#1: It’s a once in a century weather event. California has constant energy problems and high prices.— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) February 16, 2021
#2: The reason for blackouts is complex, but in summary: Texas took too many lessons from Cali, over-subsidized renewables, & pushed out baseload energy like natural gas.
Summary:— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) February 16, 2021
A mix of over-subsidized wind energy and under-investment in gas power means we didn’t have enough base load energy for a massive spike in demand.
Also, Texas infrastructure isn’t designed for once-in-a-century freezes.
#1 - Frozen Wind Turbines:
West Texas had wind turbines that had to be de-iced. The little energy that power regulators planned on being supplied from wind was now gone.
We have almost 31GW of wind installed on the grid, but on Monday we couldn’t even depend on 6 GW working.
This is what happens when you force the grid to rely in part on wind as a power source. When weather conditions get bad as they did this week, intermittent renewable energy like wind isn’t there when you need it.https://t.co/nNa8RSQTz1— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) February 16, 2021
#2 - Nuclear also got too cold: We only have 4 nuclear units in TX, near Houston and Dallas. One of the reactors near Houston turned off due to a safety sensor freezing. No problem with the reactor. But the lack of the sensor forced the plant to shutdown, as a precaution.
(On another note, this shows how safe nuclear is. Lots of safety precautions.)
#3 - We don’t have enough Natural Gas online:
ERCOT planned on 67GW from natural gas/coal, but could only get 43GW of it online. We didn’t run out of natural gas, but we lost the ability to get it transported. Pipelines in Texas don’t use cold insulation – so they froze
Every natural gas plant stayed online. The “downed” plants were due to scheduled maintenance.
Gov. Abbott made the right call in diverting all natural gas to home heating fuel and then electricity for homes. Gas and coal brought a stable supply of energy, but still not enough.
Why don’t we have extra gas power when we need it most?
Because years of federal subsidies for wind has caused an over reliance on wind and an under-investment in new gas and nuclear plant
Bottom line: fossil fuels are the only thing that saved us. They are *base load* energy.— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) February 16, 2021
If we were even *more* reliant on the wind turbines that froze, the outages would have been much worse.
The push to decommission baseload power sources like natural gas would be disastrous when trying to keep the lights on in Texas.— Dan Crenshaw (@DanCrenshawTX) February 16, 2021