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經濟學人:黑暗冬季慘劇--"美國能源之都"癱瘓(2)

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The short answer is that the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which operates the grid, did not properly forecast the demand for energy as a result of the storm. Some say that this was nearly impossible to predict, but there were warnings of the severity of the coming weather in the preceding week, and ERCOT’s projections were notably short. Brownouts last summer had already demonstrated the grid’s lack of excess capacity, says George O’Leary of Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co (TPH), an energy investment bank.

簡而言之,運營電網的得克薩斯州電力可靠性協會(ERCOT)沒有正確預測暴風雪所引發的能源需求。有人説,這幾乎是不可能預測的,但應該在前一週對未來天氣的嚴重性提出預警,而得克薩斯州電力可靠性協會顯然預測不足。能源投資銀行TPH的喬治·奧利裏表示,去年夏天的停電已經證明了電網的備用容量不足。

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Many Republican politicians were quick to blame renewable energy sources, such as wind power, for the blackouts, but that is not fair. Some wind turbines did indeed freeze, but natural gas, which accounts for around half of the state’s electricity generation, was the primary reason for the shortfall. Plants broke down, as did the gas supply chain and pipelines. The cold also caused a reactor at one of the state’s two nuclear plants to go offline. Transmission lines may have also iced up, says Wade Schauer of Wood Mackenzie, a research firm. In short, Texas experienced a perfect storm of equipment failure.

許多共和黨政客很快將風力發電等可再生能源作為停電的罪魁禍首,但這並不公平。一些風力渦輪機確實凍結了,但佔得州發電量一半左右的天然氣是造成電力短缺的主要原因。發電廠倒閉,天然氣供應鏈和管道也垮了。寒潮還導致得州兩座核電站中的一個核反應堆關閉。伍德麥肯茲研究公司的韋德·肖爾表示,輸電線路可能也結冰了。簡而言之,得州設備接連出現故障,禍不單行。

Some of the blame falls on the unique design of the electricity market in Texas. Of America’s 48 contiguous states, it is the only one with its own stand-alone electricity grid—the Texas Interconnection. This means that when power generators fail, the state cannot import electricity from outside its borders.

還有些人認為得州電力市場的獨特設計才是罪魁禍首。在美國48個毗鄰的州中,得州是唯一一個擁有自己獨立電網(得州電網)的州。這意味着,當發電系統發生故障時,得州不能從其他州輸入電力。

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experienced [iks'piəriənst]

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adj. 有經驗的

 
impossible [im'pɔsəbl]

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contiguous [kən'tigjuəs]

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shortfall ['ʃɔ:tfɔ:l]

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n. 不足之量,差額

 
reliability [ri.laiə'biliti]

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freeze [fri:z]

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