The Texas deep freeze and the wind turbines lie

  •   2 min reads
The Texas deep freeze and the wind turbines lie

The deep freeze takes hold in Texas, and climate change cynics blame wind turbines, it's another example of how the climate change deniers will stop at nothing to try and bamboozle us with distortions of the truth and outright lies.

The Rupert Murdoch owned Wall Street Journal was not shy in casting blame. "Power shortages show the folly of eliminating natural gas—and coal," headlined. There is only one problem with this statement. It is wrong.

Texas is usually warm in winter.  Right now, it is freezing. Temperatures have fallen to as low as minus 18 degrees, leading to a surge in demand for electricity, which the grid couldn't cope with, leading to power cuts.

The main problem here is that this is unusual. Texas is geared up to keeping cool in the scorching summer temperatures, not dealing with icy weather.

There is a side issue here over whether the extreme cold temperatures are caused by climate change.  The answer is that they might be.  But of course, the climate change deniers see the cold snap as evidence that climate change isn't true. The deniers wouldn’t recognise nuance if it bit them on that place where most of their verbiage comes from.

But when you drill down and examine what has happened in Texas, you find that the problem was with gas, coal and nuclear. Wind turbines, or windmills as their haters call them, played only a minimum role in the Texan energy industry's failure to meet demand.  

Yes, wind turbines did suffer issues — but they contributed just 13 per cent of outages.

At one point, wind power produced about two-thirds of the level expected by Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT).  But as this report on Bloomberg points out, "Wind shutdowns accounted for 3.6 to 4.5 gigawatts — or less than 13 per cent — of the 30 to 35 gigawatts of total outages... That's in part because wind only comprises 25 per cent  of the state's energy mix this time of year."  

In other words, the power outages were merely down to lack of preparedness by Texas.  As Joshua Rhodes, a research associate at The University of Texas told Gizmodo, "Yes, we have wind turbines that are iced up, yes, we have wind turbines that are not performing. We don't typically rely on wind during [the winter], so we built the grid to rely on those other resources, and they didn't show up, either. We didn't plan for this."  Indeed, we have been here before.

Ten years ago, Texas suffered freezing temperatures, and there were power outages.  Meanwhile, Rep. Lauren Boebert Tweeted "You know how you unfreeze frozen windmills?"

By sending up a helicopter that shoots out chemicals onto the blades. You need fuel for the helicopter. Keep that in mind when thinking how 'green' windmills are."

It would appear then that the Swedes are cleverer than Texans, because, in Sweden, where we can exclusively reveal it snows quite a lot, researchers have learned how to keep wind turbines moving in freezing temperatures.

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