Conservatives try to blame green energy for Texas's power crisis — here's the real problem
Texas has recently been battered by severe winter weather and power blackouts, and some on the far right have been claiming that green energy is to blame. Fox News host Tucker Carlson, for instance, claimed, "The windmills failed like the silly fashion accessories they are."
But according to Bloomberg News, the problems that some wind turbines have recently suffered in Texas account for only a fraction of the state's energy problems.
Dan Woodfin, a senior director for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, told Bloomberg News that the closing of wind turbines in Texas is the least important factor in the Texas blackouts. ERCoT operates the state's power grid.
Bloomberg reporters Will Wade, Naureen S. Malik and Brian Eckhouse report that according to Woodfin, the main factors in Texas' energy woes are frozen instruments at natural gas, coal and nuclear facilities. Woodfin said that shutdowns of wind turbines accounted for less than 13% of the total outages in Texas.
Woodfin told Bloomberg News, "We've had some issues with pretty much every kind of generating capacity in the course of this multi-day event."
Fossil fuels, in other words, are hardly immune to the energy problems Texas has suffered during the severe weather.
Wade, Malik, and Eckhouse explain, "Wind only comprises 25% of the state's energy mix this time of year. While wind can sometimes produce as much as 60% of total electricity in Texas, the resource tends to ebb in the winter. So, the grid operator typically assumes that the turbines will generate only about 19% to 43% of their maximum output. Even so, wind generation has actually exceeded the grid operator's daily forecast through the weekend."
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, a Democrat, warned:
These are not rolling blackouts. We are dealing with systemwide power outages across the state. st— Sylvester Turner (@Sylvester Turner)1613398315.0
This week in the Houston Chronicle, reporters Marcy de Luna and Amanda Drane also offered some insights on Texas' energy problems. Ed Hirs of the Department of Economics at the University of Houston told the Chronicle that Texas' power grid hasn't been maintained the way it needs to be.
"The ERCoT grid has collapsed in exactly the same manner as the old Soviet Union," Hirs told the Chronicle. "It limped along on underinvestment and neglect until it finally broke under predictable circumstances."
According to Hirs: "For more than a decade, generators have not been able to charge what it costs them to produce electricity. If you don't make a return on your money, how can you keep it up? It's like not taking care of your car — if you don't change the oil and tires, you can't expect your car to be ready to evacuate, let alone get you to work."
- Taking back democratic power: Why utilities should be owned by us ... ›
- Green Energy Jobs Surge Just in Time for Labor Day - Alternet.org ›
- Texas Blows by California in Wind Energy - Alternet.org ›
- Dallas County judge: 'Bad policy' more than 'bad weather' caused Texas energy woes - Alternet.org ›
- Head of Texas power agency has no idea when millions will get electricity back: 'Just depends' - Alternet.org ›
- Why does Texas have its own power grid? - Alternet.org ›
- Frozen wind turbines aren’t the main culprit for Texas' power outages — no matter what conservatives say - Alternet.org ›
- Texas declared 'a failed state' as power outages and freezing weather threaten lives - Alternet.org ›
- Experts warn Texas crisis could become a 'mass casualty event’ - Alternet.org ›
- 'Blood is on Abbott's hands': Anger at GOP leaders surges as food, water shortages compound Texas power crisis - Alternet.org ›
- Texas leaders failed to heed warnings that left the state's power grid vulnerable to winter extremes: experts - Alternet.org ›
- Democrat wins cheers with a passionate rebuke to opponents of LGBTQ rights bill: 'You used God to enslave' - Alternet.org ›
- CEO of Texas power grid operator terminated in aftermath of winter storm - Alternet.org ›
- Texas energy supplier is covering up key records on its recent weather disaster: report - Alternet.org ›
- Ex-Texas utility commissioner assured investors he would protect profits amassed during historic power crisis - Alternet.org ›