ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – Texas Governor Greg Abbott appeared on television telling Fox News’ Sean Hannity that wind turbines were the cause of the days-long energy crisis in Texas that has already killed at least ten people. In reference to the energy crisis, Abbott stated “this shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America.”
Abbott is wrong.
Texas Gov. Abbott blames solar and wind for the blackouts in his state and says “this shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America” pic.twitter.com/YfVwa3YRZQ
— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) February 17, 2021
It is foolish to blame a legislative agenda that has never been implemented for an existing crisis, it is even more foolish to blame green energy on an energy crisis in one of the largest CO2 emitting states with high demand for fossil fuels.
This crisis dates back to 1935, when President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the Federal Power Act, a renaming of the Federal Water Power Act that also expanded regulations over interstate electricity transmission and wholesale power sales. Throughout the history of Texas, it has regularly threatened to secede from the union, so as another act of defiance to escape federal regulations, Texas created its own power grid, the only state to do so. There are three power grids in the United States: the Western Interconnection, the Eastern Interconnection, and the Texas Interconnection.
Texas’ decision to develop its own power grid made way for the creation of ERCOT in 1970, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. ERCOT is an independent system operator (ISO) that is subject to oversight by the Public Utilities Commission of Texas and the state legislature, meaning Republican officials hold responsibility for overseeing ERCOT activities.
Do not be mistaken: this energy crisis was caused by improper planning and limited oversight.
The largest part of the issue is deregulation and privatization of the power grid. In 2011, Kate Galbraith of the Texas Tribune wrote an article about the nature of the Texas Interconnection. Gailbraith highlights the fact that ERCOT was formed as a direct result of a 1965 blackout, to keep up with the federal regulations that Texas tried to escape.
Texas is the only state with a deregulated power grid which presents numerous problems. The largest problem deregulation presents is the lack of incentive to listen to experts that have been warning Texas for years about winterizing their energy supply and diverting a disaster of this caliber.
The Texas government’s administrative failure directly led to this event. Their infrastructure is one of the worst in the country and an eventual collapse was expected by experts long ago.
Keeping in mind the Texas government’s secessionist ideals, Texas does not necessarily need to ditch their individual grid in favor of a national grid. Instead, Texas needs to recognize the shortcomings of fossil fuel and capitalism, and start investing in green energy resources.
ERCOT lists wind energy as one of the largest sources of power in the state, at roughly 25 percent. However, Dan Woodfin, the Senior Director of System Operations, stated that less than 13 percent of the power outage was caused by frozen wind turbines.
It is frequently pointed out that the fossil fuel energy sources were not winterized as experts have been warning Texas about for a while. Fossil fuel energy sources were not the only energy resources that Texas failed to winterize; the state failed to winterize their wind turbines as well, which could have saved millions of people from losing their power.
Wind turbines should not freeze in the extreme cold if they are properly maintained, meaning they should have deicers, which Texas failed to provide.
Prior to Texas setting up their own grid, hydropower was among the most important energy sources in the state, satisfying many employment needs. Today, hydropower only provides roughly one percent of energy production in Texas. Hydropower could easily phase out a lot of the fossil fuel energy resources used in the state, providing millions of jobs as well.
While Republican lawmakers are constantly lying about the unreliability of renewable energy and the number of jobs that would be lost from getting rid of unsustainable fossil fuels, they are pocketing money from fossil fuel corporations. Instead of lying about renewable energy, Texas Republicans should acknowledge the old jobs that were destroyed when the state moved away from sustainable energy such as hydropower and focus on working to recreate those jobs.
If the government of Texas cares about their constituents, it would take responsibility for its failure to regulate energy and help save the next generation by substantially increasing renewable energy and technology.
Supervisor Nathaniel Douglas is the youngest person to be elected during the 2020 election, winning Seat 5 on the Orange Soil & Water Conservation District. He is a Florida National News political contributor. | firstname.lastname@example.org