atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,

#7536: Texas in the deep freeze

To be fair, Texas is sub-tropical and does not often experience this kind of cold.

The infrastucture there is simply not built to handle temperatures this low.
[Arctic temperatures] cut off natgas supply amid wellhead freeze-offs, cutting production receipts just when customers' demand for heating most needed them. By Friday, frigid temperatures caused equipment failures, temporarily shutdowns in at least four natgas plants.
Last night I watched an episode of Highway Through Hell, which is a show about heavy rescue tow operators in the mountains of British Coloumbia. There was a segment of the show devoted to a section of road that got closed during a blizzard with 40 MPH winds, and it was so cold that the tow trucks were misbehaving. And this is in an area where that kind of weather is not unusual.

Texas is a big state. Northern Texas enjoys a semi-temperate climate and southern Texas is usually warmer. But the kind of air they're dealing with now--

So: I can understand why these things are happening, why there are rolling blackouts and all the other nonsense that's happening now. Even so, the power companies ought to have a better plan than "rolling blackouts" for this kind of situation. This is what comes of having "renewables" as part of your generating capacity, particularly if you cheap out and fail to have backup capacity ready to go. Of course, if your backup is natural gas....

I'm just saying, you wouldn't be seeing this kind of idiocy from nuclear power. In a sensate world, nuclear power would be considered the only viable and reasonable way to generate electricity.

* * *

The other thing is, I'm thinking that a lot of folks in warmer climates have electric baseboard heating, because having a natural gas furnace would probably be overkill and not used often enough to be worth the effort; but the problem is, electric baseboard heating is expensive to run, because elecrtricity is billed by the kilowatt-hour and even a little 1,500 watt space heater uses 1.5 kilowatt-hours every hour you run it. So, if runs for 24 hours at full blast, you're talking 36 kilowatt-hours just for that one device. That's about $4 worth electricity.

I'm seeing baseboard heaters running anywhere from 500 to 2500 watts. Let's say 1,500 watts, because 500 is enough to warm a broom closet and 2,500 will heat a garage. Further, let's say your house is approximately like the bunker and has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, living room, kitchen, dining, and family rooms. The bathrooms are small so they have 500 watt heaters in them but the other rooms have 1500 watt heaters. 11,500 watts total heating capacity. And let's give this the benefit of the doubt and say they only need to run about half the time, so we're multiplying times twelve to get kilowatt-hours. 138 kilowatt-hours of electricity used, per day. And let's further be generous and say electricity only costs $0.10 per kw-h. So, $13.80 per day to heat your house.

For a week, that's $97--close to $100. Two weeks, $193.

My gas bill for the entire month of January was $110, and that includes the hot water heater to boot. This is what I mean when I say that electric baseboard heating is expensive. And I should add that cooling the house only runs about $4-$5 per day in summertime, meaning that air conditioning is more efficient than electric heat is.

Now, for a place like Texas, I think the wise thing to use would be a heat pump. Heat pumps are reversible; usually you'd use it as an air conditioner but you can throw a switch and have it run the other way, and work as a heater instead. There's probably a downside here I'm not considering, though.

Still--my oldest sister lives in a town not too far from New Orleans, and her house has gas heat. So, I don't know.

* * *

Lindsay Graham is scarcely any better than Mitch McCowbell but it's going to be six years before we have a chance to be rid of him.

* * *

I don't know what to think about this. It is certainly true that the election was "fortified" and the sitting executive is illegitimate. I don't know that the rest of it follows, the stuff about there being only 13 legitimate state governments etcetera.

On the other hand, a lot of the legal nicities are beyond my poor little brain.

* * *

This is the same plan I advocate for opening the schools. Unlock the doors, say "school is open", and fire the teachers who refuse to work.

* * *

I slept a few more hours, and woke up from an extremely boring dream where I was arguing the economics of discounted merchandise with a guy who understandably didn't want to buy a $1,000 jacket for his teenage son (said son claiming he was going to get it at a significant discount). I was a customer in the same store; I didn't even work there.

"Wow," I thought upon waking. "That was really boring."

* * *

Overall, it's been a relatively peaceful and relaxing day, though I'm not sure we're going to go out for sushi as we'd planned. The weather is supposed to get progressively worse as the day winds on. It's been snowing--lightly--pretty much continuously all day but now the flakes are a lot bigger than they were when I got up before, and it's coming down a bit harder now.

"Travel will be very difficult to impossible," says the winter storm warning that's been in effect since 3 AM, and even though I've got a Jeep, I do not care to attempt it.

I guess we'll just have to put off having sushi until the weather improves.

Ah, winter. Yes; winter.

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.