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Texas Freeze Raises Cost Of Charging A Tesla To $900

The electricity shortage in Texas amid the cold snap has sent spot electricity prices soaring so much that the surge in power prices equals a cost of $900 for charging a Tesla.

The typical full charge of a Tesla costs around $18 using a Level 1 or Level 2 charger at home, according to estimates from The Drive. This estimate is based on an average price of $0.14 per kWh of power.  

However, the extreme winter weather this week has sent Texas spot electricity prices soaring, as the wind turbines froze in the ice storms and reduced the wind power generating capacity in the Lone Star State by half.

Spot electricity prices at the West hub have soared above the grid’s $9,000 per megawatt-hour cap, compared to a ‘normal’ price of $25 per megawatt-hour, FOX Business notes.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) called early on Monday for rotating outages across the state as extreme winter weather forced wind power generating units offline, while electricity demand set a new winter peak record.

At the same time, freezing cold and ice storms cut offline almost half of the wind power capacity in Texas.

“We are dealing with higher-than-normal generation outages due to frozen wind turbines and limited natural gas supplies available to generating units,” ERCOT said. Related: The Single Biggest Threat To The Electric Vehicle Boom

In Texas, wind power generation overtook coal-fired generation in 2020 for the first time ever, with wind power now accounting for 25 percent of the Texas electricity generation. Natural gas-fired power generation is the leading source of electricity in Texas, with more than 45 percent share.

While oil-and-gas rich Texas is the leading U.S. state for wind power installations, the frozen turbines in the Arctic weather have strained the grid so much that rolling outages in Texas continue for a second consecutive day.

“The wind-dependent Texas grid is experiencing rolling blackouts, prices the equivalent of $900 per Tesla charge, and an expected supply shortage of 10 GW--the amount of electricity needed to power 5 million homes,” Alex Epstein, Founder of Center for Industrial Progress, tweeted today.

Meanwhile, ERCOT’s Senior Director of System Operations, Dan Woodfin, said on Tuesday morning that “The number of controlled outages we have to do remains high. We are optimistic that we will be able to reduce the number throughout the day.” 

By OPC Markets

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  • Phil Nelson on February 17 2021 said:
    Frozen turbines, I did not see that one coming. And speaking of cold, batteries (at least auto batteries) do not do as well in cold weather-maybe just stiff motor oil. We have to add one more intermittency factor to wind generation.

    As much as I (we) like the idea of free power, I think that we are overlooking the need for base power (the 24/7 available kind). It has always been fossil based. What will be the base power when oil is phased out? I advocate for the nuclear solution. Thorium based generation does not have many of the negatives of uranium source generation.

    A working thorium reactor was passed over in the 1950 era in favor of uranium because we needed to fuel bombs and missiles for the cold war race and for political reasons. The thorium reactor was the choice of the head of the Oak Ridge Labs where the reactors were being developed. https://energyfromthorium.com is an excellent source of information on a much better source of energy.

    Phil
  • George Doolittle on February 17 2021 said:
    Anyhow the Giga-Austin facility proceeds apace. "All of Texas off line for energy" is hardly bullish for energy for obvious reasons.

    Great news for Tesla Powerwall for even more obvious reasons.
  • David Medeiros on February 20 2021 said:
    "maybe just stiff motor oil." Anyone who has had a battery in a cold environment knows they do poorly. Blaming the oil is simply ignorant. We call oil/coal/natural gas fossil based. Explain why Methane was discovered on Titan, Saturn's largest moon.

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