Texas Freeze – the facts

They say the only salt and ice you get in Texas is for Margaritas.

This is a summary of the power shortage experienced during the big freeze by Rep Dan Crenshaw of Texas:

With blackouts across Texas, many are wondering: what happened?

Leftists are cheering a “red state” having energy problems.

Here’s the truth about what happened.


A mix of over-subsidized wind energy and under-investment in gas power means we didn’t have enough base load energy for a massive spike in demand.

Also, Texas infrastructure isn’t designed for once-in-a-century freezes.

#1 – Frozen Wind Turbines:

West Texas had wind turbines that had to be de-iced. The little energy that power regulators planned on being supplied from wind was now gone.

We have almost 31GW of wind installed on the grid, but on Monday we couldn’t even depend on 6 GW working.

To make matters worse, existing storage of wind energy in batteries was also gone, because batteries were losing 60% of their energy in the cold.

Bottom line: renewables don’t work well in extreme weather. Never will.

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. https://www.forbes.com/sites/salgilbertie/2021/02/15/texas-outages-put-reliability-of-renewable-energy-in-the-spotlight/

#2 – Nuclear also got too cold:

We only have 4 nuclear units in TX, near Houston and Dallas. One of the reactors near Houston turned off due to a safety sensor freezing. No problem with the reactor. But the lack of the sensor forced the plant to shutdown, as a precaution.

(On another note, this shows how safe nuclear is. Lots of safety precautions.)

#3 – We don’t have enough Natural Gas online:

ERCOT planned on 67GW from natural gas/coal, but could only get 43GW of it online. We didn’t run out of natural gas, but we lost the ability to get it transported. Pipelines in Texas don’t use cold insulation – so they froze.

Every natural gas plant stayed online. The “downed” plants were due to scheduled maintenance.

Gov. Abbott made the right call in diverting all natural gas to home heating fuel and then electricity for homes. Gas and coal brought a stable supply of energy, but still not enough.

Why don’t we have extra gas power when we need it most?

Because years of federal subsidies for wind has caused an over reliance on wind and an under-investment in new gas and nuclear plants.

Bottom line: fossil fuels are the only thing that saved us. They are *base load* energy.

If we were even *more* reliant on the wind turbines that froze, the outages would have been much worse.

This raises the obvious question: can we ever rely on renewables to power the grid during extreme weather?

No, you need gas or nuclear.

And subsidizing investment in wind has pushed gas and nuclear out.

Now we live with the consequences.

The push to decommission baseload power sources like natural gas would be disastrous when trying to keep the lights on in Texas.

UK’s utterly mad electricity operator

The defunct Rugeley power station in Staffordshire

The National Grid Electricity System Operator (NGESO) has said the UK has not used coal-fired power for a week, the first time since 1882. Hooray! High fives all round! NGESO director, Fintan Slye, believes that UK electricity generation could be zero carbon by 2025. What you will read points to the utter madness and inadequate planning that will crush the grid in winter if zero carbon happens. He clearly doesn’t believe in energy poverty, something 331,000 Germans suffered from in 2017.

Let’s look at the latest UK energy mix published by OFGEM.

Coal: 4.8%

Gas: 32.8%

Nuclear: 13.2%

Hydro: 1.95%

Wind/Solar: 15.16%

Biomass: 7.68%

There is an irony to hear the UK government will phase out coal by 2025. It is hardly a goal to phase out 1% per year. How is it possible to zero carbon by 2025 with a junking of 37.6% of the grid? Crank up nuke? Biomass, which is more environmentally unfriendly than coal?

Maybe Mr Slye should read its own endorsed reports?

The Summer Outlook 2019 notes,

Gas Demand – during the summer gas-fired electricity generation becomes a more significant component of GB demand, unlike winter when domestic heating dominates. We are expecting increased volumes of LNG supply, which affects flows of gas across GB.

This OFGEM report calculated the % of the 26.3mn homes that use gas heating in the UK during winter as follows.

England: 85%

Scotland: 78%

Wales: 79%

So what happens when fossil fuels get phased out for a zero carbon world by 2025? Perhaps they need to rely on electricity generated heat onto a grid that plans to knock out c.40% of its fossil fuel baseload. OFGEM notes,

In Great Britain, 25% of flats use electric heating compared to only 4% of houses.

Homes with electric heating systems tend to have a lower energy efficiency rating, partly reflecting the higher running costs of using electric heating. In England, 2% of dwellings with mains gas heating are ‘F’ or ‘G’ rated, compared to 14% of dwellings with storage heating systems, and 57% of dwellings with direct-acting heating.

Storage heating systems can be found disproportionately in private-rented and social housing while direct-acting heating systems can be found disproportionately in the private-rented sector. Households living in these properties are more likely to be:

of lower income. In England, around a third fall in the lowest income quintile, with incomes of less than about £14,500.

fuel poor. In Scotland for example, 48% of households with storage heating systems and 68% of households with direct-acting electric heating are in fuel poverty, compared to 31% of households that use mains gas.

-single adult households and households with no children. There is generally no significantly increased likelihood of householders having a long-term illness or disability (with the exception of storage heating households in Scotland).

So essentially in the quest to virtue signal, policymakers risk pushing more into energy poverty. The only outcome here is far higher prices. Given the UK wants to go full EV by 2040, throw more on the bonfire of stupidity.

Has the NGESO calculated the extra impact to the grid that transferring heating gas to the grid to get zero emissions by 2025 will cause?


Now that former Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull has chimed in applauding the UK’s week of non coal power generation alongside the embattled UK PM Theresa May, it confirms this energy policy is a dead cert dud.