Keeping the Lights On In Texas is Really Starting to Scare State Lawmakers

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We watch a three-hour House State Affairs Committee hearing so you don't have to! Seriously, though, the future reliability of the Texas electrical grid is really starting to freak state legislators the fuck out. The watchword these days is "resource adequacy" -- bureaucrat-ese for "Remember those outages last summer and last February? If Texas utilities don't start putting steel in the ground, don't bother spending too much on perishables."

On hand to testify today were ERCOT chief Trip Doggett and Texas Public Utility Commission chair Donna Nelson. The problem, they tell us, is that the utilities aren't making enough money to want to invest in more power plants. And since ERCOT, the entity charged with maintaining electrical grid reliability, is operating a deregulated marketplace, that's nothing but free-market magic! See, natural gas sets the margin most of the time, and natural gas is dirt-cheap these days. Fantastic for us! Shitty for them.

There's no small amount of irony in the fact that we're having this discussion roughly 10 years after the state leg deregulated the market based on the begging and clamoring of (no, not you and me)...the industry. Free market competition was gonna lower prices and spur private investment in generation. But prices just went up, until recently. And nobody's* building anything lately. That leads us to exchanges like this:

"Bottom line for this panel," committee chair Byron Cook began, "is if we don't bring on more generation, you're not gonna be able to sit here and maintain the dependability of this grid in the future?"

"That's correct, sir," Doggett replied.

But that's up to the free market, so pray to the gods (shareholders?). Be sure and pray to the rain god too. Power plants use a lot of water, and we're right in the middle of a big damned drought.

Or just pray to the public utilities. This is why I asterisked the statement that nobody's building anything. This is the second great irony: The very regulated system we abandoned, which emphasizes long-term contracts, prices averaged on all forms of power generation and ratepayer investment in power plant projects to promote reliability, seems to be working just fine.

Says the head of the Texas Public Power Association: "Municipal utilities are building power plants. We're entering into contracts with power plant developer that enable them to obtain financing to go ahead and construct and build new power plants."

Maybe they can save us from rolling blackouts, because it sure as hell looks like the deregulated generators won't.

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59 comments
Mister_Mean
Mister_Mean

A couple of thoughts:1) We have been constantly told that because Texas has it’s own power grid that we are in better shape than the rest of the country2) We have one of the highest utility rates in the country due to de regulation-that every politician has claimed that de regulation is good for consumers and we just got to have faith and keep it going3) I seem to recall that Earl Nye (who recently won some award –the Linz Award or something like that) governed TXU when they had to divest themselves of various over seas holdings and due to miss management was rewarded with a three fold increase in salary when he probably should have had a pay cut.   My point on this is that we reward failure. It seems like the only ones who think that the road to this mess was a good idea was the politicians who came up with deregulation and who probably benefited from it.  It also seems like those who are in charge of this either purposely or due to their negligence were asleep at the helm of this ship

Paul
Paul

From the ERCOT website at  http://www.ercot.com/about/pro...

ERCOT serves the public interest by:  

- Ensuring open access to transmission and distribution systems;

- Maintaining system reliability and operations; - Enabling retail choice;

- Operating fair and competitive wholesale markets;

- Maintaining the renewable energy credits registry;

- Providing leadership and independent expertise to improve system reliability and market         efficiency.

Notice it says nothing about lower costs to consumers, just "retail choice" ... as if the electricity from Luminant is any different than from NRG ... I guess that I just get to choose which provider is going to pick my pocket.

Fedupw/Perry
Fedupw/Perry

It's about time the State of Texas invests in it's own sustainable energy infrastructure.  Texas should issue bonds to build solar and wind plants that are owned by "we the people" and cut these jerks out of the deal all together.  There is no reason the state should be giving tax breaks or profits to energy companies.  We can then buy an additions if more energy is needed than what we can produce on our own.

phe_75034
phe_75034

Just a note: This is one of the best discussions I have seen recently, whether on the Observer or anywhere else. Good points from informed commentors. Good work, all!

another ratepayer
another ratepayer

Opps, what about the nearly $8 billion to spent to  build power lines to a source that operates less than 28% of the time.  Rate payers get to swallow that one and then get to pay for the real generation needed to meet the demand. 

Edward
Edward

Since energy deregulation, Texas consumers' prices have gone up disproportionately to the national average.

Since insurance deregulation, Texas consumers' prices have gone up disproportionately to the national average.

And the list goes on.

The supposed free market just means companies move around to where they can make the most money, with little regard for anything other than the bottom line and investor profit.

If you offered the proposition to any of these companies: "You can come to Texas, drain every single body of water to absolutely nothing, make a profit, and then move on", you would see a mad rush to destroy anything and everything in their sight.

ANYONE who thinks that big business cares one iota about the common good has obviously not been paying attention the last 20 or so years, and it's only going to get worse with Citizens United.

Augie
Augie

In an isolated electrical grid like Texas largely has, deregulation is not going to create competition in production/generation.  Power producers are oligarchies and we can regulate or we can sit back and hope they do the right thing out of the goodness of their hearts.  I suspect, but can't prove, that the failure to invest in cleaner coal plants, natural gas plants, etc. is not happening because the margins in newer technologies are lower than in older coal belching plants that are shuttered or in danger of being shuttered by an EPA that actually wants to limit pollution, unlike anyone in the R party ruling this state for the last 20 years, particularly their appointed yes men, the TCEQ.  

ERCOT won't grows a pair and require more production to come on line why?  Perhaps they too are hoping to rid Washington of the anomalous Dem. control and get the EPA back to being complete pushovers so they can fire back up the cheap old heavily polluting coal plants.  If ERCOT was a political and doing its job, it would require more production, even if it meant price increases on the back end to account for the higher investment in cleaner technologies.  Presumably those investment costs will eventually be recouped and the per KWH production costs will be similar in new and old plants.    

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Yet everybody shit a brick when inefficient, heat-spewing incandescent light bulbs were going to be phased out.

Is there something actual and practical that prevents the Texas grid from being connected to the rest of the country? We still need to figure it out here, but having the rest of the country to draw from if necessary isn't a bad plan B.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

While the Sale of Power in Texas my be Not as regulated as it was The Master stroke is the fact that "GENERATION of Power is Hype regulated .Ercot controls the on off switch to all the power in Texas .

 

scottindallas
scottindallas

Brantley, here's where being "green" isn't.  We've spent so much money on unreliable, inconsistent wind power that we could have mothballed all our old coal plants, built new, cleaner natural gas plants and be facing a surfeit of power.

 I'm not against "green" but we have to discern among various claims.  We shouldn't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.  And, the chicken little scare mongering doesn't promote good policy, it promotes foolish, impetuous moves.  Let's do CBA's, let's make sure we are using power sources that operate more than 12% of the time.  Such a small,inconsistent power source is worthless, as back up generation has be available all the time. 

S Aten
S Aten

Why not go back to regulating all the electric companies in Texas?  If the free market won't supply adequate electricity supplies, then lets go back to a regulated system to ensure adequate power supplies for the future needs of Texas.

Also, if natural gas prices are so low, why is my electric bill so high?    Should not electric rates be going down instead of up?

Tim Covington
Tim Covington

As someone who lives where he is required to use a regulated electric cooperative (Garland Power and Light), I can tell you that we are not immune to the brownouts. We are tied into the same electric grid as the rest of Texas and get the same brownouts. Sure the co-ops are building more generation, but it is just going into the same pool.

Justin Julian
Justin Julian

As always, the critical piece was ignored: deregulation would work just fine...if the feds would let companies build new plants.  Which they haven't.  For years.  Big shocker, the supply is short.  But hey, keep insisting we only use 'green' energy and no new coal or nuclear.  Asshats.

GMAFB
GMAFB

Our system is still regulated in that price caps remain and new EPA regulations came into effect as of 2012. Texas is also isolated from the rest of the country's surplus grid-wise. These factors paint a more accurate picture of the problem than any simple 'regulation good /  deregulation bad' explanation of things.

Anon
Anon

So raise the damn prices until people consume less or it's profitable enough for generating plants to be built. Consuming more electricity is only an inevitability if you begin the conversation assuming that it has to be.

Dirkin_texas
Dirkin_texas

The weakness of any interconnection is the areas around the outside edges.Transmission lines in the past were built and paid for by the approval of the Utility Commisions, to get generation to load.

It was estimated to interconnect ERCOT with the eastern interconnection would be 5 billion dollars in 1996 dollars.

Your local heros in Austin decided to spend $7 billion dollars, 2008 dollars, so T. Boone Pickens wind generation could generate to load.

T. Boone is not building the generation, but the wires companies are building the lines.

Wires companies will want to get paid.

And, you just thought the "smart meter" adder was high on your electric bill.  Wait until you  get your "CREZ" charge.

Anon
Anon

the theory behind all this was that if the state saw that the shit was about to hit the fan, it would let power producers build dirty coal plants despite regulations just so people's lights could stay on. this was well known when the TXU buyout was taking place. that was over 5 years ago. if you think that this is a market, think again. what industry would intentionally underinvest in production assets to the point that it risked being able to provide customers with its only product - electricity? it makes no sense unless you know that your customers have no recourse and no other options.

Paul
Paul

 If the ERCOT grid is connected to the rest of the national grid, then the TX utilities will be regulated by FERC and not the PUC in Austin.

Trust me, this is the last thing that the power generators and transmission companies want.

There are some minor interstate connections between ERCOT and the surrounding states, but these are more for system stability than power wheeling.

Also, ERCOT does not cover the entire state.

hth

Anon
Anon

what wind power needs is a mechanism by which the power can be stored and used during peak usage. I'm talking something like powering a pump that fills a reservoir, then creates hyrdo power during peak demand time during the day. they do it in the northeast and it works well. I'm not talking about building batteries. I don't know if that specific method would work in Texas, but that's the basic idea that is needed for wind to be anything more than a boondoggle.

Anon
Anon

What you pay is often more a factor of where you live, what provider you have, and what your plan is. There is no new generation capacity being built by Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) because natural gas prices are low, which means there's no profit margin, no incentive to build new generation capacity. The retail price is often more a function of existing debt service than gas prices.

scottindallas
scottindallas

 you're wrong.   You can't deregulate a utility market.   There is no free market.  All you get is a free market in customer service.  Utilities don't function like free markets, the must be regulated.    The system we have is akin to waiting for someone to volunteer to build a plant.  Under traditional utilities management, a new plant would be commissioned as demand indicates.  Again, how does a market with no competition bear any resemblance to the free market?

A-Nony-Mouse
A-Nony-Mouse

Funny, the feds just approved the first new nuclear plant permits in thirty years yesterday. And nothing since deregulation has prevented companies from building new natural gas power plants or building wind farms or geothemal plants or biomass plants or solar plant. The Feds approved all of those types of power plants in the past 10 years. Sooo... yeah...

scottindallas
scottindallas

you don't know much.   Here's a tip, take your question/ideas to Ed Wallace on 570 KLIF Sat from 8-1.  He'll answer you more nicely than we will.

Paul
Paul

The price cap is $3,000/MWHr or $3/KWHr  current rates are around $0.12/KWHr.  Please explain how this price cap is limiting investment.

Please also explain as to how a rural electric coop charges me less for electricity than all of the electricity providers for my area of DFW.

No matter how you spin it, electrical market deregulation has worked only for the generators and marketers.

One of the worst offenders is the former TXU which has mostly nuclear and coal fired units.  The last number that I saw on their cost of generation was about $0.03/KWHr, yet they are paid at the natural gas rate.

If natural gas rates are driving market prices then why have the prices not (Edit) dropped as quickly as they rose?

I love it when I get a call from a marketer and I ask them how much installed generating capacity they have and the answer is none.

The argument that natural gas prices are driving up the retail price is pure hokum.  More electricity is generated in Oklahoma using natural gas than in Texas, yet Oklahoma's rates are lower than ours.

Face it, there is a huge peaking demand in Texas in summer and the capacity must be in place to meet it.

Texas (ERCOT) has been isolated since day one when it comes to interstate exchanges of electricity.  So how has this changed things?  I remember the day when it was touted as a good thing that ERCOT was isolated from the rest of the nation so that we wouldn't be forced to sell "our" electricity to those Yankees and the feds couldn't tell us what to do.

The big perversion of the so called "free market" is that the wholesale price of electricity is not set by the purchasers, but is set by the sellers.  The wholesale marketplace works on a bid in basis, that is a generator does not supply electricity until the bid price reaches a certain level and then bids in an amount.  The lower bid -- ins are paid at the last increment of power that meets demand.  The only advantage to being a lower bid -- in is that your generation is purchased before the higher bid -- ins.

The next big scam coming the consumer's way is the time of day pricing, courtesy of the smart meters.

One last question:  With which electricity generator or marketer are you employed?

Phelps
Phelps

Exactly.  Deregulated does not mean unregulated.

Get the EPA out of the way and we'll have more generation.

scottindallas
scottindallas

we pay more than just about any state in the union.  How much more should we pay?  Our rates certainly aren't high for environmental controls that other states don't have.  Our rates are high, cause the PUC is 100% GOP.

Melissa
Melissa

If you "raise the rates until people consume less" you will have kids and old people dying because even more of them than already can't afford air conditioning.  I just love it when people say this when we just had a summer with such extreme heat.  I live alone in a 1300 sq. ft. house and keep the temp set at 78 and my electric bill one month last summer was $270.  That was a financial hardship for me.

scottindallas
scottindallas

Where we use wind power the most, surface water is scarce  (W. TX)

Powerless
Powerless

Paul, a little help, plz, with "The lower bid -- ins are paid at the last increment of power that meets demand.  The only advantage to being a lower bid -- in is that your generation is purchased before the higher bid -- ins." If Purchaser A bids low and Purchaser B bids higher, wouldn't B be sold before A? B then markets to me at higher prices to recover their higher bids, and effectively locks me in at higher rates before A's lower-bid power can be offered to me. Is that right?Also, I read today that because natural gas prices are low, generators have low incentive to build plants. But the U.S. has abundant natural gas, so prices will presumably remain low for quite some time, absent sudden, large exports. Therefore, absent quicker nuclear approval and construction, and given the expense of building new, cleaner coal plants, we're destined to be without new plants for quite some time. Is that right?

scottindallas
scottindallas

you're out of your element phelps.  Utilities MUST be regulated.  We don't have the ability to boycott, and the gov't inputs are so great, this market bears no resemblance to the free market.  Explain how the customer has power in the utility market phelps?  When in the free market, we say "the customer is always right?"

Ofcourse
Ofcourse

We somehow managed fine for 100 years in Dallas prior to AC. Don't get me wrong, it's definitely convenient and much more comfortable, but as human beings, we've managed for thousands of years building cities in far hotter places (read: Saudi Arabia, India)

Mervis
Mervis

How much do you pay per kWh?

Paul
Paul

 Although the Fed report is nice, there are several basic flaws.  First, the TX market was compared to Northeast and Mid Atlantic states.  The seasonal demand for electricity is vastly different compared to the southern and southwestern states.

It is also a poor comparison as power supplied to the northeast comes from hydropower plants in Quebec and baseload coal plants in Ohio.

Second the Texas consumer's response was an overwhelming thumbs down to deregulation.  Basically, ERCOT and the PUC had to end the ratebase payer option and force all consumers to be in a nonregulated plan.

As I said before, get ready for the next wave of getting your pocket picked when "time of day pricing" is implemented via the so called "smart meters".

Samiam46952
Samiam46952

But wind generation bids in at -30.00.  That is what their tax credits are.

That kills the "true open market."

Stop the tax credits and in two years, we might have a true market.

another ratepayer
another ratepayer

Don't forget about the CREZ dollars. Project estimated at $4.8 billion to build power lines to useless wind turbines. Latest ERCOT estimate $7.8 billion.  Exactly. Could have built combined cycle nat gas generation located near the major cities. Saved a bunch of money. Wind turbines back current nat gas fired generation off first. Can't just turn a coal plant off and on.  Nuke is the greenest. 0 carbon emmision. Solar, wind, ethynol will go down as major energy blunders.  So much for gangrene power.   

Paul
Paul

 Wind power and baseload generators will bid in low at say$60/MWHr or $0.06/KWHr.  A peaking plant will bid in at $90/MWHr or $0.09/KWHr.

For the demand, the bid ins at $60/MWHr will have their power fed first into the grid, but are paid at the last bid in of $90/MWHr.  The bid ins at $90/MWHr will have their power taken next but only up to the amount needed to meet demand.

ERCOT forecasts the power demand and then accepts the bid ins.  Consider the following example:

Estimated demand: 10,000 MWHr

Bid ins:

6,000 MWHr @ $60/MWHr ---> All is purchased2,000 MWHr @ $70/MWHr ---> All is purchased1,500 MWHr @ $80/MWHr ---> All is purchased1,000 MWHr @ $90/MWHr ---> Only 500 MWHr is purchased1,000 MWHr @$100/MWHr ---> None is purchased

All purchases are made at $90/MWHr.

The economic theory is that the $90/MWHr bid sets the market price for electricity for the bid period.  In actuality, this is a distorted market as the price is set by the high cost provider not the low cost provider.  The market is also distorted as a generator can withhold power until they see a price that they like.  Some would say that this is a free market but given that the electric power generation business is closely held by oligopolistic companies, it is very easy for a seller to set the price rather than the buyer.  In other words, the market price is set by the sellers who are the price makers and not the  consumers who have become the price takers.  When the utilities were regulated the purpose of the PUC was to make sure that the generators had an adequate rate of return on their invested capital.  This ensured that the the companies remained economically viable while consumer interests were protected.

However, this economic model became untenable in the late 70's due to inflation.  The costs of installing generator plants was rising rapidly, investors weren't interested in a ROR of 10% when inflation was 18% and the was no longer an advantage to economy of scale.  Plus electric power demand was leveling off in the late 70's.

The main problem with building peaking plants is that the electric generators have found that they cannot adequately predict the usage of the plant.  Several of the large generators are pushing for lower reserve margins in order to increase utilization.  The problem with this is that the reserve margin is less that then plant unavailability.  That is a plant may have an annual availability of 90%, that is it is capable of generating for 90% of the year.  The generators want a reserve of only 5%.  See the problem?

hth

scottindallas
scottindallas

 Perhaps I wasn't clear.  I was saying that we've spent so much on wind power, and yet we're talking about black-outs.  Where if we had spent those same dollars on new gas powerplants, we could have retired all our old coal plants and been much greener than we are today.  We are in agreement, WIND ONLY WORKS 12% of the time, and least when our demand is highest.  When we have that "high pressure cap" over us, we by definition don't have strong wind blowing.  So, demand is at it's peak and supply falls.  Genius!  if you're an electricity trader.

Phelps
Phelps

Now YOU are out of your element. You are talking about two completely different things. Wind can't replace coal. Period. Coal is for base load plants. You replace coal with nuclear, hydro, geo, tidal, steady sources like that. Wind at best can replace peak load sources like gas.

Energy has to feed into the grid to meet the load. Period. Wind can't keep power going on all 60 cycles a second, all day long. Coal can

If you really want to support wind, stop putting money into turbines and start putting money into energy storage technologies that might someday let things like solar and wind replace base load plants. Without something that can hold that power and put it on the grid when it is needed, wind is just something that makes people happy who are bad at math and science.

scottindallas
scottindallas

 we've spent 8 billion on wind generation which would have off-set all our old coal and replaced them with cleaner, cheaper, more efficient natural gas.  Instead, T. Boone Pickens got that money and we got no new net energy production.

Powerless
Powerless

And how in the name of Miss Thrushbottom, 2nd grade English teacher of the late, great William Safire, do I consistently add line spaces?

Phelps
Phelps

I've read the Wealth of Nations cover to cover.  I know what he thinks of the markets.  You might want to revisit what he wrote about the dangers of monopolies when you look at this situation.

Anon
Anon

every level of government thinks its job is to make its buddies wealthy. and frankly, it's almost more true of Republicans than Democrats.you should also be careful when you refer to Adam Smith. he wasn't the laissez faire free market capitalist that you may have imagined him to be.

Phelps
Phelps

Frankly, the early internet did a good job of creating specs in a process that would overlay pretty much any industry pretty easily.  Acting as if that would have to come from the government is pretty much denying the existence of Adam Smith's Invisible Hand. 

I look at utility monopolies and regulation like I do copyright.  Copyright is not a natural right -- the natural right is that if I hear it, it is in my brain and I can repeat it.  Copyright (constitutionally) recognizes that society is better off if we minimally infringe the natural right to create a right with a greater good -- that creative works are rewarded with a limited monopoly.

My fear is that utilities are going the same way as copyright -- what was once intended to be a very limited, delineated right is now being turned into a sweeping cash cow for a small, powerful special interest at the expense of society, not for its benefit.  It's really all wrapped up into the same big problems -- a federal government that thinks its job is to make its buddies wealthy.

Anon
Anon

this market wouldn't exist without government help (as scott points out, it would be prohibitively expensive to acquire the easements that are required to build the grid). once you accept that the government is a prerequisite to the existence of an industry, you give up the fiction that it can be completely unregulated.

scottindallas
scottindallas

I did see in re-reading that I reacted too strongly to your claim.   But, I want to get to the role of utilities generally.  Utilities must be regulated as an inherent part of their nature and economics.  Who even derives the "specs for load and phase?"  Who underwrites the loans/bonds?"  Who is able to provide easements, eminent domain and must bear the externalities like the various pollutions?  All these aid the efficiency of the utility, lowering their costs.  For these inelastic, inherently non-competitive markets must be regulated, if not wholly owned by the gov't.  It is even appropriate and good for the gov't to limit or cap the profits of these firms--as their cost is, in fact a tax on the economy. 

Though, I would like to see gov't out of the genuinely free market.  I wish the libertarians would more widely consider this, as it would go a long way to advancing their ideas.  I get so frustrated to see utilities compared to some local mom and pop free-market enterprise.  Usually by professionals (professors, ideological lobbyist) who have few discernible fiduciary duties who imagine they too are in the free market.  Though they fear an earnest exchange or discussion, so they're really not even up for that market either.  It all results in sophistry, and I feel most sad for the saps that don't catch it.  Paul Craig Roberts had a great article along those lines 2-3 weeks ago.

Phelps
Phelps

And you are overreacting. I'm saying that deregulated does not mean unregulated, not that they SHOULD be unregulated. In an ideal world, absolutely. Unfortunately, the entire market is fouled with municipally granted monopolies, which means that there has to be regulation at the carrier level.

At the generation level, there is much less need for regulation. As long as the generation is on spec for load and phase, then it is fungible. There's much less reason for heavy regulation at that level.

scottindallas
scottindallas

phe, the problem is that your charge is blind.  The wind energy investments have caused us the keep the most polluting plants off line.   Further, the money we spent on those could have gone to replace all the dirty coal plants.  The result is that you make the perfect the enemy of the good.  We need to do cost benefit analysis to see what is most effective.  Renewables aren't intrinsically good. 

phe_75034
phe_75034

I agree with you in concept. The reality is people will suffer, and, proportionally, more older and younger people on fixed incomes will do the suffering. There will be backlash from that suffering. As long as you're prepared for the backlash, go for it.

The backlash is coming sooner or later. We have to get off fossil fuels eventually.The inevitable switch is going to be accompanied by major disruption, dislocation, and pain. Investment now in renewables and clean energy (including nuclear) will help mitigate, but our feeble current attempts aren't going to eliminate the trauma.

Anon
Anon

the bulk of A/C usage during peak hours is office buildings and residences and are based on convenience. I'm not saying do away with A/C. I'm saying that people should be willing to pay for "comfortable" temperatures. this is not the same thing as a mission critical temperatures for medical facilities.

scottindallas
scottindallas

 Medicine, particularly sterile rooms really rely on A/C.  I think it may be impossible to seperate the two phenomena.

Phelps
Phelps

And by managing fine, you mean, accepting that dozens of old people are going to die every time a heat wave hits?

That's just the way it is when the technology for AC isn't there.  It's a banal evil when the tech is there and we just decide they "aren't worth it."

Anon
Anon

this is my point. construction continues in the style that requires A/C, puts in huge vaulted ceilings, gives people far more square footage than they can possibly inhabit. I don't feel bad for people living in 3,000 square foot houses complaining about $500+ electricity bills. move to a smaller house or shut up about how expensive your electricity bill is.

Anon
Anon

neither of those is correlated to air conditioning. both have come down on marginally since the advent of air conditioning relative to the reduction based on advances in healthcare and maternal health. life expectancy is correlated to lifestyle changes and healthcare advances. it has nothing to do with A/C

heyheymama
heyheymama

You've got to be kidding me.  I grew up without A/C in the rural South, in both older homes built to promote passive cooling (porches, breezeways, sleeping porches, old shade trees, small southern exposure) and modern homes/apartments.Don't want to live in either without A/C.

scottindallas
scottindallas

 you might be surprised, many places in Saudi Arabia are cooler at night than we are.  Also, in the arid desert fans, and evaporative cooling has been used for literally centuries. 

WE didn't live here for 100 years.  This city was a back water until A/C.  The same is true of the Southwest generally.  Further, the style of construction doesn't facilitate natural cooling in much anything built since the early 60's

Tim Covington
Tim Covington

Yes, we did. Life expectancy was shorter and infant mortality rates were higher too.

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