Texas ‘Deep Freeze’: Urgent Climate Warning But ‘Not What You Think’
In the unfolding extreme winter tragedy in Texas as well as many other regions of the United States not prepared for severe winter weather, a notable point is that much of the vast windmill batteries across the state, supposed to generate 25% of the state electric power grid, have frozen and are largely useless. The recent severe winter weather across not only the continental USA but also large parts of the EU, and even the Middle East, warrants a closer look at a subject that has been too long ignored by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, as well as by a new group of academics known as Climate Scientists. That is, the influence of our sun on global climate.
Cold Climate Change
On February 14, 2020 a record Arctic cold front swept from Canada far south to the southernmost parts of Texas on the Mexican border. The immediate impact has been power outages for up to 15 million Texans who as of February 17 remained without heat and electricity, as almost half the wind units were frozen and inoperable from ice storms, many permanently. Texas over the past five years has doubled its share of wind generation to the grid in a rush to adopt a green energy profile. With some 25% of the state electric grid from wind sources, almost half that is out of commission, many permanently, from the storm.
Tyler, Texas, once known as the “Rose Capital of America,” saw temperatures of near -20 C.
Gas processing plants across Texas are shutting as liquids freeze inside pipes further reducing power just as demand for heating fuel explodes. Heating fuel prices in Oklahoma jumped 4000% in two days and are rising. Wholesale prices for delivery in Texas are trading as much as $9000 per mega-watt hour. Two days before the storms price was $30. In a summer peak demand, a price of $100 is considered high.
Reduced gas supplies from Texas to Mexican power companies have led to blackouts in northern Mexico, with almost 5 million households and businesses left without power on February 15.
The Green Energy Fallacy
In addition US oil production, centered in Texas, has plunged by a third, and more than 20 Gulf Coast oil refineries are blocked as are grain barge shipments along the Mississippi River. Several analysts of the deregulated Texas grid model point out that had the state maintained a “reliable emergency backup” such as is possible with nuclear or coal power, the blackout could have been averted. Recently Texas has forced six coal power plants to close since 2018, owing to state rules that force power companies to take the subsidized wind and solar power, undercutting the cost of their own coal generation. It simply forced them to shut down functioning coal plants that generated 3.9 GW. Had those still been on line, sources say the blackouts could easily have been averted. Unlike current wind technology or solar, coal and nuclear plants can store up to a month or more capacity on site for power emergencies.
While in northern states like Minnesota where severe winters are common and prepared for, Texas has no such requirements for reserve capacity. For example, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission requires plants to have enough reserve capacity online to ensure the power stays on during extreme circumstances. Instead, Texas operates an “energy-only” market, where wholesale power prices are seen as an adequate incentive to bring more power plants online. The aim of the energy only model was to make intermittent wind and solar more profitable to increase their market share over conventional alternatives like coal or nuclear.
The state grid model forced Texas coal and nuclear plants to sell electricity at a loss on the market because they are unable to reduce their electricity output when high wind and solar output force prices into the red. Ultimately, it forced the unnecessary closing of the six coal plants, just what the green energy advocates wanted. The
Article from LewRockwell