And, Now: The Rest of the Story

Longtime readers of this blog may find this posting of interest.

The evening of February 2, 2011, with record cold spreading south behind the “Groundhog Day Blizzard” that affected the Midwest, I wrote this blog posting. The headline is below:

That posting set off a firestorm with the pro-wind forces who said, correctly, that earlier in the day, the wind generated significant amounts of electricity.

The problem with their responses was my posting was that it went up on the blog just before 10pm and it was written in present and future tense. The amount of wind that had been generated earlier was irrelevant to what I wrote regarding the people of Texas being warned to cut back on electricity use the night of the 2nd and on the 3rd to prevent further brownouts.

I even heard from the head of the wind power lobbying group, so, to be fair, I elevated his comments to a posting of his own. I offered to retract, as Mr. Goggin demanded, if they would release the figures that actually proved my contention that little wind power would be produced that night or the next day was actually wrong. Mr. Goggin — twice — said he would provide the figures. He never did. Case closed.
Now, case reopened. Today, an anonymous commenter told me I should retract and provided a link to the data I requested to see (nearly a year later). Turns out I was correct after all. Take a look at the graph of Texas power. I added the data in orange and red.

Total power use is green, scale at left. The wind output is the blue line, scale at right. I believe this is the genuine data because it shows peaks of approximately 6,400 megawatts earlier on the second which is what the wind advocates claimed.  However, the wind power rapidly fell off to nearly zero by the evening of the following day (orange arrow).

My post went up on the blog at the time of the red arrow. There was an uptick in wind power just after midnight, then the output rapidly fell as I contended.

Wind power did little to add to the total power available to the state of Texas late in the evening on the second and throughout the third.

Glad we could put this to rest.  

4 thoughts on “And, Now: The Rest of the Story

  1. Mike,

    I just went to the link listed on the post by "Anonymous", to get the picture of the graph you show above. I was going to pull the data from the graph and perform some analysis. However, the document has been changed such that the graph only extends to 02/02/2011, and not 02/03/2011 as above. Amazing how that happened, I wonder why? Could it be that the power output of the wind farms was near zero on 2/3/2011?

    One thing that did strike me was the variability of the wind generating power over time. I was going to analyze this variability to demand. Do you have the original PDF of the above graph? That would help.



  2. Richard,

    The wind energy did indeed drop to near zero on the 3rd as shown above.

    The link provided ended at midnight on the second which was a full 24 hours before the end of the period in question. I was able to tinker with the URL to get the next day's day. The graph above is a screen capture from that data.


  3. I do not know if that graph is typical but it looks like you get power when you do not need it and do not get power when you do.

  4. LarryT: Bingo! The fatal flaw of wind power.

    Even if they could fix the excessive mechanical problems and the the loss of energy converting it from AC to DC to AC, the wind usually doesn't blow in the speeds needed when they are needed.