For those of you stuck in Texas wondering how it is the power is still out, fear not.  I will not, in the most cowardly fashion, make fun of you while I know your internet is probably out.

Okay, maybe a little.  Current weather in Phoenix today is about 75F.

This is my review of Begyle Barrel Aged Imperial Pajamas (H/T Swiss Servator)

The idiotic hot takes from various representatives of the quadrants of the political landscape brings me back to another story about Iraq.

The military uses several models of electrical generators in contingency environments.  Most are suited to the size of the expected load.  A MEP-06 for example is good for a building the size of a typical house.  The generator I am thinking of is its bigger brother called the MEP-012 (left).  The MEP-012 is powered by a Cummins KTA-38 V12 turbodiesel rated to provide 4160VAC Wye 50/60hz for a max output of 750kW.  Naturally, depending on the size of the base  more than one of these can be tied into a high voltage distribution circuit.

The first three months of my second deployment was an almost daily occurrence where the Power Production shop had to call my shop because they were trying to parallel another generator into the circuit, so they could take one off line for maintenance.  Should they muck up the process my role was to pull arc-stranglers at the switching station so they could bring the generators back online, and then “throw” the stranglers back in to close the circuit.  This being a government operation, the process was mucked up on an almost daily basis.

This is not a fuse. Do NOT call this a fuse.

They needed four MEP-012 generators at any given time.  A fifth was  tied in parallel.  This means it was turned on, and then once running its circuits were closed with the three phases in sync with the HV distribution circuit.  Then the generator requiring maintenance was opened relative to the HV distribution circuit and the engine was turned off.  Sounds easy?  Maybe.  We later found a lot of their cables were in disrepair and kept causing ground faults.  So when Power Pro went to parallel the generators for maintenance one of them hit a ground fault, which tripped the MEP-012 breaker.  This took one of the four generators offline, putting its load on the remaining three. All of this taking place around 2000hrs when everybody went back to their CHU and jacked up the AC to “Max”.

Instant black out.

The issue I take with the hot takes insisting the problem was not the windmills freezing but the inability of the natural gas plants to pick up the slack or the ones saying they have wind turbines on Antarctica (I’m sure those are designed specifically for the environment) is they are missing the problem entirely:  a large portion of generating capacity went down within a relatively short time.  Per WSJ:

The problem is Texas’s overreliance on wind power that has left the grid more vulnerable to bad weather. Half of wind turbines froze last week, causing wind’s share of electricity to plunge to 8% from 42%. Power prices in the wholesale market spiked, and grid regulators on Friday warned of rolling blackouts. Natural gas and coal generators ramped up to cover the supply gap but couldn’t meet the surging demand for electricity—which half of households rely on for heating—even as many families powered up their gas furnaces. Then some gas wells and pipelines froze.

I take the 42% number with a grain of salt, since the state quotes wind power accounts for 20%.  Even with a 10-12% loss the demand for power exceeded any reserve supply the grid might have.  Considering this is being touted as a once in a lifetime winter storm, meant everyone turned up the heat.  Instant black out.

I don’t doubt the possibility they can engineer away the shortcomings renewables have but the insistence this can be fixed simply by building more wind turbines because whether they like it or not the wind turbines were not weatherized and failed.  Similarly the people saying we can just drill for more gas is equally short sighted because the pipelines were not weatherized and also failed.  A freak storm knocked out the power, this sort of thing happens even where the weather gets this bad on a regular basis.


Swiss was kind enough to present this to me as a gift at Glibfest.  Even nicer was his secretary didn’t call me first to insult me.  This being a 2018 vintage took me back to a simpler time…okay not really.  Its a heavy oatmeal stout which is a bit sweeter than a dry (Irish) stout but much less so that a milk stout.  What sets this apart from other run of the mill bourbon barrel stouts I’ve reviewed?  These barrels once held Elijah Craig.  This was fantastic and highly recommended if your town froze over. Begyle Barrel Aged Imperial Pajamas :4.8/5 (Please don’t hurt me Swiss)