With temperatures down to minus 20 degrees, the Texans froze last week. At its worst, 5 million people were without electricity.
The media tells of several people who froze to death in their own homes.
Not only did it freeze, but it was also critical for the 30 million people who were told to boil the drinking water.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, used the power crisis to defend the use of gas and coal.
“This shows that fossil energy is needed for the state of Texas and other states to be able to heat their homes in the winter and cool them in the summer,” Abbott told Fox News.
Abbott was far from alone in blaming wind power. A number of Republicans and the media on the right blamed the power crisis on wind power and green politics, writes New York Times.
- “This is what happens when you force the power grid to become dependent on wind as a source of power,” Republican Congressman Dan Crenshaw wrote on Twitter.
- The TV station Fox News had a banner with the text “Green energy failure” – “Green energy failure” – on its reports from the power cuts in Texas.
- Wall Street Journal wrote in a leader that the answer to the power cuts was coal and gas.
- Fox News presenter Tucker Carlson was the clearest of them all. “The windmills broke like the ridiculous fashion accessory and people in Texas died,” Carlson said during one of his programs.
7 percent from wind power
Large parts of Texas are flat and rich in wind. This makes the state ideal for wind power.
The result is that Texas is by far the state that draws the most energy from wind. According to Power Technology Texas has three times as much wind power as number two on the list, Iowa.
Nevertheless, wind power makes up only a small part of the state’s electricity production. Numbers from Texas Tribune shows that at this time of year, 7 percent of the state’s electricity comes from wind power.
Instead, by far the largest share of electricity in Texas comes from natural gas.
– Texas is a gas state, is the clear conclusion of Michael Webber, professor of energy resources at the University of Texas at Austin.
Wind power returned faster
New York Times has gone through power supplies in Texas during the cold wave hour by hour.
The figures show that the fall in deliveries from natural gas was five times greater than for wind power.
While the problem for wind power was that many of the turbines were stopped by ice, the pipes that carry natural gas to the power plants froze.
– All energy sources did worse than expected. But far, far worse than anything else combined was the failure of natural gas, says Daniel Cohan at Rice University in Houston.
In addition, writes Forbes that renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power came back into operation more quickly than traditional energy sources.
– The idea that renewable energy could not compete with traditional sources in difficult situations, that traditional sources were “tougher” than renewable, turned out to be completely wrong, writes Forbes.
Call the behavior “shameful”
Heather Zichal, leader of the industry association American Clean Power Association, which works for renewable energy.
She now accuses opponents of renewable energy of trying to divert attention from the failure elsewhere in the system and “slow down the transition to cleaner energy”.
“It is a shame that opponents of clean energy – who attack it whether it is raining, snowing or the sun is shining, are fooling Americans by promoting an agenda that has nothing to do with providing power to communities in Texas,” she said.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates has also countered those who are trying to blame renewable energy.
In an interview with CNN, Gates said that since climate change is the cause of extreme weather events, renewable energy is what can prevent even worse disasters in the future.
“It’s ironic to put the blame on renewable energy and not realize that we will struggle with this if we do not get the whole world to cut emissions,” Gates said.
Instead, Gates believes that much of the blame for the power cuts lies with the politicians in Texas – like Governor Abbott – who did not ensure that the gas power plants could withstand the cold,
– These are first and foremost gas power plants that were not protected from the weather. We could protect them, but it costs money and we chose not to. The tragedy is that it leads to people dying, Gates said.