Wednesday, February 17th 2021

Manufacturing: Samsung Semiconductor Fabs in Texas Shut Down Following State-wide Power Shortages

News just keep flowing that are bound to have impact on pricing for components users of this website know and love. The Austin-American Statesman reports that Samsung has been ordered to shutter its Texas factories in wake of recent power shortages that have impacted the state. The order, which came from Austin Energy, doesn't just affect Samsung: all industrial and semiconductor manufacturers in the state were ordered to idle or shut down their facilities, meaning that NXP Semiconductors and Infineon Semiconductors have also been affected. According to Austin Energy, all companies have complied with the order. A date for the lifting of these restrictions still hasn't been given.

As we know, semiconductor manufacturing is a drawn-out process, with some particular wafers taking several months in their journey from initial fabrication until they reach completion. This meas that it's a particularly sensitive business in regards to power outages or general service interruptions. The entire semiconductor manufacturing lines - and products therein, in various stages of production - can be rendered unusable due to these events, which will have a sizable impact in the final manufacturing output of a given factory. It remains to be seen the scale of this production impact, but a few percentage points difference in the overall global semiconductor manufacturing could have dire implications for availability and pricing, considering the already insufficient operational capacity in regards to demand. Considering the impact adverse temperatures are having on Texas residents, here's hoping for the quick resolution of these problems, which affect much more than just semiconductor manufacturing capabilities.
Sources: Austin-American Statesman, via Tom's Hardware
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92 Comments on Manufacturing: Samsung Semiconductor Fabs in Texas Shut Down Following State-wide Power Shortages

#1
mechtech
I've always found the power issues in the states interesting. What are the main reasons this happens?
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#2
Ed_1
mechtech
I've always found the power issues in the states interesting. What are the main reasons this happens?
Mostly weather-related but not always.
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#3
dragontamer5788
mechtech
I've always found the power issues in the states interesting. What are the main reasons this happens?
Texas has its own grid because it refused to connect up to the national grids and be regulated as such. So really, this is the smell of Texas freedom.
Posted on Reply
#4
skizzo
mechtech
I've always found the power issues in the states interesting. What are the main reasons this happens?
wtf is "interesting" about them? apparently, so interesting, that you don't even want to take the time to read the news since the power outages are international headlines lol

Texas is normally a state that does not get weather so cold, including below freezing temps, and snow. Several natural gas pipelines, water lines to cool reactors, wind turbines, etc, all froze. effectively leaving thousands, if not millions, without power. the issues are currently ongoing.
Posted on Reply
#5
Raevenlord
News Editor
Ed_1
Mostly weather-related but not always.
Conspiracy theorists might accuse short-term rollout of cryptocurrency mining farms.

There's installed capacity for both production and distribution of power. A myriad of factors, including family consumption in harsh winters, infrastructure anomalies, drought, can affect output and consumption, so it's hard to pinpoint (for us) what caused it.
Posted on Reply
#6
qlum
dragontamer5788
Texas has its own grid because it refused to connect up to the national grids and be regulated as such. So really, this is the smell of Texas freedom.
Kind of funny how in Europe the grid is much better connected between countries than the US is within the country.
Posted on Reply
#7
dragontamer5788
Raevenlord
Conspiracy theorists might accuse short-term rollout of cryptocurrency mining farms.

There's installed capacity for both production and distribution of power. A myriad of factors, including family consumption in harsh winters, infrastructure anomalies, drought, can affect output and consumption, so it's hard to pinpoint (for us) what caused it.
When the South Texas Nuclear Power Station shuts down, its pretty clear what "caused" the lack of electricity. The powerplants going down, pretty simple.

If you want to know why that shut down, its because of two factors: snow, and a lack of preparedness for the snow. We generally have no control over the weather, but we can prepare for rare events and build more robust infrastructure.
Posted on Reply
#8
Raevenlord
News Editor
dragontamer5788
When the South Texas Nuclear Power Station shuts down, its pretty clear what "caused" the lack of electricity. The powerplants going down, pretty simple.

If you want to know why that shut down, its because of two factors: snow, and a lack of preparedness for the snow. We generally have no control over the weather, but we can prepare for rare events and build more robust infrastructure.
There are specific factors that lead to the problems you mentioned, and I was referring to the specifics. But your point still stands.
Posted on Reply
#9
80-watt Hamster
dragontamer5788
Texas has its own grid because it refused to connect up to the national grids and be regulated as such. So really, this is the smell of Texas freedom.
The grid layout isn't quite that cut-and-dried. Moorhead, MN, for example, has been subjected to scheduled blackouts to support the grid load in TX.
Posted on Reply
#10
dragontamer5788
80-watt Hamster
The grid layout isn't quite that cut-and-dried. Moorhead, MN, for example, has been subjected to scheduled blackouts to support the grid load in TX.
There are two connections from ERCOT (Texas's grid) that is to be used only in emergencies. I think this qualifies as an emergency, especially as some people are literally freezing to death. So I'm not against sending power to Texas in the ways that we can... But that doesn't change the fact that Texas built its state and grid specifically to avoid federal regulations. Heck: it sometimes seems like there are more connections between ERCOT and Mexico than ERCOT to the rest of the USA.

There's also the 2011 Blackouts: when Texas temperatures dropped to 20F for a few days and knocked out something like 50 power plants. Its not like cold weather is that rare in Texas, the last rolling blackouts due to cold are easily within living memory.
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#11
FreedomEclipse
~Technological Technocrat~
Does that mean that the price of things that use products from these fabs will sky rocket by 500%??
Posted on Reply
#12
TheLostSwede
I see people I know post on Facebook how they haven't had any heating at home for over two days now due to this. I guess that might matter more to most people than if they'll be able to get some Samsung tech.
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#13
DeathtoGnomes
Raevenlord
There are specific factors that lead to the problems you mentioned, and I was referring to the specifics. But your point still stands.
The guy who runs the control panels at the power plant doesnt know how drive on the snow, couldnt get to work, like 90% of texas residents. Case in point, Florida, when it snowed in Miami years ago, people just lost their minds there, all for less than an inch of snow.
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#14
TheinsanegamerN
qlum
Kind of funny how in Europe the grid is much better connected between countries than the US is within the country.
Daily reminder: All of germany, france, and several small european countries could fit into texas.
Posted on Reply
#16
DeathtoGnomes
dragontamer5788
You are exaggerating quite a bit.
where's the fun in not exaggerating?
Posted on Reply
#17
skizzo
DeathtoGnomes
The guy who runs the control panels at the power plant doesnt know how drive on the snow, couldnt get to work, like 90% of texas residents. Case in point, Florida, when it snowed in Miami years ago, people just lost their minds there, all for less than an inch of snow.
not to belittle others real problems of being without heat for example, but I always find those types of situations you described....err....comical. Growing up in Central New York near the lake, where we get "lake effect" snow, which means the clouds get to suck up all the moisture from the lake and then dump a butt load of snow on us.....I just don't "get" how people cannot understand snow and ice means roads are less safe and need to drive slower. problem is exaggerated by areas not prepared with sand, salt and plows, etc. to take care of the roads. For a better picture of this lifestyle, I walked out into almost a foot of fresh snow this morning, put my truck in 4 wheel drive, and slammed out through my drive way, its business as usual lol. I'll snow blow when I get home from work!
Posted on Reply
#18
Nihilus
Unreliable green energy strikes again. That, and the fact that many Texas homes do not use Natural Gas or Propane to heat their homes.
Posted on Reply
#20
DeathtoGnomes
evernessince
The US stands to gain a lot from grid modernization from being most resistant to weather change to increasing profits.
Our faithful and reliable politicians call this infrastructure, and there is never any money to update it.
Posted on Reply
#21
dragontamer5788
Nihilus
Unreliable green energy strikes again. That, and the fact that many Texas homes do not use Natural Gas or Propane to heat their homes.
“It appears that a lot of the generation that has gone offline today has been primarily due to issues on the natural gas system,” Woodfin said during a Tuesday call with reporters.
Posted on Reply
#22
mechtech
skizzo
wtf is "interesting" about them? apparently, so interesting, that you don't even want to take the time to read the news since the power outages are international headlines lol

Texas is normally a state that does not get weather so cold, including below freezing temps, and snow. Several natural gas pipelines, water lines to cool reactors, wind turbines, etc, all froze. effectively leaving thousands, if not millions, without power. the issues are currently ongoing.
Excuse my ignorance, I live much further north than Texas, cold is a relative term :) it was -30C here past few nights lol

As other said above your post, they are not connected to the federal grid, among other things, that's also interesting. Also with the huge oil reserves one would think they would have an excess of power and sell it off to other states.

Is the power utilities State owned or private or both?
Posted on Reply
#23
dragontamer5788
mechtech
Is the power utilities State owned or private or both?
Power utilities are a weird mix of both. Its... complicated.

EDIT: Privately owned, highly regulated, state-sanctioned monopolies... is how some people describe US's power companies. But really, they're only local-monopolies. There's multiple grids they tie into. Most grids cover multiple states and thus are regulated by the Federal government, but we got Texas here as a weird case where its primarily regulated by the state-government. And some of those rules are called "deregulation". Uggghhhhh... its complicated.
Posted on Reply
#24
mechtech
skizzo
not to belittle others real problems of being without heat for example, but I always find those types of situations you described....err....comical. Growing up in Central New York near the lake, where we get "lake effect" snow, which means the clouds get to suck up all the moisture from the lake and then dump a butt load of snow on us.....I just don't "get" how people cannot understand snow and ice means roads are less safe and need to drive slower. problem is exaggerated by areas not prepared with sand, salt and plows, etc. to take care of the roads. For a better picture of this lifestyle, I walked out into almost a foot of fresh snow this morning, put my truck in 4 wheel drive, and slammed out through my drive way, its business as usual lol. I'll snow blow when I get home from work!
Nice thing about -30C, usually doesn't snow.
dragontamer5788
Power utilities are a weird mix of both. Its... complicated.
Ahhh Same here, but we have an excess of power which is a good thing I suppose. Bad thing is it got that way because industry left due to electricity prices, and other reasons.
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#25
m2geek
Nihilus
Unreliable green energy strikes again. That, and the fact that many Texas homes do not use Natural Gas or Propane to heat their homes.
LOL you can't be serious...
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