Texas' Power Grid Failure

By Cje95 | Texas Living | 20 Feb 2021

While almost all power has been restored in Texas now millions of Texans' are battling a new enemy. The water out of the taps is not safe for human consumption. This means that all the water you use for eating, drinking, brushing your teeth and even showering is supposed to be boiled first before you use it.  


There are countless reasons why the grid failed some of them are more understandable than others while some are just inexcusable. Grids are designed certain ways based off of the need of the grid and most importantly the environment that the grid is in. A lot of the grid infrastructure to was built up in the 1950-1960's when times were much different. This led to a grid that was built for heat and humidity and was not built for extreme cold like Texas faced also being 50+ years old. Talking to different engineer friends of mine they really highlighted the fact that the Texas grid was not built for deep freezes and even the parts that were in the upper part of the state were built for brief deep freezes not prolonged ones like the state got. 


Energy sources also caused huge issues as Texas is the number 1 producer in renewable energy especially wind energy. Well I saw something I never would have thought I would see and that was the turbines were freezing solid. They did not turn and the irony of the situation was that they had to use fossil fuel based products to unfreeze them and keep them unfrozen. In the western and southern part of the state this is the largest energy generating sector larger than even fossil fuels. When the renewable energies went down in these section then they had to draw on others that were already maxed out leading to failure. 


Then in the beautiful avalanche of crappy cold this was the roads and rails got so bad that fossil fuels that normally would be brought online could not be or were only brought on partway because they could not get all of the natural gas, oil, coal, etc. that they would need to fully operate. The price of these products also skyrocketed with natural gas and oil hitting new highs for the year. By the time this could all be sorted out and fixed the next issue reared it ugly head and the state is still dealing with this.


When the power went offline and online and off again the waste water management and water purification plants were dealt huge blows. Some were unable to pump enough water to keep the planets flowing as they should and this led to issues with water quality. Some areas also just could not pump enough water so when they could it was "rushed" out and not treated to full potential. While the water that has been sent out is not crazy bad water it is water that is not as safe as it should be hence the water boiling orders. This issue is not going to get fixed overnight either. Some plants suffered bad damage that requires them to get fixed so warnings have been made that it could take up to 2 weeks for them to be able to operate at a full capacity. 


It is a surreal time as my parents live outside of Houston and my brother goes to college in the state. My father whos 66 years old and spent his entire life in Houston has never seen weather like this and it was historic in that temperatures like that have not been recorded in over 100 years in some areas. Hence why when building the grid this level of cold protection just did not cross engineers mines I mean we are talking about Texas and everyone always thinks of heat when they think of Texas not snow. I expect the state will want to overhaul the entire grid and since Texas' grid is independent of the other grids it would appear that they will be able to do this with more ease than other states who have to coordinate. 


This failure required a ton of things to go wrong. Sadly they did and there was no plan at all for something like that to happen. Saturday and Sunday though is bringing weather in the 60's and 70's a stark reversal of weather that will allow for more grid work to be done easier and quicker. I hope everyone reading this is staying safe and warm its mind boggling that this is going on at all right now. 

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Graduated from Texas A&M in May of 2020 had dabbled in crypto since 2017 but dove in at the end of 2019. December of 2020 packed up and moved to D.C.! Huge sports fan, space nerd, and international newsreader! Follow me on Twitter @Cje95_

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