Friday, February 04, 2011

The shape of things to come

After an epic winter storm on Wednesday buried more than a third of the United States in drifting snow, sleet and ice, the State of Texas suffered the embarrassing inconvenience of having serious electricity supply problems, even though most areas were not directly affected by the bad weather.

The problems arose when 7,000 megawatts of generating capacity tripped out on Tuesday night, leaving the state short of capacity equivalent to that required to power about 1.4 million homes. Suppliers had to resort to "rotating outages", which avoided total blackouts.

WUWT has been quick to point out that Texas as a state has been a wind power enthusiast, and that the supply problems coincided with a period of very cold temperatures and light winds – exactly the conditions which prevailed in the UK over Christmas.

While the implications for British energy supply are obvious, as long as our fool leaders continue to push for increased wind power, in this case Texas has had the double embarrassment of having to go cap-in-hand to Mexico's state electricity company for extra power.

Even then, it was only able to supply 280 megawatts, a mere fraction of what Texas needs, but it was better than nothing. For once, a Mexican "invasion" has been welcomed, and old enmities have been forgotten (pictured). One wonders, however, what JR Ewing might have made of it and whether, with the resurrection of the series Dallas, "rotating outages" will feature in the script, alongside idle windmills.

What a different world we have from the original "Dallas", which ran from 1978 to 1991 and set a record viewership of 90 million, the days when oil ruled supreme, greens were for wimps and JR wouldn't have been seen dead near a windmill.