The Corner

Energy & Environment

Why Texas Went Dark

Our friends at the Texas Public Policy Foundation say:

While Texas attempts to identify the causes of the tragic blackouts this week and the sources of mismanagement, it’s clear that poor policy decisions are the root of the problem. Texas has lost significant fossil fuel generation capacity over the past several years and instead counted on nearly 20,000 MW of new wind and solar generation to satisfy steadily rising electricity demand. It has been known for years that a weather event combining low wind and solar production and record demand could lead to blackouts. This week, that event became reality as new wind and solar generation failed to produce when it was needed the most.

As temperatures dropped further Sunday night and electricity demand started rising, wind generation also began to drop, eventually bottoming out at 2% of installed capacity last night. Preliminary data indicates conservation measures and rolling outages were not initiated quickly enough. Contrary to numerous false reports that coal and natural gas plants were also “frozen,” almost all those reliable generators were operating without interruption until this system failure, just as they do in much colder climates all over the world.

This situation could have been avoided had ERCOT acted more swiftly — but it never would have been an issue had our grid not been so deeply penetrated by renewable energy sources that contribute the least when they are needed the most, yet are propped up by billions in taxpayer-funded subsidies every year.

That’s why the Texas Public Policy Foundation has made it a priority in our Liberty Action Agenda to develop a market-based system that would require all electric generators to guarantee a certain amount of “dispatchable,” or readily available, power available to the grid at all times. We look forward to working with the Texas Legislature to preserve Texans’ access to affordable, reliable electricity no matter the weather.

More here.


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