Interesting question

Silicon fabs in Austin TX were closed over the power outage. They’re a several percentage of global production of certain types of ships.

Certain car manufacturers are halting production for lack of chips.

How much of the second is due to the first? That first being the penetration of renewables into the TX grid of course…..

10 thoughts on “Interesting question”

  1. The car problem started as long ago as January, so I don’t think it’s that much related. The best explanation for the shortage is demand for consumer electronics. People needing laptops, phones etc to work/school from home.

  2. Apparently – results of study just out – the big problem with the TX power was more that the gas-fired places weren’t operable for a bunch of reasons. That is, they weren’t capable of delivering the collective power that you’d expect from the installations. The wind was down, but they have some excuse for why it didn’t generate more (no wind, or something)

  3. NerdInWestSussex

    As BoM4 says, current shortage is mainly down to a focus on producing end-user gizmos, with demand driven by the shift in behaviour last year. The cock up in Suez is also blamed for worsening matters last month, but it’s not clear whether that was for finished gizmos or chips.

    It’s going to be interesting to see what effect the blip in Texas has on the already tight supply. There’s another pressure coming as well in the form of a worsening drought in Taiwan, which may threaten water supply to the plants there.

  4. BoM4

    Both NXP and Infineon have said that the freeze in Texas most definitely affected their ability to deliver chips to auto makers. The situation wasn’t good in January because of the decisive and skillful manner governments had closed down industry in 2020; but losing the fabs for a week, and then slowly getting them functional, and then winding ’em back up to full speed added extra delay…

    Search for “Judge denies injunction on chipmaker, puts Jeep Grand Cherokee production in jeopardy” for one example…

  5. Car manufacturers cutting production due to Covid then changing their minds as demand return messed up their supply chain. This was made much worse by rising consumer demand and the drought in Taiwan as the semiconductor fabs need lots of water to operate. The Texas problems are smaller in comparison and these can’t be solely attributed to the complete failure of the renewables. The gas power stations failed too as they were never winterised to cope with the conditions.

  6. Not winterising Texas gas plants is close to not buying snowploughs for Changi airport. The precautionary principle would have us all park a removal van outside the house in case we had to move.

  7. I doubt it’s a related problem, but graphics cards for PCs are very hard to come by at the ‘mo. The message boards say they’re all being bought for Bitcoin mining.

  8. Dear Mr Miller @ May 3, 2021 at 10:45 am

    Graphics cards for Bitcoin mining?

    Does someone have to look for them?

    I am profoundly ignorant on the matter.


  9. DP.. The chips on graphics cards themselves.. the GPUs… are faster and better orientated for the hardcore mathematical algorithms of bitcoin mining than general purpose CPU’s.

  10. All the top-end computer systems (as used to be made by Cray, some still are) are now vast assemblages of high-end graphics cards (GPUs). Bitcoin mining has hugely increased the number of such systems.

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