As woods give way to solar farms, state to issue controversial rules that could harm solar industry
- When Brian Hagberg and his wife bought their home in a suburb west of Boston, the main appeal was the dense woods just off their backyard, which they were assured would never be developed
- Then two years later, a developer began clear-cutting the woods, clearing more than a dozen acres of maples, oaks, and other large, mature trees to make way for a solar farm
- How could a renewable energy project meant to reduce emissions come at the expense of removing so many trees – the planet’s primary means of removing carbon from the atmosphere?
No, Wind Farms Aren’t the Main Cause of the Texas Blackouts
- As the electricity crisis that left millions of people without heat in frigid temperatures, the governor of Texas took to television to start placing blame
- His main target was renewable energy – collapse was caused by the failure of wind and solar power
- It just shows that fossil fuel is necessary for the state of Texas
- However, wind power was not chiefly to blame for the Texas blackouts. The main problem was frigid temperatures that stalled natural gas production
- The bulk of the power loss in Texas came from natural gas suppliers
U.S. Natural Gas Shortage Hampers Blackout Recovery
- A giant shortage of natural gas is hindering a recovery from the devastating cold spell that left millions without power in the nation’s midsection.
- Natural gas production across the U.S. has fallen about 20% over the last week, a rapid decline driven by frozen oil and gas wells and pipeline infrastructure
- Texas is the nation’s largest gas producer, but it operates a just-in-time system
- Most Texas power plants lack significant on-site storage and quickly use the fuel they receive
Why the power grid failed in Texas and beyond
- The state has a generating capacity of about 67,000 megawatts in the winter compared with a peak capacity of about 86,000 megawatts in the summer
- By Wednesday, 46,000 megawatts of power were offline statewide — 28,000 from natural gas, coal and nuclear plants and 18,000 from wind and solar
- The staggering imbalance between Texas’ energy supply and demand also caused prices to skyrocket from roughly $20 per megawatt hour to $9,000 per megawatt hour
Texas was “seconds and minutes” away from catastrophic months-long blackouts, officials say
- Texas’ power grid was “seconds” away from a catastrophic failure that could have left Texans in the dark for months
- As natural gas fired plants, utility scale wind power and coal plants tripped offline due to the extreme cold brought by the winter storm, the amount of power supplied to the grid fell rapidly.
- At the same time, demand was increasing
- Operators in Houston watched as frequency dipped to 59.308 Hz. Load shed relays are set to trip at 59.3 Hz – total system blackout
Texas Lt. Governor Calls for Reversal of $16 Billion Blackout Overcharges
- Texas Blackout Plunges Power Supplier Brazos Co-op Into Bankruptcy
- Texas’s largest electric-power cooperative filed for bankruptcy, saying it is overwhelmed by the more than $2.1 billion in sudden bills
- Upstart Texas power retailer Griddy Energy LLC, is planning to file for bankruptcy
- A Griddy customer said in a proposed class-action lawsuit last month that her bill, typically between $200 to $250 a month, rose in February to $10,995.
Texas Electric Bills Were $28 Billion Higher Under Deregulation
- Texas’s deregulated electricity market was supposed to provide reliable power at a lower price
- Since 2004, Texans who had to choose their electricity provider from competing retailers paid $28 billion more than they would have paid at the rates charged by the state’s traditional utilities.
- From 2004 through 2019, the annual rate for electricity from Texas’s traditional utilities was 8% lower, on average, than the nationwide average rate, while the rates of retail providers averaged 13% higher than the nationwide rate
- The push to deregulate the electricity-supply market in Texas and elsewhere in the U.S. began in the 1990s amid similar efforts in airlines, natural gas and phone services.
- Leading the charge was Enron
Power shortages show the folly of eliminating natural gas – and coal
- Herein is the paradox of the climate agenda: The less we use fossil fuels, the more we need them.
- Europe and Asia are also importing more fossil fuels for heat and power this winter
- Germany’s green energies strained by winter.” The report noted that power is “currently coming mainly from coal,
- Coal still accounts for 60% of China’s energy, and imports tripled in December. Chinese leaders understand that fossil fuels are needed to support intermittent renewables