In case you live in Florida, southern California, or Hawaii, there’s a major winter storm whipping across most of the nation. It’s even hitting the southern states where snow is less welcome than Yankee agitators and instant grits. And if you live in Texas, I’m so sorry.
Texas is unique in a lot of ways, but also in how they operate power. Their power grid is not connected to other states. It’s totally independent of other states. And with this winter storm hitting the state, over four million people went without power Monday and Tuesday. Whom does Texas blame? Wind turbines. Last summer when California had this same problem during a heat wave, Texas scoffed and blamed liberals.
Texas conservatives, climate change denialists, and people who are anti-clean energy (which is most of Texas) say the wind turbines froze so four million people went without power and people died. Really? Is that what happened, Slim?
Cartoonist Antonio Branco, a staunch pro-Trump Qanon cartoonist whose work is distributed by Creators Syndicate, published a cartoon this morning blaming wind turbines. In the cartoon, the fault for Texas’ power outage is blamed on windmills, climate change believers, President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris. Now keep in mind, and I say this with all due respect, Branco is an idiot.
The thing is, if you’re a conservative cartoonist, you don’t need facts. You don’t even need to read the story…just read the headline of your daily talking points. It’s bad enough when a stupid cartoonist in a cult doesn’t rely on facts and science, but it’s even worse when a congressman does it.
Texas Representative Dan Crenshaw (guess which party he’s in) tweeted, “This is what happens when you force the grid to rely in part on wind as a power source. When weather conditions get bad as they did this week, intermittent renewable energy like wind isn’t there when you need it.”
With all due respect, Crenshaw is an idiot. Or if he’s not an idiot and he knows wind turbines aren’t too blame, then shouldn’t he at least be honest with his constituents? I understand since he’s a Texas Republican, that a lot of his campaign money comes from oil and PACS that anti having any sort of climate, but shouldn’t a member of the United States House of Representatives put aside his personal greedy interests and focus on his constituents first? I’m sorry. I forgot we were talking about Republicans.
And honestly, Mr. Crenshaw, Danny boy, Texas did NOT run out of wind this week.
Tucker Carlson said in his usual Tucker style, “So it was all working great until the day it got cold outside. The windmills failed like the silly fashion accessories they are, and people in Texas died.” With all due respect, Tucker Carlson is an idiot. Something tells me Branco watches Tucker.
The thing is, we’re talking about Texas. Do you really believe Texas’ energy is all run by wind turbines and solar panels? Wind turbines only account for 13 percent of the state’s energy production according to ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. And even then, while wind turbines do freeze, they are being used in places like Maine, Canada, Scandinavia, Siberia etc. If you get a wind turbine to keep working during winter in Greenland, you should be able to keep them churning in Texas.
You can NOT blame wind for the power outage in Texas. Also, while we’re on the subject: Stop with the turbines-bird-killing argument. First off, you’re a conservative. You’re not going to convince me that you suddenly care about birds now. Also, cats kill more birds each year than wind turbines do. Fact.
Back to the power outage in Texas, what really happened? It was cats. Sorry. No. It was the inability of Texas power grids, mostly using fossil fuels, being unable to keep up with demand.
It comes down to this: Texas deregulated energy grids and power companies. Texas deregulates everything. It’s why there are occasional fertilizer plant explosions that kill 15 people in Texas.
But with power, Texas counts on the weather not getting too cold, so they can sell a lot of power cheaply. When it does get cold, like really cold, it can be very hard to produce energy. Texas decided it was worth it to sell cheap energy with the tradeoff being that every ten years or so, everybody’s power goes out and grandma freezes to death.
There are no incentives for power companies in Texas to prepare for winter. It’s all cheap. Governor Greg Abbott was screaming this week for reform to the power grids, but Abbot’s been governor since 2015. He waited six years and for a cold snap before he calls for reforms? That’s how they do it in Texas. And when that cold snap hits, you can be fucked. When it gets back to the 60s next week, Texas will forget about this. The state legislature is planning to conduct committee hearings on the problem, but by the time they get started, the hearings will be held in an Austin broom closet.
Houston saw the wholesale prices of megawatt-hours go from $22 to over $9,000. Griddy, which sounds like a fast food flapjack restaurant, but is actually a company that sells power to retail customers without locking in prices in advance, told its customers to find another source before they got “socked with tremendous bills.”
Do you know what happens when your bill goes from $22 to $9,000? You don’t have power. Edward Hirs, an energy fellow at the University of Houston, said the disinvestment in electricity production reminds him of the last years of the Soviet Union, or of the oil sector today in Venezuela. “They hate it when I say that,” he said.
And Texans would rather blame wind turbines or Kamala Harris than even look at the actual problem. And honestly, I’m surprised they haven’t blamed it on Mexicans. And a lot of people in Texas keep talking about seceding and becoming their own nation while they can barely tie their own shoelaces.
Energy is part of our infrastructure, like roads and bridges. A lot of our plants are outdated. Even one nuclear plant in Texas lost power earlier this week because of the cold. Unfortunately, to fix things, it costs money. If you own a house or a car, you know this.
What Texas needs to do is deregulate their deregulation. They’re going to have to charge higher prices to reform their energy sector. Also, maybe rely more on alternative energy like, oh…I don’t know…maybe wind turbines? How about solar energy? Contrary to fucknut beliefs, solar works on rays from the sun, not heat. Solar does work when it’s cold. Somebody go tell Congressman Crenshaw.
But, hey. It’s OK if you don’t reform your power grids in Texas as long as you accept that occasionally, you’re gonna lose power and freeze unless you sleep with the cattle. And why not? You’re already full of bullshit.
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