Clean energy has failed Texans, four million who are without power this morning as wind turbines froze.
Nice nice pic.twitter.com/97DrEr5SsF
— Jack Posobiec 🇺🇸 (@JackPosobiec) February 16, 2021
The Epoch Times reported:
The brutal cold snap that crippled Texas’ power system and spread to other states, leading to blackouts in over four million homes and businesses, highlighted the growing vulnerability of the grid to increased dependency on less reliable sources of energy like wind and solar, an expert told NTD in an interview.
Jason Isaac, a former state representative and current director of Life:Powered, a project of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, said that the power crisis spurred by the recent deep freeze exposed the fragility associated with the global push to ditch “reliable” fossil fuels in favor of “unreliable” renewables.
“Reliable is our nuclear, our natural gas, and our coal,” Isaac said. “Natural gas and coal can ramp up or ramp down on demand,” he said. “They’re what’s referred to as ‘dispatchable energy.’”
“Our ‘unreliables’ produce electricity when the wind is blowing or the sun is shining. And then they freeze up at really cold temperatures, too,” he said.
Isaac suggested that the surge in “unreliables” amounts to a subsidized takeoff of politically correct, but economically incorrect sources of energy.
“Unfortunately, we’ve subsidized and depend too much on virtue signaling and really given these unreliables incredibly huge benefits over the last decade, and now those chickens are coming home to roost,” he said.
Isaac said that the Council of Texas reported Monday that over half of the state’s windmills were completely shut down due to the recent deep freeze, which has seen temperatures plunge below zero.
“These windmills are frozen, they’re completely shut down, and the rest of them are barely producing electricity,” Isaac said, adding that, at last check, only around 10 percent of their installed capacity was generating electricity.
“That means if we had that kind of low number for natural gas, or coal or nuclear, we would have almost the entire state without electricity right now, but fortunately, we have reliables,” he said.
The cold snap has also disrupted oil and gas deliveries, however, with more than a million barrels a day of oil and 10 billion cubic feet of gas production shut while pipelines have declared force majeure and massive refineries have halted gasoline and diesel output, according to Bloomberg.
After millions in Texas lost electricity, Southwest Power Pool, the operator of the power grid spanning 14 states ordered utilities to start implementing rotating power outages.
“In our history as grid operator, this is an unprecedented event and marks the first time SPP has ever had to call for controlled interruptions of service,” said SPP’s executive vice president and chief operating officer Lanny Nickell, in a statement.
Calling it a “last resort,” Nickell said imposing the Level 3 energy emergency alert, which calls for rolling blackouts, had to be done to protect the power grid.
“It’s a step we’re consciously taking to prevent circumstances from getting worse, which could result in uncontrolled outages of even greater magnitude,” he said.
In a follow-up release, SPP said that it had restored full load to its 14-state region as of 2 p.m. Central Time but that, due to high load demand and persistent cold weather, the system would likely fluctuate over the next 48 hours between a Level 2 energy conservation alert and a Level 3 emergency that calls for rolling blackouts.
Joe Biden has declared an emergency in Texas in connection with the power crisis. Under the measure, FEMA has been authorized to mobilize its equipment and resources to help alleviate the impact of the emergency, while protective measures for mass care and sheltering, as well as for direct federal assistance, will be provided at 75 percent federal funding.
Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott on Feb. 12 warned Texans to brace for a winter storm “unprecedented in Texas history” as he declared a disaster for the state. He urged Texans to reduce their energy usage as much as possible in order to conserve power.
“Every part of the state will face freezing conditions over the coming days, and I urge all Texans to remain vigilant against the extremely harsh weather that is coming,” Abbott said in a statement. “Stay off the roads, take conscious steps to conserve energy, and avoid dangerous practices like bringing generators indoors or heating homes with ovens or stovetops. Our emergency response to this winter weather requires a collective approach between state agencies, local officials, and Texans throughout our communities to ensure the safety and security of the Lone Star State.”
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the nonprofit organization that operates the state’s power grid, suggested that residents set their thermostats to 68 degrees or lower where possible, close shades and blinds to reduce the amount of heat lost through windows, turn off and unplug nonessential lights and appliances, and avoid using large appliances such as ovens and washing machines.
As nightfall threatened to plummet temperatures again into single digits, officials warned that homes still without power would likely not have heat until at least Tuesday, as frustration mounted and the state’s electric grid came under growing demand and criticism.
“Things will likely get worse before they get better,” said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, the top elected official in the county of nearly 5 million people around Houston.
Law enforcement reported two men were found dead along Houston-area roadways. Causes of death were pending, but officials said the subfreezing temperatures were likely to blame.
The toll of the worsening conditions included the delivery of new COVID-19 vaccine shipments, which were expected to be delayed until at least midweek. Massive power outages across Houston included a facility storing 8,000 doses of Moderna vaccine, leaving health officials scrambling to find takers at the same time authorities were pleading for people to stay home.
Temperatures nosedived into the single-digits as far south as San Antonio, and homes that had already been without electricity for hours had no certainty about when the lights and heat would come back on, as the state’s overwhelmed power grid began imposing blackouts that are typically only seen in 100-degree Fahrenheit (38-degree Celsius) summers.
The storm was part of a massive system that brought snow, sleet and freezing rain to the southern Plains and was spreading across the Ohio Valley and to the Northeast. The Southwest Power Pool, a group of utilities across 14 states, called for rolling outages because the supply of reserve energy had been exhausted. Some utilities said they were starting blackouts, while others urged customers to reduce power usage.
“We’re living through a really historic event going on right now,” said Jason Furtado, a professor of meteorology at the University of Oklahoma, pointing to all of Texas under a winter storm warning and the extent of the freezing temperatures.
More than 500 people were hunkering down at one shelter in Houston, but Mayor Sylvester Turner said other warming centers had to be shut down because those locations, too, lost power.
The largest grocery store chain in Texas, H-E-B, closed locations around Austin and San Antonio, cities that are unaccustomed to snow and have few resources to clear roads. The slow thaw and more frigid lows ahead was also taking a toll on Texas’ distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.
Most government offices and schools were closed for Presidents Day, and authorities pleaded with residents to stay home. Louisiana State Police reported that it had investigated nearly 75 weather-related crashes caused by a mixture of snow, sleet and freezing rain in the past 24 hours.
“We already have some accidents on our roadways,” Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said during a morning news conference. “It is slick and it is dangerous.”