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NARP reply to CATO blog

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  • Member since
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NARP reply to CATO blog
Posted by blue streak 1 on Saturday, March 20, 2021 3:51 PM

Rail Passengers Association | Washington, DC - A 10-Point Reality Check for the Cato Institute

This poster for HSR or at least HrSR has long been a supporter. However---- The source of power for the HSR electricity needs examining. The electric grid collapse in Texas makes it clear that the Texas, eastern and western grids are vulnerable to overloads. That fact has often been cited by others in the electric power industry. HSR might be subject to shutdowns or too high price charges due to inability to supply power where needed.. The demand charges that industries and businesses are subject to may be cost prohibitive. NARP's statement of using renewable power for HSR just does not compute. Amtrak is very fortunate that it receives much of its electric power from the Safe Harbor hydro dam. That facility uses hydro power that can be instantly increased when demand warrants. That is because the hydro generators are always turning at the required Hertz. and all it takes is for water to be directed onto the turbine. How many locations in the USA can get the same peaking power needed for the electric HSR trains ? I do not believe that is the present state of the USA power grids. That is probably one reason freight RRs have not embraced CAT electric loco power .

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, March 20, 2021 4:42 PM

Don't forget all the electric road vehicles that will be using juice in the future.

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Posted by CMStPnP on Saturday, March 20, 2021 5:21 PM

blue streak 1
This poster for HSR or at least HrSR has long been a supporter. However---- The source of power for the HSR electricity needs examining. The electric grid collapse in Texas makes it clear that the Texas, eastern and western grids are vulnerable to overloads. That fact has often been cited by others in the electric power industry. HSR might be subject to shutdowns or too high price charges due to inability to supply power where needed.. The demand charges that industries and businesses are subject to may be cost prohibitive. NARP's statement of using renewable power for HSR just does not compute. Amtrak is very fortunate that it receives much of its electric power from the Safe Harbor hydro dam. That facility uses hydro power that can be instantly increased when demand warrants. That is because the hydro generators are always turning at the required Hertz. and all it takes is for water to be directed onto the turbine. How many locations in the USA can get the same peaking power needed for the electric HSR trains ? I do not believe that is the present state of the USA power grids. That is probably one reason freight RRs have not embraced CAT electric loco power

I sat in on the conference call at the Federal Level with Congressperson Van Taylor, FEMA, ERCOT, etc that discussed what happened.   First I have no idea what you mean by Eastern and Western grids, Texas has only one grid that serves primarily Texas.    Second there is plenty of reserve capacity, the problem that led to overload conditions was lack of winterization and parts of the grid, specifically Natural Gas Fields feeding Natural Gas Power Plants were classified as non-essential infrastructure.    So when ERCOT gave the order to shut down power to non-essential infrastructure, power was shut down to several fuel sources throughout the state that led to Power Plants going offline at peak demand which greatly exacerbated the situation.     Additionally, the Texas grid is not integrated completely into the larger national grid to the ability to buy power from the rest of the United States was limited.     Both issues are being addressed now.     They should have been addressed in the past but apparently it takes a moment like this to rattle peoples cages.

Also, not reported widely in the news but the Texas grid was within 3-4 minutes of a complete shutdown before ERCOT started to cut power on a wide basis to residential homes.    Had Texas lost power across the state grid, the folks on the call stated the state would have been without power for a minimum of 2-3 weeks and it would have taken 4 weeks min to recover back the entire grid.    So it was a very close call and understandably heads have rolled.     Most of the upper eschelon of ERCOT has been fired or has resigned.

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Posted by BaltACD on Saturday, March 20, 2021 5:29 PM

Texan's found the enemy and it was Texans.

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Posted by Overmod on Saturday, March 20, 2021 7:01 PM

It's pretty clear to me that he meant the Eastern Interconnection, the Western Interconnection, and the separate Texas Interconnection.  (He might have added the Quebec and Alaska Interconnections, but those don't factor into HSR...)

Yes, the point about enhanced demand for vehicle charging factors in here, probably to a greater future extent than rail demand.  Any emphasis on increasing use of renewables that does not involve substantial use of renewable-fueled peak and baseline combustion stations is going to involve enormous amounts of storage, which has associated cost, maintenance, and lifetime concerns.  Watch that buck continue to be passed until someone subsidizes or underwrites it.

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