Hey, some of you probably thought I was dead. Well, sorry, Democrats, no such luck. Didn’t have another heart event, didn’t contract the ‘rona, the website isn’t down again. So yay on all of that.
What did happen, though, is we have no power at our home. Haven’t had any since 6:00 a.m. Monday, and it now looks like we won’t have any again until Friday at the earliest. In case you hadn’t heard, the entire state of Texas looks an awful lot like Alaska right now. Ok, well, West Texas looks more like South Dakota, but you get the picture. We’re covered up in snow and ice, the low temperature where I live near Fort Worth was -1 Fahrenheit this morning, we haven’t seen a temperature at my house above freezing since last Wednesday, and won’t see one until Friday. Again, that’s if we’re lucky.
Guess what? Texas does not do a good job of preparing for this kind of weather event. Which makes sense given that we don’t see this kind of stuff but about once a decade. However, we do see it. The last time we had a similar event was exactly a decade ago, in fact, on February 2-3, 2011.
So, while it is understandable, I suppose, that the folks at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) admit that they simply do not have contingency plans for this kind of severe winter event, I can’t help wondering why not? After all, the rolling blackouts they implemented 10 years ago during that ice event caused a public uproar that resulted in a series of hearings and rulemakings that were supposed to help ensure the grid’s resiliency was fortified to withstand exactly this sort of weather.
Yet, here we are again, and no one at ERCOT or the state’s main infrastructure provider – ONCOR – appears capable of providing a coherent answer why. Frankly, I’m beginning to wonder if we shouldn’t just force ERCOT to take the “R” – for Reliability – out of its name to make it more properly descriptive of what it is the agency actually does. Or rename it “ERSCOT”, with the S standing for “semi-“.
Texans have in recent years made a sport out of making fun of California for its having faded into near-3rd world status where its power grid is concerned. Trust me, that’s a ton of fun. Rolling blackouts and brownouts have become a way of life for Californians as the Democrat policymakers there force their grid to rely far too much on intermittent energy sources like wind and solar at the expense of reliable baseload generation, which must be provided by fossil fuels like natural gas and coal, or by nuclear plants.
Unfortunately, and with little public fanfare, the Republican-led Texas government has also allowed wind power to take a steadily-growing role in the state’s power generation mix over the past decade. Last year, in fact, wind surpassed coal in terms of the percentage of electricity provided to the ERCOT-managed grid, delivering 23% of the total mix, coming in second only to natural gas power plants.
That’s all great so long as you’re willing to pay the price, much of which becomes hidden from ratepayers by ERCOT and the state’s electricity providers, so everybody can pretend to be happy about “going green.” It’s also not so great when well over half the turbines in the state freeze up in near-zero temperatures and 3-12 inches of snowfall.
In the wake of the 2011 event, which was caused mainly by coal-fired plants tripping offline as they froze up and ERCOT’s rolling blackouts including several very large natural gas compressor stations, which caused several natural gas power plants to also go offline, reforms were mandated to prevent ERCOT from denying electricity to those compressor stations. We do not yet know if those reforms worked or not, but several of the state’s natural gas pipeline companies have been experiencing deliverability issues over the last couple of days, so ERCOT’s silence on the matter does make you wonder.
Texas policymakers simply must act in the wake of this event to ensure that the state’s power grid is resilient enough to withstand this kind of severe winter weather event. It is an incredibly dangerous situation when more than 3 million Texans are without power as temperatures remain below freezing for a full week. Texas might look like Alaska and South Dakota right now, but Texans are simply not prepared to deal with this kind of weather for even a couple of days, much less for a week or more.
Californians have been conditioned by their Democrat policymakers to accept this sort of rolling blackout situation as their “new normal” so they can all virtue signal about how “green” they all are. Texans, on the other hand, would rather be warm and safe in their homes than waste time virtue signaling about the environment. Again, trust me on this: Ain’t nobody in Texas ready to happily accept this crap as a “new normal” in their lives.
The state’s policymakers had better take advantage of this disastrous situation to act to really improve the resiliency of the state’s power grid, or there will be hell to pay in next year’s elections.
This situation is simply not acceptable, even if it only happens once a decade. Enough is enough.
I’ll post more when I can.
That is all.
Today’s news moves at a faster pace than Whatfinger.com is the only real conservative alternative to Drudge, and deserves to become everyone’s go-to source for keeping up with all the latest events in real time.