Author Topic: Texas dodged a bullet: Would you like explosions with your blackouts?  (Read 121 times)

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Offline Elderberry

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JoNova 2/22/2021

Texas toyed with cascading crises

The Green Experiment could have gone so much worse. Here’s a man who was a gas industry executive involved in a near miss in New England in 1989. The four day blackout sounds bad, but it was a lottery win compared to the worst case scenarios. Not only was a full state-wide blackout possible, which may take months to correct, but the gas system is a bomb waiting to go off too.

ERCOT officials admit they only just averted a blackstart:

Texas was “seconds and minutes” away  Texas’ power grid was “seconds and minutes” away from a catastrophic failure that could have left Texans in the dark for months, officials with the entity that operates the grid said Thursday.

— by Erin Douglas, Texas Tribune

The Blackstart in Venezuela took weeks to restart — rebooting an induction motor takes six times the normal current. Energizing a substation can cause explosions. It’s much easier to add load to an operating grid than to rebuild one from scratch. Surges on start up can break things, that fail. It can take rolling rounds of rebooting to get back in action.

But there was a potential gas powered disaster in the works too. As the cold bites, and everyone with a gas heater switches it on, the flow in pipes ramps up, and pressure falls. If gas powered plants also swing into operation, the gas pressure can fall so low that air can leak in to the pipes. The system has one way valves but at low pressure any faulty valves in the system allow air with oxygen back into the pipes. As Vic Hughes warns “Whole city blocks could be destroyed in an air/gas explosion.”

So when a big freeze arrives, the wellheads may be icing up and reducing supply at the same time as demand is exploding. In New England in 1989, gas supply fell 95%.  Hughes reports that the decisions that came next were gambles on major scales. On the one hand, the low pressure might lead to deadly suburban explosions, but cutting the gas to areas might be even worse. When every home in that area then switches on their electric heaters, the grid faces an electricity blackout as well. As blackouts spread, homes switch on their gas heaters, and so it unravels.

More: https://joannenova.com.au/2021/02/texas-dodged-a-bullet-would-you-like-explosions-with-your-blackouts/

Online thackney

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Re: Texas dodged a bullet: Would you like explosions with your blackouts?
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2021, 08:50:53 AM »
JThe system has one way valves but at low pressure any faulty valves in the system allow air with oxygen back into the pipes. As Vic Hughes warns “Whole city blocks could be destroyed in an air/gas explosion.”
\
BS.  The gas pressure in the system would have to be negative in addition to a valve failure.

Utter baseless fear mongering.
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Offline catfish1957

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Re: Texas dodged a bullet: Would you like explosions with your blackouts?
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2021, 09:29:10 AM »
\
BS.  The gas pressure in the system would have to be negative in addition to a valve failure.

Utter baseless fear mongering.

Things changed?  Back in my EPA/OSHA days these systems (RMP's) with catastrophic potential would have required double check valves.
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Online thackney

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Re: Texas dodged a bullet: Would you like explosions with your blackouts?
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2021, 09:35:42 AM »
Things changed?  Back in my EPA/OSHA days these systems (RMP's) with catastrophic potential would have required double check valves.

How would the pressure in the pipes go below ambient to allow air flowing into the pipe in gas distributions.  Any pressure at all keeps the air out of any opening.
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Offline IsailedawayfromFR

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Re: Texas dodged a bullet: Would you like explosions with your blackouts?
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2021, 09:53:11 AM »
Physics does not permit air to flow into a gas line.

Whoever wrote this is an idiot who needs to go back and take science class to understand it rather than to just receive a degree in it. https://joannenova.com.au/about/biog/
“no punishment, in my opinion, is too great, for the man who can build his greatness upon his country's ruin” ~  George Washington