Green on the Grid:  Texas is a Huge Red Flag

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Count me among those somewhat surprised to learn that the electric grid of the State of Texas, perhaps best known for oil production (and proud of it), incorporates wind turbines in its electric grid.  In fact,

… wind generation ranks as the second-largest source of energy in Texas, accounting for 23% of state power supplies last year

But as you have probably seen, this “green energy” source has turned into a big Achilles heel for Texas’ electric grid in the cold front that has descended on that state and much of the country. As of yesterday,

Frozen wind turbines have caused almost half of Texas’s wind generation capacity to go offline in the midst of an “unprecedented storm”.

The Lone Star state is under a state of emergency after freezing conditions swept the region, causing dangerously icy roads and leaving nearly 3 million people without power.

In the latest, frozen wind turbines led to a drop in Texas’ wind power from thirty one gigawatts to six and there are currently 3.4 million power outages. [Update: Texas’ power woes are now attributed to a freezing of both frozen natural gas wells and frozen wind turbines.] The situation is getting worse, not better.

Texas, and other states, has resorted to rolling blackouts.  In below-freezing temperatures, this is literally a life-threatening situation for states like Texas which rely on electricity for heat (and lots of other critical activities).

A small but vocal group of advocates, promoted by many gauzy-eyed members of the mainstream media, have for years been pushing to transition to green energy away from fossil fuel.  In Rhode Island,they have had some limited success.  Bills proposing to tax fossil fuels, purportedly to curb their use, have been filed again this session at the Rhode Island General Assembly.  A couple of weeks ago, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse renewed his call for a tax … oh, excuse me, “carbon pricing”, at the federal level on fossil fuels.

One of Governor Gina Raimondo’s last official acts a couple of months ago, as she herself waltzes out of the state and away from the consequences of her own orders, was to commit Rhode Island to TCI (Transportation Climate Initiative), a proposed regional gas tax on Rhode Islanders designed to make transportation more “green” and move cars and trucks away from fossil fuel and towards green energy.

“Green” energy sounds good and conjures up images of green grass and flowers and butterflies flitting.  The problem is that, whether for the grid or transportation, green energy is not remotely realistic.

It is exorbitantly expensive.  Its production has a very large and intrusive footprint.  Perhaps most alarmingly, as Texas is experiencing, it is unreliable and intermittent and, accordingly, should absolutely not be incorporated into a grid’s baseload power capacity. Texas is not the only state to have made this mistake. In fact, California has led the way. And last summer, grid operators had to institute rolling blackouts due to the issue with “net demand peak”; when the sun went down, so did the power generation – but not the demand for power in the sweltering evening.

Coincidentally, the Rhode Island Center for Freedom and Prosperity just released the results of a poll it recently commissioned to gauge support for the financial cost of TCI in Rhode Island.  It found

… almost 20% more Rhode Islanders oppose than support the plan for a new TCI gas tax as a solution to reduce carbon emissions, after learning of its potential negative economic impacts on lower-income families and on their own financial security.

Smart people.  Funny, by the way, how those who push for and mandate green energy never, ever talk about its impact on everyone’s electric bill, HVAC costs or their cost of transportation.

In addition to committing the state to the pointlessly higher gasoline and diesel taxes of TCI (if it even happens; some states have wisely opted out or are re-considering participation), Governor Raimondo had, a year ago, signed a flat out delusional Executive Order that the entire state shall be able to only purchase “100% renewable electricity”.  Noticeably missing from the order is any guidance as to how to possibly carry this out, much less how residents and businesses would be able to afford the astronomical spike in their electric bill if this impossibility were accomplished.

The Center’s poll focused on the high financial cost of green energy.  As we are seeing in Texas, the cost goes way beyond financial.

We are all watching with dismay the suffering, serious damage and deaths that a grid comprised of “only” 23% green energy generates. [Update: Texas’ power woes are now attributed to a freezing of both frozen natural gas wells and frozen wind turbines.] Governor Raimondo has commanded that Rhode Island’s grid realize the vision of extremist green advocates: 100% green energy.  100% green would mean 100% unreliability.  100% rolling blackouts.  Freezing in the winter, sweating in the summer and 100% dark everywhere when the sun goes down.

While a comparatively small portion of Texas and California’s grids derive power from green energy, their winter and summer ordeals have been huge red flags about the obvious weaknesses and fatal flaws of renewable energy.  We have now seen enough to reject the green vision that highly misguided, extremist advocates and political-resume building politicians are trying to inflict on us at huge costs on every level.