Last Man Standing: Nuclear Plants Power Texans During Deluge – Wind Turbines Automatically Shut Down During Hurricane Harvey

Posted: September 7, 2017 by oldbrew in Nuclear power, turbines, weather, wind
Tags: ,

There are robust and reliable electricity supplies, or the other kind.


Texans have been in the news for all the wrong reasons, over the last week or so.

Hurricane Harvey belted the Texan coast with 130 mph (209 kph) winds and delivered a deluge of biblical proportions.

For some time now, Texas has been the pinup girl for American wind worshippers. With some 21,000 MW of nominal capacity spread over 40 projects, like everything in Texas, wind power is ‘big’.

Except, of course, when the weather turns nasty.

Modern industrial wind turbines do not operate when wind speeds hit around 25 m/s (90kph or 55mph) – Hurricane Harvey dished up a gale double that speed, and more.

In order to prevent their catastrophic disintegration (as seen in the video below) Texas’s turbines downed tools, en masse, (as they are deliberately designed to do) leaving the critical work of providing power to storm battered Texans to its fleet of nuclear power plants.

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  1. oldbrew says:

    Hurricane Irma threatens power losses for millions in Florida

    “Should Irma’s worst fears be realized, our crews will likely have to completely rebuild parts of our electric system. Restoring power through repairs is measured in days; rebuilding our electric system could be measured in weeks,” FPL Chief Executive Eric Silagy said.

    FPL, Florida’s biggest power provider, said it had invested nearly $3 billion since 2006 to strengthen its grid, including placing 60 main power lines underground and installing nearly five million smart meters and other devices.
    – – –
    Even the two nuclear plants will go offline, possibly so staff don’t have to go in?

    “This is an extremely dangerous storm,” Rob Gould, chief communications officer at Florida Power & Light, told reporters.

    Gould said the nuclear sites are among the strongest in the United States and are designed to withstand heavy wind and storm surge.
    The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said it expects Turkey Point to be shut down Friday evening and St. Lucie to go offline about 12 hours later, depending on the storm track.
    – – –
    Skeleton crews called storm riders will remain at the Florida nuclear power plants throughout the storm, Gould said.

    Even if both plants were taken off line, there would be enough power available for all customers, according to the company.

    And if either of the plants is shut down, it will remain offline until it is inspected and until evacuation routes are clear, Gould and Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday.

  2. richard verney says:

    I have often made the point that energy systems have to be able to deal with disaster scenarios.

    Wind and solar are not well equipped to deal with disaster scenarios, and in such scenarios they produce little if any power at all, thereby exacerbating the disaster and making help and response more difficult.

    How would the State of Texas performed had it been 100% reliant upon wind and solar? The lack of reliable and dispatchable power would have exacerbated problems.

    Further both wind and solar are prone to extensive damage in extreme weather conditions, adding to the rebuilding costs associated with infrastructure damage. A gas, coal or nuclear power station can be made hurricane proof. Much more difficult to do so with wind turbines and large surface area solar panels.

  3. David A says:

    “Hurricane Harvey belted the Texan coast with 130 mph”

    Looking at all ground based Harvey readings I could find, I found only one gust at 132 mph. ( I do not understand how this was considered a CAT 4 LANDFALL.