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Can Illinois learn any lessons from the Texas blackouts?

Thursday, Feb 18, 2021

* Will Englund at the Washington Post

When it gets really cold, it can be hard to produce electricity, as customers in Texas and neighboring states are finding out. But it’s not impossible. Operators in Alaska, Canada, Maine, Norway and Siberia do it all the time.

What has sent Texas reeling is not an engineering problem, nor is it the frozen wind turbines blamed by prominent Republicans. It is a financial structure for power generation that offers no incentives to power plant operators to prepare for winter. In the name of deregulation and free markets, critics say, Texas has created an electric grid that puts an emphasis on cheap prices over reliable service.

It’s a “Wild West market design based only on short-run prices,” said Matt Breidert, a portfolio manager at a firm called TortoiseEcofin.

And yet the temporary train wreck of that market Monday and Tuesday has seen the wholesale price of electricity in Houston go from $22 a megawatt-hour to about $9,000. Meanwhile, 4 million Texas households have been without power.

* Bloomberg

To get a sense of the magnitude of the power crisis hitting Texas, take a look at how it compares to the blackouts that roiled California last summer during a searing heat wave.

The California grid was short about 1 to 2 gigawatts for two evenings, while Texas has been short about 15 to 25 gigawatts for two straight days, according to Andy DeVries, a power analyst at CreditSights. And while California’s rolling blackouts left customers in the dark for a couple of hours at a time, customers in Texas have been without power for more than a day.

* Texas Tribune

“Texas is a gas state,” said Michael Webber, an energy resources professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

While Webber said all of Texas’ energy sources share blame for the power crisis, the natural gas industry is most notably producing significantly less power than normal.

“Gas is failing in the most spectacular fashion right now,” Webber said.

* Texas also has a power grid that covers 90 percent of the state and is isolated from the rest of the country, so they can evade federal regulations, but that also means state shortages can’t be replaced with out of state electricity

During this power shortage, Texas could be tapping into electricity sources from far-flung parts of the country if it were connected.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s 2020 Interconnections Seam Study found that the cost savings from a nationwide high-voltage transmission network would outweigh the investments needed to build it. An expansive transmission buildout would not only enhance the resiliency of the grid, it would also help to balance wind and solar resources as they reach higher penetrations, O’Boyle said.

* The wind power failure argument made by elements on the right turns out not to be true…


* So, I asked the chairs and minority spokespersons of the two legislative energy committees a question via text: Are there any lessons to be learned in Illinois from the Texas blackouts?

Here are their responses in the order they were received.

* Rep. Ann Williams, House Energy & Environment Chair…

Despite what we’ve been seeing on social media, the reality is that the crisis in Texas is primarily a result of the fact that two-thirds of coal and gas plants went offline because their equipment is frozen, or they cannot get gas from the pipelines. The fossil fuel plants throughout Texas and the Plains states are trying to recover from a major and unprecedented winter storm event that they simply weren’t prepared for.

Of course, wind farms in Illinois and Minnesota do just fine when the temperature gets down below zero. This is a problem with Texas, not wind farms!

Texas has one of the most hands-off approach to energy policy in the country, and the fate and livelihood of millions of residents and businesses are now in the hands of companies who chose to save a few dollars building their coal and gas plants, or building gas pipelines, that couldn’t stand up to the weather. Weather proofing and prepping for an extreme emergency like this needs to happen across the board not just in one particular segment of the industry. Any focus on wind turbines freezing as the cause of the Texas grid crisis is just right wing talking points without basis in fact. It’s like something Trump would say - I guess his approach to messaging continues, facts notwithstanding!

* Sen. Michael Hastings, Senate Energy and Public Utilities Chair…

We have a reliable energy source, namely our nuclear fleet, which provides billions of dollars in economic activity and thousands of jobs across Illinois. Our newly assembled General Assembly must address the potential closures of our baseload while investing in other clean energy resources across the state.

* Rep. David Welter, House Energy & Environment Spokesperson…

We need to keep our nuclear plants OPEN, productive and strong!

* Sen. Sue Rezin, Senate Energy and Public Utilities Spokesperson…

The ongoing brownouts in Texas should serve has a reminder to all Illinoisans how important our nuclear fleet is to our electrical grid. All six of Illinois’ nuclear plants have been able to run 24/7 despite the extreme weather conditions we have been experiencing the last few days.

Currently, our nuclear fleet produces around 50 percent of our state’s electricity. Without this reliable and carbon-free source, it could be quite possible that Illinois would be experiencing the same devastating brownouts.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

59 Comments »
  1. - Blue Dog - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 5:11 am:

    I would love to see about 8 new nuclear power plants constructed here in the U.S. in the next decade.


  2. - Miso - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 5:27 am:

    Remember how awesome the Zion plant was? Ask anyone in Waukegan.


  3. - blue line - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 6:42 am:

    the texas problem is emblematic of a broader issue we suffer — elected officials convincing voters that they can have everything, yet pay very little in taxes. they combine this message with the constant drumbeat that government is corrupt and incompetent, and only the private sector can solve all of our problems. all of this is playing out in texas right now, as people freeze in dark homes, and the leaders blame solar and wind, rather than acknowledge their own failures to incentivize investments in the energy infrastructure. the reality is that things cost money, and our leaders need to be honest about that. another reality is that, as president Obama said, energy policy has to be an all in approach, at least in the short term. its good to work toward all clean and renewable energy, but we cannot get there without nuclear, particularly in illinois. we also cannot get there when our leaders pander to the regional energy players who still push fossil fuels. its time to be bold. illinois needs to use this texas experience as an example of how not to do things. a comprehensive energy bill needs to be passed and signed this year. one that protects the nuclear fleet, and one that increases the use of renewable energy sources. put aside the political nonsense. this isn’t a time to focus group and demonize how things were done in the past. put your safeguards in place to ensure a repeat of the activity that is described in the comed deferred prosecution agreement never happens again. but don’t use that as an excuse to fail to lead.


  4. - Pundent - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 7:18 am:

    When you don’t believe in science, regulation, and government there are inevitable consequences.

    But I’m sure the energy providers of Texas are flooding social media today with posts blaming this on wind turbines. There’s money to be made in pedaling nostalgia and the way things used to be.


  5. - PublicServant - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 7:19 am:

    The lesson for Illinois from the Texas blackouts is that deregulation for the sake of ideology is penny wise and pound foolish. Very similar to our ability to respond to the pandemic…Really nice saving money on pandemic preparedness until, of course, a pandemic, and then, well, hoped you enjoyed those extra pennys in your pocket, but they do have a tendency to weigh down the caskets…just sayin.


  6. - Flyin' Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 7:19 am:

    With family that “winter” in Texas, and are currently without power, I have been following this story from a multitude of sources.

    You get what you pay for, put it on a sampler and hang it in your kitchen.


  7. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 7:20 am:

    FEMA to the rescue with generators. But will that be enough?


  8. - Frank talks - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 7:46 am:

    I thought the GOP was leading the way to repeal FEJA for being a money grab and a Madigan bribe that hurt consumers? Sounds like a lot of legislators still like sucking up to Exelon and wanting to give big cash subsidies to them.
    FEJA was passed in ‘16 those nukes were given 10 years of extra life, that’s only 5 more years. Hope those towns and their economies are ready to be emptied. They should tour Zion to go see their future.


  9. - Jocko - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 7:48 am:

    Like the Flint water crisis, this is what happens when you provide public services on the cheap. This should be the answer every time someone says, “We should run government like a business.”


  10. - Telly - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 8:10 am:

    Each of the four committee chairs/spokespeople gave shout outs to their political agendas and didn’t directly answer the question. Bottom line we are not likely to suffer a Texas-like shut down thanks to the northern half of Illinois’ participation in a multi state capacity market. We pay extra costs up-front to have dozens of power plants sitting in standby mode waiting for sudden surges in demand. It keeps the lights on during a heat wave or polar vortex. It’s expensive and relies too heavily on fossil fuel burning resources. But if the chief priority is reliability, it works.


  11. - Nick - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 8:17 am:

    I don’t want to say there aren’t lessons to be bad, but the biggest for Illinois seems to be ‘keep doing what we’re doing.’


  12. - Flyin' Elvis'-Utah Chapter - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 8:24 am:

    ComEd’s new ad campaign-

    “All of a sudden, we’re not so bad.”


  13. - Essential State Employee - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 8:26 am:

    =Like the Flint water crisis, this is what happens when you provide public services on the cheap.=

    Or more locally, Chatham breaking off water service from Springfield’s CWLP about 10 years ago, and going on their own with New Berlin (South Sangamon Water Commission). Followed by massive degradation of the city’s water supply as a result.


  14. - BTO2 - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 8:46 am:

    Will be interesting to see who pays for all the damage. I know Springfield wants to close their CWLP plant, might want to think twice about that. Not all that easy to get energy from elsewhere when something like this occurs.


  15. - Bruce( no not him) - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 8:48 am:

    When the going gets tuff, the tuff go to Cancun.


  16. - Stig - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 8:49 am:

    An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. The lessons for Illinois may not be related to extreme temperatures. We have experience with cold and heat, but what about the disasters that we’re less experienced with? Earthquakes? Extreme Drought? Fire?


  17. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 8:52 am:

    As noted, nukes can be a good baseload supply solution. They haven’t built a new plant in this country for decades. The biggest problem (aside from decommissioning / disposal) was the industry’s building each plant as a unique entity / design. The US builders could have learned something from Europe, where they reuse 2 or 3 standard designs, which holds down cost and simplifies the approval process.


  18. - JoanP - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 8:54 am:

    = The wind power failure argument made by elements on the right turns out not to be true =

    I’m shocked.


  19. - Chambanalyst - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 8:58 am:

    Would have liked to seen more responses like Rep. Ann Williams’s proper 30,000 foot assessment of the situation. Surprised to see how many legislators immediately advocated for nuclear although I guess that should tell me something about where their loyalty lies…


  20. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 9:01 am:

    The other thing is Illinois consumers can learn / have learned to be prepared to be on their own. Overall, our electric power and natural gas supply here is reliable but outages do happen. The tendency to have fireplaces and either standalone or whole house standby generators helps. Plus a lot of us have kerosene fueled space heaters in our garage or storage shed.

    I still remember the twin tornados that hit the city and being without power for over a week. While it wasn’t as cold as what Texas is getting, we did use the fireplace that had been converted to natural gas logs to keep the house warm … and had a window cracked in that room for ventilation. But cooking was a challenge since we only had electric stoves.


  21. - Ok - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 9:03 am:

    I will note, to Sen. Hastings, that a nuclear plant in Texas did go offline as well.


  22. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 9:06 am:

    == When the going gets tuff, the tuff go to Cancun. ==

    LOL. Friends who normally lived in the Chicago area have spent the last year pretty much in isolation in Mexico. She has the kind of business that can be done 95% or more remotely. Just had to get her clients to go totally paperless.


  23. - Thomas Paine - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 9:09 am:

    Texas had a nuclear reactor shut down, that was part of the problem:

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/energy/how-and-why-a-nuclear-reactor-shut-down-in-texas-cold-snap-when-energy-was-needed-most%3f_amp=true

    It’s great to know who the Com-Ed spokespeople are by name.

    Com-Ed doesn’t need another bailout.


  24. - Responsa - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 9:11 am:

    Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Put it on a sampler and hang it in your kitchen.


  25. - Candy Dogood - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 9:12 am:

    Some of those responses seem like they might have been drafted with the help of admitted felon Exelon. I try not to become cynical, but it’s not even been a years since the company admitted to the charges and here are prominent legislators bending over backward to feed a pro-nuclear power talking point while the company operating those plants continues to insist they cannot compete or afford to produce electricity without sweetheart deals that allow them to extract billions of dollars from individual Illinoisans.

    If admitted felon Exelon is no longer bribing legislators, what’s the excuse now?

    Keep financially bailing out a failed private enterprise instead of encouraging viable options?


  26. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 9:15 am:

    == but what about the disasters that we’re less experienced with? Earthquakes? Extreme Drought? Fire? ==

    One of things I did at one time was some disaster preparedness studies for a few State facilities. While you can never say never, earthquakes are pretty much a minimal threat in central Illinois. Yes, there is New Madrid down south and another fault near the Illinois / Wisconsin border, things are fairly stable. Long term drought is always a possibility to the aquifers, but we have lots of freshwater resources, especially in comparison to other States.

    Tornadoes are likely the biggest treat. One of the worst ever, the tristate one, hit Illinois over a century ago.


  27. - JS Mill - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 9:16 am:

    Lesson? When someone says something about a blue state bailout let them know how we bailed out Texas with spiked energy costs. Two school districts near Springfield went to remote learning over concerns for heating costs.

    =We need to keep our nuclear plants OPEN, productive and strong!=

    LOL, I think he meant “socialism(banned punctuation)”


  28. - Responsa - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 9:18 am:

    I will add that Illinois never learns any lessons so I assume that Rich either needed more coffee when he wrote this post’s headline or was being very tongue in cheek.


  29. - Mason born - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 9:26 am:

    Huhm, I wonder if this is something like our 93 flood. We new the risk was there but when we estimated the cost to mitigate it with the likely hood that it would happen it didn’t seem economical. Then it happened and the costs didn’t seem so high.

    I wonder if in January you’d have asked Texas residents if they’d be willing to take a 20% surcharge on their bills to pay for winterizing the systems for colder weather if they would have supported it or deemed it not worth the cost.

    It’ll be interesting to see if TX utility companies adjust after this.


  30. - Essential State Employee - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 9:28 am:

    =Tornadoes are likely the biggest treat. One of the worst ever, the tristate one, hit Illinois over a century ago.=

    Although they weren’t near as strong as the F2, don’t forget that it will be 15 years ago this coming Mar. 12 (Mar. 12, 2006) that the twin tornadoes came through the southwest, south, and east sides of Springfield. Their path was only about 1.5 miles south of the Capitol Complex, but other state buildings were affected (IIRC Iles Park Place was one). Can’t believe it’s been almost 15 years since that frightening night.


  31. - Donnie Elgin - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 9:35 am:

    =Texas had a nuclear reactor shut down, that was part of the problem=

    the South Texas Nuclear Power Station was not properly winterized which resulted in a disruption in a feedwater pump. The problem was resolved in about 24 hours and the plant came on-line on Monday. It is a reltively simple fix to make a nuke plant ( or a nat Gas one) in one location more winter-ready - however, winterizing 10,000 plus wind turbines is cost-prohibitive.


  32. - BluegrassBoy - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 9:39 am:

    When you fail to have redundancy, eventually you will have a problem. There needs to be a national policy on Energy. States rights to enrich few at the risk of millions is pure evil. The NG price gouging happening is also going to hurt so many people as well. Lesson here is redundancy=resiliency


  33. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 9:52 am:

    Yeah. It tells me don’t cut yourself off from the national power grid. Heads should roll over this fiasco.


  34. - Telly - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 9:57 am:

    All types of energy generation failed in Texas…nuke, coal, gas, and renewable — which is why multi-state grids work well. If something catastrophic happens, weather or otherwise, in one part of the grid, generators in other locations can pick up the slack. If Texas was part of a grid with a dozen other states, like us, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.


  35. - Anyone Remember - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 9:58 am:

    “The biggest problem … was the industry’s building each plant as a unique entity / design.”

    In its reporting about the default of the Washington Public Power Supply System nuclear plants construction (for which it was a 1983 Pulitzer finalist), the Seattle Post Intelligencer’s staff came across this issue. And they discovered when it was proposed to the Atomic Energy Commission to standardize plant design, the response from the Eisenhower Administration was “That’s socialism.”


  36. - Anotheretiree - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 10:00 am:

    I suspect Texas will do what they did after Hurricane Harvey. Beg for tens of billions and then vote to take reduce the blue States Tax deductions. Texans voted for this mess. They also oppose help for Blue States for Covid. I have no sympathy. Time for them to have an income tax. They should be happy Cruz is safe in Cancun.


  37. - bob - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 10:01 am:

    This is why I never left Edison for the lower rate companies that bother the hell out of me. Right now electrical power has become a commodity in Texas.PS would you believe I got a call during my typing of this asking me to change.


  38. - Candy Dogood - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 10:03 am:

    ===PS would you believe I got a call during my typing of this asking me to change. ===

    Sounds like you need to sign up for the national no call registry, ‘bob.’


  39. - Going nuclear - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 10:05 am:

    In addition to infrastructure upgrades, states should look at the role “micro-grids” (small and self-sufficient sources of power) can play in making the grid more resilient and reliable during extreme weather events.

    https://theconversation.com/keeping-the-lights-on-during-extreme-cold-snaps-takes-investments-and-upgrades-106950


  40. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 10:10 am:

    - Essential State Employee - Not likely to forget those. The one twin tornado missed the house I was living in at the time by about 160 feet. It scored a direct hit (but relatively minimal damage) on the house I now live in (and had rented out at the time). Houses were without power for more than a week.


  41. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 10:15 am:

    == Sounds like you need to sign up for the national no call registry ==

    ‘no call’ doesn’t make much difference. Still get the car warranty, medicare benefits, microsoft fix, judgement / lawsuit act now calls. Even the paid spam filters don’t catch all of them.


  42. - Essential State Employee - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 10:23 am:

    =Two school districts near Springfield went to remote learning over concerns for heating costs.=

    Per Channel 20 (of all places), it was Auburn and Waverly that decided to go all-remote at least the rest of this week due to the natural gas spike.

    In addition to Auburn and Waverly I’ve heard that at least Glenarm and Pawnee locally are among other communities adversely affected by the natural gas spike. As IIRC they are served by the Panhandle gas pipeline that goes through southern Sangamon County. However, even though the pipeline goes about 3 miles SSW of Chatham, that village gets gas from Ameren so I don’t know if they would be affected as adversely as the smaller towns to the south.


  43. - North Park - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 10:23 am:

    ==Beg for tens of billions and then vote to take reduce the blue States Tax deductions.==

    That was SO infuriating. The Texan excuse for getting Federal hurricane dollars? “But we paid into the system, we should get something out of it.” Someone actually said this in an interview.

    Everybody else who pays into the system? You’re on your own.


  44. - RNUG - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 10:28 am:

    == I don’t know if they would be affected ==

    Would depend if Chatham had a long term contract with Ameren or were buying from them on the spot market.


  45. - walker - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 10:29 am:

    When it comes to infrastructure and utilities, pay a bit now or pay a lot later.


  46. - cermak_rd - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 10:30 am:

    I don’t think the cut off grid in this case made a huge difference. Neighboring states are dealing with their own power issues (not as bad admittedly) and would have been unlikely to provide much.

    But the equation comes down to do you want cheap electricity or do you want resiliency. Texas chose cheap electricity and has benefited economically from that choice. IL chose resiliency and has likely benifited from that choice. But FEMA should not bail out Texas from the downside of their decision.


  47. - Jared - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 10:31 am:

    C’mon Hastings, Rezin and Welter. At least study the issue for one minute before shilling for Exelon. The issue in Texas is not that there aren’t enough power plants. It’s that the power plants aren’t running because of the ice on the units. Subsidizing nukes or gas or coal or renewables isn’t the answer to the Texas problem. Not allowing ice on to critical infrastruture, or having a removal/mitigation system in place, is the solution to the immediate problem.


  48. - Thomas Paine - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 10:31 am:

    Donnie -

    Yes, so?

    The spokespeople for Exelon/ComEd want to frame this as a nuclear v fossil fuel debate. It is not.

    It is, as Anne Williams points out, a warning of the pitfalls of deregulation.


  49. - Bruce( no not him) - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 10:42 am:

    ===I will add that Illinois never learns any lessons…===
    Illinois is more like “hold my beer…”


  50. - Arock - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 10:56 am:

    If the whole state of California was on fire then you could make a comparison but in this case if you compare that almost all of Texas has been hit by the Polar Vortex and only a small percentage of California was burning. And look at how much carbon was added to atmosphere from the California fires that could have been avoided with proper forest management especially around high voltage line that contributed to the fires. And California continues fight the management of their forest so the problems will continue to grow in the future.


  51. - @misterjayem - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 11:21 am:

    Moral: We can’t do civilization on the cheap.

    – MrJM


  52. - Six Degrees of Separation - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 11:30 am:

    One of IL’s bright spots is its energy resiliency, and general winter preparedness. I can’t say enough about the line crews who work in impossible conditions who usually restore power after ice storms, etc. in short order in my neighborhood. And the mix of energy sources from nuclear to wind to nat gas to even a little hydro, and gradually weaning off of coal without leaving a void in resiliency. I’d say the lesson is pretty much “keep doing what you are doing” and continue to pay a small premium for preparedness. We wil also see an increase over time of homes with solar tied to the grid which will also increase resiliency and severely limit the effect of power outages on those so equipped.


  53. - From DaZoo - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 11:59 am:

    IEMA and others have reviewed the redundancy and resiliency of utilities in Illinois under various scenarios. It’s been a few years so they may need to dust off the reports and review them again.


  54. - dbk - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 12:03 pm:

    First, may I just say that commenters seem to have a better grasp of the situation in Texas than those who responded from official positions, hmm.

    In terms of energy production/distribution, there probably isn’t a lot to be learned except in a negative sense - but the lessons of weatherizing, reserves, back-up plants are all lessons IL has already learned and applied.

    Rather, I think the lesson is that we need to be thinking about extreme weather events and their possible impact on us - e.g. flooding, for one, as torrential rains become more frequent and destructive. Also, IL will get hotter in the next 30-40 years - esp. in the south. The housing stock needs to be made more resilient to deal with extreme heat.

    Basically Texas runs its own grid (cause Hey, We’re Texas) separate from the Eastern / Western Interconnections. That made it very hard for them to buy power from nearby states when the crisis arrived. When a similar but less severe cold spurt struck in 2011, Texas purchased power from Mexico.

    Their plants aren’t winterized - they weren’t prepared or thinking about extreme cold, although they are prepared for extreme heat. The wind turbines don’t have de-icing or inbuilt heaters; their pipes and controls aren’t insulated at gas and coal plants - or even at the one nuclear plant that went down. Another big issue is that they follow a just-in-time reserve fuel policy, and didn’t have the 15%-20% backup other states keep on hand. Several plants seem to have been offline for maintenance (preparing for summer heightened demand). It was really a cascade of events.


  55. - Trying to be Rational - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 12:12 pm:

    That Texas situation is very bad. I bet all those people who moved into Texas are now looking for U-Hauls to move back to Illinois.


  56. - MOD - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 12:49 pm:

    The most important lesson here is looking forward to the decisions Illinois makes regarding participation in regional energy markets. Currently, Illinois is part of two: Mid-continent Independent System Operator (MISO) and PJM, both of which have market mechanisms designed to specifically account for potential impacts of the type being experienced by Texas. Providing market incentives to generators to perform under these conditions stimulates investments in “winterizing” generators, firm service contracts for fuel and capacity performance. When generators participate in these markets and don’t perform, there is a substantial financial penalty for doing so. Additionally, they procure higher percentages of reserves (20%+ compared to 14% in Texas) generation to make sure more resources are available in the event assets are forced offline. None of these steps were taken by Texas. Conversations have circulated within the IL Legislature over the last two years about pulling out of the Capacity Performance market to pursue a state-run market for resource adequacy designed to support legacy generation and this would be a significant long-term risk for the short-term gain of supporting old assets that are no longer economic. Plenty to learn for Illinois!


  57. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 2:25 pm:

    Texas used the self reliant Ayn Rand method…for all it was worth.


  58. - Up2now - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 3:56 pm:

    I’m from Effingham and came down to south Texas for the month, in Weslaco. Power went out Monday morning and is still out 80 hours later with temps in the 20s. Gasoline lines 25 cars long and stations running out of gas. Store shelves largely empty. It’s a real mess. Illinois has its problems, but at least it can keep the lights on.


  59. - DuPage - Thursday, Feb 18, 21 @ 4:47 pm:

    The Texas debacle illustrates a good reason to allow the wind power companies to build lines to bring in the large amounts of wind power into Illinois. The “Rock Island Clean Line” was stopped by Comed on a technicality of a mistake on the R.I.C.L. permit application, not on any other actual problem. It took the R.I.C.L. company many years to go through all the permitting hoops and would have to start over from scratch. The Illinois legislature could have passed a law to allow the project to proceed, but they did not. It seems Comed had friends in Springfield.
    The more sources of generation the better.


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