The left is gloating over millions of people in Texas losing power during the big snowstorm, blaming it on the red state’s lack of taking drastic efforts to address climate change. AOC tweeted, “The infrastructure failures in Texas are quite literally what happens when you *don’t* pursue a Green New Deal.” But wait a second, just a few years ago, Democrats called climate change global warming. Now that there’s been a terrible cold spell in Texas, they’ve revised their language just in time to call it climate change and not look silly.
The reality is a big reason for the power outage is the opposite — renewable energy sources failed. According to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, a cooperative responsible for 90% of the state’s electricity, almost 13% of the outages were due to renewable sources. As many as half of the state’s wind turbines were forced to shut down. Wind turbines generate less energy in the winter, so they are not a great energy option for times like this. They need to be de-iced, and they lose 60% of their energy in the cold. Just 10 years ago, wind power accounted for under 10% of electricity production in Texas. Now its share is close to 25%.
Even nuclear energy, which both conservatives and liberals often agree upon as a solution, ran into problems. At one of the four nuclear plants, a safety sensor froze, which shut the plant down.
There was enough natural gas, but not all of it was available since pipelines froze; Texas does not insulate the pipelines. According to Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, “Bottom line: Thank God for baseload energy made up of fossil fuels. … Had our grid been more reliant on the wind turbines that froze, the outages would have been much worse.”
Ed Hirs, an energy economist at the University of Houston, said it’s likely some power generators were “dragging their feet” about ramping up electricity because they wanted to price gouge. There are also some practical problems that will need to be addressed in the future. Texas’s grid is not as interconnected with other states so the state cannot easily import and export electricity. Maybe this is because the state does not want to get stuck bailing out California. In addition, Texas utilities are not required to keep their plants available on standby in case they’re needed on short notice. Politicians decided to cozy up to the utilities instead. Finally, states used to lots of freezing storms are more likely to be prepared for them. Texas is not one of them; while it has some snow, this was an aberration. In New Jersey, pipelines are buried deeper to avoid freezing.
This isn’t a problem of capitalism because the government regulates public utilities. The public utilities that are gouging people right now are doing it because they can; unlike in the free market, a competitor cannot easily step in within hours to replace the handful of giants in Texas’s public utility industry.
Contrast this to California. That state has constant rolling blackouts — many not caused by natural disasters and storms — because California law mandates renewable energy must make up a huge portion of the California electric supply. That’s not as reliable as gas and coal. And it’s just going to get worse. Governor Gavin Newsom issued a directive saying the state will ban sales of new gas and diesel-powered cars by 2035. All the new charging stations will put more pressure on the grid.
The Democrats’ solution would turn Texas into California. The Democrats say we need drastic changes toward renewables in order to combat climate change. But those changes are what have resulted in California’s rolling blackouts.
Eventually we should get some firm answers. Texas will be holding hearings to find out what went wrong at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. The high of three million who were without power on Wednesday is now down to 190,000.
While it sounds great to turn to “clean” energy sources, there is plenty of evidence that they are not as clean as the left makes them out to be. And the cost is overwhelming. The Biden administration has proposed a nearly $2 trillion plan that would make the grid carbon-free by 2035, almost as extreme as AOC’s Green New Deal. Unless we all want to end up like California with regular rolling blackouts, that’s not a wise path to take.
Reprinted from Politicrossing