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Tilting at Windmills
Even Don Quixote would have a better excuse than Governor Greg Abbott for Texans' woes this week
Like Don Quixote, the political right has been literally tilting at windmills, on Fox News and anywhere else millions of uninformed will listen.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott and lots of other climate-change deniers are claiming that the (hasn’t been passed) Green New Deal and the windmills Texas installed to provide cleaner fuel have caused the total collapse of its energy systems amid historic snowfalls and single-digit temperatures this week.
Are windmills really to blame?
Windmills: nominal amounts of Texas energy
Windmills supply, at most, 15 percent of Texas energy. And about half of them are frozen. So a state with all the energy that Texas produces shouldn’t have any problem making up that 7-10 percent of their energy need, plus the surge in demand caused by historic low temperatures. And if they do, they should be able to get it from the National Grid.
But the Lone Star state decided to go it alone and not be part of the National Grid.
It did so because fossil-fuel energy-providers didn’t want to follow federal regulations which would have protected the state from this calamity.
They didn’t want to spend money insulating the pipelines that carry natural gas. They didn’t want to insulate the systems that provide cooling water to contain the heat of their nuclear power plants reactor cores. So, when those and other inadequately insulated power infrastructure components froze -- and demand for energy escalated due to the unusually cold weather – the result was that Texas had to shut down systems just when they were needed most.
The result: so-called “rolling blackouts” that aren’t “rolling” at all. Some homes have been without power at this point for days. People are huddled under every blanket they own.
Texans are sitting in their cars to charge their phones and enjoy a few minutes of heat. Texans are sitting in their cars to check their emails, surf the web, and participate in work meetings with colleagues across the country who actually have the basic heat and light that competent leadership provides. Texans are eating cold food because they have no cooking fuel. Texans are going to warming stations and exposing themselves to increased risk of contracting COVID. Texans are seeing their homes and possessions ruined when pipes burst and water pours down on everything they own.
Teetering on collapse
And the state is teetering on a state of energy collapse, with more cold weather predicted tonight and tomorrow before temperatures warm this weekend.
Sometimes rules exist for a reason. They may seem onerous. They may be expensive.
But no one can tell me that this won’t cost the State of Texas more than all that insulation would have cost. Texas was riding high this fall when California wildfires and COVID were driving thousands of Californians to relocate to cities and towns in Texas that offered lower home prices and plenty of jobs.
Businesses will think twice now
But if you run a major corporation and you are watching this debacle unfold, won’t you think twice about relocating ANY of your jobs to Texas in the future?
Particularly when the governor is playing Don Quixote on national TV in the middle of this mess and falsely blaming windmills for the calamity.