What really caused Texas' massive power outage

Republicans claim "green" energy was the cause of Texas' power outage -- they're lying.

Texas is currently suffering from a massive power outage affecting millions of homes during a freak winter storm that’s brought temperatures below freezing. An image shared on Twitter, showing a dripping kitchen faucet that froze overnight, demonstrates how dire the situation is for many families:

Republicans, including their mouthpiece Fox News, are now lying about what happened in Texas in order to undermine clean energy and Democrats (even though Republicans run the state).

They’re claiming the Green New Deal (that hasn’t even passed Congress yet), and its author, Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, caused the power outage, because — Republicans claim — wind power in the state broke down during the storm. In fact, it was wind, natural gas and nuclear that all shut down. Why? Because Texas believes in deregulation, and the state’s power industry never weatherproofed their energy production/distribution since winters tend to be mild in the state, and weatherproofing would have cut into their profits. One bad winter storm, and the entire thing came crashing down.

Take the example of Texas’ Republican Governor Greg Abbott. Abbott is telling Texans the truth, that the biggest problem was natural gas pipelines freezing:

But Abbott is also telling Fox News that it’s Democrats and the Green New Deal that caused the outage:

Fox News, across its shows, is also blaming wind power, green energy, and Democrats:

And far-right members of Congress are dutifully playing into the big lie as well:

Now, in all fairness, the wind turbines did freeze. But so did the natural gas pipelines and a nuclear plant. And, as the Washington Post pointed out, the natural gas shutdown was a way bigger threat to Texas’ power grid than wind:

[W]ind accounts for just 10 percent of the power in Texas generated during the winter. And the loss of power to the grid caused by shutdowns of thermal power plants, primarily those relying on natural gas, dwarfed the dent caused by frozen wind turbines, by a factor of five or six.

More from the Post on the natural gas pipelines, and even a nuclear plant, shutting down:

As the cold hit, demand for electricity soared past the mark that ERCOT had figured would be the maximum needed. But at a moment when the world is awash in surplus natural gas, much of it from Texas wells, the state’s power-generating operators were unable to turn that gas into electricity to meet that demand.

In the single-digit temperatures, pipelines froze up because there was some moisture in the gas. Pumps slowed. Diesel engines to power the pumps refused to start. One power plant after another went offline. Even a reactor at one of the state’s two nuclear plants went dark, hobbled by frozen equipment.

For those who can’t access the Post, the Texas Tribune explains what happened as well, in a second article as well.

An official with the Electric Reliability Council of Texas said Tuesday afternoon that 16 gigawatts of renewable energy generation, mostly wind generation, were offline. Nearly double that, 30 gigawatts, had been lost from thermal sources, which includes gas, coal and nuclear energy.

So nearly twice as much energy was lost from freeze-ups at traditional energy — gas, coal, nuclear — than wind.

As I’ve noted before, this is the difficulty in negotiating, or even cohabiting, with Republicans: a lot of them just lie. And it ends up seriously misinforming GOP voters — whether it’s the efficacy, or “danger” posed to our freedom, of masks, or the Big Lie that led Trump’s base to storm the US Capitol in a deadly attempt to overthrow our government.

The Republican party is running a well-oiled racket to misinform its own voters. And until we figure out how to change, or undermine, that, we can kiss any pie-in-the-sky notion of “unity” goodbye.

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