Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Texas Blackouts And More

I recently sat down with PennFuture's Center for Energy, Enterprise and the Environment to discuss the extensive rolling blackouts in Texas on February 2nd.  I also recounted my experience on January 19, 1994 when I called Governor Casey's Chief of Staff to recommend that a state of emergency be declared in Pennsylvania due to massive mechanical breakdowns of power plants during a brutal deep freeze that put the grid at risk of collapse.  PJM had rolling blackouts on January 19, 1994, though the state of emergency prevented them in Western Pennsylvania.

For the full interview go to http://www.pennfuture.org/ and look for "What's the Matter With Texas" in PennFuture's e3 publication (media/publications section of website).

One thing not the matter with Texas is wind energy.

Wind energy earned a "special thanks" from the head of the Texas grid for producing substantial power when many gas and coal plants broke down due to cold weather and preventing an even more serious situation. 

Back in January 1994, we had no wind power in Pennsylvania or PJM but needed it desperately.  They were not the good old days. 

Today Pennsylvania has 16 operating wind farms, with 4 more under construction that will begin operations in 2011.  By the end of 2011, Pennsylvania alone will have 950 megawatts of wind or enough power for approximately 316,000 homes. These wind farms represent approximately $2 billion of private investment in the Commonwealth. And now thousands more megawatts of wind operate in other states that are part of PJM, the massive wholesale electric market and regional grid of which Pennsylvania is part.

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