Texas just sent a very chilling message to the rest of the nation about what to expect your life to be like with President Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan AKA, “Green New Deal,” in order to save the planet from overheating.
It seems he’s already overachieving that goal.
An unusual Arctic blast that spread across the state from the tip of the Panhandle all the way to the Rio Grande Valley has left millions of homes and businesses here without electricity.
A series of forced rolling blackouts were required to prevent power grid collapse as single-digit temperatures froze wind turbines and hobbled dozens of power plant operations.
How could this possibly happen here in Texas?
This isn’t supposed to be California, after all, where over-dependence on wind and solar power destabilized the grid during a record 2020 heat wave.
California already leads the nation with the least reliable power system and greatest number of annual outages … 4,297 were recorded between 2008 and 2017. And conditions will only become far worse as the state now requires that all new homes be nearly entirely electric.
More than 30 cities, including San Francisco, have already enacted bans on new gas appliance hookups. California plans to eventually outlaw gasoline and diesel cars.
Hey y’all…this is Texas, a land of far more savvy dudes in a state rightly famous for being awash in huge petroleum and natural gas resources.
Texas isn’t a place where we who live here ordinarily worry about freezing to death due to a lack of reliable fossil and nuclear power to heat our homes… unlike northern latitudes that routinely get really cold with iced-up failing power lines.
So, in addition to record low temperatures, what happened to change that?
I guess we got a little bit too woke.
The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) which oversees the state’s wholesale power market has shifted grid reliance away from reliable coal, nuclear, and natural gas toward heavily taxpayer-subsidized (no free lunch here) wind energy.
That wind generation now constitutes the second-largest electricity power source in Texas. According to ERCOT, it accounted for 23% of the state supply last year, behind natural gas which represented 45%.
Over the past decade, strict CO2 emission regulations have caused coal’s share of Texas’s electricity to plunge by more than half, to supply 18%.
A power crunch ensued, as bitter cold damp conditions caused wind turbines in West Texas to freeze at the same time it was causing residents to crank up their thermostats. Regulators did what they could to protect public safety by rationing gas for commercial and industrial uses to ensure fuel for power plants and household heating.
Some natural gas wellheads also froze, along with refining facilities in some locations, in turn bleeding natural gas needed for turbines that provide essential back-up “spinning reserve” power for – at best intermittent – wind and solar outputs.
And who could have possibly imagined what happened next?
The spot price of wholesale electricity on the Texas power grid spiked more than 10,000%, surging past $9,000 per MegaWatt-hour. Even during high demand summer months, $100 per MW-hr would be considered high.
On second thought, maybe Texas and every other state might have anticipated much of this occurring based upon Germany’s “Energiewende” (energy transition) experience, a policy established in 2000 to decarbonize its primary energy supply.
When the program was first launched, 6.6% of Germany’s electricity came from renewable sources, primarily solar and wind. By 2019, nearly two decades later, that share had reached 41%.
By 2019, average German household electricity costs during that same period have doubled to 34 U.S. cents per Kilowatt-hour. (Compare this with 22 cents per kWh in France, and 13 cents in the United States.)
Meager renewable energy supply conditions worsened dramatically this winter as the coldest western Europe weather in a decade have blanked millions of Germany’s solar panels with snow and ice and rendered 30,000 of its wind turbines idle. This left the greatest share of vital power coming from coal.
In January, the German RBB (Berlin-Brandenburg) public broadcasting network aired a report that sums up the consequences of continually shutting the country’s coal and nuclear energy capacities in favor of adding those “green renewable alternatives.”
Harald Schwarz, a professor of power distribution at the University of Cottbus, went straight to the point, saying: “die gesicherte leistung von wind + sonne = 0,” which means:
“The guaranteed output of wind + sun = 0.”
To be more charitable to those renewables, the actual benefit reportedly ranges between zero and two or three percent.
The RBB broadcast went on to warn that Germany’s futile attempt to replace reliable nuclear and coal-fired energy with wind and solar will extend the supply and demand gap dangerously wide.
The current trend leaves Germany with no real future alternative but to rely more on natural gas from Russia, coal power from Poland, and nuclear power from France.
And what about America, where wind and solar combined provide, at most, about four percent of our grid electricity (not total energy), versus about 80% from hydrocarbons?
The $2 trillion Biden “Equitable Clean Energy Future” agenda pledges to eliminate those hydrocarbon emissions from electricity by 2035, and then achieve “net-zero carbon” by 2050.
To prove he’s serious, on his very first day in the Oval Office, President Biden capped off the Keystone XL pipeline at the Canadian border along with about 11,000 jobs and 830,000 barrels of oil per day it would have delivered, which must now be transported by CO2-emitting rail and trucks.
On top of decimating our current energy supply infrastructure, the plan is for taxpayers to finance a half-million electric car chargers across the nation and add a humongous number of electricity-thirsty electric vehicles to further stress already precarious capacities.
Before buying into this political man-made climate crisis of lunacy, demand to know where sufficient energy will come from, and at what economic and social cost, to air condition fully-electrified Texas summer and New England winter homes – plus recharge millions of plug-in vehicles – on windless cloudy days and nights – especially during inevitable extreme weather demand periods.