A winter storm in Texas set a record for low temperatures, snow, and rolling blackouts across the state. Millions of Texans are still without power, and some have questioned why the most power-generating state in America is unable to keep the lights on. Misinformation about blackouts has also started spreading online, blamed on wind and solar power.
Roughly 3 million people in Texas have had to deal with the outage since Monday as power generators and natural gas pipes froze the state’s production capabilities. This led to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which administers the state’s power grid to administer rolling blackouts to avoid grid failure.
Here is all you need to know about electric evacuation in Texas.
This past weekend, a winter storm made its way into Texas, adding to the cold in the state. As the teenage temperatures began to drop since Monday morning, power plant generators began to freeze and go offline across the state, causing a significant reduction in energy production. At the same time, electricity demand increased as people turned on the thermostats.
About 50% of the power generated by Texas comes from natural gas, with the other half split between coal, wind, nuclear, and solar. Due to the cold, however, the gas cannot make its way from the ground through the pipe. ERCOT says 46,000 MW were offline as of Wednesday. One megawatt is enough to power about 200 homes in a year. Out of 680 statewide, 70 to 80 power plants are offline as of Wednesday. Thermal energy – natural gas, coal and nuclear – is made up of those 28,000 MW while wind and solar make 16,000.
“The production capacity of the gas generator, particularly on full production, was affected by the impact of the cold on natural gas supplies,” EVCOT President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Magness said on Wednesday. “So getting those resources back is the central solution for people to get their power back.”
Significant power outages led to blackouts across the state, as ERCOT tried to maintain a balance between supply and demand to prevent “catastrophic” blackouts. This led to the outage lasting much longer than the ERCOT anticipated.
Texas has its own independent power grid and is not connected to the Eastern Interconnection and Western Interconnection Grid covering the rest of the country. The state is unable to divert electricity to maintain its supply.
Some people are blaming Wind and Solar. What’s it?
Confusion over the cause of the blackout began to spread on social media, especially from state government officials.
“The cause of the blackouts is complex, but in summary: Texas took a lot of lessons from Cali, over-subsidized renewable, and outmoded baseloid energy like natural gas,” Rep. Dan Crenshaw, a Republican from Texas. Tweeted Tuesday.
A similar sentiment has come from fellow GOP Texas Representative Renee Jackson, who said on Facebook on Tuesday, “Our dependence on renewable energy needs to be revisited.”
But on Tuesday, the Texas government, Greg Abbott, a Republican, also hinted at freezing natural gas as part of the problem.
“The reason the electricity is not available to your audience is that the power generators freeze and their equipment is unable to generate electricity. Then after that, the natural gas that flows in those power generators, which also freezes up , “Abbott told Houston’s ABC-13.
However, on Tuesday night, Abbott went to Sean Hannity’s program on Fox News and gave a different account of what happened.
“, Our wind and solar shut down, and they collectively account for 10% of our power grid, and put that Texas in a position where it lacked power on a statewide basis,” he told Hannity. “As a result, it shows that fossil fuels are necessary for the state of Texas.”
According to ERCOT officials, however, most of the lost power came from thermal energy, which is primarily made up of natural gas and not wind or solar power.
“By 9am,” ERCOT said in a press release on Wednesday, “The generation of about 46,000 MW has been forced out of the system during this extreme winter weather event. Of this, 28,000 MW is thermal and 18,000 MW is wind. And solar. ”
When will Shakti return?
ERCOT does not have a specific time when it will operate at full power, but it is working on restoring power. However, it does more than flick a switch.
“Wednesday is challenged, we restore service, and then if the grid becomes unstable again due to issues with the weather and there is an imbalance in supply and demand, then we have to pull those back. , Unfortunately, “Magness said on Wednesday.
After returning to more power houses, continued blackouts can continue until the expected warm weather arrives later this week.