Texas Congressman Dan Crenshaw on frozen wind power: ‘Bottom line: fossil fuels are the only thing that saved us’ – ‘If we were even *more* reliant on the wind turbines that froze, the outages would have been much worse’


By: - Climate DepotFebruary 17, 2021 10:33 AM

GOP Congressman Dan Crenshaw from Texas’s 2nd congressional district since 2019.

Dan Crenshaw Profile picture
16h, 14 tweets, 3 min read

With blackouts across Texas, many are wondering: what happened?

Leftists are cheering a “red state” having energy problems.

Here’s the truth about what happened. THREAD 

Summary:

A mix of over-subsidized wind energy and under-investment in gas power means we didn’t have enough base load energy for a massive spike in demand.

Also, Texas infrastructure isn’t designed for once-in-a-century freezes. 

#1 – Frozen Wind Turbines:

West Texas had wind turbines that had to be de-iced. The little energy that power regulators planned on being supplied from wind was now gone.

We have almost 31GW of wind installed on the grid, but on Monday we couldn’t even depend on 6 GW working. 

To make matters worse, existing storage of wind energy in batteries was also gone, because batteries were losing 60% of their energy in the cold.

Bottom line: renewables don’t work well in extreme weather. Never will. 

This is what happens when you force the grid to rely in part on wind as a power source. When weather conditions get bad as they did this week, intermittent renewable energy like wind isn’t there when you need it.

#2 – Nuclear also got too cold: We only have 4 nuclear units in TX, near Houston and Dallas. One of the reactors near Houston turned off due to a safety sensor freezing. No problem with the reactor. But the lack of the sensor forced the plant to shutdown, as a precaution. 
(On another note, this shows how safe nuclear is. Lots of safety precautions.) 
#3 – We don’t have enough Natural Gas online:

ERCOT planned on 67GW from natural gas/coal, but could only get 43GW of it online. We didn’t run out of natural gas, but we lost the ability to get it transported. Pipelines in Texas don’t use cold insulation – so they froze. 

Every natural gas plant stayed online. The “downed” plants were due to scheduled maintenance.

Gov. Abbott made the right call in diverting all natural gas to home heating fuel and then electricity for homes. Gas and coal brought a stable supply of energy, but still not enough. 

Why don’t we have extra gas power when we need it most?

Because years of federal subsidies for wind has caused an over reliance on wind and an under-investment in new gas and nuclear plants. 

Bottom line: fossil fuels are the only thing that saved us. They are *base load* energy.

If we were even *more* reliant on the wind turbines that froze, the outages would have been much worse. 

This raises the obvious question: can we ever rely on renewables to power the grid during extreme weather?

No, you need gas or nuclear.

And subsidizing investment in wind has pushed gas and nuclear out.

Now we live with the consequences. 

The push to decommission baseload power sources like natural gas would be disastrous when trying to keep the lights on in Texas. 
I’ll be joining my Texas colleagues in getting to the bottom of what happened. We can do better, even for once in a century events.

In the meantime, stay warm, stay safe, and stay strong.