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The Big Texas Freeze could (and should) have been prevented

With all the news coming from The Frozen Texas , I've been wrecking my brains over "what could have been done" to counter this "once-in-a-lifetime event" (see my original post here: https://lnkd.in/dceHVTJ) until I got my hands on a report issued by FERC in 2011(!) following a similar disaster. It was an eye-opener. To quote the report, "𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘮 [𝘰𝘧 2011], 𝘩𝘰𝘸𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳, 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘱𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘦𝘥𝘦𝘯𝘵. 𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘸𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘱𝘳𝘪𝘰𝘳 𝘴𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘤𝘰𝘭𝘥 𝘸𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘚𝘰𝘶𝘵𝘩𝘸𝘦𝘴𝘵 𝘪𝘯 1983, 1989, 2003, 2006, 2008, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 2010. 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘴𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘴𝘦 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘪𝘯 1989, 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘳𝘪𝘰𝘳 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘮𝘰𝘴𝘵 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘢𝘳𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘵𝘰 2011." So, these cold spells had been coming periodically, and the regulator actually issued recommendations on the winterization, but they were not heeded! Well, somebody should've listened. At the very least, the capacities that were commissioned after 2011 should have definitely been designed with these inputs in mind. Take a look (it's a long read, but the Executive Summary and Findings & Recommendations sections should suffice, and then the most curious of you can also check out Annexes): 

 

Liubym Gerasymenko's picture

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Feb 22, 2021

Good find, Liubym. It's definitely true that similar events have happened in the past-- and perhaps it's time to grip with the idea that once in 50 year weather events are simply happening more often now. The risk assessment needs to change, and I think there will be feet to the fire after this most recent event that have those in charge really bringing accountability and action moving forward. 

Another point is that the grid is changing rapidly so planning for these events is not a box to be checked off, but a regular revisit is needed to make sure an evolving grid mix and system is keeping this type of resilience in mind. 

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