In case there is still confusion that the Texas power outage problem has to do with windmills, it’s not. It’s really, really not. The cause of the blackout in Texas lies in a decade-long system that was designed to optimize profits by encouraging providers not to plan emergencies or to provide more power than is required under normal circumstances. This system relies on bottlenecks in the market to generate price spikes. It’s supposed to work by creating “inconvenience”.
Here the New York Times gives an insight into the thinking of those involved.
This design is based on the basic economy: when the demand for electricity increases, the price of electricity also increases. The higher prices are forcing consumers to cut energy use to prevent power plant cascading failures that could leave the entire state in the dark, while encouraging power plants to generate more electricity.
“It’s not comfortable,” said Professor Hogan. “It’s not nice. It’s necessary.”
It is “necessary”, not because it offers most customers the best service or because it guarantees the highest level of security in an emergency. This is necessary as it is the best way to get maximum profits from the system, which is “awkward” for those who stay in the dark.
But during A professor of global energy policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School can afford to be honest about how the Texas system works exactly as planned, the Republican politicians who instituted it – along with conservatives across the country who use it as a model want to use any system everywhere – doesn’t want the public to look too closely at how this sausage isn’t made. That’s why they have a national “look over there!” Campaign to put the finger on wind energy. Although this energy is the only component of the system that actually works better than expected. The solar energy is slightly below the projections, but only to a small extent.
The big windy lie campaign began Monday morning when Fox business journalist Steve Moore promotes oil stocks and outlines the framework other Republicans would adopt for the rest of the week.
The other thing that is going on is that the wind and sun are almost completely useless when you have a polar vortex when you have those freezing temperatures. The wind turbines freeze up, they stop spinning and the solar panels get snow and ice so they are not good either.
Moore then goes on to claim America is using coal “at record levels across the country.” What if he does not think he is at a record low level, is a liar. America has not used so little coal since 1979. It also ignores the fact that a greater percentage of the failure in Texas comes from coal-fired power plants that are offline than from wind turbines that are out of order. Far from turning to coal in this crisis, the crisis has shown again that coal is less reliable than renewable sources. Not only that, it’s far more expensive. That’s why nobody is talking about building a new coal-fired power plant.
But the lie that wind turbines freeze was quickly picked up and repeated across the spectrum of Fox News programming. This would surely be news to the people who operate the largest wind farm in Antarctica or any other state that operates wind farms. Iowa truly is the nation’s leader when it comes to the percentage of power it receives from wind. Iowa is also regularly exposed to the weather, which caused the Texas power grid to collapse this week. Iowa’s wind power is fine.
After a hundred more iterations, and after the meme became firmly established on Facebook and other social media, it was Tucker Carlson who put the big lie at 11 when he was found to be guilty of the ongoing blackout in Texas on … the Green New Deal , a bill yet to be moved out of the House and Senate. This, in turn, resulted in a full day of right-wing speakers showing up to label the Green New Deal “deadly” and label Texas as “proof” that renewable energy doesn’t work.
With that solid bank of two days worth of lies to rest on, Texas Governor Greg Abbott then appeared with Sean Hannity to reiterate every false claim made to date.
This shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America. … Our wind and our sun were switched off and together they made up more than 10% of our electricity grid. As a result, it just shows that fossil fuels are necessary for both the state of Texas and the other states.
In the real world, actual production from wind power was actually producing 2 gigawatts more than the most optimistic forecast, while natural gas prices rose to record highs, especially because the gas pipelines in Texas froze and natural gas utilities couldn’t meet demand. Gas prices rose from $ 4 / MMBtu at the beginning of last week to $ 9 at the end of the week. On Tuesday they hit $ 1,000. $ 1,200 on Wednesday. This is a major reason why Texas power is currently tied to the ERCOT maximum of 9,000 megawatts per hour across the state.
In fact, the only thing that excites coal mining companies in the nation right now is the instability in the gas market not caused by Texas reliance on wind, but rather its failure to require the laying or insulation of gas pipelines to protect against freezing. (Side note: methane doesn’t freeze above -161 ° C. While it’s cold in Texas, it’s not that cold. What freezes in the pipelines is actually “drilling fluids” created by the use of fracking to expand gas production in the Texan Permian basins.) What could make companies think twice about closing their money-losing coal-fired power plants? A gas market that is more unstable than it has ever been in the past two decades.
As reported by Bloomberg, out of order wind turbines are the least contributing factor to outages in Texas. Even if all of the wind turbines that are currently offline, including those that have failed for regular maintenance, are added together, their output is only 3.6-4.5 gigawatts, or about 12% of the total 35-gigawatt deficit in Texas. And that is also the case when these wind turbines produce at their maximum level, not at the level they are actually designed for under the current conditions. The truth is that wind turbine failures are well below 10% of the total failure.
According to Woodfin, winds accounted for 3.6 to 4.5 gigawatts – or less than 13% – of the 30 to 35 gigawatts of total outages. This is partly because wind makes up only 25% of the state’s energy mix at this time of year.
Texas failed because it developed a system that is designed to always run on the verge of failure. This system offers absolutely no incentive to increase reliability or provide protection in an emergency. It’s a system where vendors get maximum money when the system involves downtime and excessive demand, which creates a perverse incentive not to expand, leaving the system with a buffer between capacity and demand.
What Abbott and every Fox News speaker are trying to do is make Texas more dependent on the part of the system that has failed the hardest and is most responsible for rising prices. Just … they’re not real. Because neither Fox nor Abbott suggest anything at all. You are just repeating the latest big lie over and over again with the full knowledge that it is a lie and that it makes absolutely no sense.
But it allows them to get the guilty finger off their core beliefs in a maximized profit market and the deregulation of ways to fool the public.