Array
(
    [content] => 
    [params] => Array
        (
            [0] => /forum/index.php?threads/samsungs-chip-fabs-in-texas-ordered-to-shut-down-due-to-power-shortage.13756/page-2
        )

    [addOns] => Array
        (
            [DL6/MLTP] => 13
            [Hampel/TimeZoneDebug] => 1000070
            [SV/ChangePostDate] => 2010200
            [SemiWiki/Newsletter] => 1000010
            [SemiWiki/WPMenu] => 1000010
            [SemiWiki/XPressExtend] => 1000010
            [ThemeHouse/XLink] => 1000970
            [ThemeHouse/XPress] => 1010570
            [XF] => 2020771
            [XFI] => 1050170
        )

    [wordpress] => /var/www/html
)

Samsung's Chip Fabs in Texas Ordered to Shut Down Due to Power Shortage

hist78

Active member
Water, power, and severe weather, could be a problem anywhere in the US.

Yes, bad weather comes and goes all the time. That's why in the US there are Eastern power grid and Western power grid to prepare for it, except Texas. When Texas desperately needed additional power to make up the shortage due to weather and failed power generation capabilities, they don't have any way to get help from other states.

It's because the Texas power infrastructure is isolated from the rest of USA. It's Texas's choice and weather didn't force them to make this unwise choice.
 

swkang1230

New member
Yes, bad weather comes and goes all the time. That's why in the US there are Eastern power grid and Western power grid to prepare for it, except Texas. When Texas desperately needed additional power to make up the shortage due to weather and failed power generation capabilities, they don't have any way to get help from other states.

It's because the Texas power infrastructure is isolated from the rest of USA. It's Texas's choice and weather didn't force them to make this unwise choice.
Does California have an isolated grid? Why did they have to have rotating blackouts during the wildfires? The Texas freeze was a once in a hundred year weather event.
 

AAPL

New member
Does California have an isolated grid? Why did they have to have rotating blackouts during the wildfires? The Texas freeze was a once in a hundred year weather event.
I don't think CA is an isolated grid. Rolling blackouts during the drought were to reduce chance of additional wildfires.
 

hist78

Active member
Does California have an isolated grid? Why did they have to have rotating blackouts during the wildfires? The Texas freeze was a once in a hundred year weather event.

Good question. California is in the Western power grid. I believe the following link provided some good analysis about why rolling blackouts happened last summer in California.


Luckily California is in the Western power grid, otherwise their rolling blackouts could have been even worst.

In Texas' case, as I said before, because it's cut off from the rest of the United States and they're all by themselves. No matter how much money Texas would like to pay during the crisis, there wasn't any option to buy power from other states. That's why Texas' rolling blackouts were much wider and longer, compare to California's. At one point, Texas' power grid was on the brink of catastrophic collapse.

 

hist78

Active member
The Texas freeze was a once in a hundred year weather event.

That's a standard way that politicians like to make people think.

Interestingly we have a proof about how wrong that is. El Paso is in Texas and is in Western power grid. After 2011's big freeze that impacted Texas, El Paso decided to winterize their electricity infrastructure and prepare themselves for this so-called "a hundred year weather event". The leaders in El Paso did what good leaders should do. That's why they don't have any need to find an excuse this time.

 
Last edited:

hist78

Active member
What about the northeast blackout of 2003? Had the grid been isolated it would have been a much smaller event.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northeast_blackout_of_2003

And yet moreover, Samsung is still considering Austin as a site for expanding their fabs in the US.

https://www.theverge.com/2021/3/3/2...-factory-expansion-choice-jobs-tax-incentives

Not sure what's our purpose to find more bad and stupid blackouts outside Texas? Will it help any Texas' companies and regular citizens? Can it make Texas' power failure more legit or much less painful?

What Texas needs to do now is to convince Samsung this preventable disaster will not happen again. And State of Texas must know Samsung will definitely ask "how?".
 

swkang1230

New member
Your point was that it was Texas’ politically driven decision to isolate the grid that caused the problem not the weather. My point is that there are pros and cons to isolating the grid and simply connecting it to the rest of the US is looking at the problem from a very simplistic/reactive perspective which could lead to other problems. I don’t see how that is bringing up a “stupid” case to legitimize Texas’ response.
 

Daniel Nenni

Admin
Staff member
I don't think CA is an isolated grid. Rolling blackouts during the drought were to reduce chance of additional wildfires.

California has a power pole problem. We have millions of aged poles intermingled with trees that fall in high winds and start fires. They should be underground but that would cost more than the litigation of the fires and lives lost. A friend of mine has a company that inspects them for the power company. They use bucket trucks and drones and union electricians on a continual basis. Sometimes the poles get fixed/replaced and sometimes they don't. It really does sound like we are treading water here.

My son is a Firefighter and has seen some of the devastation first hand. The most recent was the Camp Fire, the worst one in California history. It wiped out an entire community not far from where I attended college.

 

prime007

Active member
Looks like Samsung's foundry in Texas is STILL down...

Found a link that would bypass the paywall here:
 
Last edited:

benb

Active member
A fab is like a thousand person rowing team with complex oars. The oars dip into the water at a regular frequency, clean themselves. The oars stay clean by dipping in the water, and become dirty with small changes in the water; really small things can be big. Checking how dirty requires special equipment, which can check a subset of the oars per unit time, rather than all. So there is cycle of checking that takes multiple units of time.
The oars can be minimally checked once the water (which is really tens of different things) is reestablished, and the rowing begins again; but the full picture of a thousand oars, and the results of rowing, will come much later.
 

hist78

Active member
Looks like Samsung's foundry in Texas is STILL down...

Found a link that would bypass the paywall here:
The leaders in Texas by now must recognize Texas' decision many years ago to isolate Texas power grid from the rest of USA is becoming a weakness in this 21st century. Although I believe they will insist the only thing to blame is the extreme weather. And they will argue there's no any better solution other than doning the same way for the next twenty or thirty years.
 

hist78

Active member
Your point was that it was Texas’ politically driven decision to isolate the grid that caused the problem not the weather. My point is that there are pros and cons to isolating the grid and simply connecting it to the rest of the US is looking at the problem from a very simplistic/reactive perspective which could lead to other problems. I don’t see how that is bringing up a “stupid” case to legitimize Texas’ response.

I hope you can understand I didn't intend to blame the isolated Texas power grid is the "cause". I merely pointed out in this 21st century, Texas can't get powe from other states when Texas got into a dire situation is not a logical and sensible arrangement.

When Samsung, NXP, and Infineon hastily shut down their fabs, the power delivery system there was working properly. They were forced to turn off their whole operations due to Texas power grid can't get enough power from Texas in-state power generation plants and consequently Texas wanted to prevent their power grid from a total collapse.

If another bad weather event hit, are they going to blame the weather again and again? Someone has to tell Samsung that $3 million loss per day for several weeks is ... reasonable and honorable.

And probably next time those Samsung, NXP, and Infineon's customers who got screwed need to be told that their loss is an honorable action in order to keep Texas power grid independent from the rest of United States.
 

prime007

Active member
Samsung is now warning of a 'serious imbalance' in global semiconductors

Key points:
1. It's warning that chip shortages will spread beyond the automaking industry.
2. The company is also considering skipping the introduction of a new Galaxy Note -- one of its best-selling models -- this year
3. Samsung’s semiconductor fab in Austin, Texas was shutdown in February by statewide power outages and hasn’t resumed full production. The resulting shortfall in production of Qualcomm 5G radio frequency chips could reduce global smartphone output by 5% in the second quarter, research firm Trendforce estimates.
4. Carmakers got hit first in part because of poor inventory planning and are expected to miss out on $61 billion of sales this year.
 

chipsntexas

New member
I hope you can understand I didn't intend to blame the isolated Texas power grid is the "cause". I merely pointed out in this 21st century, Texas can't get powe from other states when Texas got into a dire situation is not a logical and sensible arrangement.

When Samsung, NXP, and Infineon hastily shut down their fabs, the power delivery system there was working properly. They were forced to turn off their whole operations due to Texas power grid can't get enough power from Texas in-state power generation plants and consequently Texas wanted to prevent their power grid from a total collapse.

If another bad weather event hit, are they going to blame the weather again and again? Someone has to tell Samsung that $3 million loss per day for several weeks is ... reasonable and honorable.

And probably next time those Samsung, NXP, and Infineon's customers who got screwed need to be told that their loss is an honorable action in order to keep Texas power grid independent from the rest of United States.
This was a very difficult situation for many residents and customers in Texas. But it is also ridiculously oversimplified to assign little, if any, responsibility for this due to the lack of substantial connection to the eastern or western electric grids. At the time of the cutbacks, there was also increased demand and almost no spare capacity from surrounding areas that could have been diverted to Texas' grid. The article below from today's Dallas Morning News highlights some of this, and the cost to "transfer" substantial power from Phoenix, Atlanta or St. Louis to Texas markets is quite astronomical relative to the benefits of a once per decade or so event. Much more effective spending could be done with the current system with updates and improvements on both the supply and demand side of the equation.


Texas can and does generate enough power for itself, one of very few states with this capability - the lack of federal oversight or regulation both a positive and a negative, depending on your economic viewpoints. There certainly needs to be some changes in the system, and requirements for weatherization being mandated at some meaningful level rather than just recommended. I'm confident that even in Texas we can figure this out without further risk or damage to a system primarily working to our large advantage. Having said that, in other areas such as north Texas where TI has numerous fabs (as well as other semiconductor manufacturers), there was little or no interruption at those sites. So clearly the area around Austin maybe needs to do a little more work in resolving their specific power generation and supply/distribution issues.

Texas' unconnected (mostly) grid is hardly to blame, but it cannot be simply allowed to remain "as is" without addressing legitimate concerns. It's not a 20th or 21st century problem - it's more properly stated in direct economic terms. Fuels from here probably keep 75% of the country operating, year round, in some form or fashion. Not to mention, wind power generates more power than the next 4 states - but not winterized this fell to near zero. So plenty of room for improvement. But thank you for sharing your concerns about our leadership and antiquated power system. I'll put my trust in Austin and Texas politicians figuring out a better and more workable solution than some politicos from DC or other areas.
 

prime007

Active member
I wouldn't agree with your statement that "Texas' unconnected (mostly) grid is hardly to blame". Julie Cohn (historian of energy, technology and environment from Rice University) DIRECTLY blames the grid here:
Now where shall we point our frigid fingers?
The highly centralized, isolated power grid has served Texas really well for many decades. It has allowed us to accelerate renewables development and, notably, to avoid cascading blackouts of the sort that plagued the Northeast in 1965, 1977 and 2003. But this week, it means we were unable to import large amounts of power from the gigantic Eastern and Western interconnections when we needed it.

We don’t have a large enough backup system for when power demand shoots way up or when generators go offline. It is a problem that plagues ERCOT every year as the hottest part of the summer approaches. This is the fault of our wholesale market structure. Of course, additional reserve power may not have been sufficient this week, but surely it would have helped.
Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2021/02/17/texas-power-winter-storm/

A counter-argument for connecting Texas to the nation's power grids...

It's Texas' decision in the end...but I imagine the recent tragedy will have changed more than a few minds.
 
Water, power, and severe weather, could be a problem anywhere in the US.
Yep, a friend recommended me two books to read. Once is a historical perspective about the various power outages across the US (called The Grid by Bakke) and the second is a fiction book that has the basis of European Electrical grids call Blackout: a techno-thriller.

I enjoyed Bakke's book but wished she had a co-author that was a power engineer and yes, this can happen anywhere since this book highlights all the various reasons that cause power black/brownouts. Electricity is very different than gasoline or water....

In the early part of the Blackout book so too early to comment on it.....
 

hist78

Active member
This was a very difficult situation for many residents and customers in Texas. But it is also ridiculously oversimplified to assign little, if any, responsibility for this due to the lack of substantial connection to the eastern or western electric grids. At the time of the cutbacks, there was also increased demand and almost no spare capacity from surrounding areas that could have been diverted to Texas' grid. The article below from today's Dallas Morning News highlights some of this, and the cost to "transfer" substantial power from Phoenix, Atlanta or St. Louis to Texas markets is quite astronomical relative to the benefits of a once per decade or so event. Much more effective spending could be done with the current system with updates and improvements on both the supply and demand side of the equation.


Texas can and does generate enough power for itself, one of very few states with this capability - the lack of federal oversight or regulation both a positive and a negative, depending on your economic viewpoints. There certainly needs to be some changes in the system, and requirements for weatherization being mandated at some meaningful level rather than just recommended. I'm confident that even in Texas we can figure this out without further risk or damage to a system primarily working to our large advantage. Having said that, in other areas such as north Texas where TI has numerous fabs (as well as other semiconductor manufacturers), there was little or no interruption at those sites. So clearly the area around Austin maybe needs to do a little more work in resolving their specific power generation and supply/distribution issues.

Texas' unconnected (mostly) grid is hardly to blame, but it cannot be simply allowed to remain "as is" without addressing legitimate concerns. It's not a 20th or 21st century problem - it's more properly stated in direct economic terms. Fuels from here probably keep 75% of the country operating, year round, in some form or fashion. Not to mention, wind power generates more power than the next 4 states - but not winterized this fell to near zero. So plenty of room for improvement. But thank you for sharing your concerns about our leadership and antiquated power system. I'll put my trust in Austin and Texas politicians figuring out a better and more workable solution than some politicos from DC or other areas.

"Texas can and does generate enough power for itself, one of very few states with this capability "

I'm not sure this observation is reflecting the real situation. From the 2019 U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data, "Electricity generation exceeds electricity consumption in 25 states" and I counted at least 13 States (not including Texas) had net electricity exports in 2019.

 

hist78

Active member
This was a very difficult situation for many residents and customers in Texas. But it is also ridiculously oversimplified to assign little, if any, responsibility for this due to the lack of substantial connection to the eastern or western electric grids. At the time of the cutbacks, there was also increased demand and almost no spare capacity from surrounding areas that could have been diverted to Texas' grid. The article below from today's Dallas Morning News highlights some of this, and the cost to "transfer" substantial power from Phoenix, Atlanta or St. Louis to Texas markets is quite astronomical relative to the benefits of a once per decade or so event. Much more effective spending could be done with the current system with updates and improvements on both the supply and demand side of the equation.


Texas can and does generate enough power for itself, one of very few states with this capability - the lack of federal oversight or regulation both a positive and a negative, depending on your economic viewpoints. There certainly needs to be some changes in the system, and requirements for weatherization being mandated at some meaningful level rather than just recommended. I'm confident that even in Texas we can figure this out without further risk or damage to a system primarily working to our large advantage. Having said that, in other areas such as north Texas where TI has numerous fabs (as well as other semiconductor manufacturers), there was little or no interruption at those sites. So clearly the area around Austin maybe needs to do a little more work in resolving their specific power generation and supply/distribution issues.

Texas' unconnected (mostly) grid is hardly to blame, but it cannot be simply allowed to remain "as is" without addressing legitimate concerns. It's not a 20th or 21st century problem - it's more properly stated in direct economic terms. Fuels from here probably keep 75% of the country operating, year round, in some form or fashion. Not to mention, wind power generates more power than the next 4 states - but not winterized this fell to near zero. So plenty of room for improvement. But thank you for sharing your concerns about our leadership and antiquated power system. I'll put my trust in Austin and Texas politicians figuring out a better and more workable solution than some politicos from DC or other areas.
A multi-state power grid works like a pool of resource instead of an oil pipeline. Although this power grid can't store electricity for later use but the electricity producers and buyers will use this pool to achieve a stable, reliable, and efficient power transmission and distribution. It's not a point to pint transmission system as described in that opinion piece. A multi-state power grid is a multi points to multi points system with power travels hundreds miles instead of thousands miles. In this power pool, for example, the extra power generated in Illinois can be sent to Indiana while Indiana's power flows to Ohio to help Ohio's shortage.

Talking about power grid's reliability, the Texas power grid is ranked #29 among the US 50 states from the following report based on the 2019 data:


Texas' power grid reliability is not as good as many people assumed. But many Texas leaders and insiders probably will keep insisting how great the Texas power grid is!

Arizona is ranked #2 in the above power grid reliability report. No wonder Intel and TSMC chose Arizona to build their fabs, along with other factors.
 
Last edited:
Top