Fact check: Renewable energy is not to blame for the Texas energy crisis

From NBC News:

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which plays the role of traffic cop for Texas’ energy providers, directing energy from producers to distributors, predicted that this winter would see wind produce about 7,070 megawatts at peak load times. By the council’s own daily figures, wind power in Texas has produced between 4,415 and 8,087 megawatts at peak times since the storm began.

By contrast, the state’s “thermal fleet” — mostly natural gas, but also including coal and nuclear power — has been down significantly more, leading to a shortfall of 30,000 megawatts, the council told the local news outlet WKYC.

It would be interesting to know the percentage drop across each energy source. Clearly, most of the energy production in Texas is from non-renewable sources.

Per an ERCOT report (h/t Austin American Statesman):

An ERCOT report on generating capacity listed the top sources of power in the state:

  • Natural gas (51%)
  • Wind (24.8%)
  • Coal (13.4%)
  • Nuclear (4.9%)
  • Solar (3.8%)
  • Hydro, biomass-fired units (1.9%)

This seems to drive the point home:

“It appears that a lot of the generation that has gone offline today has been primarily due to issues on the natural gas system,” [ERCOT Senior Director of System Operations Dan] Woodfin said Tuesday, noting that thermal sources accounted for nearly double the number of gigawatts offline compared with renewable sources like wind.

If Texan politicians want to blame renewable energy as the primary source of their woes, they should have invested more heavily in using it first. Besides that, blaming a wind turbine for the failure of your state to have a fall-back plan in place for when things got cold runs counter to the idea that Texans are rugged individualists who don’t need assistance from the Feds.