Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Blackouts Come Rolling In

When was the last time you remember this happening, rolling electrical blackouts in Colorado from a lack of natural gas supply during extreme cold? Has it ever happened before? Frozen liquid? Where is all of our local natural gas going? From Channel 9 DENVER - A shortage of natural gas forced Xcel Energy to impose controlled outages early Saturday from Grand Junction to metro Denver, where below-zero temperatures broke at least one record. A natural gas supplier to Xcel had equipment problems, causing a significant loss of electricity generation at the company's natural-gas power plants, company spokesman Tom Henley said. Frozen liquid at the supplier's well head slowed the flow of natural gas. The problem was enhanced by increased demand because of the freezing temperatures. Beginning about 8:45 a.m., up to 100,000 customers in the Denver area, Grand Junction, Vail, Aspen and Basalt lost power for about 30 minutes at a time. The outages occurred during a two-hour period. By 1 p.m., Henley said, supply problems were ending. "Those gas supplies are starting to flow again to Xcel Energy's generation system," Henley said. "Those generating units on natural gas are starting to come back online." But he could not guarantee the outages were over. "We don't expect any more, but that situation could change at any time," he said. "We feel like we set ourselves up to the point where we shouldn't have any more issues." Between 3,500 and 5,000 customers remained without power Saturday afternoon in mostly isolated incidents, some of which were caused by the frigid weather. But.....from Aflatoxin at Peakoil.com... "Natural gas wells are probably not going to freeze. They use Dehydrators at the well heads or CDP, and just in case, there is plenty of Methyl alcohol. Once the gas makes it into the interstate pipeline system, it is bone dry, about 95% methane, 2% N2, 1.5% CO2 and a little ethane and heavies. Water is a big problem in pipelines, the gas people worked out ways to remove all of it 50 years ago."