A rare winter storm knocked out nearly half of the wind-powered generating capacity in Texas this week, as freezing wind and ice storms rendered the state’s wind turbines inoperable.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) asked the state’s residents to limit their electricity use, to help lower the stress on the compromised electrical grid.
“We are experiencing record-breaking electric demand due to the extreme cold temperatures that have gripped Texas,” ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness said in a press release. “At the same time, we are dealing with higher-than-normal generation outages due to frozen wind turbines and limited natural gas supplies available to generating units. We are asking Texans to take some simple, safe steps to lower their energy use during this time.”
In 2019, wind power surpassed coal for the first time in the state’s history, representing 22% of Texas’ electrical needs. Natural gas still accounts for the largest share of the Lone Star State’s energy mix, generating 46% of its power, according to CNN.
As the Biden administration aggressively pursues a green energy agenda by canceling the Keystone XL pipeline and appointing climate czars in the State and Treasury departments, it’s worth noting that renewable energy as the primary source of electric power generation is still not reliable.
If the sun is not shining or the wind not blowing, electrical grids that utilize green energy must have a backup power source to avoid power failures. In order for wind or solar to work, electric power generation must depend on other sources, such as nuclear or natural gas, to protect American consumers from rolling blackouts.
Texas leads the world in wind power capacity, but on Monday, its power grid experienced a systemwide failure as record-breaking energy use strained utilities beyond their capacity. When Texas needed wind energy the most, its wind turbines stopped spinning and stood frozen.
As President Joe Biden vows to end U.S. reliance on fossil fuels, he has yet to detail how Americans will transition this green economy while maintaining an adequate, reliable energy supply.
As Texas demonstrated this week, renewables simply are not ready to fill the gap alone.