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#298430 - 02/21/21 12:46 AM Re: Texas after action report [Re: brandtb]
Blast Offline
INTERCEPTOR
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3684
Loc: TX
Originally Posted By: brandtb
[quote=roberttheiii]. . . .

I also have been thinking about a generator, but I was considering propane. It seems more reliable than gasoline. Any thoughts on propane?


I absolutely LOVE my Generac LP3250 propane-powered generator. [u=https://www.foragingtexas.com/2008/02/emergency-preparedness-generators.html]Let me count the ways![/u]

Pros:
1. Fuel Storage - these generators use a standard, 20lb propane bottle like your propane grill which are readily available (most of the time). Propane doesn't degrade so you can store multiple bottles for years if necessary.
2. Fuel Cost - Propane is generally much cheaper than cost of gasoline or diesel needed to produce an equal amount of power.
3. Fuel Safety - while propane is highly flammable it is non-toxic. If you accidentally release some it'll quickly dissipate without causing an environmental or health risk.
Runtime - a 20lb bottle will give 6-10 hours of run time depending on how much power you need from the generator. Three bottles will often be enough for most situations...but you can usually trade your neighbors electricity in exchange for their BBQ grill propane tank if the situation lasts longer than three days.
4. Power Output - propane is a high-energy fuel so it can produce a lot of electricity. They usually start at 3000 Watts and can be found up to double that.
5. Maintenance - since propane is a gas, when it evaporates it doesn't leave behind the gums and resins that gasoline or diesel do. This means lower carburetor maintenance! The carburetor is where the propane and air mix before going into the piston's ignition chamber (the part where propane is burned). Since the fuel is still unburned in the carburetor, when you turn off the generator fuel remains there. Gasoline and diesel will eventually evaporate form there, leaving behind goo which can prevent a carburetor from working the next time you need to run the generator. Propane doesn't leave goo behind!

But to be fair:
Cons
1. Size - to take full advantage of the power produced by propane the resulting generators are physically large. They will be up to 2-3 feet long and 2 feet wide.
2. Noise - most propane generators are made for construction sites where noise isn't a problem. They will be as loud as a standard gas-powered lawnmower so running them is noisy! This is especially problematic at night...or when you don't want thieves to know you have a generator.
3. Fuel Storage - keep in mind while propane tanks are safe to keep filled for long periods of time, the valve systems on the tanks have an expiration date. If the tank valve has expired, propane refillers won't refill it. This is really only a problem with the big, 50lb propane tanks that can't be swapped out for regular tanks at tank exchange locations, though.

-Blast


Edited by Blast (02/21/21 01:12 AM)
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#298433 - 02/21/21 01:40 AM Re: Texas after action report [Re: TeacherRO]
Famdoc Offline
Member

Registered: 04/29/09
Posts: 138
Loc: PA
I have thought it odd for some time that Texas has its own utility grid that supplies most of the state, apparently having chosen to go it alone, rather than link with either the grid in the Eastern US or the Western US. The word hubris comes to mind.

If a different decision had been made decades ago, I strongly suspect many fewer power outages would have happened, the natural gas that was available could have gone more to where it was needed for heating homes.

ERCOT will be in the hot seat (not dependent on gas or electricity supplies) in the immediate future.

This avoidable disaster makes a very strong argument for doing away with ERCOT, and the go it alone in Texas mindset, and proceed to make the Texas grid interconnected with the grid outside of Texas, and mandating oversight of the Texas portion of the grid by FERC.

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#298435 - 02/21/21 02:12 AM Re: Texas after action report [Re: Famdoc]
Blast Offline
INTERCEPTOR
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 07/15/02
Posts: 3684
Loc: TX
Hmmm, a quick search confirms that the FERC oversees the California power grid. That doesn't inspire a feeling of confidence. eek

The base issue was money wasn't spent to winterize the TX power grid. Considering how for the last 20+ years we've been warned about the uncontrolled heating of the Earth, any power company executive suggesting making the grid more cold-hardy down to 0F temperatures would have been branded a science denier and driven out of the company.

The population of Texas has been growing about 1.2% per year for more than the last ten years. This is actually a huge jump in people one you add up the yearly totals. Add to that the associated businesses. This sort of population growth requires a lot of power. However, building a new power plant takes over ten years of planning, studies, and finally building it. Frankly, I want fewer people moving to Texas. Maybe this current disaster will redirect them elsewhere...but then all the hurricanes never did. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
-Blast
_________________________
Foraging Texas
Medicine Man Plant Co.
DrMerriwether on YouTube
Radio Call Sign: KI5BOG
*As an Amazon Influencer, I may earn a sales commission on Amazon links in my posts.

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#298436 - 02/21/21 02:18 AM Re: Texas after action report [Re: TeacherRO]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2982
Loc: Alberta, Canada
No interest in politics, but from what I've read the necessary systems were all in place -- and froze up. Natural gas suppliers and power plants alike. And wind turbines without ice-control heating loops at the tips.

The thing is, these systems are the same ones we use in the Great White North. Perfectly reliable in any temperature, but there are many practical and design tweaks to make that happen. These adjustments are not free, and when this event passes it will be a hard sell to harden the Texas grid against a once in a lifetime event. Unless people are willing to pay a surcharge ...

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#298437 - 02/21/21 02:45 AM Re: Texas after action report [Re: TeacherRO]
haertig Offline
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 03/13/05
Posts: 2267
Loc: Colorado
One thing indirectly related to the power problems - some folks in Texas are on "variable rate" electric power (e.g., my sister!) Meaning they are buying wholesale and are subject to wild fluctuations in price. During normal times, variable rate is cheaper than the more common "fixed rate". With fixed rate, the supplier is taking on the risk of wild price swings. With variable rate, the end customer is taking on these risks.

During this electrical disaster, there are reports of these variable rate customers getting socked with multi-thousand dollar monthly electricity bills. $10,000+ monthly electric bills!!!

For me, if I were a variable rate customer (we don't have that here in Colorado to my knowledge), I would get off of that billing method immediately.

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#298438 - 02/21/21 03:20 AM Re: Texas after action report [Re: Blast]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7502
Loc: southern Cal
Don't worry. Happiness is Big D in my rearview mirror. Arizona es mas mejor....(Reply to Blast).


Edited by hikermor (02/21/21 03:20 AM)
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#298439 - 02/21/21 04:35 AM Re: Texas after action report [Re: Blast]
Bingley Offline
Veteran

Registered: 02/27/08
Posts: 1469
Originally Posted By: Blast
The base issue was money wasn't spent to winterize the TX power grid. Considering how for the last 20+ years we've been warned about the uncontrolled heating of the Earth, any power company executive suggesting making the grid more cold-hardy down to 0F temperatures would have been branded a science denier and driven out of the company.


Looks like the energy execs might not have been keeping up with the latest --

Heating Arctic may be to blame for snowstorms in Texas, scientists argue, The Guardian

An interesting idea, though it looks like further research is needed before they know.

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#298440 - 02/21/21 07:37 AM Re: Texas after action report [Re: Blast]
Phaedrus Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/28/10
Posts: 2891
Loc: Big Sky Country
Originally Posted By: Blast
Hmmm, a quick search confirms that the FERC oversees the California power grid. That doesn't inspire a feeling of confidence. eek

The base issue was money wasn't spent to winterize the TX power grid. Considering how for the last 20+ years we've been warned about the uncontrolled heating of the Earth, any power company executive suggesting making the grid more cold-hardy down to 0F temperatures would have been branded a science denier and driven out of the company.



That's an oversimplification that's a bit wide of the mark. The more accurate way to describe the situation if Anthropomorphic Climate Change. "Global Warming" was easier for the talking heads on cable news to pronounce so we're stuck with that term. But the science clearly predicts not only higher average temps but changing weather patterns, hence the "Change" part of the phrase. Some wet places will get drier but some dry places will get wetter. Global average temps have trended upwards for at least a century but winter will still happen for a while, and disruptions in the normal currents- both air and the Conveyor in the seas- will lead to more "freak weather". Stronger and more frequent storms. Downright hot days in the winter along with freak cold snaps.

Besides, it's not like Texas never gets cold! When it comes to weather and geological events everything that's not impossible is inevitable! We use terms like "hundred year flood" to help us get our minds around the frequency of such events. If you're near a subjection zone or fault line there will be an earthquake. Maybe not this year and maybe not in your lifetime but it will inevitably happen.

Politicians plan things on the basis of while I'm in office or before my term ends. Ideally though civil engineering should have different metrics, goals and time frames. I don't think freezing temps in Texas really qualify as a "Black Swan" event that no one could have foreseen; plenty of people that live there now have described seeing snow and cold temps in the past. There has to be some balance between a huge expenditure to winterize on the one hand and completely burying one's head in the sand on the other.

Not everyone can drop everything and head to Cancun when a big storm hits. grin
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#298441 - 02/21/21 01:36 PM Re: Texas after action report [Re: TeacherRO]
quick_joey_small Offline
Addict

Registered: 01/13/09
Posts: 537
Loc: UK
Blast wrote:
'Hmmm, a quick search confirms that the FERC oversees the California power grid. That doesn't inspire a feeling of confidence. eek'

Since Texas which is NOT overseen by FERC, is the place having the problems, I don't see why.

And has been pointed out; no one is saying all the world is heating. Shifting air patterns are causing some places to get colder.

But we best drop this subject; pointing out climate deniers are wrong is banned on ETS.
This is a site for people who like to base their survival on advice from people who deny reality :-).

qjs


Edited by quick_joey_small (02/21/21 01:37 PM)

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#298442 - 02/21/21 02:27 PM Re: Texas after action report [Re: TeacherRO]
brandtb Offline
Addict

Registered: 11/26/04
Posts: 442
Loc: S.E. Pennsylvania
Thanks, Blast & Chaos, for the propane info. Several questions -

For something for the Generac LP3250, how much does it weigh?

Can it be tied directly into the house power system by having an electrician install a transfer switch?

Does it have computerized components that would be fried in a solar storm or EMP?

Run periodically to keep from freezing up (mechanically, not temperature)? How long?

Other than oil and filter, what maintenance?


Edited by brandtb (02/21/21 04:46 PM)
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