This special interest group is for professionals to connect and discuss all types of carbon-free power alternatives, including nuclear, renewable, tidal and more.


Texas Grid Expert Describes Near Collapse of ERCOT Grid Six Months Before It Happened

image credit: Fair use.
Bob Meinetz's picture
Nuclear Power Policy Activist Independent

I am a passionate advocate for the environment and nuclear energy. With the threat of climate change, I’ve embarked on a mission to help overcome the fears of nuclear energy. I’ve been active in...

  • Member since 2018
  • 6,979 items added with 261,010 views
  • Mar 3, 2021

As a Transmission Adequacy Consultant, Dr. Gene Preston is among the most qualified in his field. With a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and a lifetime of experience working for ERCOT and Texas utilties, Dr. Preston counts among his credits:

• Chaired the IEEE Task Force to Update the IEEE RTS model to 2020
• Presented ERCOT reliability evaluations to IEEE LOLE working group 2016-2020
• City of Austin representative assisting the PUC Synchronous Interconnection Committee
• Electric Utility representative on a City task force for implementing Internet connectivity
• Vice Chairman, APPA Engineering and Operations Workshop Planning Committee
• DEED Board Member, American Public Power Association
• Dean's Committee, College of Engineering, UT Austin
• Member of ERCOT Engineering Subcommittee
• Chairman, ERCOT Engineering Subcommittee Load Flow Task Force
• Registered Professional Engineer, Texas
• Member, ERCOT Reliability Task Force
• Member, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers

In a presentation to the IEEE Resource Adequacy Working Group in August, 2020 titled, "ERCOT's Growing Wind Resource May be Causing an Increasing Number of Loss of Load Days Per Year", Preston said

"It’s been several years since ERCOT’s dropping reserve margin has been studied to see what the predicted number of LOLE loss of load days is now and into the future. ERCOT had emergency events on Aug 13 & 15, 2019 resulting in a $9000/MWh nodal clearing price..."

He predicted in 2021 ERCOT would experience loss of load (outages) on 18 days, and that by 2027 that number would triple (54), noting

"The 2027 capacity shortage is extensive. It would take 99 GW wind and 58 GW solar to reach 0 days/year. A combination of new gas, new solar, battery storage, and DSM [Demand-Side Management] is more realistic. It seems unlikely DSM alone will be able to manage this large amount of capacity deficiency."

Preston concluded

"Blackouts are likely to continue because of these flaws:

  • Phasing out natural gas as a GHG and expanding it for winter grid reliability is a Catch-22.
  • Batteries work well for transportation and peaking capacity but not seasonal energy.
  • Wind new transmission has technical flaws, high costs, and public opposition.
  • Solar is a good summer resource but supplies insufficient winter grid energy.
  • Nuclear misconceptions are holding back the testing of new technologies."

Among the many essays posted on his website is one titled, "Is having 100% renewable energy for a country feasible? (The answer is 'extremely unlikely')".

I welcome all those with his depth of experience and expertise who disagree to post your rebuttals here.


No discussions yet. Start a discussion below.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Thank Bob for the Post!
Energy Central contributors share their experience and insights for the benefit of other Members (like you). Please show them your appreciation by leaving a comment, 'liking' this post, or following this Member.
More posts from this member

Get Published - Build a Following

The Energy Central Power Industry Network is based on one core idea - power industry professionals helping each other and advancing the industry by sharing and learning from each other.

If you have an experience or insight to share or have learned something from a conference or seminar, your peers and colleagues on Energy Central want to hear about it. It's also easy to share a link to an article you've liked or an industry resource that you think would be helpful.

                 Learn more about posting on Energy Central »