Texas is in trouble. A brutal winter storm rolled in over Presidents Day weekend, knocked out power for millions of residents, and the temperatures have dipped to extreme levels. People have died from carbon monoxide poisoning because they’re running cars for warmth. One family had emergency services arrive after they used a charcoal grill to heat their home. It’s a situation that should never happen in the United States. How could Texas’ grid shut down after a winter storm? It’s simple. It couldn’t keep up with demand—the turbines froze. Leah covered this yesterday morning. The Wall Street Journal pointed to bad policy and clean energy’s inability to keep a modern economy powered as a prime culprit. A bad policy with a dash of snow leads to this mess. Oh, and this could last all week (via WSJ):
Texas’s energy emergency could last all week as the weather is forecast to remain frigid. “My understanding is, the wind turbines are all frozen,” Public Utility Commission Chairman DeAnn Walker said Friday. “We are working already to try and ensure we have enough power but it’s taken a lot of coordination.”
Blame a perfect storm of bad government policies, timing and weather. Coal and nuclear are the most reliable sources of power. But competition from heavily subsidized wind power and inexpensive natural gas, combined with stricter emissions regulation, has caused coal’s share of Texas’s electricity to plunge by more than half in a decade to 18%.
Wind’s share has tripled to about 25% since 2010 and accounted for 42% of power last week before the freeze set in. About half of Texans rely on electric pumps for heating, which liberals want to mandate everywhere. But the pumps use a lot of power in frigid weather. So while wind turbines were freezing, demand for power was surging.
Gas-fired power plants ramped up, but the Arctic freeze increased demand for gas across the country. Producers couldn’t easily increase supply since a third of rigs across the country were taken out of production during the pandemic amid lower energy demand. Some gas wells and pipelines in Texas and Oklahoma also shut down in frosty conditions.
Liberals claim that prices of renewables and fossil fuels are now comparable, which may be true due to subsidies, but they are no free lunch, as this week’s energy emergency shows. The Biden Administration’s plan to banish fossil fuels is a greater existential threat to Americans than climate change.
I mean, it’s a disaster. The state opted for a heavily subsidized model of cleaner energy methods, like wind and solar, which evidently couldn’t keep up. if a snowstorm ruins your day, this can’t be the way forward. It never was—there’s a reason why it’s heavily subsidized. The market doesn’t want this crap. It’s not efficient.
Chuck Devore, a California Republican who ran for U.S. Senate in 2010 and found refuge in Texas a couple of years ago, explained further how the Lone Star State was engulfed in an energy crisis that’s more commonly seen in deep-blue California. He had a lengthy Twitter thread about it:
“In the last 4-5 years, Texas lost a net of 3,000 megawatts of thermal out of a total installed capacity 73,000 megawatts today. We lost the thermal power because operators couldn’t see a return on investment due to be undercut by wind and solar, which is cheap for two reasons – it’s subsidized and it doesn’t have to pay for the costs of grid reliability by purchasing battery farms or contracting with gas peaker plants to produce power when needed, not when they can.
Texas has seen a growth of 20,000 megawatts of wind and solar over the same period to 34,000 megawatts of installed capacity (they rarely perform anywhere close to capacity). This subsidized (state and federal) wind and solar have pushed reliable thermal operators out of business or prevented new generation from being built as operators can’t make money off of the market. This reduced the capacity margin – grids must have excess capacity to ensure stability
Texas is experiencing what California has – with California affecting the entire Western Interconnection due to its policies. Blackouts are a feature of the push to have more unreliable renewables on the grid. Must pay money for reliable backup with renewables.
That backup is probably nuclear, which is safe, clean (regarding carbon emissions), and long-lasting, though disposing of the waste is another issue. That’s something I can get behind and it would benefit everyone. It takes years to build these facilities. The working-class folks will have a sizable contract to build the plants leading to thousands of jobs. You need a pool of top-notch scientists and engineers to run these facilities safely, and people get their energy without rolling blackouts. Everyone wins. Environmentalists will complain, however. They always do since it isn’t about so-called global warming. It’s about lowering the standard of living and controlling the means of production. The green agenda has always been a back door to communism.
Also, the irony about California’s clean energy kick is that last summer they had to import power from Utah’s coal plants because their infrastructure couldn’t handle the demand in the summer months. What good is it then? The scariest part of DeVore’s thread, however, is how close Texas came to a total shutdown.
Stick with what works, folks. It’s not so-called green energy.