Feb 24, 2021
Good morning everybody!
I was on WGAN this morning with Matt Gagnon. We really got into the power distribution issues in TX and it appears that the Energy department was really "asleep at the switch." Then we talked about the nightmare that these bureaucratic states are having with their vaccine scheduling websites. We discussed why they are having a problem and what they could have done, but didn't. Here we go with Matt.
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Automated Machine Generated Transcript:
Craig Peterson: [00:00:00] Hi everybody. Craig Peterson here. I'm laughing because I just had to run over to another computer, shut off the speaker because here it was on the air with Mr. Matt Gagnon, and all of a sudden my computer, which was rebooting came up and decided it was going to play Johnny Cash Ring of fire. See if you can hear it in the background, it shouldn't be too loud. Cause I've got a decent microphone here, but man, did it distract me?
Anyhow, we got into New York's vaccine website. What's going on there?
This math that talks about wind energy shows what really happened down in the great state of Texas.
A little bit about what's going on in Maine and of course, a little bit of ring of fire. So here we go with Mr. Matt Gagnon.
Matt Gagnon: [00:00:46] It's WGAN morning news on a Wednesday, which means it's a good time to talk to Craig Peterson, our tech guru. You can hear him on this very station on Saturdays at one for his own show where he talks about a lot of these same topics, but why wait, he's here with us now, Craig, how are you this morning?
Craig Peterson: [00:01:01] Hey, good morning back. Doing really well.
Matt Gagnon: [00:01:03] Lots of stuff to get to with you here. One of the most topical topics, if you will, that we could deal with here, which is interesting to talk to you about. But something that we've talked about on the show quite often here in the last week, or so is about what's going on in Texas, right?
With the energy failure. What's been going on with power outages and how cold has affected it and what I would consider a brewing controversy about, what's really. The ultimate culprit here, initially a lot of people were blaming sort of wind farms that had frozen and were unable to be producing any sort of electricity.
Others have pointed the blame at natural gas facilities, also not being able to transfer a lot of electricity, et cetera, but you gave me an article that to read, which I thought was very interesting about the basic math behind all this showing how frankly wind energy actually is a pretty big culprit in this whole story.
So just tell us a little bit more about what we've learned here.
Craig Peterson: [00:01:54] Yeah, It's interesting when you get beyond kind of the emotions and the political arguments and get down to the real facts behind it all. Texas, of course, this is just a terrible thing. We had people die. Every year, in fact, of course, people end up dying from the cold and heat as well.
Having the ability to heat our homes, our businesses, and cool them in the summer, particularly in Texas is really important. Texas focused on the summer where of course everything gets hot, they need a lot of electricity. They're four main ways of generating electricity. Natural gas, of course, they have a lot of that thanks to fracking, coal, wind, and nuclear.
When we look at the numbers, the actual hard numbers of megawatt-hours produced in Texas. We see about a 20% drop across the board in the amount of electricity that they are generating by each of those four categories. That's not a good thing, right? Because you need more energy. In every case, the amount of energy produced dropped, because those systems were not set up to handle the cold.
What's really interesting is you look at natural gas. For instance, it was about 44,000 megawatt-hours before this whole thing happened.
That 44,000 number dropped down to 30,000 when we had, of course, the coldest part of the winter. Some of that was because control valves in some cases were not winterized. They weren't ready for the cold. There are other reasons as well. It dropped because, of course, now we have people demanding it to heat their homes. So there was less natural gas available for these power plants.
Coal even dropped. It went from 10,000 megawatt-hours down to 8,000, but you pointed out something that's really dramatic and that is the wind power.
We have all kinds of jets, but let's just use a small one as an example, a little Bombardier jet, they fly in and out of these smaller Maine airports all the time.
How do they fly? Well, they fly because of the lift, right? The aerodynamic lift. If you get ice on those wings, all of a sudden you lose that lift, and the plane crashes.
How are we not having planes crash all the time? It's that bladder on the leading edge of the wing. In the smaller planes, you use a bladder and that bladder expands, which now breaks up all of the ice it's on that wing and then contracts back down so that you maintain that aerodynamic shape.
The same type of principle is in play when it comes to windmills, you basically have the wing of an aircraft in each one of those blades on the windmill. When that windmill gets coated with ice, it all of a sudden the blade does not grab the air anymore.
So wind power generation in Texas dropped from about 8,000 megawatt-hours of production down to 650. Just dramatic.
Even nuclear power dropped from about 5,000 megawatt-hours down to about 3,800. A lot of these were caused really by Texas, not paying attention to what would happen when it gets really cold.
What most news outlets are not reporting, in fact, I haven't heard this on any news outlet, so you're hearing it first, probably right here.
Is that Texas was minutes away from potentially being months away from recovering from this whole thing and back to the old normal.
Matt Gagnon: [00:05:36] Yeah, I would say it to interrupt you there. I saw that same report and, it looks to me like a salacious headline but reading through the actual story, that's not an exaggeration. It was really a disaster waiting to happen.
Craig Peterson: [00:05:47] It really was because again, natural gas doesn't like, oxygen. What happens when you're using a lot of the natural gas up? Well, the pressure drops. What happens for the pressure drops to a certain point where the pressure in the pipeline is about equal to that in the air? All of a sudden you get oxygen back into the lines and you get explosions. It's incredible, all the way across the board.
Now, in Maine, we're not really heating all that much by electricity or natural gas. Nearly two-thirds of the households here in Maine use fuel oil as their primary energy source. Of course, most of that comes down from the great white North, say from Canada.
That's the largest share of any state in the union, frankly. In 2019 80% of Maine's electrical need here was fulfilled from renewable energy sources, which includes, hydroelectric power, which provided the largest shared of about 31%.
We've got some interesting things going on, including wind power generation, because Maine leads New England in wind power and ranks sixth in the nation. We built it to be able to handle these cold snaps.
Matt Gagnon: [00:06:57] Speaking with Craig Peterson, our tech guru. He joins us at this time every Wednesday to go over the world of technology.
Craig, also, another thing I've been talking an awful lot about on the show here is about the various problems in the state of New York and exactly what they've been doing wrong for quite a while, as it relates to COVID-19 stuff. Specifically Andrew Cuomo and all of his friends. You know, another story to talk about here, the vaccine website's not working in New York, again.
Craig Peterson: [00:07:23] Yeah. It's incredible. The amount of difficulty, there's something called over-engineering. You've heard of that before. I'm sure, Matt. That's where you need to move a Boulder, so you get an engineer. The engineer comes out and designs a bulldozer when all you need was a fulcrum and level. Which would make life a whole lot easier for you.
There's a lot of things to consider when you get right down to it. The bottom line is it is a major problem in New York. People are not able to get onto the website. Same problem in Massachusetts. They got the same thing going on. You could do all of this from these websites, just by hiring their commercial service like Cvent, or in this case, one guy for about 50 bucks built a website that would handle New York city's registration for COVID vaccines.
Matt Gagnon: [00:08:11] It's incredible. Yeah. That kind of stuff that continues to be an issue and that New York always seems to lead the way and incompetence here.
Craig Peterson, our tech guru joins us on Wednesdays to go over the world of technology. You can also hear him on Saturdays as well at one o'clock.
Craig, appreciate it as always. And we'll talk to you again next week.
Craig Peterson: [00:08:27] Hey, take care, Matt.
Hey, everybody, take care. Have a great day. We'll be back this weekend. Of course.
I'm having a little trouble with some of the software we're trying to use here to help. With you guys going through this Improve Windows Security course. I had set up an appointment with the vendor and they just bailed on me because the lady that I was going to be working with at her family just came down with the COVID-19. So she can't help.
Lockdown affects us again, as well as apparently the virus. Anyhow, the course is all done. It's in the can. But we got to set it up in a way that you guys can get to it and can use it because we're covering 22 major topics here. I want you to be able to progress through it and understand it, use it, have all of the notes there, and everything. The only real way to do that, frankly, is with kind of a membership site.
We're getting there, although we're not there yet. Man. What a year?
I don't know about you. I was talking, actually, I was on the air. I was talking with somebody on the air, Oh, it was a television interview I did this week.
I should post that up on the podcast.
Anyhow, I was talking about the last year I said, my brain was saying this was last year. It was 2019 that was what I was talking about. Something that occurred in 2019. Here it is 2021. It was as though 2020 never happened.
Maybe, I wiped it out of my brain. Which is a good thing.
One of those years that you wish hadn't happened and apparently did end up happening.
All right, everybody, take care. Thanks for being here.
Love you. Appreciate you.
Man, I love getting those notes from everybody. Me at craigpeterson.com.
Take care. Bye-bye.
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