Until the local, state and Federal governments get a handle on the short and long term implications of unfettered additions of bulk load customers the reliability of the grid will remain at risk, not only at the local level but across the Commonwealth if not the entire PJM system.

    That is what happens when local and state officials can’t see beyond their next campaign contribution.

    1. f/k/a_tmtfairfax Avatar
      f/k/a_tmtfairfax

      The issue is that the big data centers are essential to the Internet, business operations for countless companies and e-commerce. But for them, we couldn’t support teleworking and remote working. More cars on the road.

      I’m not poking at you, but society, in general, especially young people always thinks it can have everything. There are tradeoffs in life. What’s most important? What are the costs and benefits? Who pays? Who receives?

      1. LarrytheG Avatar
        LarrytheG

        I’m not sure if Mom is opposed to all data centers or just ones near him! 😉

      2. I’m not denying the need, simply the incompetence with where and when they are located given how overloaded or nonexistent required infrastructure is in many locations.

        1. f/k/a_tmtfairfax Avatar
          f/k/a_tmtfairfax

          State utility commissions, when not neutered by state legislators, need to be involved in monitoring electric utility distribution networks. It’s a monopoly service, unlike telecom where there are often multiple connections to businesses and even residential customers. Ergo, there should be regulation of the electric grid.

          1. LarrytheG Avatar
            LarrytheG

            so, if the govt were out of this and it was left up to the private sector, would it be better?

          2. f/k/a_tmtfairfax Avatar
            f/k/a_tmtfairfax

            Larry, please read what I’m writing. When there is a monopoly by law or in fact and when that entity serves the public at larger, there should be regulation of the monopoly. That’s fully consistent with free market economics.

            Economists generally define a monopolist as having market power – the ability to influence price by controlling supply. A monopolist generally can set a price above the market equilibrium price.

            There is a monopoly in the electric market for residential and most business customers from the source of generation to the customer’s premises. This is appropriate for regulation.

            Contrast the wireless communications market. There are three big facilities-based carriers (AT&T, VZ and T-Mobile); many regional carriers (e.g., US Cellular) and countless resellers. If a customer doesn’t like his/her provider, it’s easy to switch. There’s no need for price regulation.

          3. LarrytheG Avatar
            LarrytheG

            they’re regulated, right?

  8. LarrytheG Avatar
    LarrytheG

    National Weather Service – list of major winter storms::

    here are the last 4 or 5:

    February 12-13, 2014
    An exceptional winter storm impacted the region. Well ahead of the storm system, a heavy band of snowfall moved from south to north across the region.

    November 26-27, 2014
    Early season nor’easter brought heavy snowfall to the region. The storm tapped gulf moisture as it developed along the gulf coast.

    March 14, 2017: Nor’easter / Pi Day Blizzard
    A very significant coastal snowstorm impacted the region March 14th featuring extremely heavy snowfall and blizzard conditions. This snowstorm was regarded as the largest snowstorm to impact the area since the Valentines Day 2007 Snowstorm/Blizzard.

    December 16-17, 2020

    A significant coastal snowstorm impacted the region December 16-17th. Low pressure moved northward from the Outer Banks of North Carolina to just south of Long Island from Wednesday, December 16th into the early morning hours of Thursday, December 17th. Copious moisture was lifted over a dome of cold air over the Northeastern US, allowing snow to spread into eastern New York and western New England during the afternoon and evening hours of the 16th. Heavy snow bands of 1- 2″ per hour were common with this initial activity.

  9. LarrytheG Avatar
    LarrytheG

    9 of the Worst Power Outages in United States History
    Northeast Blackout (1965) …
    New York City (1977) …
    West Coast Blackout (1982) …
    Western North America Blackout (1996) …
    North Central U.S. (1998) …
    Northeast Blackout of (2003) …
    Southwest Blackout of (2011) …
    Derecho Blackout (2012)

    1. Eric the half a troll Avatar
      Eric the half a troll

      Those unreliable renewables…!!

      1. LarrytheG Avatar
        LarrytheG

        Makes one wonder what these modern-day “anti” renewables types were up to when those prior outages happened…

    2. f/k/a_tmtfairfax Avatar
      f/k/a_tmtfairfax

      I remember a couple days after the Derecho, I was walking around my neighborhood in McLean and saw an out-of-state repair crew working on electric lines. The foreman told me repair crews love Dominion because it never trims trees or otherwise maintains its local distribution plant. That told me a lot.

      There are enough dead bodies in and surrounding Dominion that, if the MSM had interest, the investigative reporting could well win awards.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar
        LarrytheG

        but this problem happens with a lot of power companies, TMT.

        and you guys are the ones that no longer believe or support the MSM so it can investigate!

        If you don’t like the MSM, why can’t Conservative media do it?

        1. how_it_works Avatar
          how_it_works

          It doesn’t happen with my power company, NOVEC.

          1. LarrytheG Avatar
            LarrytheG

            I’ve heard that and I’ve also heard that they have no generation of their own, they buy t all, right?

          2. how_it_works Avatar
            how_it_works

            They do buy power, but they are a member of PJM so they can buy power from any PJM generator.

          3. LarrytheG Avatar
            LarrytheG

            and they did not have blackouts?

          4. how_it_works Avatar
            how_it_works

            I’ve been a NOVEC customer for over 20 years. They rarely have outages. My last outage was probably 2 years ago for an hour.

          5. LarrytheG Avatar
            LarrytheG

            So even with all this cold , they stayed up and running and they use renewables?

          6. how_it_works Avatar
            how_it_works

            forgot about this one

            Among renewable-energy sources in Virginia, biomasspower production is one of the most dependable, economical, and environmentally friendly alternatives available. This is especially true in Virginia’s Southside region where acres of forests and commercial logging create abundant wood waste. This region is where NOVEC built its first power plant: the NOVEC Energy Production Halifax County Biomass Plant.

            The plant’s 49.9-megawatt capacity is capable of providing enough renewable energy to power the equivalent of 16,000 NOVEC homes.

          7. LarrytheG Avatar
            LarrytheG

            So NOVEC actually owns some generation facilities? I thought they bought it all via PJM.

          8. how_it_works Avatar
            how_it_works

            Thought so too till I remembered that they have a biomass plant.

  10. f/k/a_tmtfairfax Avatar
    f/k/a_tmtfairfax

    Putting aside how electricity is generated, the electric distribution system in the United States is woefully inadequate. It cannot handle today’s requirements. Imagine if we all drove electric cars.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar
      LarrytheG

      It’s has been out of date for quite some time even prior to renewables and electric cars.

      But the electric car thing is bogus anyhow according to most credible studies that I’ve read.

      The usual suspect “skeptics” publish boogeyman scenarios that some folks actually do believe without checking any further.

      The advent of electric cars will take years if not decades and even then the current grid can handle them at non-peak hours when there is excess capacity available.

      ” Most industry experts agree that the nation’s electrical grid is up to the task of supporting EVs. However, successful EV adoption will rely not only on investments in the grid itself, but also on how and when EV drivers use it to charge their vehicles.

      “The simple answer is yes,” says Jeff Allen, executive director of Forth, an EV advocacy group. The full answer is a little more complicated. “I think what the California situation highlighted is that we do need to invest in the electrical grid.”

      It’s a challenge that electricity providers say they have seen before. Few homes in the 1960s and 1970s had air conditioning, but many more homes have it today. For the most part, utility providers stepped up to that challenge and say they can do it again.”

      We just have gloom & doom folks once again predicting terrible things for the future as they have always before – like the “war on coal” and unleaded gas and CFCs. It’s the same crowd with the same boogeyman politics.

      1. f/k/a_tmtfairfax Avatar
        f/k/a_tmtfairfax

        If states like California continue to ban gasoline and diesel vehicle in the future, the demand for electricity could well jump faster than many think.

        The idea that most people will recharge their batteries at night assumes a suburban lifestyle and SFH – something else the fanatics are fighting. How do you address the huge volume of renters? Except for upscale communities, landlords are not going to install charging stations in most lower-priced complexes, much less in smaller rental properties, including duplexes, triplexes and quadplexes. And if the government mandates installation of charging stations, rent will increase, making housing even less affordable.

        And a lot of people will need to charge their vehicles during the day.

        This doesn’t mean stopping electric vehicles, but rather, a need to put all the issues on the table and have reasonable debate. Just like many business executives forget that most decisions have multiple effects, so too do almost every elected official.

        1. LarrytheG Avatar
          LarrytheG

          geeze TMT.. .you got what-a-bout-ism on steroids here!

          The changes take place over time and the grid evolves in response over time.

          No grid is 100% bullet-proof especially in weather that is extraordinary.

          Think the private sector is better?

          Ask Southwestern.

    2. Eric the half a troll Avatar
      Eric the half a troll

      If we all drove electric cars, we would be much, much closer to true energy independence and would be far more insulated from world political crises in terms of both economic and military security.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar
        LarrytheG

        not only less polluting, but ” The U.S. average price for residential electricity is 13 cents per kilowatt hour. How does the cost of driving an EV compare to driving a gasoline-powered car? The short answer is that it costs only $1.41 per “gallon” to drive an EV.” which, as Eric says, would make us far less vulnerable to price fluctuations for oil and gasoline.

        And as Eric also says, the military is also interested. Many of the casualties in war fighting are the drivers in the convoys moving fuel for the motorized equipment for the troops.

        1. f/k/a_tmtfairfax Avatar
          f/k/a_tmtfairfax

          True, but how does the military construct and protect generating plants during battles or within easy bombing or missile fire locations? I would think a solar array or windmill farm would make an easy target.

          Will the military need to truck diesel to electric generating plants?

          1. LarrytheG Avatar
            LarrytheG

            The military wants bigger, stronger batteries that can be field charged with portable/mobile solar.

            Think about satellites TMT.

            Gonna carry fossil fuels to power them?

        2. LesGabriel Avatar
          LesGabriel

          In comparing costs of driving EV’s to gas, do the comparisons include all of the subsidies involved?

          1. LarrytheG Avatar
            LarrytheG

            on both fossil fuels and EVs?

          2. LesGabriel Avatar
            LesGabriel

            yes

          3. LarrytheG Avatar
            LarrytheG

            I’m not sure I’ve seen one that stipulates that all subsidies on both sides have been taken into account.

            But are you talking about EVs and the tax credits for EV or subsidies for the fuels used?

            On the fuels , there ARE data that does that – it’s referred to as the levelized cost:

            Here’s one:
            https://www.lazard.com/perspective/levelized-cost-of-energy-levelized-cost-of-storage-and-levelized-cost-of-hydrogen/

            Not able to put the chart up to show the “unsubsidized” so you’ll have to go to the link to see it.

          4. LesGabriel Avatar
            LesGabriel

            The subsidies for EV’s and for EV charging stations should be recognized, although quantifying them in a way that allow an apples to apples comparison might be next to impossible.

      2. Lefty665 Avatar

        Maybe, but do the math.

        Going from a 230v @ 30 amps 8 hour battery charge at home to common chargers capable of doing multiple 10 minute 90% charges requires a grid that has a couple of orders of magnitude greater capacity than what we have today. That ain’t a trivial issue.

        That does not even begin to address the problem of storage of energy from intermittent sources to be used at night or when the wind stops.

        I’m a fan of green power and transitioning away from fossil fuels, but I can also see there’s a profound amount of R&D and build out that has to happen to get there. You can’t get there from here by 2035.

  11. Donald Smith Avatar
    Donald Smith

    It appears a critical mass of Virginians have chosen to not only listen to, but empower, the climate activists and their handlers. Which is their right. Now, it’s time to pay high energy bills, stock up on comforters and blankets, and be ready to cut back on other expenses to pay for heat. (Shrugs shoulders). Choices have consequences, and adults accept the consequences of their choices.

    I have to admire the determination of people who are willing for them and their families (and their neighbors) to suffer, in order to achieve their goals. I salute you.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar
      LarrytheG

      listen to … and believe… right?

  12. Donald Smith Avatar
    Donald Smith

    If the people who read this blog choose to believe that renewable “green” energy is as robust, easy to access and affordable as Nancy, Larry and Eric (or their handlers, or the people who are coding those bots), are asserting here, then I wish you the best.

    1. Nancy Naive Avatar
      Nancy Naive

      Oil and gas are “easy to access”? (You needn’t consider war dead in your response)

    2. LarrytheG Avatar
      LarrytheG

      Donald, there are no “handlers”. No Soros either. Renewable energy has disadvantages. It’s not always available, not dispatchable and not near as energy dense as fossil fuels.

      Other forms of energy also have disadvantages both fossil fuels and Nukes.

      There is no need to list out all of it but none of the disadvantages are 100% disqualifying – each coal is still used to the tune of 20% and it has many disadvantages from leveling mountaintops to particulate matter that injures vulnerable people to coal ash disposal.

      Neither Nukes nor Coal can quickly moderate in response to dynamic demands up and down. They do what wind/solar can’t do – available all the time when they are “up” but it takes hours to come “up” so they’re not useful for rapidly increased demands of a sudden cold front or another plant going down unexpectantly.

      There’s just no reason to not use solar and wind when it is available and it is the lowest cost least polluting fuel available at that time.

  13. energyNOW_Fan Avatar
    energyNOW_Fan

    We were away for the cold snap, which was a little scary, in case something went wrong at the house.

    But we now have a smart thermostat (ECOBEE) so I could see (on the Internet) the heat was working, and I could remotely set it back a notch to save energy. I did not want to cut back too far.

    A lot of the political debate revolves around human risk perception. If there is an activity we agree with (eg; smoking in years past, or say driving) we are very willing to accept any and all risks, no matter how big the risk is. On the other hand, if there is an activity we do not agree with, then we are outraged to have that forced onto us involuntarily, and completely unwilling to accept even zero risk.

    This and many similar articles, seem to try try to convince liberals of the risks of green energy, but I would say liberals are ready, willing and able to accept ALL risks of banning fossil fuels. That is their recommended policy and they support it to the end.

    1. LarrytheG Avatar
      LarrytheG

      See, the Ecobee is an example of how energy can be saved, use LESS energy. IF we are gone for days, we crank the Ecobee down (or up) by 15-20 degrees and then set it back when we are 4 hr out on our way back. You can set the Ecobee to lower/increase during the day when you are off to work or other also, of course.

      If everyone got an Ecobee would it do good things for the grid?

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