• Dallas Fed sees value in winterising power sector assets

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

The Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas has said that hundreds of millions of dollars of investment to ‘winterise’ Texas’ power sector would be “financially reasonable”, after examining the matter. February’s harsh cold snap, which led to power outages over a week and more than 100 deaths, also resulted in an estimated US$80-130 billion (€67-109 billion) in economic losses. Another harsh cold spell in 2011 resulted in similar outages, and the frequency of such occurrences is the reason why the Dallas Fed sees value in winterising power sector assets. To modify the state’s 162 gas-fired power plants would cost around US$95 million (per year, presumably), while to protect oil and gas wells would cost something like US$200 million per year; the total cost of winterising the grid would amount to US$430 million annually. (All figures are estimates.) Although the Dallas Fed’s report finds that upgrading cold-weather coatings on wind turbine blades and investing in more de-icing drones would make the wind sector more resilient to hard cold snaps, it also found that spending on internal warming equipment for the 13,000 strong fleet would be “infeasible”. The Texas legislature is in the process of debating proposed new rules to mandate winterisation.