Texas Gov. was aware of gas shortages days before winter storm blackout but publicly blamed wind turbines anyway: report

Texas Gov. was aware of gas shortages days before winter storm blackout but publicly blamed wind turbines anyway: report
Greg Abbott speaking at the WTTC Global Summit 2016, World Travel and Tourism Council
Greg Abbott consulted an infamous climate change denier before Texas’ energy debacle: reporter

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) publicly insisted that wind turbines were part of the reason for the state's electrical grid failure during the winter storm, but a new report highlighting the days leading up to the blackout calls his claim into question.

According to the report, Abbott was aware of the signs that the winter storm would be catastrophic for the LoneStar state.

According to ARS Technica, the Texas governor was first made aware of the "likely shortfall" when DeAnne Walker, head of the Public Utility Commission of Texas, placed a call to his office in the days leading up to the storm. Over that short period of time, Walker spoke with Abbott's office a total of 31 times.

Walker is also said to have contacted "regulators, politicians, and utilities dozens of times about the gas curtailments that threatened the state's electrical grid." The publication also details reports about Walker's hectic February schedule prior to the storm. Her schedule was reportedly dominated by "concerns over gas curtailments and the impact they would have on electricity generation." In addition to the 31 conversations with Abbott's office, she also had more than 100 calls with agencies and utility companies amid growing concerns about gas shortages.

Walker also had entries in her diary from Feb. 10-19 that also included details about her notifications to the governor's office. Per ARS Technica:

"Walker noted her call with Vistra in her diary and phone log for February 10-19, which she produced at the behest of the State Senate Committee on Business and Commerce. The document provides a striking blow-by-blow account of what was happening behind the scenes as bitter winter weather brought down Texas' grid. "I received information from Vistra Corporation that they had received notices of gas curtailments at several power plants. I notified the Governor's office and Chairman Hancock about the information from Vistra," she wrote."

As the winter storm ravaged the state of Texas, Abbott appeared on Fox News and claimed wind turbines were the cause of the blackouts.

"The concerns related to natural gas moved from concerns about curtailment to concerns about electric outages for gas producers," Walker wrote on February 15. Power plants, short on gas, couldn't generate enough electricity to power the infrastructure that kept gas flowing from suppliers to users, including the power plants themselves. It created a feedback loop that compounded the problem further. "I met with and informed the office of the Governor about the situation," Walker wrote. "I interacted throughout the day with ERCOT and the Governor's office related to the ongoing issues."

The Texas grid collapse left millions of residents across the state without electricity for several days as weather conditions plummeted to agonizingly cold temperatures. As a result of the grid collapse, rolling blackouts also inconvenienced residents for more than a week.

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