Extreme Temperature Diary- Wednesday February 17th, 2020/ Main Topic: Any Excuse To Discredit Renewables…Case In Point The Texas Freeze

The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉

Main Topic: Any Excuse To Discredit Renewables…Case In Point The Texas Freeze

Dear Diary. The fossil fuel industry in association with either natural gas, oil, or coal is facing desperate times. The old proverbial writing is on the wall that fossils fuel will join other fossils of history like the dinosaur and dodo bird and go extinct. Those in the fossil fuel industry who don’t want to change aren’t going down without a fight though, so look for desperate moves to discredit wind and solar energy the next several years during a rough transition period. What happened yesterday in association with the tragic Texas freeze was seemingly welcomed with glee to those who continue to proclaim that fossil fuels are second to none for efficiency and reliability.

We can identify many of these individuals from their tweets and interviews communicating some false information. What frightens me is that yesterday’s events are just a precursor to the blowback President Biden’s team and Congress will get against any energy transition legislation, which may get very heated once “Trumpests” get involved. Any compromise as a result of heated blowback may very well sink our climate.

For today’s main subject let’s repost a Washington Post article updating us on what has happened in Texas and the blame game from fossil fuel interests:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/02/17/texas-abbott-wind-turbines-outages/

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott blames wind turbines, Green New Deal policies for outages. Critics call that ‘a lie.’

By Katie Shepherd

Feb. 17, 2021 at 2:54 a.m. PST

As millions of people across Texas struggled to stay warm Tuesday amid massive cold-weather power outages, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) directed his ire at one particular failure in the state’s independent energy grid: frozen wind turbines.

“This shows how the Green New Deal would be a deadly deal for the United States of America,” Abbott said to host Sean Hannity on Tuesday. “Our wind and our solar got shut down, and they were collectively more than 10 percent of our power grid, and that thrust Texas into a situation where it was lacking power on a statewide basis. … It just shows that fossil fuel is necessary.”

The governor’s arguments were contradicted by his own energy department, which outlined how most of Texas’s energy losses came from failures to winterize the power-generating systems, including fossil fuel pipelines, The Washington Post’s Will Englund reported. But Abbott’s debunked claims were echoed by other conservatives this week who have repeatedly blamed clean energy sources for the outages crippling the southern U.S.

The Texas grid got crushed because its operators didn’t see the need to prepare for cold weather

In fact, typically mild winters and a lack of state regulations in Texas combined to leave electricity providers unprepared for the extreme cold that has suddenly hit the state, The Post reported. Nearly every source of energy — from wind turbines to natural gas to nuclear power — have failed to some degree following a harsh storm that covered the region with thick layers of snow and ice.

Although renewable energy sources did partially fail, they only contributed to 13 percent of the power outages, while providing about a quarter of the state’s energy in winter. Thermal sources, including coal, gas and nuclear, lost almost twice as many gigawatts of power because of the cold, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the state’s electric grid operator. Critics have also noted that wind turbines can operate in climates as cold as Greenland if they’re properly prepared for the weather.

Despite the much larger dip in energy from fossil fuels, Republican politicians have seized on the outages to attack the Green New Deal and Democrats’ push to address climate change by reducing the consumption of fossil fuels.

In his Fox News interview, Abbott did not address the fact that most of the state’s power comes from fossil fuels and that ERCOT had planned to produce far more power from natural gas than became available as the cold set in, contributing a stunning deficit amid the freezing weather. On Tuesday, Abbott called for a state investigation into ERCOT’s failings, saying the agency had been “anything but reliable” following the winter storm.

Abbott’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment late Tuesday.

The governor was not the only prominent Texas Republican to blame clean energy for the historic power outages. After Fox News host Tucker Carlson inaccurately told viewers that the state’s power grid had become “totally reliant on windmills,” former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who served as energy secretary under President Donald Trump, joined Carlson in railing against the Green New Deal, which has not been enacted in Texas or nationally.

“If this Green New Deal goes forward the way that the Biden administration appears to want it to, then we’ll have more events like we’ve had in Texas all across the country,” Perry said in another Fox News segment.

Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Tex.) shared a detailed accounting on Twitter of how the state’s power grid failed, noted the roles that natural gas and nuclear power played — but also used the moment to attack wind turbines on Tuesday

“Bottom line: Thank God for baseload energy made up of fossil fuels,” Crenshaw tweeted. “Had our grid been more reliant on the wind turbines that froze, the outages would have been much worse.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who has been a strong proponent of the Green New Deal proposal, slammed Texas Republicans early Wednesday.

“The infrastructure failures in Texas are quite literally what happens when you *don’t* pursue a Green New Deal,” she said in a tweet.

Texas Democrats also criticized Abbott in a statement Monday, calling out Republican leaders for allowing the power to go out in the state that produces the most energy in the nation.

“If we had a governor open to alternative sources of energy, Texas might be in a situation in which we have energy reserves to efficiently power our state, instead of the reckless leadership we have witnessed time and time again from Greg Abbott,” the Texas Democrats said.

After Abbott’s Fox News interview, MSNBC host Chris Hayes challenged the competing network over its coverage of Texas’s energy crisis, playing a compilation of clips in which Fox blamed frozen wind turbines and lauded fossil fuels as the solution to the power outages.

Hayes noted that other sources of power had played a larger role in the widespread outages than renewable energy.

“It is just a lie that wind turbines, ‘green energy’ are the root causes of the problems in Texas right now,” Hayes added.

Headshot of Katie Shepherd

Katie Shepherd is a reporter on The Washington Post’s Morning Mix team. Before joining The Post, she was a staff writer at Willamette Week in Portland, Ore. Follow

Here are more takes on this subject written today, updates on major CAT 5 Cold Wave Yeti, and our latest winter storm:

Here is one hot global “ET” reported from Wednesday:

Here is more climate and weather news from Wednesday:

(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)

Now here are some of today’s articles and notes on the horrid COVID-19 pandemic:

(If you like these posts and my work please contribute via the PayPal widget, which has recently been added to this site. Thanks in advance for any support.) 

Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”

2 thoughts on “Extreme Temperature Diary- Wednesday February 17th, 2020/ Main Topic: Any Excuse To Discredit Renewables…Case In Point The Texas Freeze

  1. I know the Texas snow story is front and center of the news, but here in Utah there is an avalanche cycle like no other up in the mountains. And for months before this event, there was NO snow. The switch from super dry to super snowy is making conditions for very large and destructive avalanches. Definitely smells like a signature of climate change. Might be an interesting topic to cover.

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