Guest “fact checking the fact checkers” by David Middleton
Note to fact checking trolls: The featured image is a meme. Look up the word meme before you prattle on about the frozen wind turbine not being in Texas. Also, I have been referring to the freakishly cold weather, snow and ice of the past couple of weeks as Winter Storm Younger Dryas. It is my unofficial pet name for the the Texas weather from February 9-18, 2021. Fact checkers who say this storm name doesn’t exist will very likely be ridiculed.
Ever hear someone say, “Everything’s bigger in Texas“?
Well… The lamestream media lies about the recent Texas energy disaster have been Texas-sized.
This is just a small sample…
Fact check: Renewable energy is not to blame for the Texas energy crisis
Natural gas, the state’s dominant energy source, has provided drastically less energy than expected, according to experts and industry data.
“Wind was operating almost as well as expected,” said Sam Newell, head of the electricity group at the Brattle Group, an energy consulting company that has advised Texas on its power grid.
“It’s an order of magnitude smaller” than problems with natural gas, coal and nuclear energy, he said.
WINTER STORM 2021
No, frozen wind turbines aren’t the main culprit for Texas’ power outages
Lost wind power was expected to be a fraction of winter generation. All sources — from natural gas, to nuclear, to coal, to solar — have struggled to generate power during the storm that has left millions of Texans in the dark.
Frozen wind turbines in Texas caused some conservative state politicians to declare Tuesday that the state was relying too much on renewable energy. But in reality, the wind power was expected to make up only a fraction of what the state had planned for during the winter.
No, Wind Farms Aren’t the Main Cause of the Texas Blackouts
The state’s widespread electricity failure was largely caused by freezing natural gas pipelines. That didn’t stop advocates for fossil fuels from trying to shift blame.
However, wind power was not chiefly to blame for the Texas blackouts. The main problem was frigid temperatures that stalled natural gas production, which is responsible for the majority of Texas’ power supply. Wind makes up just a fraction — 7 percent or so, by some estimates — of the state’s overall mix of power generation this time of year.
- “Wind was operating almost as well as expected”
- [W]ind power was expected to make up only a fraction of what the state had planned for during the winter.
- Wind makes up just a fraction — 7 percent or so, by some estimates — of the state’s overall mix of power generation this time of year.
The “fraction” link in the New York Times article leads to the Texas Tribune article I quoted. The “fraction” link in that article leads to another Texas Tribune article that says this:
Only 7% of ERCOT’s forecasted winter capacity, or 6 gigawatts, was expected to come from various wind power sources across the state.
That’s just a bald-face lie… Or a very confused journalist.
ERCOT’s (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) wind output is actually fairly reliable in winter, particularly in February.
In February 2020, wind accounted for 26% of ERCOT electricity generation…
Wind has accounted for at least 20% of ERCOT’s February generation from 2016 to 2020.
|ERCOT % Feb Generation From Wind|
|2021 (Feb 9-18)||30%|
|2021 (Feb 1-8)||8%|
In February 2021, prior to Winter Storm Younger Dryas, wind accounted for 30% of ERCOT’s electricity generation…
During Winter Storm Younger Dryas, wind dropped off to 8% of ERCOT electricity generation, while natural gas more than doubled as a percentage of ERCOT electricity generation…
While there were severe problems with thermal generating sources from February 15-18, wind was basically a no-show from February 9-18.
And this puts the lie to these fact checker claims:
- Fact check: Renewable energy is not to blame for the Texas energy crisis
- No, frozen wind turbines aren’t the main culprit for Texas’ power outages
- No, Wind Farms Aren’t the Main Cause of the Texas Blackouts
- Renewable energy is why Texas has less natural gas and coal capacity than it would have had otherwise.
- Frozen wind turbines are why coal-fired power plants were operating at >90% of capacity from February 9-14 and natural gas power plants were operating at 70% to more than 80% of capacity from February 11-14.
- Wind farms aren’t the main cause of the Texas blackouts because most of them had already been knocked offline by freezing temperatures and ice… Nearly a week before the blackouts! Where’s my Sam Kinison video?
The desperation on the part of the lamestream media to proactively defend wind power during this fiasco would be funny, if not for the fact that this lie quickly gained so much traction, that I have even repeated it. Wind power did not perform better than expected in any rational sense of the phrase.
That said, wind power has generally been very successful in Texas… The problem is that ERCOT’s plan for a total failure of wind power seems to have been hoping that natural gas, coal and nuclear power plants could successfully operate at about 90% of capacity until the wind power came back online.
“Hope ain’t a tactic.”
Even with all of the system-wide failures, natural gas is the only reason that this energy disaster didn’t claim hundreds, if not thousands, of lives. Winter Storm Younger Dryas will probably surpass Hurricane Harvey as the most expensive natural disaster in Texas history and ERCOT was possibly within five minutes of it being possibly the most expensive natural disaster in U.S. history when they began load-shedding.
Former Texas Public Utilities Commissioner Rebecca Klein laid out some questions that need to be asked and answered in this very thoughtful article:
1. Are we prepared to pay more for electricity and water to ensure higher levels of reliability? And if so, how much more? Greater reliability may mean a number of things, such as required weatherization of infrastructure assets; higher mandated margins of reserve generation than we have today; real incentives for customer conservation and/or smart appliances; better coordination among gas, electric and water utilities; making sure our gas supply is safe, adequate and accessible; or tweaking our wholesale power price caps, among many other things. Some of these activities come at a higher price than others. We need to evaluate the tradeoffs in a systematic way.
2. How can we be better prepared for “outlier” events, regardless of their probability? Would it make sense to require state-wide scenario planning that includes coordinated drills that test both our operational and communication capabilities across multiple entities?
3. How can all stakeholders, particularly ERCOT, the Public Utility Commission of Texas, the Office of Public Utility Council (but also utilities, etc.) provide more timely, transparent, and relevant information to consumers about how to prepare; what is happening and why; what to expect; and whom to call?
Or we could go with AOC’s solution.
The breakdown for 16 February 2021:
|Natural gas Generation||759,708||65%|
Fossil fuels accounted for 83% of our electricity generation on February 16. Fossil fuels + nuclear accounted for 92%. But AOC says more wind & solar would have saved the day…
via Watts Up With That?
February 25, 2021 at 04:33PM