The frigid winter storm and power failure that left millions of people in Texas shivering in darkness has been used to stoke what is becoming a growing front in America’s culture wars – renewable energy. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (Ercot), which oversees the Texas grid, has been clear that outages of solar and wind energy were only a minor factor in blackouts which, at their peak, left 4 million Texans without electricity, with many resorting to burning furniture or using outdoor barbecues to desperately warm themselves amid the shocking blast of Arctic-like conditions. Crucially, the supply of natural gas, which supplies about half of Texas’s electricity, seized up due to frozen pipes and a lack of standby reserves. The grid failed after about a third of Ercot’s total capacity – supplied by coal, nuclear and gas – went offline as demand for heating dramatically surged. Regardless, the Republican leadership in Texas, abetted by rightwing media outlets and a proliferation of false claims on social media, has sought to pin the crisis on wind turbines and solar panels freezing when the Lone Star state needed them most.
Guardian 24th Feb 2021 read more »