Foolish attacks on renewable energy – Texas blackouts cannot be blamed on green energy

With incredibly cold weather hitting Texas (for instance the beach is covered in snow), Fox News has been making a big thing of the fact that some of the wind turbines are not turning supposedly because they froze – and that this is the cause of the blackouts.

This is factually incorrect. According to data from the Texas government wind turbine shutdowns accounted for less than 13% of the total outage. A bigger problem is freezing of oil and gas equipment throughout the state.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson has found a picture of a wind turbine that is not turning, and has claimed that all wind turbines have had to stop because of the cold weather (he actually stated that unbeknownst to Texans the state has become totally reliant on wind turbines). In actual fact data from the state shows that 87% of the shutdown is in other forms of energy – and the vast majority of this is fossil fuel power that has failed. Just to note, in the week Tucker Carlson made his comments the electricity output of wind turbines significantly exceeded the expected output.

A significant amount of Texas electricity still comes from coal alongside hydropower, and has an increasing reliance on natural gas. Renewable electricity generation is cheaper, greener and more sustainable in the long run and can be distributed across the state making power cuts increasingly a thing of the past.

For the first time, I wish to say Ted Cruz was actually honest about this. He pointed at California problems last year, but owned up in a tweet. Now he must follow through, and the rest of Texas – pointing at clean energy does not help the state, instead Texas must embrace clean energy, diversify and spread the power generation out. With the huge amount of sun that Texas receives it should be one of the simplest States to go fully green.

Greg Abbott, the governor of Texas, has foolishly blamed the green new deal for the power cuts. Now some people might suggest this is an obvious impact of the green new deal, it should be noted that the green deal has not been implemented in any way whatsoever. To blame something that has not been implemented seems rather foolish, indeed given that so much of Texas’s power comes from fossil fuels it’s not possible to blame green power in any way at all. Furthermore, Greg Abbott went on MSNBC just before going on Fox News and told a completely different story, talking about the failure of oil and gas networks (and how the natural gas distribution networks are frozen) and how this is what caused the power cuts.

I wonder how it benefits Fox News to continually be seen stating totally factually incorrect statements and myths about clean energy. Of course missed in this statement is the problems Texas have with extreme heat. There are thought to be almost a million people in Texas, who are currently at danger from extreme heat, this figure is expected to rise by 75% in the next 20 or so years. 

Frankly, fox news needs to be called out on this every time. They have been bringing up this as an issue a couple of times a year for some time. It is factually false, and gives watchers the false belief that somehow cleaning the grid will change their life – given the regularity that it comes up people will think it’s a severe problem, one that can only be addressed by not using carbon neutral technologies. This is obviously absurd, not only are turbines a cheaper source of electricity, they are hugely cleaner and help keep temperatures at levels that people can live with.

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