Addressing rumors that renewable energy caused the Texas blackouts
The recent news of the blackouts in Texas has the country in a whirl, looking for a villain to blame for the millions of Texans left without power. Unfortunately, a false narrative has circulated that solar energy and wind turbines led to the power outages, causing folks to question their reliability.
The renewable energy rumors fail to take into consideration the benefits. Solar energy has many benefits that Texas has not taken advantage of, such as the ability to store energy and develop independence from the grid. The reliability of solar energy stems from energy storage, so during the sun’s peak times, you can store that excess energy for later use. Unfortunately, Texas’ lack of solar energy has led to reliance on the grid which causes vulnerability during inclement weather and outages, which was seen first-hand during the power outages.
The failure of Texas’ independent power grid falls on every source of power, but the most significant loss came from natural gas, coal, and nuclear. The contribution of wind and solar is by far the least significant. The main culprit? Failure to winterize equipment against cold temperatures.
Natural gas production dropped significantly during the outages due to the cold temperatures. Solar energy production also dropped as did wind production. Frozen wind turbines did result in some of the power outages, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) which manages the state’s power grid, but these wind turbines also lacked the proper winterization that northern states have. Wind turbines that are winterized properly can operate in freezing temperatures. Texas’ energy infrastructure officials were previously warned about the lack of preparedness during 2011 when a cold freeze caused power outages in the state.
The ERCOT says “wind energy accounts for 10% of Texas’s winter energy capacity and throughout the entire year it is able to provide 24.8%, the second-largest source of energy in the state under natural gas, which accounts for 51%.” Whereas, solar energy accounts for 3.8% of the state’s power capacity throughout the year.
So, the bulk of the power loss came from natural gas suppliers because of the lack of winterized equipment which led to frozen pipelines that made it difficult for plants to get the fuel they needed. Instead of vilifying solar energy, we should be working to make it more accessible. Solar energy has the ability to power households, businesses and, essentially cities.
Renewable energy is not the villain in this narrative, but it could be the hero. Renewable energy offers a solution to our climate crisis- Texas is just one of the many states to see the first-hand impact of climate change. Renewable energy, like solar, offers solutions to get off the grid and store energy. Had Texas officials worked toward a greener future of energy storage, they could have better prepared for cold weather and power outages. If Texans continue to use fossil fuels to generate electricity, they will continue to cause devastating impacts on our climate, whereas the use of renewable energy, like solar and wind, helps reduce carbon emissions and save our planet.
Instead of finding a villain to blame, we need to focus on finding a hero like renewable energy. Solar energy is the future of a bright, clean planet. Not only does renewable energy reduce our carbon footprint and save valuable natural resources, it’s a growing industry that benefits our economy.
For more information, please contact Cedar Creek Energy. We will answer any questions you have and guide you to the correct resources. Working with a solar company you trust is essential to receiving the best possible clean energy for you, your home or business.
Below, we have also listed a few reliable media sources detailing the situation in Texas.