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Preparing to survive extreme events - sensibly


I want to address a glaring statewide infrastructure issue that made everyone’s situation more dangerous than necessary. Even though I lost power, we had taken precautions, filling up our home propane tank just a week or so before URI. So, we had heat and suffered no tragic loss during or after URI. However, my friends around the state suffered greatly due to this state's poor energy and infrastructure integrity policies and practices.

Many of my friends received no natural gas supply for heat due to being cut off from remote supply sources. Since they also lost power, they experienced serious/dangerous discomfort and damage to their homes.

The lack of localized storage for natural gas is a key shortcoming in the infrastructure needed for energy security. While gas pipelines actually do provide a lot of storage, when a big winter storm like URI hits, the extreme drawdown by all consumers quickly saps stored gas from the packed lines. When supplies to residential neighborhoods are cut off for days, folks that depend on gas heat can die. When, supplies to power generators are curtailed for days, folks that depend on electricity for survival will die. Now, even more loss of life is being attributed to this event… but, we know it was not an event. It was decades of misguided energy policy and neglect that caused the loss of life.

If/when our state and local governments give their support to establishing strategically located natural gas storage facilities, we will see that power plants do not have to compete with people for gas supplies. A few days of gas storage at plants like Austin Power’s 570MW Sand Hill facility would avoid a dangerous struggle for supply from remote gas fields.

Many power generators across the nation are turning to LNG (that is, Liquefied Natural Gas) storage at their facilities to ensure energy security… BUT, LNG has a big carbon footprint… and, Austinites want to limit carbon exhaust. Fortunately, Pressurized LNG (called PLNG) was invented FIVE decades ago and earlier this century was proven to cost much less and require half as much energy as LNG – potentially reducing CO2 output by half. However, until today, the problem with PLNG has been that there was no practical means for storing large volumes.

Now, an innovative and practical means for PLNG storage is offered by ezNG Solutions. Still, even though PLNG is simpler, much less costly, and much greener than LNG, it will still take money… and good policy… to ensure that power plants get the localized gas storage WE all need them to have.

For many years now, Texas energy policy has not provided a foundation for encouraging most baseload electricity generators to adequately invest in energy security… while wind and solar energy providers have been incentivized in ways that have greatly increased energy costs for most consumers. Unfortunately, the bills passed in the most recent session continue to use the stick rather than support to those providing fuel and critical baseload power.

To better understand the value of PLNG and why/how the LNG industry should “green up its act” watch this video - video: ezNG - ASME® Power 21, Power Conference - YouTube.

[It is worth noting that fuel cost savings and power sales during a single storm, like URI, could more than fully pay out the cost of installing suitably sized storage at any one of the CC GT power plants in Texas.]

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