Houston, We Have a Problem: Learnings from the Power Outage
Millions of Texans were left in the freezing cold when the electrical system fell short during a historic winter chill. The deadly event caused the electric system operator to cut about 35% of forecasted demand with blackouts.
This week, our guests – Joshua Rhodes, Research Associate at the University of Texas at Austin and Founding Partner at IdeaSmiths LLC and Blake Shaffer, Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics and School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary – help us understand what happened and the lessons that can be applied to other jurisdictions, including in Alberta.
Joshua and Blake recently wrote an op-ed titled “Lessons for Alberta from the Texas power blackout.”
Here are some of the questions Peter and Jackie asked this week’s guests: Why did demand rocket up so fast? What sources of power generation (wind, solar, natural gas, coal and nuclear) fell short? What happened to power prices? What could have improved the situation (capacity markets, transmission interconnects with other jurisdictions, demand-side changes)? What are the lessons for Alberta? And critically, what does this event mean for the way we think about decarbonizing electrical grids?
The power generation by fuel type in the first few weeks of February 2021 by the IEA: “Severe Power Cuts in Texas Highlight Energy Security Risks Related to Extreme Weather Events.”
Blake’s tweet that shows the actual generation of different power sources vs expectations: https://twitter.com/bcshaffer/status/1364635620706971651
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