March 2, 2021

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Live Updates: Winter storm devastates Texas as power outages continue – CBS News

2 min read

Politicians and power industry officials are blaming each other for the state’s outages, but they are not yet able to say how long this will last. Texas has its own power grid, which is managed by state and semi-private entities. Those same groups are now playing the blame game, trying to find how the state failed to keep the lights on for Texans.

Governor Greg Abbott is leaving no one out when it comes to pointing the blame for the state’s energy failures. “Whether it be renewable power, such as wind or solar, but also as I mentioned today, access to coal-generated power, access to gas generated power also have been compromised,” he said. 

For context, in 2020, wind and solar energy were responsible for roughly 25% of the state’s electricity generation throughout the year. Meanwhile, natural gas, coal and nuclear power combined for roughly 69%. 

Even if wind was a major source, the reason behind that failure is much of the equipment has not been “winterized,” which can include using heaters and insulated pipes. That’s something places like Minnesota do and their wind turbines don’t shut down in the cold.

“The natural gas generators are the ones that we were all counting on to provide the electricity. Some coal plants were supposed to fire up also, and they didn’t answer the bell either,” 

After a 2011 winter storm in Texas that crippled power, a report recommended winterizing power sources. Ed Hirs, an expert in energy economics and policy at the University of Houston, said the recommendations were not applied.

“The warnings have been there for years and Governor Abbott has done nothing. Before that, Governor (Rick) Perry did nothing. This was a train wreck on the way to happening 10 years ago,” Hirs said.

Power Crisis Texas
A utility truck in McKinney, Texas, on February 16, 2021. Cooper Neill/Bloomberg via Getty

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