This situation could have wide-reaching implications as the US power industry attempts to slash carbon emissions in response to the climate crisis.
In response, Governor Greg Abbott has called for an investigation into the nonprofit Electric Reliability Council of Texas, known as ERCOT, which controls most of the state’s grid. The group’s CEO on Tuesday defended the controlled outages, saying they “kept the grid from collapsing” and sending the state into a complete blackout.
‘Not designed to handle these unusual conditions’
Although some are attempting to pin the blame on one fuel source or another, the reality is that the Arctic temperatures are hobbling fossil fuels and renewable energy alike.
“The extreme cold is causing the entire system to freeze up,” said Jason Bordoff, a former energy official in the Obama administration and director of Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy. “All sources of energy are underperforming in the extreme cold because they’re not designed to handle these unusual conditions.”
The ripple effects are being felt around the nation as Texas’ prolific oil-and-gas industry stumbles.
Prices at the pump are also on the rise. The national average could easily rise 15 cents per gallon over the next week or two, according to Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy.
Texas is No. 1 in natural gas, oil and wind
Texas is the No. 1 US state in both crude oil and natural gas, according to the US Energy Information Administration. The state accounted for a staggering 41% of America’s oil production in 2019 and a quarter of its marketed natural gas output.
Wind power is also booming in Texas, which produced about 28% of all the US wind-powered electricity in 2019, the EIA said.
But the problem is that not only is Texas an energy superpower, it tends to be an above-average temperature state. That means its infrastructure is ill-prepared for the cold spell currently wreaking havoc. And the consequences are being felt by millions.
It’s not just wind power
Critics of renewable energy have pointed out that wind turbines have frozen or needed to be shut down due to the extreme weather.
And that is significant because almost a quarter (23%) of the power in Texas last year was…
Go to the news source: Texas produces more power than any other state. Here’s why it went dark anyway