Blackouts In Texas Weren't Caused By Renewable Energy, Here's What Really Happened

Blackouts In Texas Weren't Caused By Renewable Energy, Here's What Really Happened

Texas Governor Greg Abbott said wind and solar were to blame for the blackout despite natural gas and coal energy sources failing as well.

AUSTIN, TX - FEBRUARY 17, 2021: A sign states that a Fiesta Mart is closed because of a power outage in Austin, Texas on February 17, 2021. (Photo by Montinique Monroe/Getty Images)

Texas Republicans are queuing up to make appearances on TV channels to blame the state's power crisis on renewable energy sources and the Green New Deal. The state suffered a power outage due to the devastating snowstorm, and the people of Texas want answers. Republicans, who have been in power for more than a decade in the state, looked to blame renewable energy for the blackout despite the wind and solar energy sources accounting only for roughly 10 percent of the state's power grid. The Green New Deal hasn't even been implemented but is already the scapegoat for the GOP.  Texas Governor Greg Abbott made an appearance on local TV in Dallas and said the state suffered a blackout because of the snowstorm, but when he made an appearance on Fox News, he pointed fingers at renewable energy sources. "Wind and solar got shut down. They were collectively more than 10% of our power grid, and that thrust Texas into a situation where it was lacking power on a statewide basis," said Governor Greg Abbott, reported NPR. 



Despite Texas relying heavily on natural gas and coal energy, the GOP's strategy was focused on targeting renewable energy sources. Texas Governor Greg Abbott's comments on renewable energy sources weren't a one-off. Former Energy Secretary Rick Perry blamed frozen windmills and used them as an example to scaremonger people against accepting renewable energy. None of the GOP members were keen on admitting that every power generation source had failed in the wake of the snowstorm. Grid operators ERCOT made it clear that one renewable energy sources weren't to blame. "It was across the board," said Bill Magness, the president, and CEO of ERCOT, or the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. "We saw coal plants, gas plants, wind, solar, just all sorts of our resources trip off and not be able to perform." The Texas Public Policy Foundation, a conservative think tank with close ties to the fossil fuel industry, claimed the storm "never would have been an issue had our grid not been so deeply penetrated by renewable energy sources."  



The power grid failed mainly due to people across Texas plugging in electric heaters all at once to combat the freezing temperatures. This caused the demand to spike causing the power grid to fail. "Fundamentally, it is a historic storm that drove electric demand higher than we've ever seen — by far," said Magness. The snowstorm put a halt to energy production as natural gas wells and wind turbines froze. Critical pipes at coal and nuclear power plants froze, too. The dangerous conditions also made it hard for workers to reach their sites to do maintenance work.  The privatized power grid was built to meet the peak demands of electricity from the use of air conditioners during the summer but wasn't designed to match the demand that arose from all the people turning on the heaters in their homes to fight the freezing temperatures.


Did deregulation of the electricity grid cost Texas?
The state deregulated the electricity grid and established its own power grid. The grid is run by private players whose functioning doesn't fall under federal regulation and it appears to have failed the people of the state during a crisis. The isolated power grid system is cut off from the rest of the country and was a source of pride for the GOP until it crashed earlier this week, causing the state’s worst blackouts in decades. Former Representative Beto O’Rourke slammed Republicans for focusing their energy on "stupid culture wars" during a moment of crisis. "So much of this was avoidable," said O’Rourke, reported MSNBC. "Going back to the deregulation of our electricity grid in Texas, which has created an incentive to actually not weatherize or protect against these events. The energy capital of North America cannot provide enough energy to warm and power people’s homes," he added. "We are nearing a failed state in Texas. And it has nothing to do with God or natural disasters. It has everything to do with those in positions of public trust who have failed us."



Ted Cruz goes on "vacation"
Ted Cruz, who often chastized democrats over their energy policy, was the first one of the first to flee the state when the storm caused a blackout. Ted Cruz, an elected representative of Texas, was photographed traveling with his family to Mexico on vacation as the people of Texas suffered without power and in some places, even water. Ted Cruz did return the next day following bad optics and claimed that he had gone just to drop his daughters. His luggage in the photos didn't point to him making the trip just to drop his daughters. He accepted the decision to leave the state during the crisis, a mistake, reported New York Times. To make matters worse, many tweets claimed many affluent neighborhoods had power restored while low-income neighborhoods continued to have a power blackout, making it evident the priority of the government was rich people. Former Energy Secretary Rick Perry had the audacity to say Texas would be willing to sacrifice its power to keep federal regulation out of the state. "Texans would be without electricity for longer than three days to keep the federal government out of their business," said Perry, reported Houston Chronicle. "Try not to let whatever the crisis of the day is take your eye off of having a resilient grid that keeps America safe personally, economically, and strategically."

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